Streamlined CEO

The Magic of SOPs: Streamlining Your Business Operations

December 19, 2023 Karalee Gault Episode 31
Streamlined CEO
The Magic of SOPs: Streamlining Your Business Operations
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you crave a more efficient, seamless business operation? Brace yourself. This episode of Neurodivergent Bytes is all set to revolutionize the way you think about Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)! I, Karalee, unveil the magic of SOPs and their pivotal role in streamlining your business operations. Using a real-life example of client onboarding, I'll guide you through the nuts and bolts of creating SOPs that will assist in improving consistency, quality, and significantly ease the process of team expansion.

Scripts for routine tasks might sound mundane, but trust me, it's a total game-changer! By sharing personal experiences of struggling without SOPs and how incorporating them changed the game, I hope to inspire you to start documenting your own.

Moreover, we delve into the nitty-gritty of storing SOPs, creating templates, and the imperativeness of regular revisions. With a well-structured system in place, experience effortless onboarding of new members and leave a lasting impression on potential clients.

If you're ready to put your business on autopilot, then this episode is a must-listen! For personalized advice on implementing SOPs, always feel free to get in touch. Let’s embark on this journey of creating SOPs to ensure a more efficient and successful future for your business.


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Speaker 1:

Hello, amazing humans, welcome back to neurodivergent bites. I am your host, cara Lee, and today we're going to be talking about SOPs, and SOPs in the online business world stands for standard operating procedures. Okay, and so standard operating procedures are used for routine tasks, so things that you do on a more regular basis, or you know it's a repeating thing, right, it's not just a one-off type of thing. Okay, and so, of course, you guys know me If you've been around here for even a hot second we're going to start first off with more of a definition of SOPs, all right. So, again, sops stands for standard operating procedure, all right. So when we go to the actual definition of SOPs, it says an established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations, and I was like I read that and I was like I. That doesn't give me a good enough explanation, so I dug a little further and this one makes a little bit more sense, all right. So a standard operating procedure is a set of written instructions that describes the step-by-step process that must be taken to properly perform a routine activity, and that one made a whole lot more sense, right, that's exactly what we are doing. We're putting, we're documenting in some place. We'll talk about where, um later on here, but we're documenting how to do something.

Speaker 1:

And so I want to jump into why you might want to do this. Because you're like Carolee, they're in my head, I know how to do everything. I'm a one man or one woman show right now, like I'm a solo pernuer. Why would I need SOPs? All right, and so I, if you listened to last week's episode, I said that your business could absolutely change. Where you need to, uh, you know, bring on a team member or something like that tomorrow, okay, you never know when it's going to happen, and so being able to kind of start documenting these things is going to be really important and really helpful.

Speaker 1:

When you do bring on, let's say, for example, a team member, because a team member is going to need a standard operating procedure to know how to do things, to create consistency and quality in your business. Okay, whether that be for your business or for a client's business, depending on what it is someone needs to be able to know exactly how you're doing things. Because it's bringing on a team member, scaling, ensuring you don't miss steps. You know you're thinking through what you actually do. Sometimes we don't think things through, so then we, we, um, we have like some pitfalls or gaps, right? So when you're documenting it, you're going to start seeing those a little bit more.

Speaker 1:

This is also good for refining and streamlining techniques, right, and documenting what is in your brain. That is the biggest reason that we need to have SOPs. I should say, two of them really is documenting what's in your brain and then bringing on team members, or scaling, bringing on someone to support you. You're going to need to have these things in place in order to have bring them on more smoothly, right, cause there's onboarding SOPs, like, what do you do each time you bring on a team member? Or bringing onboarding clients what do you do each time you bring on a client? These are going to help you be more efficient, especially even if you're doing it by yourself, like if you're still a solo preneur. You're going to be able to, like, follow these things because you're going to have what? The step by step process, but then you also might have a template or you might have, you know, a document that details things more easily, or you know your clients are going to know, you know, kind of more of like, what's going on and it's just more streamlined in general. Now, all of those are SOPs, but they can be included in your SOPs, right, like when we bring out a new client. These are the things that we do, because you do the same things with maybe some small variations each time, and so you're able to document it right and make it more run more smoothly each time. All right.

Speaker 1:

And so to go on just a little bit farther here, you're going to want to like what? What do you actually put in the SOP, right? So you're going to start with, I'm going to use the example of onboarding a client, because I feel like we all at least have clients or customers mostly clients, right, if we're like a service provider or a coach, or maybe even like have a course or a program, things like that. I feel like that's probably the majority of you. So we're going to do that, for example.

Speaker 1:

And so in my SOPs, I literally have like a process of, like I say, someone wants to sign up to be one of my clients for my virtual assistant services, okay, for example. So what am I going to do? I'm going to talk to them and kind of get a feel for what they want, just in, like the DMs that's how I do it or an email, right, and then I'm going to be like okay, I feel like I might be able to support you. Let's dig a little deeper. Now we're going to schedule a Zoom call, all right, and so, because I want to get really how they're feeling, I'm able to ask them questions in real time and we're really able to really dig deep into figuring out how can I best support you, right, as a client, and then what are my strengths that will be best supported for you so you can make the most educated decision for your business if you decide to invest with me, right? So that's like an in-person, since this is, you know, we're virtual assistants, so like it's all online for the most part, but having face-to-face has been game changer for me in that respect. So that's why I have that as a step.

Speaker 1:

And then, after that, then I'm like okay, we decide to move on. Right, because this is the normal process here. I'm going to okay, I'm going to put a proposal together for XYZ and then you're going to have it in and I'll tell them a date, right, it's normally 48 hours, at most one week it depends on how in depth, it is right and so. But in general I would say 48 to whatever five days is I don't know that in hours, but two to five days, all right, you're going to have it then, and so that's like the standard for me. And then so then there's a SOP, kind of inside of that. Right Now we have to like how do we put the proposal together?

Speaker 1:

Right, we take what I found out from the call, right, and then I go do I have any packages or project like quotes already that I that you know we just put in here? And then we go more in depth in the proposal process and how I update all of those things. But I have a template for that, all right. And so I'm able to take that template and start there and then just kind of change things for that specific client, right, and then I send that over in an email. You can I even have, like this is what gets sent in the email, make it personalized, but then also, like you know, very straightforward, this is what's going to happen, obviously always saying, if you have any questions, absolutely let me know. I want to make sure this is like a no brainer. Yes, basically right.

Speaker 1:

And then, after you get that proposal and I hear back, or if I don't hear back obviously I don't hear back within like 48 to 72 hours I'm going to send another email and saying, hey, just wanted to check back in see if you had any questions. You know, it brings that email back up into their inbox to make sure that I'm following up and seeing if they want to move forward, right, and then they obviously can get back to me and we go from there. If they're like yes, I am good where I want to do this tier in the proposal, and then I'm able to then move on to that next step, I'm like awesome, I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to get that contract together, I'm going to get that invoice together and I'm going to send those over an X amount of days for you. And then we're going to the next step will be after that, after we've signed the contract and we've gotten that first invoice paid, then we're going to schedule a Zoom call to really dig into whatever we're doing as a client service provider sort of relationship, right. So digging into. You know what we're going to do for ClickUp, for example. Let's say, this is a ClickUp project. We're going to dig into. What does your specific business need for this to put into ClickUp, to really refine things and make this your central hub, right? So we're going to talk about that on that call and then, after that call, we're going to then go into the actual project and do all the things, whatever specific to them. But the way I document that is I have this in ClickUp, I have it in a document and then I have like different well, it's me currently, but then I make sure I stays consistently updated I link in any templates or any you know candid email type of things that I use every single time, because when you've been doing it for a while you kind of you find your groove and you find what works for you and for most people. Then you're able to then just kind of put that all together and it saves you so much time.

Speaker 1:

I remember in the beginning when I didn't have like an actual set of steps or instructions right To follow, it took me three times the amount of time because I was like wait, what I had to think about it. But I'm like, wait, what do I do next? Oh, what, what do I have my standards Like what, what are they? And then you end up in my case, I ended up creeping on my own boundaries. I wasn't as official with my time Like so many things ended up happening when I didn't have a step-by-step process that told me exactly what I needed to do.

Speaker 1:

And then when clients also ask questions as what's the process? What are the next steps, I didn't have an answer because I was like, well, it just kind of depends. Like I had to like think on the fly. But now that I've kind of like standardized it, now I can bring on a team member and my team member is gonna know exactly what to do on her part, right? Because in a standard operating procedure you could have different team members doing different things in the process, right? So maybe I have in that process that I have myself doing all of those steps all the way up and like till like they are signing the contract. And then I'm like, okay, my VA that's supporting me is now gonna create this template, because in ClickUp that has all of these things already mapped out because of what project they're using, and then I'm just gonna be able to be able to compile all of the information right there. So that could be a step that that VA is responsible for. That takes it off of me, right? So we can have different people be responsible for different parts of your standard operating procedures, because they're still routine or repeating tasks, right. And so again here for the definition of a standard operating procedure. It's a set of written instructions that describes the step-by-step process that must be taken to properly perform a routine activity.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so things that you do more consistently all the time. So you're gonna start seeing in your business some of the things that you do more routinely, and if you start seeing like, you might see those and you might go but I'm not really sure like what I should be doing here Start thinking about the things that you keep doing or the parts where you start really slowing down. That's where we really need to refine that, so then we can put it into a more standard way of doing things, so you're not all scattered all over. And if you're like I don't, I just need to, like I need some support to be able to do that, we can absolutely talk about what that looks like, as we have a VIP week or a VIP day, if you prefer, just one day and we can make sure that we're getting these SOPs documented, at least in like a Google doc or maybe even as far as into ClickUp or any other Task management system. But as long as you have them documented, you're You're gonna be able to go back to them and like have step-by-step process for yourself or for any Team member that you have right, and it's gonna ensure that you don't miss steps. Some of these things that we do in business are very complicated and Will miss steps, and it might be too late when we realize we missed a step. All right, and so if we're able to kind of go through that until it's like routine in our own brain, then we're able to like make sure that we don't miss steps and then, like I said, this allows you to be way more efficient in when it comes to your time and even your energy, but it also allows you to be more consistent. All right, when you're able to be consistent, it's so much simpler on your brain when you're able to do the exact same steps, every single.

Speaker 1:

So I do want to talk to you a little bit about where you can store these and maybe how to make some templates and then how to why it's important to revisit and update them. I kind of already explained this, so I'm going to make this really, really short. Where you can store them? It could be as simple as a google doc or whatever sort of online software you know storage system so you could google. Um, I currently Store them as a backup in google, but I have them linked into Clickups so I can access them very simply, and so can all my team members. I'm saying all my team members, because I have 2024 is just going to be amazing, right, we're gonna have, I'm gonna have a couple of team members. I have what I have.

Speaker 1:

Um, I have things templatized, either that's in a google doc or inside of click up. More than likely, all of them are in, so I'd have click up in my case. Um, they're also very important to revisit and update them, or review them, because things can change over time as you start seeing that things. Uh, you know making different changes throughout your own processes. You're able to then update those things. Um, it's recommended every six to twelve months to really go back and revisit those, unless there's something that you have you've noticed you've changed a lot, then you kind of want to probably do it more, more consistently, like maybe quarterly, but always reviewing them, like thinking about it quarterly, at least every six to twelve months, all right. And so, as this is my thing, this action step that I want you to take care for as we are walking into 2024, I want you to think about what, like, do you have standard operating procedures? Or are they all like that are outside of your brain? They're documented somewhere, and if they're not, no shame. That's totally like a real thing. Many people don't, but we're able to then Think about what is the next step that you feel very comfortable with taking?

Speaker 1:

Is it writing down what some of your routine activities are, the things that you do on repeat, like I would really challenge you to just write them down, create a list, and then I start thinking about what are the sops that you can start documenting as you go into 2024 and then create a routine. Hopefully you have a task management system you can put like quarterly reminders to go oh, what sops am I going to create and document this next quarter? So then you're able to just really go to that. So I encourage you to take an hour, to block off an hour or whenever you're feeling it, kind of keep it in the back of your head, put on a post-it note where you always are seeing it like when can I sit down and Really document these sops that I have Um in my business, right? So that means first step is just writing them down and thinking about what are the routine reoccurring things that you do, and then Just creating that list is just step one. And then step two is going to be Thinking about which ones can I put into place, actually documented, each quarter of 2024. By the end of 2024 you're going to have all of your sops, because you took all the ones that were there and you can break them up into four quarters, right, and then you're going to make sure you get those documented all of 2024. And then you're also going to create that reoccurring task in your task management system. I encourage click up and if you need to have click up put into place for you or together, there's absolutely options and you can look at the show notes for those Um.

Speaker 1:

But I'd love to talk to you. I already walked you through my client experience SOP, right, and so um, go ahead and do that. Those are the action steps just to simply get these started in a very simple, streamlined way, right, because we want improved efficiency in our business. We want to have consistency. We want to have quality right. We want to make it simple and manageable to bring on a new team member without freaking out right, and we want to be able to continuously improve on things in our business right. We want to just keep having that, you know, like continuous improvement, right? Because when we improve ourselves, we improve how we're doing things, we streamline things. That means our SOPs change and that's not a bad thing. We're not creating more work for ourselves.

Speaker 1:

By documenting, we're ultimately serving our future selves and we're able to then have things better for when we do need to bring on a team member, when we do get that new client right, whatever that looks like to you all, right.

Speaker 1:

So if you have any questions, go ahead and head to the show notes and DM me on your favorite platform and I would be happy to talk further. And if we need to hop on a call because we're like I really need to, like talk this through and figure out what in the world I actually need whether that be for SOPs, systems, whatever that looks like absolutely hit me up and we can talk through it through. If you're like I want to work with you, I really want to do this thing. You can absolutely fail to work with me form as well, and I'll give you personalized recommendations as to how best I feel we can work together, given the information I know. So I look forward to hearing from some of you and really having you get those SOPs into place in 2024. All right, have an amazing rest of your day.

Standard Operating Procedures in Business
Importance of Standard Operating Procedures
Documenting for Future Success