Every business needs a standard operating procedure to act as a record of how your company should be run. It’s a thorough outline of the tasks that make up the daily functioning of your business. It’s essentially a checklist for how your business runs. While building these can be time-consuming, you can use an SOP software for small business in order to compile all of your procedures in the most simple way.
Having a solid SOP in place is key to handling all types of situations that may arise within your business. They can save a ton of time and money, as well as benefit your customers with a seamless and consistent experience.
Follow these simple tips for creating an SOP for your small business:
Create consistency in your procedures
You want the layout of your SOP to be as simple and straightforward as possible. Keep everything short and to the point while following a consistent format style. You need people to be able to retain the information and find what they need when they need it. Break everything down into simple, easy to understand steps for the best outcome. Keep it in outline format with bolded headings and bullet points underneath.
Create the overview
The first tier of every section of information should include an overview of everything that is included in that piece. This should include the following information:
– Outline the general scope of the project
– The end-goal of the project
– Access to various systems
– List the staff member that will keep the SOP updated
– Steps on project completion
Build out the instructions
Next, you will build out the actual project instructions and provide detailed steps. Go more in-depth to the sections that you included in the first tier of information. Be sure to group any related information together to make it simple to find and follow.
You also want to be sure to outline how and why the process is the way that it is. That way, everyone understands the reasoning behind why your business runs the way it runs, and they will be more likely to abide and follow.
It may be easiest to do this while you’re actually performing the task in order to accurately record the steps. It’s also suggested to begin by outlining the tasks that you don’t enjoy doing and the ones you don’t do often.
Test it out
You want to give the SOP to someone on the outside of the business or project and have them read through the information and provide you with any feedback they may have. They will be able to tell you if the information is too long if it’s difficult to understand, and if it seems like any steps may be missing.
Following these steps can help you to build out a simple and effective standard operating procedures manual so that your company can run as smoothly as possible. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, however, it’s key to the success of your business in the future.
Avoid these 5 SOP mistakes
During and after using the SOP documentation software, make sure that you don’t fall prey on these mistakes:
1. Adding too many details
This may sound counterintuitive to what’s mentioned above, but going overboard with details can be detrimental too. Too many details could make even the best small business SOP management software appear burdensome.
If possible, determine if you can allow your employee for some room for flexibility. This way, the task can be done without compromising your company’s standards.
2. Controlling the wrong issue
The SOP creation software is intended to provide a detailed process of how a task should be done. It’s not supposed to address an underlying issue in the workplace.
Instead, it’s better to address the root cause of the problem which the SOP may try to solve. But when it comes to superficial issues, it’s better solved in person or with the implementation of another strategy.
3. Creating too many SOPs
A business process documentation software can make or break your operations based on how you use it. The goal here is to create a single platform on which your employees can refer to for work guidance.
However, if you create too many versions at once, it may just stir confusion and hurt more than help your company. In the end, the employees may not follow any of your SOPs due to confusion.
4. Using SOP as a substitute for actual management
Remember, organizational software for small business is just a reference and not a substitute for real management. Although this is obvious, it still happens to many companies.
Actual management is still needed for sustainable mentoring, guidance, and operation. The procedure documentation software can’t run your company.
5. Problematic implementation
A well-written SOP is nothing if it’s not implemented well. Always come up with a solid plan on how to integrate the SOP documentation software on the day to day operations of your business.
Also, you should encourage your employees to continuously update the SOP with their inputs. This way, you can prevent knowledge loss while ensuring that the SOP is keeping up with the demands of your work.
How to implement the SOP in your company
When implementing the business process documentation software, make sure that the goals and purpose are clearly discussed to the employees. Also, ensure that the format and layout suit the nature of work.
Most of all, you should value comprehension and accessibility. Give your employees an easy way to access, review, and update the SOPs as needed.
Managers and supervisors will play a vital role here. Make sure that they have a strong grasp of the SOP together with a coordinated plan in the implementation of your written standards.
Both small and large businesses should plan this out. Avoid rushing in or forcing your employees to adhere right away, especially if there are drastic changes to the way they will accomplish their tasks.
Start slow and introduce each section in great detail. A business process documentation software may take weeks to fully implement, but it’s better than haphazardly switching to new procedures.