How to use procedures to build a better business and why you can’t afford not to!
Using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is a fundamental element to growing any business. Yet putting those processes and procedures in place and keeping them current and followed by all your team can seem like a mountain you just don’t have time to climb.
There are always going to be tedious tasks that have to be accomplished on a daily or weekly basis. You can make these repetitive tasks more process oriented, to give you more time to focus on other aspects of your company.
We go into detail and share some of our templates and tools in our article on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Guidelines. If you’re the one person in charge of all aspects of your business, minimising the amount of time spent on day-to-day operations can give you more time, more energy, to invest in the bigger picture.
Growing pains as you scale your business
SOPs can be particularly helpful when your business is experiencing growth. A standard operating procedure will make it easier on you when you reach the point of growing your team, or outsourcing.
With processes already outlined, you easily offer a roadmap of responsibilities for the person who will take over those tasks for you. SOPs make delegation of different tasks or duties easier and having them in place maximises both your personal productivity, and the productivity of your business. You’ll create time to:
- launch that online programme
- develop new revenue streams
- grow your list
- take advantage of opportunities
- meet your goals!
“Not having procedures in place that allow us to scale. It feels like we are constantly reinventing the wheel and I am having to give the same advice, recommendations, and directions for each new project. Project management is a little messy – things get forgotten, things go over time, poor planning can cause issues down the line (e.g. going over estimated time). Also, I would like more people working at the strategic level with me because I am only one perspective.”
[Excerpt from another frustrated business owner’s discovery call questionnaire]
- Start to document all the procedures within your business. Tip: Make this as easy as possible to update, and follow, using a mixture of written instructions, screenshots and video (see our article on how to document procedures quickly using video).
- Create an organisation chart for your business. List each role needed to support and service your business through this upcoming growth phase. At this stage (sorry!) it’s probably your name down under each role but in documenting this you’re creating your team structure.
- At the end of this month you’ll have documented the tasks you’ve done over the last month and know what your team requirements are.
- Now take half an hour to evaluate the team roles. Which roles are a priority? Think about what will make the most impact on your time and in meeting your goal. Is it someone to help with your Facebook ads, someone to manage your diary, or someone to work on your funnel? And a little plug here – you can either pull together individual contractors or employees or look at outsourcing to a company like us who has the expertise in-house.
- As you bring these team members on board, use the standard operating procedures you’ve created to handover the tasks and manage your new team members. Keep them focused on your goals so you’re all working towards a common outcome (that’s super important).
Over the next few months, continue adding to your standard operating procedures. Review them to improve efficiencies within your business and to make sure they’re easy to follow, measurable, outcome focused, and current.
Continue filling the roles in your organisation chart as your growth continues. Part of your monthly management process will be to review your team performance, review your growth (in terms of revenue/profitability, your goals, level of service etc). Even your monthly management process gets its own SOP!
As you work through the three steps above, document your challenges and frustrations along the way. Use these to improve your systems (and your business), each challenge is an opportunity to improve. No challenges means you’re not pushing hard enough!
What works really well for me when we’re going through a phase of change is to put on my wall what my ideal outcome is. An example of how these outcomes can snowball is:
- If I’m delegating more of my tasks … I’ll use that time to find and move to a project management system that’s a better fit for purpose.
- When we change our project management system … our team will have less unbillable time and we’ll be more profitable.
- If we’re more profitable … what will we reinvest in and what will that mean to our business?
If I keep my eye on the end goal (which is ultimately to continue growing this business) then when the going gets tough it’s so much easier to work through it.
Because you know, the going does always get tough! That’s when the tough get going!
And if a one-stop-shop of expertise sounds like the organisation chart you need for your business, click here to book a obligation free chat. We’d love to talk to you.
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