Standard operating procedures

Standard Operating Procedures – just doesn’t sound sexy does it?

George Clooney could whisper it in your ear – still nothing! But I DON’T CARE it might just be the thing that saves your ass.

For those of you who don’t know, these are the incredibly useful, if not sexy, documents that list how a task or project is carried out – in excruciatingly small detail.

How does an SOP work? Let me give you this example:

  • I knew I wanted to change my online scheduling system;
  • I knew the date I needed to change it by;
  • I also knew that there was no way on earth I would be able to do that and keep up with my client work, which as you know is always my numero uno priority. So I gave the whole task to my new assistant.

As you know, as a small business owner it’s vital to hand some things over – we just can’t do everything no matter how much it feels like we should, no matter how panic inducing it can be to hand over even a small part of the business you worked SO HARD to build.

When you do hand something over it’s important to delegate the responsibility for it, not just the task, otherwise you’ll spend as much time checking up on things as if you had just done the thing yourself – what a waste of time and money!

So I duly handed over the changeover – things got changed over, the new system is up and working, (you can click here to see it at work and book yourself a free mini session with me if you like, wink wink!).

So far, so good. But imagine if my assistant gets hit by a bus – how inconvenient of her! – joking of course, but imagine that we part ways for whatever reason and then I, or my new assistant want to update one of my courses, or I change my diary availability? Who knows how to do it? My old, bus flattened assistant.

Of course either I or the new person could figure it out but the reason I handed it over in the first place was that there are far better uses for my time. Why then would I now want to spend time looking at the back end of an online scheduler? Plus I’d already been though paying someone to sort that all out so why do it again? Instead once the project was finished I asked for an SOP document so that when I or someone else need to make changes we can do so efficiently and with no fuss.
You can create these for a small task or a whole project – this is how basic you need to be to start off….
Acuity SOP

Literally ANYONE could read this and update my scheduler. For some tasks it helps to get screenshots like this:

Acuity screenshot

The point is that should that bus roll by you have solid, repeatable systems in place to hand over. No time, money or energy wasted.

What systems do you have in place to make sure things run smoothly? I’d love to know, comment below to tell us.