Why Standard Operating Procedures is the secret ingredient you need to give your business the edge
You may not know this, but standard operating procedures have the power to transform how you run your business.
If you already use them, then great; you probably already know just how brilliant SOPs (as they’re also known) are.
Standard operating procedures are rather wonderful because they help to save you time, prevent mistakes, maintain safety and ensure all your clients receive the same first-rate service – every time.
But what are standard operating procedures?
It’s not rocket science; they’re simply a set of step-by-step instructions to help your team perform routine tasks correctly and in the same way, no matter who is doing them.
Standard operating procedures are ideal for processes that are carried out repeatedly by different people, rather than being one-off activities. They’re also perfect for complex tasks, so your team are clear on how a job should be completed.
Why do you need them?
Standard operating procedures act as reference guides, so your staff can work more independently and don’t have to rely on you for guidance on every single task. Time can easily be wasted if a member of your team has to wait for instructions from you before carrying out certain activities. SOPs also free up more of your time to spend doing whatever you like, whether that’s seeking out new clients – or simply taking a well-earned break.
Having standard operating procedures in place will give you the peace of mind that your staff have access to clear instructions whenever they need them. Plus, they can help you to ensure you’re complying with industry regulations.
What can SOPs be used for?
You’re unlikely to need them for basic tasks such as making a cup of tea.
But what if you’re an ice cream producer, for instance? If you are, your ice cream-making equipment will need regular maintenance so it’s safe to use and operates effectively. Otherwise, your staff will be at risk, productivity will be hit and your ice cream won’t taste as delicious as it usually does.
And this is exactly where standard operating procedures can work their magic. They offer your staff clear guidelines on the exact steps they should take when maintaining essential machinery and how often, for example, so your signature cookie dough is as yummy as ever.
In fact, SOPs can be used for all sorts of day-to-day tasks, from introducing new employees to handling refunds.
How do they work?
A checklist is the most effective format for most standard operating procedures. It’s the best way to present clear, concise, easy-to-follow steps. After all, the easier the instructions are to read and understand, the more likely they are to be performed correctly and consistently by different members of your team.
And now, as businesses embrace remote working and move towards ‘paperless’ systems, online SOPs are ideal. Your staff will have access to the checklists and business processes they need whenever they need them – and wherever they are.
But that’s not all…
With online checklists, it’s quick and easy for you to review and update your procedures. Doing this will help you stay ahead of your competition because you’ll know your business processes are the absolute best they can be.