Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are detailed instructions describing the procedures for carrying out recurring business tasks. At first, creating SOPs for your company’s processes might not seem very important. After all, if it’s just you and a couple other people doing all the work, creating step-by-step instructions for each key task might seem like a waste of time.
However, SOPs are critical for productivity and efficiency, and they can save your business both time and money in the long run. SOPs are also essential for growth, as they allow you to replicate key processes on a larger scale. Moreover, standardization facilitates training and helps ensure that your operation won’t come to a standstill if you lose a key team member.
Indeed, standardizing your business processes can have a positive effect on just about everyone involved with your business: you, your team leads, your staff, your clients—and even your successor. Here are 5 key benefits your company is likely to experience from implementing SOPs.
1.Control consistency and quality
Consistency and quality go hand-in-hand. Once you’ve developed a successful process for completing a task, SOPs allows you to repeat that same process again and again, achieving similar results within the same time frame.
Improved consistency reduces the chance for errors, and saves you time and money because your team won’t be reinventing the wheel every time the process is repeated. And by controlling consistency, you’re also protecting the integrity of your core product or service.
Speaking of integrity, if you come up with an SOP that dramatically improves upon the way things are usually done in your field, you’ll want to keep that process from falling into the hands of competitors. We can help you put legal agreements in place to ensure your unique processes aren’t shared with the wrong people.
2. Improve scalability
To successfully grow your business, you’ll need to make sure your operations are scalable. Implementing SOPs is one of the first steps to ensure your processes can function effectively on a larger scale, since they break down even the most complicated tasks into incremental steps that are easily followed.
With SOPs in place, you can more effectively delegate tasks and automate workflow, without losing efficiency or increasing costs to unsustainable levels, which is key to scalability.
3. Preserve knowledge and ensure continuity
If a particular employee is the only one who knows how certain key processes work, losing that employee can seriously disrupt your business. And this is true whether the employee is out sick, on vacation, gets fired, or resigns.
Clear documentation of your business processes in SOPs ensures that your business will continue to function smoothly even in the absence of key team members.
4. Facilitate training
Comprehensive SOPs are an essential component for training new hires. From routine onboarding tasks to highly complicated on-the-job procedures, SOPs can greatly reduce the time—and money—it takes to bring new employees up to speed. Best of all, today’s technology makes creating SOPs a snap.
Video conferencing and screen sharing are particularly valuable for improving information retention and making processes easy to follow. And by establishing an SOP archive in the cloud, employees will have 24/7 access to training resources, which can be a lifesaver for companies with a remote workforce.
5. Increase market value
Outside of improving your business’ operational efficiency, SOPs can also boost its market value. Documenting SOPs allows for a more seamless transfer of control of your company to a new owner—and the easier it is for a successor to take over your company, the more valuable your company becomes to potential buyers.
You can even make SOPs a key selling point when putting your business on the market.
Secure your foundation
Along with not taking SOPs seriously, many entrepreneurs also fail to focus enough attention on their legal, insurance, financial, and tax (LIFT) systems. Like SOPs, these systems are vital for sustainable growth, and they also safeguard your business from common risks like lawsuits, accidents, and audits.
As your Creative Business Lawyer®, we’re specifically trained to help entrepreneurs like you put these cornerstone systems in place, providing your company with an unshakable LIFT foundation. To see how stable your LIFT foundation is now, contact a Creative Business Lawyer® to take our 20-point Business Confidence Assessment and assess your confidence in how much your legal, insurance, financial, and tax foundations will support your business growth.
This assessment will highlight the gaps in your current LIFT foundation that need the most attention. From there, you can meet with a Creative Business Lawyer® to conduct a more thorough audit and implement our full LIFT Foundation System and Toolkit.