If you have a plan of starting your own business or you’re looking for ways to improve the one that’ already existing, then you need to have the deep understanding of how things should be done. You simply cannot give what you don’t have; and so with the right knowledge, your chance of making mistakes will be slim.
What are the tasks you need to do? Or the more important question is – who needs to do them? After establishing these, then you need to consider the best ways of approaching these tasks.
Figuring out how these questions can be answered is the first step towards systemizing your business. Then the creation of the business and how the tasks should be done will determine how your day-to-day activities will go.
The most common approach to sustaining your business, including its workforce is to create standard operating procedures, generally known as SOP. What is a SOP - Standard Operating Procedure? and how can one create this SOP?
How to Write a SOP
- Understand how you’re going to present your SOPs
a. There are various formats you can employ in creating your SOP. You don’t need to follow the general rules or the variants most companies use (like ISO 9000). You can simply structure your own template for what works for you and your company.
- Gather the relevant stakeholders
a. If you have the intention of creating standard operating procedure for various tasks, workflows, or processes, then you should most probably reach out to those who will be responsible for those duties, except, of course, you plan to do these duties yourself. But if you, as a manager, have some people working each day on a set of tasks, it is important that you understand the thoughts of your team. And, do not underestimate the power of teamwork.
- Work out your purpose
a. What are those things you are planning g to achieve as you build your standard operating procedures? Are they brand new achievements or a repeat of what has been achieved in the past? Either way you need a system that functions well; to achieve this you need to ensure that the priorities within the process are in line with the priorities within the company. There must be cohesiveness in your SOP.
- Determine the structure of your SOP
a. If you are in a large company, SOP will take the form of a report, which would look quite formal. In approaching this kind of report, you have to consider including a cover page that contains title and reference details which will be followed by a list of chapters. All these have to be done before deciding to embark on the processes themselves.
a. However, if you work in a small company, or a startup firm, this level of formality isn’t always adhered. However, this approach requires common sense structure and it’s really advisable to follow it. Whether you work in a large firm or a small one, you need create a working SOP that’s suitable for the company. You only have to follow the laid-down principles of creating one.
- Prepare the scope of the procedure
a. A set of SOP for a particular aspect of a content marketing team’s requires a level of focus, especially on its needs. You should know where to draw the line to avoid wandering away into other teams and departments. Sometimes you can be carried away by the SOP you’re forming. You are free to discuss how workflow may span multiple teams of course, but you have to understand from the beginning whether that is the case or not. It is ethical that you know your jurisdiction in this area.
- Use a consistent style
a. As it has already been established, if you are working for a large multinational, most of the things you will be required to carry out will be formal. The professional setting you find yourself will determine whether you will be using a sharp language or not, you still have to maintain a consistent style; you have to be clear when you are conveying your points to people. When writing you SOP, you have to be concise; go directly to the points. Do not bore people will unnecessary wordings which can make it hard for them to follow the SOP effectively.
- Use correct notation, if applicable
a. There are some companies that have a system you have to learn. Even if you are creating your own SOP, you have to consider their system or there might be conflict of interest. Some of these systems could be a little idiosyncratic and tied to the company. Indeed, some of these companies could be using standardized notations that may be foreign to you. You may sometimes have no choice than to consider their notation before going ahead to create your own SOP for those companies.
- Work out all the necessary steps of the process
a. You and some of your colleagues can walk through the process from the beginning to the end; and while doing that you should remember to note down every step that must be taken along the way. Give room for others to input ideas, let your team discuss the process and record any further steps that may be suggested. Then when you are alone you can go through what you have recorded and decide what you can incorporate among the suggestions offered. This will not only make your task easy, it will also make it more accurate.
Your business has a lot of moving parts. For the business to be running smoothly, you have to ensure that all the moving parts are functioning; all the gears must mesh perfectly well; hence the need to create a standard operating procedure for that business. The SOPs are the nuts and bolts that keep the business together and prevent everything from falling apart. However, it is not every process that needs to be turned into an SOP, only the routine tasks that sit at the core of your business must be turned – for these tasks are the engines that keep the running like a well-oiled machine.