032: Get Your Business Processes Out Of Your Head. It’s Time To Create Your SOPs

Reading time: 1 minutes.


Running a business is a lot. Like it can be full on – am I right? There’s so much to remember, but that doesn’t mean it all has to stay in our head. The best way for you to get and stay organized is to create a centralized hub where you keep all of your standard operating procedures (SOPs). Not only does this help you save time when doing recurring tasks, it helps you prep your business for taking on new hires. Tune in to hear how you can create your own central hub with organized SOPs.

Discussed In This Episode:

  • The different type of places where you can store your SOPs
  • What “departments” you can categorize your business into
  • Why you should avoid the “everyone and no one” philosophy
  • Some examples of business systems that you can (and should) template

Mentioned in this episode:

Other Helpful links:


Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems, equipping women with actionable steps to overcome, overwhelm and streamline business and life. So grab your favorite drink and come hang out with me. I'm your host, Miranda Merten. Welcome back to Coffee Powered Systems, I'm your host Miranda Merten. It's Friday, we're going into yet another weekend. This year has flown by so fast I'm already seeing pumpkin pumpkin everywhere. We have less than 100 days until Christmas, so I'm already seeing some Christmas deals.


I've seen Christmas deals already. Sometimes you just want to slow it down, take a breather. But we can't do that, can we? Right now, we are going to talk about your business operations manual or your standard operating procedures, your SOPs, whatever you call them in your business or your small business. I want to make sure that you have stuff in place.


You're getting all of that stuff out of your head.


You as the business owner, founder, CEO, you probably have a lot of stuff in your head that you have to teach or reteach or show people or do yourself, because no one else actually does it.


So today we're going to work on how you can get those things out of your head and into a system where you can hand more things off and get back to doing the things that you really love to do.


So how are we going to go about doing that? Well, first things first. We want to talk about where you can store your SOPs. There's a few different places you can store it. And of course, it depends on your preference on what you're already using. As far as every day goes. I want you to think about the things that you already open up every day, things that you use just automatically on a regular basis. Google Docs is a great place to start.


If you have your folders pretty organized, you can go ahead and use the docs, the sheets, you know, the forms, all of that stuff that's in Google Suite. That's a good place to hold your SOPs. Good for sharing. You can share folders. If you have the business edition of G Suite, you can create shared drives and it will be the same for everyone across your team. Makes it easy for sharing your documents.


Another thing you can use is your project management tool. What do you use for project management? And for this I am talking about something like Asana. ClickUp, Trello. You know the standard things. If you're using something different, like Wrike or Microsoft, Teamwork, those all count as project management tools and you can very easily set up your standard operating procedures within your project management. And that might be a good option for you, especially if you have a lot of different team members or departments, because you can then add due dates to some of the items, especially if you use templates in your business and you want to use subtasks and things like that, you can then template things and we'll get to talking about that a little bit later in the episode.


But your project management tool is a fantastic place for that. Also, one other place you can do is like a Google site. Google sites are free. It's just like creating a little website. They're hosted with Google servers and you can easily go into a Google site, create it, name it, and create the different pages as your sections or your departments and just add your SOPs in your procedures within those pages. And it's super easy to do it like that.


If you have a website already, you can probably just use a section of your website and password protect that area.


That would also be an easy way to do that as well.


Once you figured out where you're going to keep your SOPs, then you want to go ahead and sit down and decide what do you want in there? How are you going to separate everything out? So First Steps is going to be create departments, essentially. What departments do you have in your business?


And I'm talking about like your sales, marketing, operations, admin. Let's go through some of those. If you have like an executive or a CEO department, that's basically the area where you keep all of your annual project timelines, your goals, goal tracking metrics, all of those different types of tasks you want to keep in a centralized area. So you always know where to go.


Your sales and marketing department is going to be anything related to your social media, maybe your webinars, traffic, upcoming events, anything like that is going to be in your marketing area. Think about blog posts or YouTube templates. All of those kinds of templates are going to go in that area. Next, I want you to have maybe a products and services department that's going to be anything related to products that you sell, services that you sell. Maybe you have a client based business you're going to put your client stuff in there, and this also includes things like your podcast, that's a product.


Go ahead and put that in there as well. You're going to keep your templates, files, launch calendars, launch schedules. That's where you're going to keep those items next.


You also want to have an operations department that's going to be your business hub. Keeps everything from your affiliate, links your important info, your brand guidelines, you know, your brand colors and fonts and your accounts that you have.


Maybe this is where you keep some account passwords if you're super, like, sketched out about keeping passwords and something like that, or if you're putting it on something that's not password protected in itself, I would recommend doing something like a last pass to have all your passwords and then maybe like sharing those folders within your team. You can also do that as an option as well. And this is also going to include your operations. This is your day to day stuff, recurring meetings or email templates or, you know, keeping those team information.


Put everyone in there. That's your team, their role, their phone number. You know, anything else that's pertinent to the kind of information you want to know? Their social media handles, their birthdays, who they report to.


You can keep all of that stuff in your operations. Think of your operations as your day to day things, and you might go into that folder more often.


So once you've got your departments laid out, you're going to want to make a list of all the processes that you need in each department.


Write out each step.


You're going to do this either as you do them. So the next time you do this thing, the next time you write a blog post, maybe jot down open up your your files or your folders jotted down as you're doing it each step.


Or if you do it often enough, go ahead and do it from memory and then you can fill in the blanks later.


The next time you do it, pull up what you've already written and go through it as you're doing it and make sure that there's nothing that you missed because sometimes we do things just automatically that might not be intuitive to a person that's going to step into your shoes.


So that's why you want to pull it up while you're doing it so you can make sure to drop in those little things as well. You want to fill in the details enough so that someone can do the exact same thing and the exact same tax just by working through those steps. And they would not have to reach out and ask you what to do next. So this includes including the checklists subtask. Maybe you can include screenshots or videos for things that are more visually makes more sense to show.


You want to make things really obvious. Even if you think you're dumbing it down. Go ahead and make it really obvious where to go, where to sign up, what to include, where to do this step. And while you're doing this, a good way to think about it is using the two year rule.


So you want to make sure that two years from now, if you read it, that it would make sense.


The way you're reading it now don't want to use acronyms that aren't super standard.


Like if I say OTP and I write that in the task, am I going to realize two years later if someone comes in that's not in my business, are they going to know what that is? Maybe that's something that I abbreviate it that way, but maybe that's not really the standard abbreviation.


I live in Atlanta, so OTP stands for outside the perimeter, that's probably not what you're talking about in the task. Maybe you're talking about Ontraport, but you want to make sure that you spell things out and don't use acronyms unless it's like it is what it is. You know, also avoid the everyone and No.


One philosophy so that everyone philosophy is like saying, well, everyone on the team does this and everyone already knows how to do this. So I'm not going to include it. Everyone might not be here in three years. So you don't want to use that philosophy. Also along the same ends is that no one does it, or maybe Susie's the only one that does that. So we don't need to worry about including it. Well, along the same lines, no one is doing that right now, but maybe someone will need to do it in a couple of years, or maybe Susie might not be here in a couple of years.


So we want to make sure we keep everything written down so that if something comes up, we're not scrambling when it does happen. And like I said, the next time you go through that task, you can pull it up, pull out your process, let's walk through it, see if there's anything that can be added.


And then you also want to give it to someone else and then tell them to go through the process. Maybe you're the one that always uploads the blog posts. Go ahead and give them your process sheet and say, hey, why don't you upload the blog post this week and see if they can do it without asking you any questions, if they do come back with questions, you'll know that you need to put their suggestions or their questions in there and make it a little more clear.


Once you have that done, you can start to automate it, especially if you're using a project management system to house your SOPs, because then you can add, like I said before, you can add due dates, you can assign people and then it would make it super easy to do those. Or you can even use something like Zapier if you can connect, maybe like your Google Drive or your emails or your slack in your Asana connect them using zaps.


You know, every time someone signs up for this or every time someone fills in this form, it goes straight into my Google Drive.


So you're not manually doing those work looking at it. Now, if you only have you don't have a lot of business, one step at a time doesn't seem like a lot. But once your business picks up and you find yourself doing that same thing 25 times a day or you're entering the same information, it can get a little tedious. So if you set it up earlier rather than later, earlier in your business, then it'll decrease those manual steps and you'll be much better off for it later on.


So once you've got your place, where are you going to put it? Your departments that you have created and your processes of your steps, you're pretty much set. You're going to test it out. You're going to try it for yourself. You're going to hand it off to someone. So what I'm going to go through now, here's some ideas of some business systems. If you're kind of stuck thinking, I don't really have any departments or I don't really have any systems that I really want to automate or put into an S.O.P, I'll go through some items that you might have or that you might do on a daily basis or a regular basis that you might not even have thought of, that you can write all the steps down and have someone else do it for you.


Think about your accounting, bookkeeping, filing your taxes, how to deposit or withdraw money.


If you're in a physical location and you have someone else do that for you, your goals and metrics tracking. Maybe you buy things for your company.


Think about if you're a subscription box product, maybe you have to source products or buy products from certain companies. You want to document those processes where to go, where to log in, maybe who your contact person is, phone numbers, emails, human resources. What are your processes for hiring, firing, performance reviews? Where do you keep any pay rates or pay scales, training manuals? Next you could do customer service. So when you track your performance customer service, maybe like your open rates or if you have canned emails or frequently asked questions, you want to keep those updated as well.


Social media, most of us do have some type of social media. So in this section, you can do your editorial calendar when you're going to post how to create your brand images, track your metrics, creating your posts.


If you have like certain hashtags or captions or a caption style that you use, maybe you use Canva or some other design to where do you keep all of your Canva elements, how to go live on social media when you go live? What kind of materials do you do? Are you using YouTube? Are you doing Instagram reels? Any of those could be processes that you would have written down in the case that you are ready to outsource that? Or you need to bring in some more social media managers to take over that for you.


Content marketing and blogging. So content schedules, YouTube, writing, any of that content is a very, very good thing to template, especially if we pretty much do the same thing every time.


Right. So like for my podcast show notes, it follows pretty much same setup each time.


So all I have to do really is go in, fill in the different details. All your share links are going to be the same. Just plop in if you're promoting something different. If you have a new guest, pop in their information, switch out the graphics comment, all of that stuff.


It makes it really easy for someone to come in and take over the job and take that off your hands. And ultimately, that's probably what you want to do. You don't want to be everything in your business. The key takeaways I want you to know about your systems is that they're always going to be live documents. This is a moving living thing. It's not going to be static, you're going to change things. You're going to change your processes.


You're going to throw in little tweaks here and there. It doesn't need to be 100 percent perfect. You just want to get it down and then go from there. Like I said at the beginning, go ahead.


And you can either do some of this from memory or the next time you do it, write it down as you're doing it. The hardest thing for most of us is letting go of the control. I know that's the hardest thing for me.


So you need to let go of the control, trust the systems.


That's why we're doing this. You put it all into someplace that's going to be a centralized location where everyone can find it.


And if you're going to automate it, which is what I suggest, eventually it makes it a lot easier when you have more team members to start assigning people and dates and it will make your business run a lot smoother.


And that's what we want. Right. And the last couple of points, you want to make sure that it's readable and anyone that is substituting can come in at any point and start doing the task. Think of it as if you had a temp agency send you someone for a day. They have one day and you are out for the day. You had to fly cross-country and you just need a temp person to come in and take over just for the day.


You didn't want to miss a beat and you didn't want to have a whole lot of questions fielded to you.


You're going to be on a plane most of the day. You can have questions. So think of it like that.


If someone came in that didn't know your business, didn't know anything about it, you could say, go to I suppose everything you have is in there. The schedule is in there. This is what you need to do today. Go to it. You know, that's the goal. We want to get to literally step by step for that person.


And lastly, the best types of things for this is going to be recurring tasks. We want to focus on the recurring tasks right now. And then once you get all of those in there, if you are using a project management tool, then you can start using it with your one off tasks that you can put on there as a to do list. But for right now, for your SOPs, we're thinking recurring tasks or information that people might have to reference, like I mentioned, like your brand kit, your brand colors and fonts, things like that, your affiliate accounts, those types of things are going to go in your S.O.P and anything that people might have a question about if they were to come to you.


You want to make sure to have those down.


So that is it for today. I hope this gives you enough information to go ahead and get your SOPs started. I want you to take some of this information or something that you learned today and put on your calendar that you are going to do the first step. So what was the first step? The first step was figure out where you are going to put your SOPs.


Is it going to be on a Google site?


Is it going to be in your project manager? Is it going to be in something like Google Drive? Figure that out. That's your first step. And then add to your calendar when you're going to get the rest of it done. This might take you a few days or a few weeks.


If you don't already have anything down, it's going to take you a little bit longer, but you don't have to rush it. We just want to get started and that's it.


So I hope you enjoyed this episode. Thank you for joining me. I'll see you next time.


Thanks for listening to Coffee Powered Systems. You can find links to everything mentioned in the episode. Down in the show, notes are on the website at Miranda Merten dot com, if you enjoyed this episode, rate and review it in iTunes or where you enjoy listening so others can find it too. And join me here next time.


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