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Reasons Why Every Business Needs an SOP

- Do you always have a feeling that your business lacks organization around managing the most basic tasks? 

- Do you feel that your employees could do much more if they had been given the independence to think and implement their ways of working? s

- Or maybe you’re just wondering what else you could do to increase the overall efficiency and productivity in your business? 

Why Every Business Needs an SOP

If there’s one thing that is important for any business, it’s consistency. And this consistency can be brought about by creating well-defined SOPs.  

Imagine your favorite cafe in the Downtown for a moment. You’ve always loved the burgers and coffees there. You keep wondering what do they do to get the same taste every time.  Probably, they have an SOP in place which makes them follow the exact same process to get the best flavor for their customers. 

Now coming to the business front, your employees and your customers are no different. They will be able to make the best possible use of every opportunity if they had their SOPs to deliver. 

But before we learn about the benefits of an SOP and why would you be called crazy if you didn’t have one in place, let’s understand what is a Standard Operating Procedure

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is nothing but a standard document, which details out the tasks to perform a specific activity or a process. They are detailed pieces of information that anyone can use to perform their tasks efficiently.  Ideally, they shouldn’t be written to the point and not leave any room for ambiguity.  

Top 5 reasons why every business needs an SOP

Now that you have an idea about what is an SOP, we can talk a bit more about how it can benefit your business. Any business or industry can benefit from an SOP, but sometimes the business owners are a little hesitant to invest in an SOP. However, once you have realized the benefits of an SOP, you will wonder what made you not consider having an SOP from the initial days of your business. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits: 

1. Encourage positive change 

Do you often find your employees complaining that they’re confused about what they need to do? Do you always hear your managers or team members say that they would need a solid structure around their career growth or promotions? Do you always have a knack to make sure that everything is done perfectly? 

A well-defined SOP can help bring about this much-needed change in your organization. SOPs are designed in a way that will not only improve the ways of working but can also be easily modified and adapted according to the ever-changing needs of the business. 

When you create an SOP, you give your team members or business colleagues the reliability and efficiency they need to succeed. Whenever a question arises about why and how a particular task needs to be accomplished, they can refer to the SOP immediately and start performing in the desired way. 

2. Enhance employee management and training

 

Enhance employee management and training

When you have the right SOPs in place, hiring and retaining employees becomes much easier. When new employees are onboarded, they can follow the SOPs that are already available to learn about the functions of the existing business. It will also help them to understand the different processes and what needs to be done to complete each process from the start to the end. Further, they will get an idea of what role each department plays in the process. 

All in all, a well-structured SOP helps all your employees understand what is needed of them to run the operations efficiently. You will also be able to remove the confusion around specific tasks and provide a clear direction to reach a successful outcome. 

3. Eliminate errors and boost productivity

SOPs are helpful in eliminating any kind of errors that occur while running a process efficiently. They provide your employees with a clear outline of what duties need to be performed and the expectations around them. Further, they provide the basic know-how to ensure that you are on the same page with your team and any kind of discrepancy or risk identified while performing the required steps should be highlighted immediately. This further helps in creating a happy and productive work environment. 

4. Ensure the safety of the work environment 

Employee safety is a major concern for every type of business. Irrespective of the industry you operate in, you need to make sure that you take every preventive measure to keep your employees safe. An environment that is not safe for employees can cause more harm than physical injuries. It can not only cause damage to the merchandise but the clients and customers could get hurt too.

With an appropriate SOP in place, you will never need to worry about any damage to your business, your employees, or your customers. When your employees follow an SOP, it implies they are following a process that has been tested and tried for running safely and efficiently. Having an SOP also means that you are adhering to the compliance policies for your business and prevents you from getting fined for being non-compliant. 

5. Standardize and improve the customer experience

As a business, you will often come across situations where customers would like to share their concerns or issues they are facing with your product. If you don’t have an SOP in place, it may become difficult for you to know how exactly you will solve the problem raised by the customer. Further, you will find your customer service lacking in terms of figuring out a solution to any problem. 

On the other hand, it will lead to a poor customer experience as your employees do not have a process for a proper follow-up. Service requests could also get lost as the staff may not be aware of processes to learn about new service requests. This again is tied with the reliability factor, and it will eventually lead to losing the trust of your customers. To avoid that, make sure you have a strong SOP in place to answer your customers’ queries related to issues, concerns, or general information. 

The next question is what you should keep in mind while drafting an SOP for your business. 

3 steps to creating the perfect SOP 

1. Do not write the SOP based on any common assumptions 

The biggest mistake that any business makes while writing an SOP is to assume that the target user is familiar with the concept or the next step that is not clearly stated in the document. 

2. Test out the steps before drafting the SOP 

 

Test out the steps before drafting the SOP

If you want to create a perfect SOP, you cannot only rely on the current process. You need to test out all the steps before you make them official in the SOP you’re creating. Trying out the process, again and again, will make you confident that everything is working as expected, and if there is any scope for improvement, you can include that in the future versions too. 

3. Make it a group effort

It’s very important not to work in silos while creating an SOP for a product and involving just the managers is not enough. You will need to involve the right people from the beginning of the process and that should be those who have prior experience in trying out the product or using it. They will already have an idea about the features that work effortlessly and the ones that could be improved based on some valid suggestions. 

You’ll also need to have a person in your team who can write extremely well and translate complex concepts into simple and digestible chunks. Remember the success of an SOP lies in the fact that people can understand and derive value from it.

4. Use visual imagery 

An SOP should never be a long and drab document full of text. An ideal SOP is one that is informative and gets the user interested in the working of the product. 

Including powerful visual images of the actual product or a graphic version of the same will give your customers an idea of what the product looks like and how it functions. You can also use videos to communicate difficult concepts. 

5. Periodic review 

Writing an SOP is not a “once and for all” kind of activity. If you want your SOP to reflect the most updated information, then you should review them periodically. Change is the nature of any business. Always make sure to involve your employees in the review process so that it yields a much effective output. Encourage them to share their honest opinions and point out any discrepancies. 

Final thoughts

SOPs can offer many benefits to any average business. Anything that can benefit your business in training new staff, improving existing processes, and delivering a rich customer experience is what a business should always look forward to. 

Write to us in the Comments sections below if you use an SOP for your business. How does it benefit your business and what was your recipe for creating a perfect SOP? 

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