When starting a new business, there are dozens of unanswered questions you have to deal with every day. Are you charging too much or too little for your product or service? What’s the best way to approach new potential customers? What should your standard procedures look like and how do you document them? Even though being part of an organization means new questions will continue to come up constantly, once you start finding solutions to the most recurring problems it’s always a good idea to document these answers so you and others know how to handle the situation in the future. This is what businesses refer to as a standard operating procedure.

In this article, you can learn four reasons to develop an SOP and get your business on track.

So what’s an SOP (standard operating procedure)?

According to Business Dictionary, a standard operating procedure (SOP) is a “written procedure prescribed for repetitive use as a practice, in accordance with agreed-upon specifications aimed at obtaining the desired outcome.” In order words, an SOP is a written set of rules that will help guide your team members during a specific situation

Generally speaking, your SOP template should contain:

  1. Header, explaining what the document refers to
  2. Purpose, detailed what is being accomplished
  3. Scope, which explains how this will be accomplished
  4. References and related documents for clarity
  5. Definitions that clarify industry and company-specific terminology
  6. Roles and responsibilities that outline everyone’s tasks at a high level
  7. Procedure that details the work and timeline
  8. Appendices, such as additional forms
  9. Revision if there are any updates
  10. Approval signatures for a final agreement on both parties

If you haven’t already developed documents for your different processes, here are four reasons why you should.

1. Avoid getting hurt by high turnaround

If you haven’t already developed documents for your different processes, here are four reasons why you should. Did you know the median number of years that wage and salary workers have worked for their current employer is currently 4.6 years, according to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics? What’s even more interesting, is that this average only gets lower with younger generations, as the median tenure for workers, age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years according to this same article.

It is likely that people will come and go from a position at your company, and this makes it hard to constantly train new hires to follow company standards and comply with industry rules. A way to prevent processes being delayed and customers being dissatisfied is having documentation on what steps for new employees to follow. This will keep your company stays afloat during high turnaround times.

2. Reduce and eliminate mistakes

When you mix complex situations, demanding customers and unprepared teams, one thing is likely to happen: mistakes. By now you probably know that mistakes due to lack of preparation and established processes can cost you hundreds of thousands, and even your company’s reputation. So how can you avoid this? You guessed it! Standard operating procedures.

Developing a standard operating procedure helps your team know exactly how to act in every circumstance, what resources they need and what their timeline should look like. By sharing this document internally you eliminate the chance for interpretation, resulting in fewer mistakes and less stress for everyone.

Click here for the top 25 business mistakes that could be costing you money, according to Fit Small Business.

3. Stay compliant with industry updates

No matter what product or service you offer, one of the most important things for your company is to stay compliant with industry regulations. This is what is referred to as regulatory compliance.

An optimal way to make sure that you are following the regulations your industry dictates is to develop your SOP with them in mind and update your processes along with industry updates. By doing this you’ll know that anyone who follows your standard operating procedures is also adhering to industry standards.

4. Improve the way you do things

If you’re company runs under a “this is how we’ve always done it” policy, it’s time to reevaluate your processes and ask how you can do things better for yourself, your employees and your customers.

With an SOP you can take a closer look at how you’ve been handling problems and whether this is the most effective approach.

How Virtus Flow Can Help Your Team

Developing an SOP for every process can take a lot of time, energy and resources. If you’re a busy executive with an ever-growing to-do list, chances are you’ll delay working on these documents until it’s potentially too late. Because of this, Virtus Flow has built-in features that let you export and customize templates for all your processes, including SOP. 

Virtus Flow is a one-stop-shop built to help you automate your processes by streamlining your checklists, forms and onboarding tasks. Starting at only $10 a month, with Virtus Flow you’ll speed up your business with just a few clicks. No delays, no hidden work, no unnecessary expenses.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level with streamlined processes? Click here to start your free trial — no credit card required!