the DREAM BIG blog









tell me more...


5 Tips for Creating SOPs for Your Business {+ a sample outline to use}

March 28, 2023

Here’s the thing...

I know you started your business with a dream + a passion, but I also know that isn’t going to keep things running.  So let's talk about creating SOPs for your business.

In fact, trying to grow {or even just maintain} your business simply on hard work and passion sets you up on the fast track to burnout.  

Enter your standard operating procedures ~ aka SOPs.

SOPs for small businesses

What are SOPs? 

Working with small business owners, I often hear them say, “Well we’re a small team, so we don’t really need that.” 

Friend, don’t fall into that mindset. No matter if you’re running things solo, looking to bring on your first employee, or have a team of 500+, every business needs SOPs in place. It’s how you work 10x smarter, instead of 10x harder. 

An SOP is a step-by-step guide for handling routine and recurring tasks in your business. This includes {but is certainly not limited to}:

  • New Client Onboarding ~ aka how you get a new customer set up in your system 
  • Customer service ~ aka how to handle common requests and complaints
  • Blog Management ~ aka how to run your business’s blog, including instructions on how to post on your website, frequency/time of posting, steps to promote new blog posts via social media etc.


Business Benefits of SOPs

Literally, I could go on and on about why you should be using SOPs and the importance of setting them up. Instead, I’ll cut to the chase on the biggest business benefits I see when SOPs are implemented correctly:

1. Manage {+ grow} your team more effectively. From improving efficiencies of current employees to training new ones quickly, SOPs save time, reduce the risk of error, and help to avoid miscommunication.

2. Maintain + improve quality of service/product. SOPs put everyone on the same page so that they are following the same path to the finish line ~ a satisfied client! No matter if someone is working behind the scenes or in a client-facing role, an SOP helps to maintain business continuity and identify areas that could be improved.

3. More opportunity to scale. This is a big one, and it’s something I don’t think many small business owners think about. All successful businesses have SOPs in place. This allows them to scale and grow for a few reasons. For starters, it makes it so. much. easier. to delegate, which frees your plate up to focus on higher level business tasks. It also increases efficiency which directly ties into your profits!

It might take an initial investment of time and energy upfront to document your SOPs, but trust me, it more than pays off in the long run.


5 Tips for Creating Your Own SOPs

Here are my five tried-and-true tips that I use with clients + in my own business to help you get the ball rolling:

1. Keep It Simple 

Do not complicate the process. Remember, the goal here is to streamline and simplify. So, I recommend using the tools already at your disposal. If you don’t have a project management software, no problem! Just type it up using Google docs. 

2. Embrace the Mess

When you finally sit down and put pen to paper {or more realistically, fingers to keyboard}, it might not be smooth sailing from the start. That’s okay! Let it be messy. As you go and as you grow, you can always refine what you have. 

3. Create It WHILE Doing the Task

You want SOPs to be as accurate as possible, so don’t rely on your memory. Besides, you’ve done these tasks so many times that you will most likely leave out a step or two because you don’t even think about it anymore. A great tool I recommend for doing this is utilizing a screen recording software {love Loom!}.This allows you to talk through what you’re doing while also creating a visual reference. Linking this in the SOP makes training future employees a lot easier.

4. Test the SOP   

Ideally, you need to have SOPs in place before bringing anyone new to the team. In order to hit the ground running with someone new, it’s important to get fresh eyes on the document by asking someone {a trusted friend, business coach, partner, etc.} to take the SOP for a test drive. If they are able to do it without issue, you’re good to go! If they get stuck, time to reassess and revise. 

5. Set Aside Time to Update

If your business is growing, it’s evolving. Your SOPs will need to evolve with it.

Maybe you’ve had to update your CRM software ~ time to update the SOP for client onboarding and communicating. Or maybe you’re changing your social media strategy and using Instagram more ~ time to make sure the SOP for social media reflects that. 

A good rule of thumb is to set aside time quarterly to evaluate your existing SOPs and how they align with your current business operations.


Sample SOP

Remember, SOPs obviously vary in structure and content, but there are a few things they all have in common. You want each SOP to include the basics of what, when, and how. 

To get you going {if you still need a little extra nudge}, here is a sample of how an SOP could be structured:

PROCEDURE: Invoicing Monthly Retainer Clients


WHEN: On the 15th and 30th of every month 


STEP ONE: Determine invoice amount

  • Go to {insert CRM}
    • {insert login info}
  • Search Client Name >> Click the “Overview Tab”>> Check Retainer Amount 


STEP TWO: Draft invoice

  • Go to {insert invoicing platform} 
    • {insert login info}
  • Click on “Monthly Retainer” Template >> Click “Make a Copy”
  • Fill in the blank for the following information:
    • Client name, email address, and phone number
    • Month of invoiced work
    • Amount of invoiced work 
  • Proofread invoice for accuracy 
  • Click “Send Invoice” >> Click “Add Additional Emails”
  • Add {insert your email, accountant’s email, etc.} 
  • Hit send 


STEP THREE: Document that Invoice was sent

  • Go to {insert CRM}>> Search Client Name
  • Click on “Communication” tab
  • Document that the invoice was sent and on what day it was sent


See how clear and straightforward this is? Now anyone can do it, so that I don’t have to. 

If you haven’t already guessed…SOPs {and all things organization + helping small business owners} is my jam. That’s why I’ve launched a new Dreaming + Doing Workshop series for female business owners in Indianapolis to gain knowledge, set aside time to do the dang thing, AND have an accountability system in place ~ learn more here.


Not local to Indianapolis but your back-end operations still need a little love? We’d love to help ~ contact us today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *









tell me more...