You don’t need fancy tech, a marketing genius or even a sales team to start the process of scaling your business. Although, those things will help; they will only get you so far before you hit a stalling point, and you can’t seem to reach that next level. No matter how much money or human power you throw at it, you can’t seem to break through that ceiling.
The cheat code for scaling is simple, well-written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
If you are not a gamer (and I am not), you may not have heard of “cheat codes”. A cheat code, according to Google, is:
“a code, method or device used by gamers to advance levels or to get other special powers and benefits in a video game”
How SOPs are literal rocket fuel:
Simply put, an SOP makes everything easier.
Imagine getting a piece of furniture from Ikea, getting it home, opening the box and there are no instructions. You’d be putting that thing together for days, or if you are anything like me you’d never figure it out and get so frustrated that you would throw it in the trash. You would waste time, effort and money. It’s the same thing in your business. If you want to grow and not waste time, effort or money. Develop a good set of instructions.
If you can learn how to write a good SOP, you can systemize and standardize the processes in your business. You can create consistency, repeatability, and efficiency. You can delegate. You can reduce the risks of staff error and unhappy customers. If you can learn how to create SOPs in your business, they will advance your business to the next level.
They might even give you superpowers – this has yet to be proven but I’m working on it 😂
When do you need an SOP?
Most of the time when I write an SOP is it reactionary. Something went wrong because someone on my team didn’t know the processes. So we sit down and write the SOP together.
Other times, I’ve been doing something for a long time and I don’t want to do it anymore. So I write up the process and deliver it to the person I am handing it off to with these instructions, “break this”.
If it’s repeated, it can be standardized.
In both cases, they are created through necessity. If something is bugging you or breaking, you need a process for it.
How do you create an SOP?
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you need to make it fancy.
Open a Google doc, title it SOPs and just start to write. The titles should be obvious. They do not need to be in order (yet). If your business is brick and mortar, write up opening and closing procedures, daily cleaning tasks, and how to cash someone out. If you have an online business, write up customer service email templates, new sales procedures, and product delivery.
Here is a template:
<context> We use this SOP to set up new clients after a sale is made:
- New sales email comes in to inbox
- Enter client into spreadsheet
- Create new client log in
- Go to software
- Click on “clients”
- Click the “+” button in the top right corner
- Add name, email, phone and generate password
- Reach out with a welcome email and include the client login instructions (email template below):
- “Hi <name>, we are so excited to have you as a client! We have created your new account here: <link to account>. You can use your email address and this password: <password> to log in. Once logged in you can access our whole course. Have fun and let us know if you have questions.
The “New Client Process” might take you 15 min to actually perform, but that’s 15 min that you could be compounding your value by doing something else – like making another sale. By handing this off to someone else, you can buy your time back and work on higher-value tasks.
This is the key to scaling. You write the SOP, you duplicate yourself, and you scale up.
We can worry about organizing it, making it fancy, using automation, adding videos etc later.
Just get it out of your head, then out of your hands.