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Taina Pereenniemi
standard operating procedures
Taina Pereenniemi

Taina Pereenniemi

Taina Pereenniemi helps entrepreneurs create personalized business systems on Notion to keep everything organized in one place.

What is an SOP document? A short guide to Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs for short, are step-by-step instructions that help businesses carry out routine processes. Defining SOPs for your processes helps improve efficiency, consistency, and the ability to delegate to and collaborate with employees and contractors.

Table of Contents

What are Standard Operating Procedures?

Processes play a key role in running any business. A process is any series of actions or steps to achieve a particular result.

Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs for short, are step-by-step instructions that help businesses carry out routine processes. Defining SOPs for your processes helps improve efficiency, consistency, and the ability to delegate to and collaborate with employees and contractors.

SOPs can take many forms, but typically they should include context for the process, steps to take, details on how to conduct the steps, who’s responsible for what, and any relevant resources or other information.

4 benefits of defining Standard Operating Procedures

1. Improved consistency

Defining an SOP for a process helps ensure that it is run consistently: When you and your team have a clear description of the steps to take, they will always know what to do. This consistency will lead to better quality in running your business operations and serving your clients.

2. Better efficiency

Having clear SOPs defined for processes makes work more efficient: Your team can make decisions faster and take prompt action. Furthermore, the more standardized your processes are, the more you can automate them.

3. Easier delegation

Delegating some of your tasks to team members or contractors allows you to spend more time in your zone of genius. SOPs are a prerequisite for delegating work effectively, as they are a key tool in onboarding and training your employees.

4. Maintaining knowledge

Even though you or your team would currently be well versed in all aspects of running your business, that does not mean that your team would stay the same forever. As people come and go, you risk essential knowledge and practices getting lost. Having all critical processes documented as SOPs ensures this valuable information stays safe.

process management 1

How to define Standard Operating Procedures in 4 steps

1. List processes: A good starting point is to list any critical processes involved in running your business. Some examples of processes include onboarding new clients, drafting business proposals, processing testimonials, or publishing a blog post.

2. Prioritize SOPs to be created: It’s a good business practice to define SOPs in some format for every process, but as it can be a lot of work, create SOPs in priority order (based on what is most needed/beneficial).

3. Identify audience and objectives: Consider who will read the SOP (e.g., new employee, contractor) and what prior knowledge they have on the topic. Also, think about what you’re aiming to achieve with the SOP (e.g., formalizing how a new contractor is onboarded).

4. Write the SOP: SOPs can take many forms, but in this case, you can use the template provided in this document. Usually, the person normally conducting the process is best capable of documenting the SOP.

What should an SOP document contain?

A good SOP document would cover at least the following topics:

1. Name of the process

2. Purpose: What is the goal of the SOP in one or two sentences?

3. Context:  When/in what situations does this process take place?

4. Procedure: Break down the process into steps and include detailed instructions for each step. You can document these instructions in many formats, such as text, a flowchart, or a video.

5. Roles & responsibilities: Who are the people involved in the process, and what are they responsible for doing?

6. Resources: Include links to relevant resources needed to complete the process, e.g., tools, documents, and templates.

7. Status: When was the SOP last updated? Is it up-to-date, requiring some revisions, or archived?

Using Notion for organizing Standard Operating Procedures

Notion is an excellent tool for creating an SOP template for documenting your processes. Notion can also be used to build an SOP library, where you can keep all your SOP documents organized.

Below are some example pictures from an SOP template and library I recently built for one of my clients.

managing SOPs on Notion 1
The SOP library allows categorizing and organizing all the SOP documents through one easy to use interface.
SOP template for Notion
The SOP template allows documenting all key information on processes in a standardized way.

For a better demo of the SOP setup, check my Youtube video here.

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