Don’t Let These SOP Mistakes Overwhelm Your Business

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Organization & Operations | 0 comments

I cannot tell you how easy it is to forget about the foundational pieces of your business. One of these pieces are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The reason SOPs fall through the cracks is because we get caught up in marketing, selling, & growing. 

When we don’t have that foundation in place, things can get overwhelming very quickly. You find yourself not being able to step away (or if you do everything seems to fall apart) in your business. if this sounds like you book a free consultation to learn how we can systemize your business so lifestyle no longer has to be dictated by your business.

In this blog, I want to share some common mistakes I see client mistakes when developing their own SOPs. That way you can get them done right the first time around!

It’s Too General

What I see a lot of the time are SOPs that are too general. The SOP is often done in a rush because they have “enough time.” This ends up backfiring. Rather than the SOP being helpful, it becomes confusing & harder to get things done.

The solution is to keep the SOP detailed & simple. You want just enough instructions that if you hired a VA tomorrow they could follow it. You can even throw your SOP into ChatGPT to have the AI tool make it simpler for you or add in steps you might have forgotten.

You might like this too: How to Know You’re Ready to Find and Hire a Virtual Assistant

The Formatting Isn’t Consistent

Using different formats (or even templates for that matter) can make it hard to follow the steps in your SOP. Not only does it make it harder to update & edit, but it makes it harder to take action. By using the same template over & over again, you become more effective at creating & using them in your daily life.

You can steal our SOP template here! It already has all the subheading, directions and examples you’d need to create an effective SOP in as little as 10-minutes. 

Making Tasks Too Complicated

The biggest misconception I see is online business owners thinking they need to write out every little detail in their SOPs. The goal is to provide enough instructions that a stranger could get the task done for you. By adding too much detail, tangents, etc the document becomes a nightmare for your business.

Instead, focus on incorporating checklists, flowcharts, screenshots, or videos to shorten your SOPs. Our favorite is to use flowcharts to give a visual to step-by-step instructions. Plus you can now use Looms SOP transcription feature to make it even easier!

Forgetting to Update & Test Your SOPS

If you have an SOP & you’re reading this blog, you most likely haven’t touched your SOPs since creating it. I did the same thing! I create all these SOPs to only have them be no longer effective. This can be caused by tools upgrading, changing tools, changing processes, etc. 

Beyond keeping your SOPs up-to-date on current business processes, you have to test them. You need to see if they make sense. There is nothing worse than writing out a full process to only make yourself less productive. 

Instead, after you create an SOP go through the process yourself. See if it makes sense to you. Plus it will help you catch errors or inefficiencies along the way. After that, set a reminder in your calendar or phone to update your SOP once a quarter.

Never Using Them in Your Business

I used to think SOPs were only for big corporations or businesses that make 7+ figures a year. The key to a sustainable business growth is creating SOPs now. Don’t be like me where I made the SOP and then never used them again. That mistake cost me time, money, and energy when I had my coaching business

Instead have all your SOPs bookmarked on your browser. You can keep it organized by creating a folder so they all stay in one place. That way no matter the task you can easily access important instructions, processes, & resources.  

 You might like this too: 4 Easy Steps to Overcome Business Overwhelm with Effective SOPs

How These SOP Mistakes Can Impact You & Your Business

These all seem like simple mistakes, however they can have a huge impact on your business. With clients we’ve worked with, the mistakes appear in their business & life as:

Operational Inefficiencies: Which waste your time & slows down your business’s momentum. 

Increased Risk of Errors: Which can lead to unhappy client/customer experiences & more busy work in order to fix these errors. 

Financial Losses: This one is huge as effective SOPs can lead you to buying softwares you don’t need or going as fire as hiring support (i.e. coaches, contractors, etc) that you waste your time. 

Burnout and Stress: SOPs are meant to help you create a business that works for your lifestyle rather than against. By having ineffective operations, you end up doing work you aren’t meant to be doing & wasting your precious time too. 

Overall you can end up losing the passion & drive for your business. This can lead to resentment which both you & your potential clients will feel. By taking the time today to develop SOPs, your future self will thank you for it. 

Final Thoughts

Achieving efficiency and consistency in your online business doesn’t require fancy softwares or online business managers. All it requires are well documented processes on how to run your business sustainably. By avoiding common SOP mistakes and following best practices, you can create a business that feels like you’re stepping into a warm bath. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

P.S. If this blog was too long to read, here is the gist:

  • These SOP mistakes stem from business owners rushing through the process.
  • A common mistake is making it too general.
  • The formatting isn’t consistent so it is harder to follow.
  • The instructions are too complicated making it harder to run your business.
  • The SOP ends up never being used, updated, or tested.
  • All of these lead to you feeling burnt out, stressed, and even resentful towards your business.
  • Book a free consultation if you want to systemize your business today so you can grow your business without sacrificing your personal life!


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Heey, it's Katie & Sara!

We are the founders of Indigo Elephant Co, where we specialize in helping overwhelmed business owners move from chaos to clarity with our proven systems and dedicated support.