How to Write Effective SOPs to Save Time and Streamline Your Business

by | Jun 5, 2024 | Organization & Operations, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Feeling overwhelmed by your business? You’re not alone as I have been there too! As a business owner doing everything yourself, your business can easily take over your life. We both know that is not why you started your business!

You started your business to have freedom in how much money you can make and the flexibility to work when you want. Right now, that might feel like a dream to you. However, one of the most effective ways to start reclaiming your time and sanity is by developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). 

In this blog post, I will show you how to start setting your SOPs up today (or if you’d prefer to outsource we can help with that!)

Why SOPs Are a Must-Have for ALL Business Owners

The reason SOPs are so important is they keep your business operations consistent. They provide a clear roadmap for you to understand what needs to get done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to ensure sustainable success.

You’d never have to overthink what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Plus when it comes to expanding your team, you can hand off these SOPs for a smooth transition in responsibilities. 

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

Understanding the Basics of SOPs

Before diving into the tips, an SOP is a document that outlines the step-by-step processes needed to perform a task. This can be for social media marketing, email marketing, administrative tasks, etc. Ideally, you’ll want an SOP for every aspect of your business. 

Types of SOPs You Can Create

Written SOPs: This is pretty standard as you can write out all your instructions in one place. Plus, it is very easy to add visuals, hyperlinks, and make mini edits if need be.

Video SOPs: This makes creating SOPs 10x faster as you can do a screen record of how to get XYZ tasks done. The downfall to this is you’d have to redo the video if the process (or the software) changes.

Flowchart SOPs: This is something Katie, my business partner, & I love creating in Canva as it gives you a visual roadmap of what the process looks like. You can also include this style of SOP in the written document as well.

The thing to keep in mind is your learning style! For example Katie learns better with videos whereas I prefer flowcharts or written instructions. 

What to Include in Your SOP

There are so many different ways to create your SOPs, however this is what Katie & I swear by:

  • Cover Page/Title Section – This will help you stay organized on what processes are where. We will include what the SOP is (i.e. social media marketing) along with basic information about our business. 
  • Table of Contents – This makes it easier to jump around a document to find what you need quickly.
  • Step by Step Process – No matter what the process is for, the step-by-step model allows you to get a birds eye POV of what needs to be done. Plus, it gives you flexibility in how the tasks can be done faster over time.
  • Videos – We like to do a combination of looms explaining how we do XYZ tasks along with tutorials from the software company we are using. That way we don’t waste time searching for support documents.

If you have a team, some additional things to include are:

  • Glossary to ensure everyone understands the terminology or acronyms being used.
  • Contact lists so that your team can work effectively with one another.
  • Checklist so they have a step by step process of how to get everyday tasks done.
  • FAQs can also be included especially if you find people asking you the same questions over & over again.

Tips for Writing Effective SOPs Quickly

  1. Set Clear Objectives – What is the purpose of the SOP you’re writing? Is it to be consistent, ensure your quality of service or product stays the same? This ensure every single SOP you make is intentional to your business needs,
  2. Keep It Simple and Clear – There is no need to write a novel for your SOPs. Can it straight to the point for yourself & for your future team.
  3. Use a Consistent Format – Create a template from the start so you have an easy copy & paste model to ensure everything stays consistent.
  4. Provide Detailed Instructions – You can use Loom to film your systems and processes as they now have a feature that will write the SOPs for you. Always make sure you proofread as AI is never perfect. 
  5. Regularly Review and Update – We recommend reviewing your SOPs every bi-monthly or quarterly. This is to ensure everything stays up to date (especially if you add in new softwares, team members, etc). 
  6. TEST THEM – Try out an SOP for a month to see how it feels & if it aligns with your business goals. If it doesn’t you have the flexibility to change it!

Final Thoughts

As you can see SOPs are something to not sleep on. This is a foundational piece to any business regardless of your industry. By following the tips in this guide, you can create SOPs that boost efficiency, ensure consistency, and drive business success without sacrificing your personal life!


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

  • SOPs are defined as Standard Operating Procedures that all business owners should have.
  • These documents are designed to keep you on top of daily, weekly, and monthly production for sustainable success.
  • There are 3 styles of SOPs you can create: written, video, and/or flowchart.
  • Keep your SOPs simple & to the point so anyone can follow them with ease.
  • Book a free consultation if you want to outsource of SOP creation!


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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.