How to Create Functional SOPs (That Your Employees Actually Use)

Everybody tells you to make SOPs as an company proprietor. It’s the one approach to develop, proper?

Yes…and no.

Your advertising and marketing company wants SOPs. That’s a truth. But your company doesn’t want to waste time creating paperwork that accumulate digital mud. If you make SOPs for each single activity in your enterprise, your hiring course of might be a breeze. But, quickly, you’ll discover your workers and contractors aren’t even opening up these SOPs. They found out their approach to get the duty carried out, and it’s extra environment friendly.

All the time you spent on these SOPs is wasted—and it may have been utilized in a greater approach. At this 12 months’s Traffic and Conversion Summit, Ryan Deiss talked concerning the significance of making SOPs and not creating SOPs.

That’s the key of purposeful SOPs that your workers truly use. 

We’ll clarify…

How to Create Functional SOPs

Functional SOPs are the mind of your enterprise. We’re not saying that you simply don’t want SOPs. You undoubtedly do. Standard working procedures (SOPs) enable you to rent, transfer workers to totally different positions, and determine the place you’re inefficient. Especially as an company proprietor, SOPs are your best possible buddy.

If you need to scale your company from 5 purchasers to 10 and ultimately 20+, SOPs are the best way to do it. But provided that you employ them the precise approach. If you spend an excessive amount of time on SOPs your workers don’t use, you wasted time that might have been spent on lead technology or deliverables.

Here are the three steps to create purposeful SOPs your workers open, use, and share.

Step #1: Choose the highest duties you want SOPs for

The first step in creating purposeful SOPs is determining what duties want them. It’s tempting to create an SOP for each single a part of your enterprise as a result of it feels environment friendly. But, in case your workforce doesn’t use them, then it was a waste of time. As Ryan talked about in his Traffic and Conversion Summit session, you solely want SOPs for crucial duties.

Everything else will accumulate digital mud in your worker’s desktops, by no means opened once more. What’s an vital activity? This can vary from operating your conferences, importing content material to WordPress themes, or writing podcast present notes. The vital duties of your enterprise are those which can be shifting the needle and are constantly on to-do lists.

  • Tasks outsourced to VAs (like writing podcast present notes)
  • Meeting templates (Gino Wickman shares assembly templates in Traction)
  • Tech directions (like publishing a weblog publish to WordPress)

Here’s a part of an outdated SOP we used to write the Perpetual Traffic Podcast present notes:

This was an vital SOP for us as a result of 1) we uploaded a brand new podcast each week (recurring activity), and a pair of) we wanted to create a constant expertise with our listeners (to transfer the needle on viewers development).

Once you’ve found out the duties that transfer the needle and are a constant a part of your company, it’s time to write your SOPs.

Step #2: Write down each step with a proof

Each activity that strikes the needle and is finished on a constant foundation has the inexperienced gentle for an SOP. In Step 2, don’t fear about something however writing down each step of a activity or course of in as a lot element as doable. Your aim is to give you the option to hand this doc to somebody one the road and have them give you the option to try this activity or run that course of.

Yep, your SOP wants to be that detailed. 

When we write SOPs, we divide them into sections. This makes it simple for the particular person doing the duty or operating the method to know what they want earlier than getting began and shifting on to the subsequent step.

For instance, right here’s the Table of Contents from our Blog Post Uploading SOP:

Working with the Blog Document:

  • Section 1: Get Finalized Post
  • Section 2: Prep Post for Layout
  • Section 3: Process Images
  • Section 4: Uploading Post Copy into WordPress
  • Section 5: Fill out search engine marketing and Sidebar data
  • Section 6: Publish Post

In every part is an in depth description of the usual working process. Here’s what the 2 first sections of our Blog Post Uploading SOP appear like:

At this stage, you’re simply writing down every thing concerned within the activity. The subsequent step is giving your SOP the ultimate polish.

Step #3: Delete as many phrases as doable

Each SOP must be as quick as doable. The longer the SOP, the extra sophisticated you’re making the duty or process. Complicated duties and procedures are the alternative of development in a enterprise. You don’t need your workers caught on a single activity all day as a result of it takes them 30+ pages to get by way of the SOP.

Just studying that sounds unrealistic.

In step 3, you’ve got one aim: delete as many phrases as doable out of your SOP. Shorten your sentences. Tighten up your explanations. Use extra pictures. Make your SOP a seamless expertise as a substitute of a cartography class.

Our SOP for the Certified Partner Weekly Email is 2 pages lengthy. It doesn’t want to be any longer for our electronic mail workforce to get it written and out the door. This SOP is damaged up into two sections:

  1. Procedure
  2. Email Outline

At the highest of the doc is the schedule for ideating, drafting, reviewing, and submitting every week’s electronic mail. Below that’s the electronic mail define to observe.

Could this SOP be 10+ pages lengthy? Absolutely. If we added each element doable to writing the e-mail and importing it to our electronic mail supplier, it may in all probability be longer. But, we don’t want each element for it to get carried out proper. We simply want our workforce to know the schedule (so the e-mail will get written!), to perceive who’s answerable for what a part of the method, and to have the define.

That’s it.

Now, you’ve got an SOP that your workforce will truly use as a result of they genuinely want it! Ahh, the magic of purposeful SOPs. 🪄

Are Your Employees *Really* Using Your SOPs?

They may not be immediately…however they are often tomorrow. Just by simplifying what number of SOPs you create and the way you write them, your advertising and marketing company can change in a single day. You can go from placing out little fires all day lengthy to figuring out that any activity/process shifting the needle and taking place constantly is getting taken care of.

As the proprietor, govt, or supervisor of a advertising and marketing company, it is a breath of contemporary air. If you’re centered on placing out the (constant) little fires that include workers and freelancers not utilizing SOPs as a result of they’re too sophisticated, cumbersome, and time consuming, how are you going to captain your ship in direction of smoother waters?

There’s a tough approach to develop your company and a simple approach. Part of the straightforward approach is creating purposeful SOPs so your workers truly use them. The different half is the conclusion that you simply don’t know every thing, and also you’re not supposed to. There are advertising and marketing methods, company development ways, and advertising and marketing information that you simply don’t have—that might assist your company attain your massive aim this 12 months.

And they’re all inside DigitalMarketer Lab. Lab is our members-only platform the place the highest entrepreneurs give away their advertising and marketing experience by way of Insider Trainings, Workshops, Playbooks, and our Toolkits.

By turning into a Lab member, you get entry to each previous Training, Workshop, Playbook, and ToolKit—and our neighborhood of 10,000 entrepreneurs.

See what’s inside Lab right here.


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