The year was 2011. I found myself working part-time for a multi-millionaire as a virtual assistant and I was stoked. It was during this experience that I learned the term SOP. Now, I’ve got to admit something to you – I’m not always the first one to get these acronyms for business terms. In fact, a former boss once referred to me as her MVP and I had absolutely no clue what that meant! (It means “Most Valuable Player” for my fellow acronym & sports illiterate friends.) Anyway, I share this nugget of information with you because it’s quite possible you’ve been scratching your head and wondering to yourself, “what on earth is an SOP?” Allow me to shed some light on this for you. An SOP is simply a system of process. Or, a Standard Operating Procedure. Whatever you choose to call it doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that your SOP is your go-to plan for how you will operate your business and how you expect your team to operate as well. It is a vital piece of information for your internal operations. Every business needs one. In fact, in our nearly five years of business, we’ve discovered a total of four SOP’s that every business should have.
Customer Service SOP
Right off the bat, every business needs a customer service SOP. You need to know what your system will be to communicate with your customers. Things to put on this SOP include:
- Answers to frequently asked questions, including links to helpful website pages or blogposts. (This is important so your team knows how to answer these without having to interrupt you all the time. It also helps create a stable brand because customers will witness everyone on your team sharing the same message.)
- Basic details such as hours of operation and when customers can expect to hear back from you.
- Refund and return policy.
- A list of department managers might be helpful too so your team knows who to direct customers to.
Event Planning SOP
Planning an event for your business can be fun and exciting, yet it can also steal your focus from the day-to-day tasks that make your business run smoothly. Your Event Planning SOP will help everyone stay focused on the right things. It will also help you remember what needs to be implemented for every event. Things to put on this SOP include:
- Marketing plan for your event complete with deadline dates
- Setup and decorating details for your event
- Email correspondence plan for attendees
- Day of event assignments for volunteers and staff
Marketing/Social Media SOP
When momentum starts building in your business, one of the first tasks that can get dropped in consistency is your marketing and social media. You get busy and then find yourself scratching your head wondering what you’re forgetting. A Marketing/Social Media SOP will help you stay on track and delegate tasks to team members when needed. Things to put on this SOP include:
- How often you will post on social media each day.
- What events, products, or services you will be marketing each week or month and where to find up to date details.
- Who will be posting what.
- Updated login details for accounts such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule our posts ahead of time!
Blog Content SOP
Blogs are not dead. In fact, they are coming back in style! The content on your blog is where newbie’s and Champion clients find value and connection. The last few months, we have challenged ourselves with writing new content five times a week. This means we have a creative content meeting once a month to brainstorm new ideas and assign days to each writer. A Blog Content SOP is in the works in our company and it includes things such as:
- How often you will write.
- Blog categories
- Scheduled breaks in your blog so you can rest and recharge.
- When the next content meeting is! *wink*
So there you have it, full list of ideas on 4 SOP’s Every Business Needs. Here’s the thing: don’t get legalistic about this. Creativity gets stifled when there’s no flow and freedom to it. Use these SOP ideas as guidelines and build upon them/tweak them when needed. Just be sure to keep everyone on your team up to date on any changes!