Once you have had your wellness business for a while you will likely realize that you need to have standard operating procedures (SOPs). In this article I describe what they are and some of the simplest ways to create them.
What are SOPs
A standard operating procedure or SOP is simply a documented set of tasks that need to be done for a certain activity. It doesn’t have to be a 20 page document but a simple checklist will often do and is probably the best when you are starting out.
An example of an SOP for blog creation could be:
- Add to idea list
- Schedule posting
- Write first draft
- Create images
- Publish to WordPress
- Check SEO
- Posted on Facebook
- Shared on Instagram
- Pinned on Pinterest
Or you could have a simple checklist for each task, but a more detailed document that describes how to actually do each step. Things like where do you keep your idea list, what day to schedule posts, image sizes, SEO best practices are some aspects you might want to add.
Why you need SOPs
Standard operating procedures may sound complicated and you might think your simple solopreneur business doesn’t need them. You may be thinking that you left your corporate job to escape that kind of thing. But they can be just as important for solopreneurs as they are for larger businesses.
You can see from my checklist above that something as simple as creating a blog post has multiple parts to it. Creating an SOP ensures that you don’t miss any of these parts. It also makes sure that everything is done and scheduled far in advance if that is your style.
SOPs make your business look more professional. Both clients and others professionals you are working with will appreciate if you have procedures in place. `A client will feel more at ease about investing money with you if your onboarding procedure is seamless. On the other hand, if you don’t have a good answer for questions like how they pay, or schedule appointments, they may not stay around for long.
Using SOPs can help make batching easier. You can have a brainstorming session to create ideas, a writing day or time to concentrate on writing content for multiple posts at once and an image creation session to create multiple images at the same time.
SOPs also allow you to outsource things easily when the time comes. You can see from my list above that portions of the process can easily be outsourced to a virtual assistant. Passing a small project off to a virtual assistant is a good test of how robust your procedures actually are.
Or SOPs can be used as a stepping stone to automation using an app like Zapier. If you are doing a lot of repetitive tasks it might be possible to automate these.
How to create SOPs
While you can create standard operating procedures with pen and paper, digital methods make it simpler to use the same procedure over and over.
You could use a Word or Google docs document and write out in long hand all the steps you need to take for each procedure. But I would only do this if your procedures are complicated and need a long description.
A simple checklist should be enough for most standard operating procedures. There are several apps that can be used to keep track of and implement your SOPs. Task management apps like Trello, Asana and Clickup are good alternatives for creating your SOPs.
You can also use a combination of a checklist and a long form document. If you have dependencies in your procedures you might want a visual representation like a flowchart. An example of this might be after someone attends a free call, what is your procedure if they book coaching with you, what if they say they’ll get back to you, or what if they say no. Having a consistent procedure for any case is important.
What should you have an SOP for?
You should have SOPs for every repeated task in your business. I’ve already mentioned blog post creation. Other areas to have SOPs for include social media creation, and scheduling, client onboarding, unhappy clients, and discovery call procedures like I mentioned above.
Won’t this make your business too constrained?
Many health coaches say they don’t want to be tied down to specific procedures. If that is the case you probably need standard operating procedures more than anyone. Having SOPS will allow you to more quickly complete the repetitive tasks so you can get on with the more creative work. They also allow you to outsource the tasks you don’t like working on.
Standard operating procedures can also help you find areas in your business that are constraints and allow you to address these issues so you can move on to things you really want to be working on.
Using standard operating procedures is an important part of any business. But they don’t need to be overly complicated. If you want to get started with Trello for creating your SOPs, you can download my Trello board pack if you answer a few simple questions about your wellness business.