It doesn’t have a fancy or exciting name BUT what I want to share today is so totally important, especially if you want to take advantage of all the things summer has to offer while still running a successful business.
It’s called a Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP. An SOP describes “a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out complex routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance while reducing miscommunication” (thanks for the definition: Wikipedia, 2018).
Basically, if you want to enjoy your summer without your business falling apart, you need more than just systems and automations in place. An SOP allows your second (or third) in command to jump into play at a moments notice, executing a task or set of tasks that you would otherwise do yourself.
Here is an example:
I’m travelling for upwards of 1.5 months between now and the end of October. I’ve listed my home on Airbnb so that my house can pay for itself (and I can pay for my travels) while I’m away. I feel pretty smart with this setup, and my house works well for this kind of thing because it’s adorable (check it out here) and it’s in a great location near Halifax, Nova Scotia, a prime tourist destination for those who love the vibe of the Maritimes.
To prepare for this upcoming shift in my work, travel and just generally life schedule, here are the steps I’m taking my first set of guests:
- I’ve purchased five giant totes to put our personal things in so that the house doesn’t feel too cluttered for our guests.
- We are doing a serious spring clean and decluttering (thanks Fay Wolf and New Order for your guidance on this!) so that we don’t have too much unnecessary clutter lying around. I’m definitely not a minimalist but I’m working on it.
- We’ve created a locked storage room to put our things in so that we feel safe and secure leaving our belongings in the care of others while we’re away.
- The first time we go through the house to get it decluttered, fill our bins, clean the house and prepare the site for our guests’ arrival, I’m going to track the whole process in point form. First, we do this, then this, then this, etc.
- I’ll include detailed instructions on what we need to do, repair, clean, and replace so that each time we have guests, we know exactly what to do and the process of preparation is clear and organized.
THEN, the second time we have guests, I’ll have a written set of instructions for preparing the house for their arrival.
This is the neat part. If I need to hire someone (aka my awesome neighbour who also has her own Airbnb) to take over this preparation while we are away for an extended period (and in case we have multiple guests staying while we are away), she will have detailed instruction of what to do, exactly, to prepare the house for the guests arrival.
The same is true for your team. When you break down regular business tasks into repeatable processes, you’ll be able to delegate, save both you and your team time, and confidently hit the beach knowing your daily operations are well in hand.
Standard Operating Procedures save time in the long run, but more importantly, they also create peace of mind.
Have you created SOPs in your business or life? I’d love to hear about them 🙂 Share your favourite tips in the comments!