Virtual Assistants

3 Steps to Writing a Kick Ass SOP

We see a lot of business owners struggle to scale after a certain point, and a lot of it comes down to systemization. Everything starts to go well and you may have been able to figure out how to do everything yourself.

But, how do you successfully hire other people to do it at the same level? That’s the golden question.

We’re sure you know that if you want to grow your business, you have to start hiring people and delegating tasks. Now doing so can be stressful at first. You’re just not ready to let other people do what you do best and you worry that they might mess up and you lose customers in the process.

But, what we’ve discovered is that it really comes down to having a proper system for Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and training with anyone that you hire.

You can’t just hire and expect people to blow your expectations out of the water. That just doesn’t happen most of the time, unless you’re willing to pay the big bucks.

So, how do you do it then?

Check out these three steps we follow in Outsource School to create kick ass SOPs.

1. Define the purpose of the task.

Start by asking yourself these two questions: 

  • Why is this task important to the company?

Take a step back and ask yourself why you were doing this task in the first place. What purpose does it serve in the company? What need does it address?

  • How does it help the company grow faster?

Does this task contribute directly to sales? Does it help existing customers love the business more? Will this task give you more leads?

Providing this context in your SOP gives the person you hire a better understanding of how they’re connected to the overall goals of the company. It not only will further motivate them, but it will give them a better insight into the work that they’re doing for you.

Sometimes, VAs may look at their tasks as small and menial. But in truth, everything everyone is doing on a daily basis contributes to a bigger goal. They should know that they play an important role in helping the business achieve its goals.

Starting your onboarding or training by explaining to them the value of the work they are about to do will definitely play a crucial role in helping them start off on the right foot.

2. Create a killer, step-by-step SOP in both video and text.

We recommend that you use these two channels to document your SOPs.

Recording videos is a very effective way of giving instructions and demonstrating how a task should be done. When you show VAs how exactly to do a task, they’re highly likely to understand and remember that process better and clearer than if they were just to read it in a document. Thus, training time would be shorter and potential errors would be lesser. Use a screen recording tool such as SimplySOP, record your screen, and upload the recordings so whoever you hire can easily access them. Here’s a quick video that talks more about SimplySOP.

With text SOPs, on the other hand, you or your VA can easily share and edit SOPs over time. Eventually you want your VAs to take ownership of certain processes. Whatever changes or improvements may arise, they should be responsible in keeping these SOPs updated at all times. So write out the step by step process in a Google Doc and share the link to relevant members in your team.

This process is the bulk of the SOP. You get this wrong, you’re not going to get the results you want. It is time consuming at first but really make sure that you go over every little thing that you do within that task that makes it so efficient for you. Your goal should be for them to be able to watch it, practice, and become just as good as you were at the task.

And once you have onboarded and train your VAs, you can finally take back some time and have them start doing things for you in the exact way you want.

3. Share your expectations and absolute no-nos.

Step 2 is where you write in detail everything you need your VAs to do. Here in step 3, write everything they should absolutely NOT do. Informing your VAs of the no-nos is just as important as teaching them the best practices.

You have to make it very clear what you don’t want them to do or what they must avoid doing. You may have some things here from your experience running the process. Make sure that they know and that it’s a part of the SOP so they don’t run into those things again like you. At the end of every SOP you make, be sure to include this list.

Put this all together and you’ve got a kick-ass SOP that you can train new hires with. Better yet, you can pass off ownership of the SOP to them once they perfect it so that they can be the one to update it in the future as they find better ways to improve the process.

And that’s it!

Those are the 3 steps we make sure to follow every time we create SOPs. It starts by defining the purpose of every task so you can let your VAs know the value they are about to bring to the table. Then, really take the time to do the work – document your SOPs in video and text. Aside from using these to train your VAs, you are also future-proofing. With SOPs at hand, training and turnovers are easy if ever you need to hire more VAs or replace one. Lastly, don’t forget to also clearly state the no-nos. It is safer to completely lay down the dos and don’ts than assume that they know exactly what to do or what not to do at any given scenario.

We hope these tips can help you as you start building an SOP library for your company. If you want to learn more about how to create and implement SOPs plus get access to pre-made SOPs for marketing, customer service, bookkeeping, and more, join us in Outsource School today!

By Mary Achurra

Mary Achurra is a freelance content marketer. She helps business owners and entrepreneurs attract and retain customers by creating quality, engaging content.

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