After you’ve written your SOPs (as detailed in the previous post), you need to not only organize your SOPS, but prevent them from disappearing down the deep dark rabbit hole that is your cloud storage.

If you bury your SOPs under endless clicks, you’ll never use them, and if you never use them, you will have off-days where you forget [insert completely important thing] you need to tell your client.

And you’ll NEVER – and I mean never – have a day off because things need doing and you’re hoarding all the doing information inside of your head.

Don’t do that.

 

Organize Your SOPs

Hold Up. Do I even

need an SOP?

Short answer – yes.

Long answer – I talked more about what an SOP is and the importance of using them in this post.

 

1. Store All of Your

SOPs Together

There are many ways to store and organize your SOPs. The first choice is whether you want to store them digitally, or simply print them out and put them in an organized binder.

If you’re part of the 2% of the population left who still use a printer, this is a totally viable option. The only caveat is that it’s much harder to update (and you’re using up more trees). However, if it’s much harder to update, you will not update it.

But the most important part is that they’re all being stored TOGETHER.

If you keep one SOP here, and one SOP over there, a few up here, and a couple on these post-it notes stuck to your laptop, you’re quickly going to lose track of them, and, once again, not use them. You put so much work into documenting SOPs, please don’t let them go to waste.

SOPs are social animals. They prefer to live together in packs.

2. organize Your SOPs

Once you’ve determined your storage location, it’s helpful to categorize them according to their system. You can have procedures for sales systems, marketing systems, client systems, etc. I explained the 10 most important systems you need in this blog post.

Categorizing your SOPs will help you or a team member locate the SOP quickly and easily, and again, reduces the friction in using them.

(Break out some dividers if you have a binder. I heard 1995 calling, though. They want their TrapperKeepers back.)

You can further break down your SOPs by how frequently you complete them.

For example, under your client systems, you might have a daily procedure where you check-in with a client, or check the progress of a client project.

Weekly, you might have procedures for completing coaching calls. Monthly, you could have a procedure for organizing all of your client related documents, and quarterly you could use a procedure to ask for client feedback, referrals, or testimonials.

Here’s an example outline:

  • Admin/Business Management

    • Daily

      • Check social media profiles

      • Respond to client emails

    • Weekly

      • File paperwork

    • Monthly

      • Check analytics

    • Quarterly

      • Plan projects for upcoming quarter

If you’re still struggling with identifying all of your business systems or areas to document, get the printable Complete Systems Checklist. I’ve listed over 90 business systems along with an area to mark off which ones you do or don’t have!

organize your SOPs

(An example of the old school binder system!)

3. Document Your SOPs

Yes, you need to document your documents.

Once you have your SOPs categorized and broken down into their appropriate locations, make a master list of every procedure you have documented. This will help you see what SOPs you have, and which ones you may still need to make.

his also helps when prioritizing the SOPs you need to document. You may notice you have a lot of administrative tasks documented, but no financial SOPs.

I usually like to start by documenting the procedures that are the most important. And one of the most important procedures to start with is – how to document your SOPs.

We’re documenting how we document our documents!

I know. It’s crazy talk.

However, if you have a procedure in place for documenting SOPs, you won’t miss anything when you’re making them, you’ll make fewer mistakes, and you’ll be able to delegate SOP creation to someone else.

Once you have this completed, I recommend documenting in the following order:

  1. Tasks that directly affect revenue
  2. Tasks that generate leads
  3. Tasks that nurture client or customer relationships
  4. Everything else

4. Choose a Location

Assuming you are not using a binder, there are a plethora of choices for storing and organizing your SOPs digitally. I mentioned using your cloud storage earlier, but like I said, a lot of times we just throw things in there, never to see the light of day again.

My favorite way to store my SOPs is in my Notion workspace. If you’re not familiar with Notion, you’re missing out. It’s super easy to learn, especially with our beginner’s guide.

I’ve essentially moved my entire life into Notion, and SOPs are no exception. I actually enjoy building databases even in my free time. It’s bizarre.

I have a very simple database that stores each SOP document. I assign each document a property that designates its category (sales system, client system, etc.). This allows me to filter the database, and see all the SOPs for each system, without being distracted by other files, or having to dig for anything.

Files are easy to sort and search for if you forgot where you put them. (Which would never happen because you labeled everything so well.)

In your Notion database, you can also create additional properties to help organize your SOPs, including labeling them with their frequency, as I mentioned before – daily, weekly, etc.

You could also include time estimates for each procedure, assign who handles the procedure, link to each tool needed, add screenshots, embed videos, and pretty much any other thing you might need to do to create your SOP. Besides all this, you can create a property to record when the created date of the SOP, when it was last updated, and who made or edited it. (Didn’t I tell you Notion was amazing?)

Here’s a quick look at my SOP database.

SOP STorage

As you can see, I have what’s called a relation which connects a separate database that stores all of the tools that I use.  I also have a status property so I can quickly scan to see what needs updating.

Regardless of whether you choose to use cloud storage or other software, it’s important to ensure that your folder structure is in place, so that things are easy to find for anyone that might need to access it. Don’t label folders with abbreviations or secret code words.

5. Automate or Delegate?

(I admit I sort of love that these rhyme.)

When you’re documenting your SOPs, you’ll want to consider who handles each procedure and task.

If you’re a solopreneur it’s important to consider which tasks you can outsource, and in either case, you’ll want to note down which ones you could automate with software tools. Even if you don’t know the exact steps for automating something yet, make a note to research the possibilities.

There are several factors to consider in deciding whether it is better to delegate tasks or automate them. For instance, the size and complexity of your business, the tasks that you have, etc.

Delegation can be very helpful for small businesses with limited resources and small teams. It can help you grow without piling everything on yourself.

Automation can be more efficient for everyone, but you have to consider the time, and possibly money, it takes to set up automated systems.

Effective

SOP Organization

A well-written SOP is like a map. It will tell every employee what they need to do in order to complete their task successfully.

With organizing, it is important to keep in mind that well-written procedures depend on a well-organized SOP. An SOP is going to have absolutely zero effectiveness if you never look at it because you do not know where you put it.

To keep this from happening:

  • Organize your SOPs

  • Document them on a master list

  • Decide on ONE storage location (even if it’s your Lisa Frank binder)

  • Prioritize which SOPs you’ll document first

  • Decide who handles each SOP

If you want to skip all this and just get an SOP library done for you, check out this Notion template I made just for you!

It’s based on my system, but simple enough to learn how to use quickly. Try it out, and I promise you’ll be a part of the Notion cult following in no time. (It’s a good thing!)

Once you sign up, you’ll be redirected to the Notion template.  Press Duplicate at the top right to make a copy of the template in your own Notion workspace.

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Hey you, I´m Lauren.

An entrepreneur and systems nerd for the last 7 years! Combining my education & experience, I want to help you love your business and leave the overwhelm behind.

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