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The One Thing Standing in the Way of Scaling Your Business

The One Thing Standing in the Way of Scaling Your Business

When you started your business you knew it would be a grind - everyone told you so. And after months or years of hustling your heart out...SUCCESS! Your business is growing, you're making great money, but you start to feel the walls closing in. You're exhausted and working all the time, burnout is setting in. How do you scale your business when there is only one of you?

This path is one that is traveled by nearly every entrepreneur at some point in time or another. Avoiding burnout while trying to scale a business nearly always leads to hiring help and leveraging your time. But when it comes to hiring help how do you make sure the quality of output remains the same? The answer is standard operating procedures (SOPs).

[Related: The Importance of Using Robust Analysis to Understand Change]

What are SOPs?

Standard operating procedures are the instructions for how to perform and complete specific tasks in a business. These instructions are often highly detailed in order to ensure that anyone completing the task knows exactly what is expected of them, when it is to be completed, and what policies they need to follow during the process.

An SOP is a great way to help you organize nearly any area of your business and maintain quality of output. Plus, they are a crucial piece of any operations manual, which is required if you choose to sell your business down the line.

Why are they important?

These documents are the foundation to any thriving and successful business. They help produce reliable results, improve management, and find holes in the current business processes. You would be surprised at just how many problems in your business can be solved through a well done SOP and yet SOPs are rarely talked about or utilized correctly.

Imagine purchasing a piece of furniture from Amazon or Wayfair only to open the box, pull out all the pieces to assemble the item and realize there are no instructions. You frantically search online but come up with nothing. This leaves you fumbling through trying to put this item together, only to end up with extra screws and something that only kind of resembles the item you bought.

This is the exact scenario you are laying out for your team members when you don't give them proper SOPs to follow. Implementing SOPs ensures quality, removes room for error, and allows you to train new people quickly and effectively.

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How do SOPs help scale your business?

The key to scaling any business is increasing capacity (provided you have something people actually want). Now you can absolutely increase capacity by haphazardly hiring new people and onboarding them to the best of your ability. The issue with that is it takes significantly longer to actually get the new team member trained. The longer it takes to onboard someone, the more of your time it takes to train them and the slower your company grows.

With SOPs already created you can simply have an initial onboarding session to go over basics. From there you set the new hire loose with an operations manual filled with detailed instructions for how to do their job. Now that's not to say you aren't involved in helping them or answering questions, but the SOPs take care of the bulk of the training. This means the new hire is onboarded in a matter of a few days or weeks rather than months.

On top of streamlining the onboarding process it also allows you to ramp up capacity much faster while maintaining the same quality of product or service.

How to create SOPs.

This is all wonderful and sounds like a dream, right? But how do you get started with building SOPs and distributing them? SOPs can come in several forms, but the most common formats are video and written. Depending on the type of business you have, one format might be better suited for your needs than another.

If you are an online-only company, video might be better so that someone can visualize what you are talking about. If you have a brick and mortar, it might be better to have them written down so the new hire isn't spending hours looking at a screen rather than getting stuff done. Either option is great - the important thing is to get them created and work out the kinks later.

Once you have the SOPs created, it's a great idea to distribute them during a meeting or through an online system so everyone has access. For new hires, simply add them to the existing system or give them physical copies to review and you're set to go.

Standard operating procedures can do a lot of good for the growth of the business. Anything that can help train new employees, improve important processes, and deliver better customer experiences is something every business should do.

Providing good organization is an absolute must if you plan on scaling your business. Start small and gradually work through crafting each SOP, even enlist the help of others on your team to build these documents out. But whatever you do, just get started!

[Related: 5 Steps To Take Now If You’re In A Toxic Workplace]

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Melissa Gamarra is a Certified Online Business Manager, Amazon Best Selling Author, and owner of Melissa Gamarra Management. She helps female entrepreneurs scale their businesses beyond six-figures through systems streamlining, SOP implementation, course launches, and team management. To download her free SOP template click here.


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