Where and How do You Make an SOP?

The last time, I explained what an SOP is and why it is important to have one in your coaching business. Now, I want to talk about where to create your SOP and how to create one that is effective.

Where, When, and How to Make SOP

Where Should You create Your SOP?

The short answer is you can create one wherever you want. 🙂 The most important thing is that you create it in a place that you can (and will) access almost daily and that is easily updated.

Many clients and others created their SOPs in a Google or MS Word document and kept it stored in their work-spaces so everyone on the team could access it.

One of the nice things about using a Word Document is that you can rename each update so you can have different versions of the SOP as it evolves; however, it can get clunky when you have to many versions of the same document, especially when you have SOPS for several areas of your business.

Another option is to create an online wiki. There are several free (and paid) wiki creation websites that you can play around with. You can find some of them here and here.

Most of the wiki platforms are user friendly and several have great search capabilities for when you are trying to find something specific. Wikis are also great in that they can keep everything in one central place, anyone can update a particular SOP, and they are less clunky and easier to expand as your business grows.

When Should You Start Creating Your SOP?

The sooner the better! If you are just starting your coaching business, now is the perfect time to start building your SOP so that it can grow as you do, and will give you a get into the habit of updating your SOP as you get busier.

If you are established in your coaching business, it is not too late to get started. Better late than never. 🙂 Just pick one area of your business and start with one task at a time. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to having SOPs for all parts of your business. To busy to create the SOP? Hire someone to do it for you!

How Do You Create an Effective SOP?

Before I talk about how to create an SOP, let me answer the question,”What makes an effective SOP?” The answer may be different for each person; however, in it’s basic form, what makes an SOP effective is one that contains everything that needs to be done and one that is followed consistently every day. You can create the most beautiful or useful SOP but if you don’t actually follow the procedures, it is useless.

Now, here is how you create a basic SOP for your business. Open your document or Wiki, give it a name or heading (such as “How to edit a video,” etc.), and write out the procedure step by step. Make sure you include the following:

What (what is being done), Why (why this task is important or why it needs to be done a certain way, etc), Who (who is the main person responsible for getting the task down and any back-up people for when main person is not available), When (when is the task done: daily weekly, etc), Where (Where is the task done such as email client, in a particular online program, etc), How (the step by step process for completing the task – be as specific and detailed as possible so that if someone who has no idea how to do the project, could)

The more detailed the SOP, the less need the person will have to ask you questions, and the less chance for confusion on the part of the person performing the task. Also, make sure the SOP is checked on a regular basis (once a month or every quarter) to make the SOP is still relevant and up to date.

It really is that simple. SOPs don’t have to be complicated or fancy in order to be effective. They just need to be detailed, updated, and contain all the necessary information needed to get the job done!

Now that you know what SOPs are,  why SOPs are important, and how to create them, you have no excuse! Time for you get started with your own SOP. And, feel free to let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your experience with your version of an SOP.

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P.S. On a completely different note, I want to give you a heads up that effective March 31, 2019, I will be discontinuing my Done For You Services. If you aren’t ready for full-on OBM services, but could use some help in your business, now is a good time to get that help. If you are DFYS client at the time the services discontinue, you will be grandfathered in and stay a client, but no new DFYS clients will be taken on after March 31, and the number of clients I will be taking on is limited, so don’t wait, if you are interested. 🙂

5 Signs You Will Never Live a Life of Freedom as a Coach

Ah, the beautiful sound of freedom! One of the main reasons people start their own business is for freedom. In fact, according to a survey done by businessjournals.com, the second most popular reasons people start businesses is, naturally, freedom! It is certainly one of the reasons I started my business, and I am guess it is one of yours. (Do I get an amen?!)

5 Signs You Will Never Live a Life of Freedom as a Coach

Image by Jill111 (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

But, here’s the thing, rather than gaining freedom when they start their businesses, many business owners (including business and life coaches), find themselves stuck in business “jail.” Sometimes, they don’t even know why they don’t have the freedom they want. Well, I know and I am going to tell you. 🙂

I have seen many business and life coaches (and other entrepreneurs) fall into the same traps that keep them (YOU) from the freedom they (YOU) desire. The business simply cannot run without them. Can your business run without you? Here are the five signs you will not have freedom in your business:

1. You Have No Plan.

If you don’t have a plan, and try to fly by the seat of your pants, you are never going to have freedom in your business. You will be too busy putting out fires, running your business in constant reactive mode, and letting the business control you instead of you controlling it.

However, if you take the time to plan, you can outline what needs to be done in order for the business to run without you. You can take the time to set your goals, create actionable, deliberate steps, schedule those action steps into your calendar, and implement that plan (or better yet, delegate those steps).

2. You Fail to Delegate.

You cannot, I repeat, you CANNOT have a business that can run smoothly without you unless you are willing to delegate. You absolutely cannot do everything yourself and expect to have the life and work balance you so desperately desire.

However, if you let go of the reins of your business and delegate (even just a few things) you will begin feel relief and joy and freedom! Just knowing that you have someone, or even better more than one, to help you with the everyday running of your business will make a huge difference.

Who should you bring on as team members? It will take a separate article to fully answer this question; nevertheless, I will start by saying that you should start small and bring on only one person at a time. The first person you bring on should be the one who can help you with the tasks that you like the least or are the least good at. This may be a Virtual Assistant to help with basic administrative tasks or customer service. It may mean bringing on an Online Business Manager to help you with the big picture of your business and who can help you manage YOU. It may mean a social media specialist or bookkeeper.

3. You Fail to Trust Your Team.

It is not enough to have a team (be it one person or 10). You have to trust them and allow them to do their jobs. If you constantly feel the need to micromanage, then there is a problem. Either you need to get new team members or you have to look to yourself.

However, if you have hired the right team, and they are experts in their particular fields, you should not have to worry about them doing a good job. In fact, giving them the freedom to step fully into their roles will allow you to concentrate on the things you need/want to do and the freedom to take time off!

***A little note here*** Yes, your team members will make mistakes. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. You aren’t perfect and they aren’t perfect. When those mistakes happen, deal with them and move on. Don’t let the fear of mistakes keep you from trusting and relying on your team!

4. You Don’t Have Systems and Processes in Place.

Having the right systems and processes in place is a magical thing! On the flip side, if you don’t have the right systems and processes in place, you will find yourself wasting time, energy, and resources that could be used elsewhere in your business.

However, if you take the time to put systems in place that can automate your business as much as possible, you can create a business that runs like a well-oiled machine (with or without you)! Additionally, if you create processes for different areas of your business, you will save a lot of time and energy – especially when it comes to things in your business that are repeated, such as welcoming new coaching clients.

5. You Fail to Create (and Update) a Staffing Handbook or Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

If you are serious about creating a business that can function with or without you, it is essential that you have an SOP. Without a staffing handbook or SOP, you will most likely have to be the one to step in every time a team member is unavailable or every time a new member comes aboard or every time a team member leaves your company!

What is an SOP manual or staffing handbook, you ask? It is a document that lists everything (and I mean everything) that is needed to complete a particular task. For example: an SOP for on-boarding a new coaching client would include every single thing needed to do so correctly. It would include what forms would need to be filled out by the new client, a template for the welcome email that needs to go out, the information needed to add the new client to your CRM system, etc. Everything and anything that needs to be done (including WHO does what) would be included that SOP. (I will do an article soon about the whys, hows, and whats of doing SOPs soon.)

If you always have an updated standard operating procedures manual or staffing handbook, anyone will be able to take over just about any task when necessary. The person stepping in will know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it, probably without even having to ask you! It will allow your business to run more smoothly when there are bumps or emergencies and allows you to focus on those things that need your attention more.

BONUS

6. You are too Busy Being “Busy!”

Don’t worry you aren’t alone. It happens to all of us. You sit down at your computer and instead of getting right to work on revenue generating activities or client care or following up with potential clients, you decide that your website needs tweaking or you “need” to read that blog post or watch that training from your favorite expert. OR the dishes need to be washed and the dog has to be walked. OR, you really do have to do some internet research only to find yourself mindlessly surfing the net for an hour.

The thing is, you will have to learn to reign yourself in if you truly want to have the freedom you desire. This is where having a plan and inserting the steps of that plan into your computer will help. If you build a habit of opening your calendar each morning and working on at least one or two things that will help you achieve your goal, you will achieve that goal in no time! Better yet, check the calendar at the end of your day for tomorrow’s tasks, along with everything you will need to complete those tasks, and you will be able to hit the road running every morning.

It also helps to have someone, like an Online Business Manager, help you stay accountable. If you haven’t had an accountability partner before, you’ll be surprised how much more you will get done knowing you have to fill that person in!

By the way, I’m not saying you shouldn’t tweak your website or mindlessly surf the internet. What I do say, however, is that you should schedule those tasks on your calendar. You absolutely should make the time to do the things you enjoy, including non-revenue generating activities, as long as you don’t let them suck the life and freedom out of your business! Be intentional about how you manage your time or your time (and business) will manage you!

The Big Questions

Do you see any of the above signs in yourself? It is time for you to go deeper. You may want to journal your answers or talk them over with someone. Ask yourself: In what ways am I in business “jail?” How is my business running me instead of me running my business? What steps am I going to take so that I can begin the process to gain (or regain) freedom in my business?

Psst….

If you recognize yourself in any of the signs you read today, and are truly ready to get out of “business jail,” I would love to have a conversation with you to see if I can help. I invite you to get on my calendar for a free, no obligation consultation to see if partnering together would make sense.