When we talk about productized services, we often touch on how they help you increase your effective hourly rate. When you can optimize your processes over time, you can get faster at delivery, and your effective hourly rate ($ earned per hour worked) will increase.
The secret weapon? Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) let you write down and capture your process so you can remember it later and improve it over time.
When you document the steps you take to do a thing as a standard operating procedure, you can start to optimize that process over time. Each time you finish that process, you can ask yourself ‘What could I change to make this take less time or use fewer resources?’ Then, as you implement those changes, you’ll be improving your process.
But SOPs aren’t just for your revenue-generating services. What about when you onboard clients? Or have an initial call with a lead? Or off-board a client after a project? Or do that marketing thing to generate more leads?
All of these are essential, valuable processes in your business. If you write them down, you’ll make it easier on future you the next time you need to do that thing (like, onboard a new client or have an initial call). Then, as you do that thing more often, you can optimize that process bit by bit to take less time, effort, and attention and produce better results.
Here’s your homework:
- Sit down for ~15-20 minutes this week and think through the repeating processes/procedures you tackle in your business week to week (e.g., initial calls, client onboarding, marketing, delivering that service, off-boarding)
- Pick one or two processes to document. To start, I recommend picking shorter/smaller procedures to document.
- Set another time on your calendar ~1-3 weeks out to come back to repeat this homework and document another ~1-2 processes.
And here are a few resources to help you in your SOP crafting and process documenting:
- Here’s a Google Docs template that I use as a starting point for documenting SOPs. Feel free to make a copy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/168ooiR8ydhNs7Dw1wVtUPyYH9mRj2UnNVacNEFRXPbE/view
- Here’s a video with me waxing poetic about SOPs: https://vimeo.com/240419096
- Here’s the book (Work The System) that helped open my eyes to the power of Standard Operating Procedures: https://www.workthesystem.com/