How Standard Operating Procedures Can Increase Productivity in Small Businesses

Every business owner or manager has a dream of being able to sit back and watch the daily operations of their business function as a well-oiled machine. There is nothing more satisfying to see in the workplace than a team that has found their groove. In order to achieve this in your business, a great strategy to implement is standard operating procedures (SOPs).

SOPs are basically a detailed list of instructions that illustrate how to perform specific tasks. They are also useful for defining job titles, responsibilities, training and development among employees, and expectations of the quality of operations in the small business. In regards to productivity, I have outlined below three different areas that SOPs could make an impact in the productivity of your small business.

Routines give direction

routines give direction

It is vital in the workplace that employees not only know what they’re supposed to do, but also exactly how management would like it done. You may hire someone who has previous experience in a certain field, but chances are that the management at the employee’s previous company had a different set of preferences than you have. It is therefore important to establish routines that consistently provide the desired end product.

Some of the processes that may be standardized within the small business are:

  • Responding to inquiries by customers or potential clients

  • Managing sales and its transactions

  • Opening and closing of the offices or stores

In short, there are many processes done within the business arena that can be given specific direction for employees to follow. Decide what values are most important to you in the daily operations of your business and outline step-by-step instructions for your staff to help them achieve that goal. Be sure that after you introduce your SOPs to them that you also monitor their progress and offer support to ensure that proper routines and good habits are established.

Create company culture

create company culture

Company culture is a collection of beliefs, traditions and behaviors of the employees within a company. Most of the time it is implied and organically developed over time through the way employees behave, perform, and interact with one another.  However, company culture can also be explicitly expressed from management’s point of view. This is where SOPs come in.

Through the use of SOPs, management can define what they believe the beliefs, traditions and behaviors of the company should be. Of course culture is ever-evolving, so these points do not have to be hard and fast, but they should become the very foundation of the personality of the organization that your employees can build off of. A combination of cultural influence from both management and employees is always best.

Engaging your employees

engaging your employees

How can you collaborate and interact with your employees more? Let them contribute in the creation of policies. Their stories and experiences are a guide for small business leaders to be able to formulate policies that would be effective for the whole company. Looking from the top down, you may not always be able to get a good look at some of the real issues, so it always helps to see things from their perspective. As a result, their productivity will increase as they feel their efforts are being noticed by their leaders.

Employees will be more productive and inspired to do work when they know how things are supposed work. By implementing SOPs in your daily workflow, you can ensure that your employees will be educated properly on how to complete their tasks. Instead of wondering about the proper way to get their work done, your team can use SOPs to practically become experts. Hopefully, as they become experts in their field, they will begin training the newcomers in the company so that every cog, gear, and mechanism in your small business will function exactly as it is supposed to and give you the results you desire.

~ Jamara Wilson, Team Tuxedo Impressions LLC™