Usually, I have some sort of structure for what I'm going to say in my podcast episodes. But in this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, I really want to get a point across about standard operating procedures and do two other things on top of that.
First, I want to tell you a tale of two clients. A successful client on the one hand and on the other, an unsuccessful one. Then, I’m going to give you some actionable tips about Standard Operating Procedures.
Overview & Episode Content
- A Tale of Two Clients
- Feeling Anxious in Making a Sale
- Meeting a Client Dead-Set Against Letting the VSA Write Standard Operating Procedures
- Standard Operating Procedures Can Move Your Business to Greater Heights
- Scale Up Your Business with Standard Operating Procedures
- How to Create Great Standard Operating Procedures that Make Money
- Your Standard Operating Procedures Must be Very Detailed
- Your Standard Operating Procedures are Assets
A Tale of Two Clients
Knowing how to create standard operating procedures is extremely important because this could mean the difference between growing your business or losing it entirely.
First, let me share with you a tale of two clients who started with us about the same time. Now, both of these clients are experts in their respective industries and both are very good people.
The first client is part of a big commercial real estate company. As a matter of fact, I was anxious the whole time I was selling them our Virtual Systems Architect services. One, their business is in Southern California; two, they are in the nicest part of Southern California; and three, they are already a well-established business.
As I was driving toward their office, I could not help but wonder why they needed to outsource overseas via Pro Sulum. I tried to understand why a well-established company would need us to create standard operating procedures and actually do the tasks.
As I was nearing their location in a very nice part of Southern California, I thought to myself that if they didn’t own their office space then the rent would be ridiculously high, for sure!
And there I was in their parking lot, fifteen minutes before our meeting, asking myself, “What in the world am I doing?”
The reality was I would not even have to convince them to be clients. And to be honest, I don't even know if they are going to find value in our services. They are already a great and well-established company to begin with.
Feeling Anxious in Making a Sale
We have had a couple of clients in real estate and our VSAs are crushing it with experts from that space! In fact, there was one client who spent fifteen to twenty minutes on one process video and turned it into a process document with the help of our VSA. And that one process document made them four times the amount of revenue than they were making before!
The thing is, I already knew that my VSAs work really well in the real estate industry. Yet there I was, at a client’s parking lot in Southern California, having butterflies in my stomach, and worried about failing to show them the value they can get from my VSAs.
Finally, it was time so I turned off the engine, stepped out of my car, and headed into the client’s building feeling a little overdressed for the occasion. But whatever, at least I’m looking dapper and looking good for the meeting.
Now, if anyone listening is in sales then I am sure this has happened to you before.
I walked in the building and everybody was late! Nobody was there except for an admin assistant who said, “Oh yeah, they are going to be here soon. Why don’t you head into the conference room first? Do you want some water?”
Now, what I should have done was say, “No. I’ll come back at another time. We can always reschedule.”
But I did not do that. I wanted to make a sale. So I waited in their conference room.
Meeting a Client Dead-Set Against Letting the VSA Write Standard Operating Procedures
Finally, the clients showed up. They were a team of completely different people and immediately, they started throwing business cards at me. The main guy was the managing director and he asked how I could possibly help them.
I told them, “I don’t know. Honestly, I do not know if I could help you guys. It seems like you have everything together.”
The managing director said, “Yeah, we do. But we’re looking to cut costs and we’re looking for someone who can do admin work for us.”
So I went ahead and told them everything that we do, and how everything at Pro Sulum is based on standard operating procedures, building out systems, and process documentation. And how the VSA can do those tasks for you after they document the whole process.
After I explained how Pro Sulum works, he said that they don’t need any of these things. They simply wanted to have someone do the admin work. So, I parted ways with them and thought they probably would not sign up.
But not too long after that meeting, they emailed me and said, “Okay, let’s do this. Sign me up.”
And then, about a year later, COVID-19 hit. Things quickly went out of control and nobody knew what to do. Those months were very odd moments. So, What do you think this client did during those moments?
On the one hand, he had a super cost-effective Virtual Systems Architect; on the other, he had in-house staff that he probably overpays. What do you think was the first thing he did during those times of uncertainty?
Cloning Yourself through Standard Operating Procedures
This client emailed me and asked about our contract, “What are our terms? How long are we stuck with you?”
I reminded him that we’re simply on a month-to-month basis. To be honest, I was surprised that he did not cancel during that inquiry. In fact, he kept on going for a few more months.
Now, during that year they were Pro Sulum clients, we tried many times to get them to think outside the box. We wanted them to not just assign only administrative stuff for the VSA.
When you create standard operating procedures, you are essentially cloning yourself. You have the potential to engineer a clone for just about anyone in your organization!
Of course, the only thing that cannot be documented and delegated is business strategy and innovation. Those are the only two things that cannot be documented and engineered into a standard operating procedure.
For weeks, we tried to move the client’s thoughts away from having our VSA stuck at doing admin-only tasks.
But because the real estate business owner was so fixated on the idea that all the VSA is capable of is admin-type work, our VSA was not working at her highest potential.
In Pro Sulum, for example, every single staff member can virtually do any job. The whole point of this method, and why it is very important, is the business can still go one even when a team member leaves.
Standard Operating Procedures Can Move Your Business to Greater Heights
Now, in October 2020, this client finally had to cancel. The cool thing about it was, he was super nice about the whole cancellation. This client cared about the VSA who worked with him.
One thing he said that was very telling of his kindness, “Times are tough for everyone right now. I hope you can find a position for her – the VSA.”
I appreciate that he was very cool about it but I had to disagree with his first point. No, not everyone was having a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have another client named George who runs a packaging company. From the very first VSA that George got, he had them do a variety of things from order processing, to customer support, to client account management, to even some design things. He was letting our VSAs work all across the board.
Even though none of his VSAs were graphic designers, George was able to let them do design work because he took the time to create standard operating procedures. And George engineered them to do all of the things that he was currently doing in his business.
So during the COVID-19 pandemic, George had some of the best months and enjoyed the highest revenue moments that he ever had for his business.
All of these milestones were only possible because through standard operating procedures, his team was able to move his business into other areas that were profitable very quickly.
Scale Up Your Business with Standard Operating Procedures
Because George and his team were able to perform virtually everything in the business right away despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to adapt and his entire staff was able to follow him. All these things were possible through step-by-step standard operating procedures.
And that makes a huge difference! In fact, while the other guy had to let go of his “Administrative Assistant” that could have been much more, George hired more people. Because he had so much business, he hired out of pain of growth rather than just hiring for the sake of it.
George was making more money and the only way that he could make even more was to hire additional Virtual System Architects, create more processes, and have them do the rest.
You know you have a good kind of problem when it’s, “I need more people so I can make more money.”
So these are two clients with very different results. One had a very myopic, tunnel vision view of what his staff could do. It was not just about his Virtual Systems Architect.
The customer service person could only do customer service, a marketing person can only do marketing, accounting staff can only do accounting.
Thoughts like, “Lets not change that because they are not going to be able to do anything else.” is one path to the downfall of a business.
Of course, not everyone is able to do absolutely everything. But for the most part, everyone is going to be on the same playing field. Everyone is going to have the same opportunities to excel because tasks are detailed step by step.
How to Create Great Standard Operating Procedures that Make Money
There are three steps to create great standard operating procedures.
Step number one is to know that every second you spend on a standard operating procedure is making you money. Every standard operating procedure that you create becomes an asset.
One of the main problems that I have seen over time is business owners having a hard time creating their standard operating procedure.
Take something that usually takes you 5 or 10 minutes to do. If you were going to write it out, take pictures, and create a step-by-step checklist process. It usually takes about an hour to document well.
That being said, an hour is a lot of time for a business owner. That hour could be used instead to make sales, help a customer, or used on a project, etc… A lot of times, we assume that writing a document would not help the business overall.
The cool thing about that is you see that you are creating an asset and that it truly is helping your business run by itself. And it allows your employees to be empowered to take on stuff that normally, only you would do.
That one hour spent becomes an asset because you never have to do that task ever again. And that task now has the potential to make you money or save you time in perpetuity.
You must get over the idea that standard operating procedures are a waste of time, that it is too hard, or is taking too long to do.
Your Standard Operating Procedures Must be Very Detailed
Step number two. Your SOPs have to be step-by-step and extremely detailed. When you break down the task logically and systematically, the reader sees exactly what needs to be done.
This includes steps such as click on a certain button, hover the mouse over a certain area, click the link, go to the URL bar, click on the URL bar, type in www.google.com, etc…
Think about creating your SOPs so that even grandma can do that task today. Imagine grandmas looking over your shoulder while you work and explaining to them how to do the process.
If a grandma who has no idea about anything in your business is trying to learn what you are doing then the only way she may learn is to make your instructions simple and detailed.
When every single step is documented, then it would be hard even for grandma not to follow the instructions to the letter.
And when it comes to being extremely detailed, I always tell people to give the “why”. Why are people doing this particular task? The clearer you are on the reasons behind each task, the more the person is going to understand your business.
And later on, they will not need a step-by-step procedure in order to get something done. They will know what you are trying to explain and why you're doing certain things in your business. We have seen VSAs improve business processes over time for our clients.
Your Standard Operating Procedures are Assets
The last step that you need to do when you create a standard operating procedure is to have a very good folder structure for them. For Pro Sulum, I break my folders out into specific topics. And for this specific file organization, I use Google Google Drive.
I have a standard operating procedures folder in Google Drive that contains different subfolders. There is a subfolder for General Administrative Tasks, another for Accounting, another for Marketing, for Managerial tasks, Affiliate Marketing, Copywriting, etc…
And in those folders, I will have SOPs written in Google Docs that everyone is able to edit and an accessible Version History. I have a library of SOPs through Google Docs and each one is for a specific task. And all of these documents are stored inside its corresponding Google Drive Folder category.
When your documents are organized by category, you avoid confusing your team. As a matter of fact, even better if you can number your documents. By numbering your documents, you can easily reference them.
If you have a number, you can simply send an email to your VSA and says, “Hey, I need you to do process number 5.01 for our new customer.”
In that example, they can search for “5.01” in Google Drive to find the process document and know exactly what to do.
It all boils down to making it as easy as possible for everyone in your organization to see, find, and utilize your standard operating procedures. And it’s for them, and for you, to see that your library of SOPs are an asset.
I know that writing Standard Operating Procedures takes a long time to do. In fact, My very first SOP took me about ten hours to finish writing. But there is a faster way to build your own library of SOPs and all you have to do is work five to ten minutes a day on them.
This is possible with the help of Virtual Systems Architects (VSAs). All you have to do is record one process video per day. It will only take you about five minutes per day. And then, pass that over to our VSAs so they can document that task for you.
The great thing about that is, our VSAs can now perform that task as well so you never have to do that task again.
Visit ProSulum.com and sign up for a discovery call to see if working with a Virtual Systems Architect is right for you. Whether it might be a good fit for you or not, let us find out together!
Several Pro Sulum customers like George, as mentioned today, spend five minutes a day — less time than it takes to meditate — on one task. And after a few days, they get an expertly detailed SOP and they never have to do those things ever again.
In fact, one of the biggest problems we have is sometimes our clients don't know what to do with themselves after a while.
Sometimes our clients are like, “I’m bored. I need to find something else to do.”
So we help them to then figure out how to innovate and make new things and grow their business. It is time that you unlock your business’s potential to run by itself.
Resources and Links
All that being said, go check out www.ProSulum.com and get a Virtual Systems Architect. This is Dean Soto. Thanks for joining me in today’s episode.
If you would like to know more, go to www.FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and sign up there. Or go to www.ProSulum.com and go get yourself a Virtual Systems Architect. Do that and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode.