First Step to Systemizing Your Business with SOPs

Written by YeeLing Lee | Efficiency Specialist & Founder of BNP

Let’s streamline and scale up your business by introducing systemization. This involves establishing clear processes, such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to ensure seamless operations. This article tackles analysis paralysis when figuring out how to start the process.



Key Takeaways

  • Do not know which SOP to start documenting?
  • Guide to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and daunted by the thought of it.
  • Choose existing and straightforward processes to gain traction.
  • Simplicity is key. Do not overthink.
  • Begin with manageable steps. Each documented SOP, even if rudimentary, that is clear and easy to understand, is one step closer to systemizing your business.
  • SOPs are not a ‘set it and forget it’ affair. Regular reviews and updates are essential.



What is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

An SOP is a simple guide with clear steps for routine tasks. Some common forms of SOPs include:

  • Template
  • Checklist
  • Flowchart
  • Step-by-step list
  • Screenshot
  • Video

SOPs are crucial in maintaining consistency, efficiency, and even safety in task execution.

I Am a Solopreneur. Do I Need an SOP?


Any task you routinely do, like invoicing, will benefit from an SOP. A checklist here will help avoid missing any step when invoicing your customers.

As your workload increases, you will need outside help, be it employees, virtual assistants, or subcontractors. An SOP will ensure a smooth transition in delegating tasks to them. This process facilitates the efficient scaling of your business, making the process faster and more manageable.

When Should You Hold Off Documenting?

If you are in the early stages of your business, focus on discovering effective lead generation and transaction closure strategies tailored to your unique situation. Prioritize sales generation to build confidence and success. Document these processes as you go along – do not delay, even if they are still evolving. It is easier to refine them when they are documented.

You are Convinced! Now, How to Kick Things Off?

Whether you are a solopreneur or part of a 50-member organization, it is likely that your business already operates with established processes. To kickstart this project, the aim is to document these existing processes. You will later use these documented SOPs as a springboard to develop new SOPs or optimize and improve existing ones.

Which Process to Tackle First?

If you are uncertain about where to start, ponder the following questions:

  1. Is there a specific process that urgently requires documentation?
  2. Do you have a relatively simple task assigned to a position with high turnover—a process that new and existing hires can easily follow instructions to complete?
  3. Is there a straightforward onboarding or training process that you can easily document to free up your team members
  4. Are there time-consuming, non-critical, and easily delegatable processes within your operations that would free up your time for more important tasks?
  5. Are customer inquiries or experiences slipping through the cracks? Consider starting with a manageable process, such as addressing inquiries or ensuring timely responses to phone calls, emails, and text messages. These are often easy to tackle yet crucial as a touchpoint. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.


Before you begin, here are some guidelines when starting your journey to documenting your SOPs:

  1. Keep it short and simple. Remember, you are starting with an overview.
  2. Capture your current process. Even if it needs improvements, document how you are currently operating. During this process, you will naturally think of improvements and optimizations, which will be addressed in the next stage.
  3. Avoid overdoing or overthinking. Your goal is to get it on paper, no matter how rudimentary. It is all right to miss some steps. Fill in the gaps as you revise the process continuously.
  4. Take small incremental steps by taking one step at a time.
  5. Keep in mind that SOPs are always a work in progress. It evolves with time, improvements, technology, and changes in the business environment.

To prevent feeling overwhelmed or daunted before you begin, keep in mind that you are just outlining.

Still at a Loss on Where to Start?

Let’s start by charting the process flow of your ideal customer purchasing your highest profit product or service. This flowchart is where the ideal customer smoothly completes the purchase without any hitches. Your goal is to chart the flow with processes you already have in place; you are not introducing anything new.

It is crucial not to confuse this with a Customer Journey Map (CJM), which delves into the customer’s emotional experience with your company, exploring it from the customer’s perspective. Instead, your focus is on customer process mapping, a method that emphasizes how the company manages the steps and flow of the customer process, exploring it from the company’s perspective.

Where Should the Flowchart Start and End?

Consider whether it should commence from the initial discovery in an advertisement, an inquiry, a purchase, or upon proposal acceptance. And where should it conclude – at the proposal acceptance stage, after work completion sign-off, or when the customer provides a glowing 5-star review?

We recommend starting the flowchart with the initial customer interaction, as it occurs over the phone, in person, or online.

Then complete the flowchart at the stage where you receive feedback from customers about their experience through a review. This approach facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the entire customer journey, from the first touchpoint to post-service engagement.

Following are a couple of examples of a customer process chart for a hair salon. It can be in any shape and form that works for your business.

Example 1:Customer Flowchart

Example 2:

Appointment Request by Phone
→ Enter Appointment in App & CRM (Customer Relations Management) Software
→ App Sends Text Confirmation & Reminders
→ Customer Arrives for Appointment
→ Check-In
→ Offer Beverage& Guide Customer to Station
→ Stylist Completes Service
→ Receptionist Asks if Customer is Happy with Service
→ Ask if Customer Would Like to Make Next Appointment
→ Customer Pays
→ Hand Over Receipt with a Review Card Request
→ Customer Follows Instructions on Card and Leave a Review

Flowchart Completed, Now What?

Depending on the complexity of your process, you might naturally overlook some elements, and that is perfectly acceptable. Revisit your map the next time your customer goes through the process and add any missing elements. If needed, this is where you can amend your map to make any improvements.

If you still lack inspiration on which SOP to start documenting at this point, go ahead and add notes to each terminal. While doing so, you may discover the need to document an SOP (Please see green notes listed in Example 2). For instance, in the example, you might recognize the need to document your phone script for a consistent customer experience, especially if you have a high turnover among receptionists. The phone script, in this case, is considered an SOP. Similarly, the CRM form within the software itself is an SOP as it guides your receptionist to ask the required questions.

The spin-offs of each section will be the building blocks of your business systemization. However, there will come a point when you realize the essential need for the business to have a robust Employment Handbook in place, especially if one does not already exist. This handbook should include the company’s vision, mission, policies, and expectations of the employees, providing clear descriptions of their roles and responsibilities when carrying out the work. It is advisable to prioritize having this handbook in place as early on as possible.

SOPs are Work in Progress

Remember, SOPs come in various shapes and sizes. Keep things simple at the beginning to gain confidence and traction. SOPs are not a ‘set it and forget it’ affair. Regular reviews are essential to adapt to changes and discover better ways to enhance your processes.

Enhance Your Business’ Appeal for Sale

It is valuable to adopt the mindset that you are gearing up to sell your business. Assess how your business should operate to maximize its attractiveness for potential buyers. SOPs serve as the essential manuals for your business. How can you expect someone to purchase a business without a well-crafted manual to guide them through the process?

Simplifying Process Documentation for Team’s Embrace

To ease any fear, hesitancy, or apprehension your team members may have about documenting processes, start by keeping it simple to demonstrate how it can help in their work. Emphasize that it makes delegation easier, freeing up their time for more important tasks. This may even pave the way for promotions as others can handle their roles.


We trust this article inspires you to kickstart the documentation of your SOPs. Tackle each SOP one step at a time, knowing you are well on your way to achieving full systemization. Along this journey, prioritize the development of a robust Employee Handbook or Employee Manual if you do not have one, to offer your team the necessary framework for effective task execution.

Let’s put the Standard Operating Procedures in place today!



Who We Serve

Our services, including Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Employee Handbooks, Workflow Flowcharts, Contract Management, File Management, and other Business Operations Services, are primarily tailored to small and medium-sized businesses. We cater to various industries, such as retail and wholesale; cafes, restaurants, food trucks, and catering services; hair and nail salons; massage spas; gyms; legal and accounting firms; construction, engineering, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical services; landscape, and property management; assisted living and care management, medical clinics, dental offices, chiropractic practices, and pharmacies; wholesale & distribution; as well as vet and pet retail & services.

Where We Serve

Apart from catering to clients within the United States of America, US / USA, we extend our services globally, spanning regions such as Europe, Australia, and Asia, all while being headquartered in Colorado. As business operations and systems consultants, we specialize in systems and processes, including relocation management for office and warehouse moves and global mobility services. Our services cater to Small Business Owners, Solopreneurs, and Start-ups in Denver city, Denver Metro Area, Aurora, Lakewood, Littleton, Centennial, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Broomfield, Parker, Commerce City, Northglenn, Lone Tree, Englewood, Highlands Ranch, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Longmont, Boulder and other Denver Metro areas within Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Boulder, El Paso, Broomfield, and Jefferson counties.

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