So it’s been too long since I focused on talking about standard operating procedures or SOPs.
For any online seller, having a bunch of SOPs isn’t going to hurt and we all know how important it is to have structure in our business.
Every day we do millions of things that require a systemized approach. After all, even messing up a small detail can cause a lot of problems for you.
So that’s why we online sellers have SOPs.
But here’s something I often tell everyone, writing SOPs can be a big waste of your time.
No, I don’t mean that SOPs are not needed, what I am saying is that when it comes to running your own business, you have many things to work on and spending your precious time on writing SOPs is unnecessary.
But Marcin, the SOPs are the key to an organized online business!
The reason I am stressing this is because I know a lot of people that as soon as they hear about bringing structure in their online ecommerce/Amazon business, will start writing SOPs for their regular tasks.
It’s true right, you must have done it as well. But this is wrong. And here’s why.
First, when you start writing down the SOPs, you do it from memory. I know you might have done the same task hundreds of time but the fact is that when you write down the SOPs directly from your head, there can be mistakes. They should be written when you are actually doing them as that’s “what’s happening” and not what you “think” is going happen.
You are bound to miss one or two things that in the long run will affect the job when someone else is doing it, using the SOPs you wrote.
Secondly, I know this to be true as I had this problem myself, you can spend a lot of time coming up with SOPs. These need to be written in detail so that anyone who uses them can easily understand what’s the SOP is about. Time in our line of work is very precious and we cannot simply waste it on writing stuff.
So how do you do it?
I recommend that you create videos and let your VA do the SOPs. That’s the best way to do it. I will explain why.Want to see SOPs in action? Download my free example Reordering Process. CLICK TO SEE SOPs IN ACTION
Most of us use virtual assistant to ensure everything runs smoothly and without any issues. And if you don’t have one, here’s something I want to tell you now:
Hire a virtual assistant before you think should hire one!
That’s what I tell everyone in the online selling business to do. Irrespective of what you think, having someone to look after almost everything in your business can do you a lot of wonders.
For instance, my virtual assistant, Joy manages and works in every aspect of my online business. What this means is that I only have the bird’s eye of things while she uses my SOPs (which have been uploaded on my company’s internal wiki) and Asana to manage everything.
So, if you want to create SOPs, I recommend that you ONLY record videos / screen capture videos.
At this point most of you might saying: Are you sure you want to ONLY create videos Marcin? Not very corporate is it? It’s really important and needs to be in writing man!
Well, I know what you are saying but here’s how it helps me ( and how it can help you).
This is where your VA comes in. When I complete the video, I share it with my VA, Joy who then creates the SOPs for me. And it becomes very easy for as she sees firsthand how the task is done and doesn’t need me anymore to explain it to her.
By using this approach I was able to enjoy three major benefits.
- I tested out Joy and her capability to understand online selling business by assigning her one of these videos on her first day. I wanted to see how well she grasped my process and also judged her on her writing. You can also use this technique to check how good your new hires are.
- I never had to write my SOPs, ever again. That’s right. Since I created the videos, I was able to easily share the details of the whole process with my VA who writes it for me.
- I saved a lot of time. Remember when I said that’s it’s okay to create SOPs but what’s not okay is spending time on it. Well, using my VA and video recording apps, I have able to create a process that all my process have been written and I never typed a single word.
This process isn’t just benefitting me only but also benefits my VA. Here’s how:
- My virtual assistant understand my tone, how my mind works, get to meet me in the video. It’s like an orientation for them.
- They also learn more about the business that they are joining. It teaches them what to expect in the future and how I am doing things now.
- At the end of the day, they know about the process themselves and next time I can easily delegate the task to them to do it. No worrying about answering questions and teaching them about it again.
So there you have it. I just shared one of my best trade secrets through which I kill two birds with one stone. That is, I create SOPs for my business in details, at the same time doing the very task the SOP is about. Secondly I not only train my VA in the task, but use her to create my SOP document for future use, saving a lot of my time.
Want to see SOPs in action? Download my free example Reordering Process.