SOP in Business: What is and Types

SOP in Business: What is and Types

What is  SOP in business?

SOP stands for standard operation procedure. Is a document that describes the steps that employees need to take to accomplish a particular task. It is usually written in a step-by-step fashion with the goal of making sure that everyone on your team is on the same page.

A SOP can be any length and can contain as much detail or as little as necessary to ensure that employees know what they need to do and how they should do it.

SOPS should be followed the same way every time in order to guarantee that the organization remains consistent. 

What Is a SOP Template?

A company uses a SOP template as a starting point to write a SOP. This template offers a basic structural guideline for creating operating procedures quickly and efficiently. They contain all the necessary information that you will need to write a SOP. The goal of SOP templates is to standardize your operations and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page and ready to complete the tasks efficiently. The template provides detailed instructions that will help the readers to follow the step-by-step process. 

Essentially, a SOP template will dictate what information needs to be in the document and the placement of each topic. 

The ultimate goal of SOPs templates is to provide a consistent structure throughout the document so that the readers easily find the information they need. 

SOP Template Overview: How to Write a SOP Template:

The first step in building a template and achieving the goal of consistency, is to set up a style from the starting point (fonts, line spacing, sections) in order to build the same  framework for every different SOP.

Step 1: If you don't know the process day-to-day and you want to know how the process works, interview the stakeholders who know the process. The main goal is to start the SOP having a clear picture of how things are working.

Step 2: Improve your process. Level up a process by finding easy ways to streamline SOPS. 

Step 3: Where are you going to document and how? You can easily share with your team whatever process with Uphint. Uphint documents any process and turns it into a step-by-step guide instantly, and then you can copy the link and share it with the stakeholders you work with.

Step 4: Update your SOP.  You can quickly update your SOP when a process changes with Uphint. Effortlessly, you can document a process automatically, so any changes are quickly captured.

10 Tips for creating an effective sop

When anyone within the company is creating procedures, SOP templates can help anyone save time and effort and make sure that you don't miss any steps and remain consistent. This clearly explains the steps you must follow to complete a certain task.

In order to be effective, the SOP should be brief and easy to follow, and remain focused on how things should be done. Once done, the SOP should be updated every six or 12 months to guarantee that it remains relevant to the organization.

SOPS might appear rigid structures without flexibility. But the number one goal of a SOP is simply to dictate the steps of a single task. The more efficient internal processes become, less money is spent and more money is available to put into growth initiatives.

During the crafting of the SOP, we must answer these bullets:

1. Define the task goal and why it needs a SOP

-Who performs what role?

-What does each role do? 

-What is the goal of each person's role?

2. Identify audience 

The SOP is created for the readers of the document, and the main goal is to facilitate a well-written and easy-to-follow document. So, knowing who the audience is will guide the level of detail in our SOP.

3. Use a consistent style

The style depends on who you are talking to or where you work. For instance, if you are working for a large corporation your SOPS would be more formal than your startup team of 4. 

4. Determine format for SOP

-Flowchart:  Display procedures with various outcomes. You can also use a flow diagram as a way of visualizing your SOPs. 

-Simple steps: They are often written as a bulleted or numbered list, including documents such as safety guidelines. This is best used for short and easy to follow procedures.

-Hierarchical steps: They are often written as a bulleted or numbered list, but this format is for planned  procedures with many steps including the primary steps, followed by more specific. 

5. Be clear and concise

Your goal is to reduce miscommunication, avoid mistakes and improve efficiency. Use simple language and be brief. Engage your employees with an active voice  and give useful feedback. Reducing mistakes is achievable if you have gathered all the main information. Uphint can help you be clear and concise by avoiding documenting manually any process and start doing it automatically, turning any process  into a step-by-step guide in seconds.

6. Assess potential problems in your process

Once you have broken your process down, it's time to analyze where things are likely to go wrong, where are the obstacles we can find out. 

7. Check information

Before you craft a SOP, you need to make sure it contains all the information required. Make sure the document covers every step in the process by interviewing employees.

8. SOPS in digital

Nowadays the environment in the office is 100% digital, and the most effective way to distribute a SOP through the team is digitally.

9. Test out your SOP

Test out your SOP by asking people who regularly perform this task, run through the steps you have written down. Repeat the process again with someone unfamiliar with the task.

10. Update Sop

Review your existing procedures and Update SOP if it's necessary. Companies evolve constantly. We should update regularly in order to reflect change in processes and procedures.

Example of SOP in business

SOPS are frequently used when hiring and training employees. In this case, SOPs can ensure the orientation and training of every employee remains consistent and on the same page with their peers' experience. To train in the area of customer service, sales and marketing, SOPS can be used to explain the service delivery process and response times, instruct the management of customer complaints and comments.

A Standard Operating Procedure must have 

The following structural elements are commonly found in most standard operating procedures (SOP) out there:

  1. Title page: Each procedure will have a unique title, and an identification number, date of creation or revision, the department/employees/team that the SOP applies to, and finally the name and signatures of the people involved in the process.
  2. Scope: What is the organization's mission? Describe the limits of the document.
  3. Who the document is intended for? Identify key stakeholders who will follow and have followed this SOP.
  4. What is the purpose of the SOP? Describe the goals and objectives of creating the SOP and why it is important to follow the steps.
  5. Glossary of terms: If the SOP uses specific language abbreviations that maybe readers are not familiar with,  you should include them.
  6. Table of contents: Helps summarize the information of the document into different sections to provide easy access to the readers. 
  7. A step-by-step list of the procedures: This section is where the procedure is broken down into step-by-step instructions with explanations of how to perform tasks and any additional information needed to complete the tasks such as regulatory requirements, specific equipment used, the description of what needs to be done to complete each step. 

Best practices

1. Let everyone know you release a new SOP. When the SOP is ready, let your employees know that it's available and they are expected to follow it.

2. Be open to receive feedback. Make sure that you are aware of the employees and you want to know about their opinion on the SOPS, like if its clear to them, or if there are missing steps.

3. Sub-steps: Once you have the skeleton of the procedure, analyze and examine each task you have written down and think of any sub-tasks required in each step. 

Challenges you can face

You might encounter miscommunication obstacles throughout the way. Let's check them out so you can avoid them. 

1. You need everyone to understand the SOP without asking anything. In order to achieve that, use action-oriented language.

2. In order to make it easy-to-follow guidelines, go directly to the point. Be brief and direct.

3. Make sure the one who writes the SOP, works with the employees who are familiar with the task so every step is outlined correctly.

4. Make it accessible.


In the end, when everyone in the team is sailing in the same direction we can achieve things faster and more effectively. SOPS makes that journey more navigable, following the steps that will lead us to success.

Related Posts