If you’re a business owner, you’ve heard about and maybe even implemented SOPs for common processes. From how you’re onboarding a client to how to create/produce your products and services, SOPs are key in growing, automating, and streamlining as a small business owner. And while different SOPs serve different purposes, we are going to focus on the three SOPs to set up before you go on vacation!
What is an SOP? If you’re not familiar already, an SOP is the ‘standard operating procedure’ for a task in your business. And while some SOPs are crazy creative, you can keep it simple and document your SOP on a Google doc or similar – it’s less how it’s put together and more on how well your SOP can be understood.
When implemented correctly, an SOP can allow you to easily step back from your business for a weekend – or week – and run without you, or operate with just your team!
Now that you know a little more about your SOPs, here are some you need to set up in your business before you can go on vacation (and actually take a break from your business) –
Let’s focus on what you would do if you don’t have a team (or if you do, it’s very small) and you want to take a vacation. What do you need to focus on? What are some important things that, if neglected during your time away, would be detrimental to your business?
When I broke this down for myself, I focused on three main things: my current clients, my incoming leads, and my business’s visibility. Here are the three SOPs that you can put in place to help you manage all three while you’re away from your office:
With the tools available today, most of your onboarding – and offboarding – process can be automated or sent to the next “step” with a simple click of approval. Some tools you can use include Bloom.io, Honeybook, and Dubsado to name a few of the more popular options.
Your onboarding process is one of the most important SOPs to have when you’re out on vacation because it determines how you’re interacting with your incoming leads while you’re gone.
For example, think about what HOW your leads get in touch with you. Are they submitting a form? What happens next? Do they wait for your answer or are they sent a confirmation? If you want them to hop on a discovery call, is it prompting them to book? If they don’t book within a time frame, is it following up?
That’s what you consider when setting up your onboarding SOP and by automating your onboarding, you’re able to move incoming leads into your workflow without letting them sit in your inbox – or hopping on your phone mid-vacay.
While you should 100% be letting any high-touch clients know that you’ll be MIA for a few days (or weeks) while you’re on vacation and what they should be doing in the meantime if they have any questions or major concerns, having client support SOPs can be game-changing.
Your client support SOPs should be in place to handle any client concerns about your work together. Some different SOPs you can have in place could include an SOP for previous clients needing support, SOPs for current clients, and SOPs for time-sensitive or urgent situations.
Ask yourself, where are my clients getting in touch with me? Do they know what to do if they have a question? Do they know what to do if something is urgent or time-sensitive?
This is where having a dedicated client portal comes in handy! I also recommend having a specific submission form for anything that is urgent, this will help you recognize an urgent vs. not-so-urgent situation and act accordingly.
A marketing SOP is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a process that guides you through planning, creating, and even publishing your content. Marketing SOPs are pretty easy to set up with the nearly unlimited guides and resources available.
Before you start stressing about showing up on every platform while you’re on vacation because that alone would be nearly impossible as a solo entrepreneur, you should focus your energy on one. One platform that you want to continue to show up on even when you’re on vacation for the next seven days.
This could look like your blog writing process or how you plan your content on Instagram. You could opt to create SOPs that allow you to quickly create content and schedule your content for the next few days, weeks, and even months if you’re determined. With marketing SOPs, you’re able to stay visible without spending half your vacation time on content creation.
Your SOPs can (and will) play a huge role in how efficiently your business can run when you’re not there, even more so when you’re ready to hire a team to help. SOPs can help your team and your clients navigate their time without you – and can make it easier for you to take a vacation in the first place!
Pssttt… you can test run your SOPs by taking a staycation before a full-on vacation if you need that little boost of confidence!