If you are searching for a Free Standard Operating Procedure Template, it might be quite an onerous task to find a suitable one. Commonly know as an sop template, this type of template will save you a significant amount of time and effort.

Free Standard Operating Procedure
Standard Operating Procedure Template

Are you searching for a specific manual based around what your business does? For example, if you own a hotel – hotel standard operating procedures? Maybe you own a manufacturing business and therefore require a manufacturing standard operating procedure template.

Whatever type of business you operate, finding a SOP manual specific for your business is likely to be quite expensive if it is any good, or just not suitable for your specific organization.

This means you need to create your own from scratch and we all know how much effort that takes. It is a huge task. An alternative is to find a good quality generic sop template and customize it to suit your business.

Standard Operating Procedures make a dramatic difference to the performance of your business, company, organization or club. SOP’s as they are commonly know are instruction manuals for team members that are learning or even experienced team members that need reminding of how to perform tasks accurately.

If you are looking for a free Template for Standard Operating Procedure then keep on reading as we look into your options and also provide a free sop for download. OK, this is a basic SOP but it will at least get you underway in creating your SOP’S. So let’s get into it.

What is a Standard Operating Procedure?

So, we are assuming here you already know what a standard operating procedure is. Really, it is a step by step instruction to complete something. A set of steps that is used repetitively to ensure a task is completed accurately.

You definitely want people to be using these step by step tasks. For example, think of a pilot landing a plane and you are sitting in the back. You would be hoping the pilot is following the step by step standard operating procedure to get that rubber onto the tarmac without bending anything.

So, you can imagine it is a list of items that need to be included including making sure the landing gear is down prior to touchdown. You can imagine the noise if that step is missed. (All the screaming).

Check out a simple step by step procedure below. This is a really simple one created in MS Word. You can smash these out in a matter of minutes if you use our templates.

Free Standard Operating Procedure
Step by Step Standard Operating Procedure

Positive Influence on Your Business

You could have hundreds or even thousands of Standard Operating Procedures in your business. It is a document that assist you in operating your business and therefore needs to have all relevant information within it.

Big SOP book

I know ours is massive. It keeps getting bigger everyday. However, it is detailed and explains a lot of tasks for complex processes in our business.

If it was basic and simple, it would likely not meet the requirements of delivering our service to a high standard. We believe it should be detailed enough for our team to deliver their work to a high standard.

Free or not so Free?

Difficult to Find Free Relevant Information

Finding a Free Standard Operating Procedure Template that is suitable for your business is going to be even harder. All we can suggest is to find a generic manual and tailor it to suit your business.

A lot of the free templates online are simple and basic and would need a significant amount of work to make them suitable for your business. Sometimes it could be easier to just start from scratch.

5 Reasons SOP’s Are Great For Your Organization

Heavy Customization Required

Remember, these types of templates and documents take a long time to develop. If you purchase a template, you want to be sure it is actually going to be useful for your organization. Either way you are likely to have to customize it to suit your specific team and processes.

However, consider Digital Documents Direct free download or consider our paid option (Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template) that has a lot more detail.

These templates will allow you to get started at least.

System Manuals can require a lot of work

Comprehensive and Complex

Generally, system manuals are very comprehensive. Typically a Standard Operating Procedure Manual is a very detailed document. It is unlikely you are going to find the exact type of document for your business if you are looking for a free standard operating procedure template.

However, you can use a template and save a considerable amount of time. There are particular tasks that are similar for most businesses regardless of their type and location.

These things you can replicate easily and save a lot of time and then leave the detailed customization to build as your business grows. We provide a free SOP manual template as a sample to our detailed version which you can check out. It is a basic version but you will be able to use it as a foundation for creating your own manual.

Of course, don’t hesitate to consider purchasing our detailed version if you want to save a ton of time building yours. It really will save you a considerable amount of effort.

What is Available Online?

Free Standard Operating Procedure Template Online Examples

Let’s take a look online to see what we can find and see if there are any useful options available.

A simple search for a free standard operating procedure template in Google brings up a range of results. At time of writing, this post, there were 335 Million results in Google. What a massive amount of information!

Google Search | Free Standard Operating Procedure Template

Obviously there is going to be a lot of irrelevant information. A number of the top spots are dictated by some of the well know template websites. Let’s take a closer look at those and see if we can find a suitable option for finding a free SOP template. But before we do, let’s take a look quickly at the definition of a SOPMT. (Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template).

What types of Businesses Use Standard Operating Procedures?

Systems Bring Success

All successful organizations have systems and procedures. A lot of the most successful organizations have very strict procedures and deliver their products and services in accordance with these systems each and every time.

If you have been an employee in a large corporation, you may have had exposure to this. Delivering a product or service to a set quality every time is crucial to the performance of the business.

So where can we find standard operating procedure template suitable for our own business? Let’s check out what is online and see where that takes us.

Organic Search Results

Good Quality Online Options

OK, back to what we can find online. There are some good quality options available and some require a lot of customization and others will require less. It will be difficult to find something specific to your business particularly for free.

Option 1 – Digital Documents Direct

Our free standard operating procedure manual template is a snapshot of what our paid version includes. This template is only a basic version, however you may find it useful for your small business. You can read about our free sample on our sales page. Click the image below to learn more.

Check out our paid version if you require something much more detailed. It is full of standard operating procedures and includes all the detail which you can easily customize to suit your organization.

Option 2 – Smartsheet

The first website that pops up is Smart Sheet. This website has a lot of templates, however let’s look a bit closer at the detail.

smartsheet | Free Standard Operating Procedures Templates | digital image, accessed 27th November 2020 | https://www.smartsheet.com/standard-operating-procedures

This page above at smartsheet has quite a few templates to choose from and they are broken down into different industries. The templates look to be customized and suited to the task. There are a number to choose from including a Help Desk, Hotel Guest Luggage Handling, Laboratory and Warehouse Standard Operating Procedure Templates.

So if your business is any of these then you are likely to find something of value there. However, note that there isn’t a ton of specific detail in each template. You will have to put some effort in to make it suitable for your particular situation.

Also note – smartsheet is not completely free, although you can try their service for free and then pay if you want to continue.

Click the image above or go to their homepage here: SmartSheet

Option 3Word Templates Online

OK, the next one is Word Templates Online. This website has a lot of templates that might be suitable for your organization. There are also plenty of links to check out.

Word Templates Online | Free Standard Operating Procedures Templates | digital image, accessed 27th November 2020 | https://www.wordtemplatesonline.net/standard-operating-procedure/

If you scroll down a bit there is a definition of a Standard Operating Procedure and also instructions on How to Write a Standard Operating Procedure which is great.

Click the image above or go to their homepage here: Word Templates Online

Option 4 – Process Street

Taking a look at the next option it is Process St. This website shows a lot of detail about how to create SOP’s. There is a ton of information and also some good videos that are going to go a long way in helping you create your Standard Operating Procedures.

Process Street | Free Standard Operating Procedures Templates | digital image, accessed 27th November 2020 | https://www.process.st/sop-templates/

Process Street also have a list of customized templates for particular industries, so this is also worth checking out. There are numerous free templates available if you hunt through the text, although they are fairly generic.

Process Street is not free, however there are plenty of free resources on their site with regard to Standard Operating Procedure Templates that are worth checking out. You should be able to find some free generic templates.

Click the image above or go to their homepage here: Process Street

Option 5 – Template.net

Template.net has a bunch of templates available for consideration.

Template.net | Free Standard Operating Procedures Templates | digital image, accessed 27th November 2020 | https://www.template.net/business/word-templates/standard-operating-procedure-template/

There are a ton of SOP templates to consider. Some of them are blank and some of them are from other organizations. It might take sometime to wade through all the results, however you might be able to find something useful in there. All of these templates are free.

Different Types of Standard Operating Procedures

There are obviously many different types of SOP Manuals across many industries. For example, lets take a look at this example which below which explains the purpose of SOPs from aircraft manufacturers.

www.skybrary.aero | Types of SOP | digital image, accessed 29th November 2020 | https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Standard_Operating_Procedures_(SOPs)

You can see that in this example, SOP are instruction tools used to communicate how to operate the aircraft or abide by regulations.

Standard Operating Checklists

Checklists Mean Quality

If you don’t have checklists in your business you need to get them ASAP. It might seem pretty obvious, however this simple tool makes a massive difference to your whole organization. It is really the only way to ensure quality through others which is the key to building your business.

Quality is built around checklists. It’s not really rocket science. If you want high standards for your business you need your quality control to have a benchmark.

A benchmark is your checklists.

Checklists should be simple, easy to follow and step by step. Combine a checklist with a procedure and your quality system is looking pretty good – don’t you think?

Checklist Template Free Download

We use a lot of checklists in our business. They have become very useful to ensure complex issues are not forgotten and quality is delivered.

Team members may not like using them at first, however once they get used to them, the difference is dramatic. All of a sudden things will get done correctly. So if you have a quality control issue in your business, then you should consider checklists immediately.

Check out a simple checklist below. All it does is list out the tasks required in order. You as the operator of the business should have an intimate knowledge of the process required or at least a detailed understanding though other team members so you can assist them in creating the right checklists that ensure perfect quality in your organization.

Simple Standard Operating Procedure Checklist | Checklist Template

If you want to see what a checklist in Word format then we have created a link for you below to download it. It’s just a simple example of a checklist you could have for any task in your organization. However, feel free to use it as a base template if you need to.

What about Innovation?

SOP checklists are great for ensuring your core business is delivered each and every time to a certain standard. However, what about innovation, creativity and principles that may not necessarily have a tick box to complete?

It will depend on the type of business you have. So let’s firstly take a look at that and determine what your business is and what you are trying to achieve with it. It makes a difference on how you set your system up.

What type of business do you have?

A Simple Business

These types of businesses include small organizations such as a burger bar, coffee shop, takeaway or retail goods outlet. They are pretty simple. Get product from the wholesaler and sell it at a higher margin. There is not much complexity going on here.

This applies somewhat to a manufacturing business as well. Manufacturing may not be as simple, however portions of the manufacturing process can be relatively simple. You might require a manufacturing standard operating procedure template that you could use over and over again.

Your business might have a set product, set market and set deliverables. If you want an autonomous business, then this is what you should aim for. You then just need to keep on top of industry trends and the marketplace and ensure the demand doesn’t change – and if it does, then adapt.

A Complex Business

However, what if you have a business that is more complex? You are likely to need to innovate. Design, invent, create and deliver. A much more complex arrangement. How do you drive innovation through systems for these types of businesses?

Innovation can be a little more difficult to rollout throughout your organization. It comes back to culture, your team, their experience, their drive, their beliefs and how much risk they take. Also, management and leadership from the top influences everything.

If you cannot setup a system that drives innovation, then your business will stay where it is.

Build Your System Around Your Business Type

The question is – what type of business do you have and what type of business do you want?

A business that just produces income for you without you being involved or a complex business that you are fully immersed in, to change the world?

They are 2 different types and should be setup differently. A business that just produces income autonomously is likely to be a more simple business that has a core deliverable and focuses on this only.

A complex business will have challenges with innovation and creativity and therefore is likely to be the type of business where the operator or owner is fully immersed in the business. Thrilling stuff.

Sections of a Comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure Manual

Reduce Overwhelming Complexity

Business can be a complex beast. Even simple business can be overwhelming. Get online and you will be swamped with the massive amount of information on how to operate or structure your business. A lot of it is fluff.

Let’s get real though. Basically – you have a product or service and you sell it at a higher price than it takes to produce to make a profit. That’s it really.

However, what a 5 pillars of a business that should be at least the minimum sections of your standard operating procedure manual template? Let’s investigate those a bit further.

6 Pillars or Sections for Your Standard Operating Procedure Manual or Operations Manual

Pillar 1
Product or Service

Pillar 2

Pillar 3

Pillar 4
Human Resources

Pillar 5

Pillar 6

They are 6 solid pillars you can operate your business around. Get those sections into your Standard Operating Procedure Manual and you are well on your way to creating a solid business.

Let’s take a look at these sections in detail.

Pillar 1 – The Organization and it’s Product or Service

Section Contents
You need to be clear about this one. What is your product or service? Is there demand for your product or service? This section of your SOPMT should be descriptive and outline all the products or services you sell.

It can also include all the general things such as company details and organization structure. Fun stuff!

Required Documentation
There is probably not a great deal of procedures and checklists required for this section. It in more explanatory and informative for your team.

Pillar 2 – Administration

Section Contents
A major component of any business, this part of your business assists operations to help the organization operate smoothly.

Required Documentation
Checklists and procedures required for this section.

Pillar 3 – Operations

Section Contents
This one can be complex. How to deliver your product or service and who is in charge of what. Get this large section of your SOPMT sorted and your business will be well on it’s way to delivering quality to your customers.

Required Documentation
Checklists and procedures required for this section. Checklists for quality control and procedures for how to deliver.

Pillar 4 – Human Resources

Section Contents
People are a major part of most businesses and therefore need their own section. This section should be about how to manage the human side of your organization. Easier said than done.

Required Documentation
Policies required for this section including expected behavior, entitlements and conflict resolution strategies.

Pillar 5 – Finance

Section Contents
Tax, profit, turnover, forecasting and all those great number games happen in this section. Don’t forget your professional advice from your accountant.

Required Documentation
Checklists and procedures required for this section also. Have tax requirements been met? Profit and loss reporting and a range of other reporting to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions.

Pillar 6 – Marketing

Section Contents
Marketing is an all important section and includes sales, customer fulfillment, satisfaction and delivery of what we say we are going to do. Not always easy when those operations guys want to do it their way!

Required Documentation
Finally, checklists about what needs to be done in terms of marketing, quality control and message control and procedures on how to deliver the marketing through all the relevant channels such as media, social media, website and other communication methods.

So there are 5 basic pillars to start your SOPMT off with. These pillars could be elaborated on further depending on your business.

Using MS Word to Create a Standard Operating Procedure Manual

A very simple way to create your SOP Manual is to use MS Word. You could also create your standard operating procedure manual with Google docs. Both ways are very fast and cost effective ways to get started. However, if you intend to create something substantial, you will need to consider it’s growth.

If you have just started your business then the cheapest way to create a manual is to get 5 MS Word templates and split them up into 5 sections of your business. You could start with something similar to the above. General, Operations, Marketing, Human Resources and Finance.

This will allow you to establish a decent manual reasonably quickly. Once you get your files set up you can add the relevant information and then go ahead and add all the SOP’s required for each section.

Team members may not need to use a section of the manual that is not relevant to them, so it makes sense to split it up in accordance with the correct department.

As your business grows you can add to each file and then go ahead and find a system that may allow you to grow even further as you move away from MS Word.

Watch this video: Standard Operating Procedure Template for Your Company (05 mins 50 sec)

Here is a very informative video from You Tube about creating your own Standard Operating Procedures.

What A Basic MS Word SOP Might Look Like

OK, so we all know MS Word is pretty simple and a good tool to create documents with. If you are on a budget, then it is a good way to create an SOP easily and best of all fast.

You can roll an SOP out to your team in minutes. You don’t have to worry about logons, memberships or whatever else that will slow you down. You can get the critical content into the MS Word doc and send it all in a matter of minutes.

This is the advantage of using something like MS Word to create your SOP’s. Flexible, easy to use, fast and communicates the content well enough. So check out the really simple example below. This is just created in MS Word and can be a standard template that you could use if your business is relatively simple and not too complex.

MS Word Standard Operating Procedure | Template

Don’t Have Time for all the Images?

OK, maybe you simply don’t have time to add all the images. It is a lot of work!

If you are short on time, just use a step by step template. It is really fast to set up and you can be finished in a matter of minutes.

You could also give it to your team and ask them to fill in the blanks or ask for their opinion about what the correct steps are.

Check out this one below. A simple step by step procedure task list in MS Word is going to make a big difference for sure. No more repeating yourself. OK, you might still have to repeat yourself but maybe not 100 times a day.

Click the image if you want to read more about Digital Documents Directs Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template.

Creating Your Standard Operating Procedure

So, the easiest way to create a Standard Operating Procedure is to use MS Word. Simple to do and easy to set up and virtually free. No doubt if your business becomes complex then you will need something better to grasp all that information. Otherwise you will be wading in documents.

Really it isn’t anything more than a checklist is it? Start here and finish there and make sure you do all steps in between. (Landing gear is important).

The Easiest Way to Create an SOP

Steps to Successful SOP’s

The fastest and easiest way to create an SOP is to document it step by step. Just do it in MS Word. You will be done in 5 minutes. Forget the fancy graphics and all the flow chart explanations. How are you get going to possibly keep updating those things for the whole of your business?

Procedures change all the time. They are constantly tweaked.

Maybe once you have your system outlined and documented you can start thinking about graphics. However, imagine trying to do this for the your whole business from day 1?

Steps to Successful SOP’s

Just document the steps.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3


Surely this is the fastest and easiest way to start a SOP and get it out to your team to review, amend and implement don’t you think?

You might find it difficult to read or follow, unless it has graphics. Possibly it is.

However, getting the process right is the first priority, so focus on that. Getting the steps right is critical. Errors will effect customers and potentially the perception of your business. So it makes sense to get the steps correct first so the quality of output leaving your business is kept high.

Download Your Free Template

OK in this spot you can download your free MS Word template and get things going. It’s basic but will help you get underway fast.

Remember, you may come across a massively complicated and technical way to create SOP’s online by reading other websites. However, is that really how it should be? SOP’s should be EASY TO USE, EASY TO CREATE and ACCURATE.

Anything else is just a nightmare for anyone but the person who created them.

Check out our Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template.

Cover image of a Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template
Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template

Download a Free Template for Standard Operating Procedure Here

How Can You Improve Your Business Fast for Not Much?

If you have a small business, you will already know as business owner it is a lot of work. There are some very important things you should put in place as fast as you can.

You probably don’t need that business coach. They can be expensive and most of the time haven’t even owned a business. How can you accept advice from someone that hasn’t done it before? I would take their advice with a grain of salt.

Not saying they wouldn’t have some good things amongst the other stuff, but if a business coach has never owned a business, then chances are they are winging it and relying on your cash coming in.

Here are a few things you should be doing as small business owner for success.

Never take any Customer for Granted

Customers provide your income. If you take them for granted, one day you will regret it. It could be when the economy tanks or something else happens. If you have a paying customer regardless of the size of their business – treat them well. It will pay off in the long term and I suspect you are in this for the long-term, not just a fast buck.

Treat your Staff Really Well

If you are not a people person, you might find it hard to treat your staff with the respect they deserve. If so, take the time to sort this out yourself. Talk with someone about it or do whatever it takes. Treat your team with respect and ensure you do everything you can to help them. It will pay off for you in the long term.

Document Your Processes Fast

As soon as you can, start writing down every single task in your business. It doesn’t matter if you are a coffee shop of an engineering firm. Doing this will start to free you up from the everyday tasks that need to be completed by your team. If you haven’t started yet – you are already behind. Get into it and use a template today.

Use Checklists

Create checklists and make sure you ask your team to use them. Quality is everything in business. You need to deliver to every single customer to a high as standard as possible. You and your team will make mistakes. However, you are aiming to get the mistakes low and the service and quality high. Checklists help to do this fast.

Create a System ASAP

Use the above items to create your system ASAP. You need to do this quickly, accurately and efficiently. A logical system will ensure your business output is performed to a higher standard, mistakes are reduced, safety is paramount and team morale and culture is kept to acceptable standards.

Focus on your EXISTING customers

Forget trying to be a world conquering business. It is unlikely to happen. Thinking your business is going to be a massive corporate when you are just a small business can make you forget about your existing customers. You keep chasing new customers and forget that your existing customers are the most important.

Your existing customers are more important than trying to get new customers. Keep existing customers extremely happy and you won’t need to keep finding new customers. Remember, you are a small business, not a global corporate behemoth.

Deliver over and above what you say you will and you will keep your customers happy and they will return. Focus on quality, efficiency and training your team.

Enjoy What you Do

If you don’t – it shows. Grumpy, disappointed, angry or frustrated? All these emotions flow onto your team and customers. Check them at the door the moment you walk in and put them aside.

If you aren’t enjoying it, take some time off. Do something else or work for someone else until you can face it again with a positive attitude. This makes all the difference for any small business.

Charge the Right Price

Nothing will kill your small business faster than competing on price. Just refuse to do it. If you get really desperate, then focus on what makes you different. Let your competitors scrape the bottom of the barrel if they want to – but don’t participate. If you don’t make a profit after taking home a decent salary – then why are you doing it? The joy will run out eventually and then you will be broke, stressed and grumpy.

What Makes Your Business Unique?

For most small businesses, the only thing that makes your business unique is:


That means you should use ‘you’ to make a difference in your business. Usually, your personality and who you are is the difference between you and your competitors – so you better focus on ‘you’, fix ‘you’ if you need to, make ‘you’ better and identify the part of ‘you’ that is different.

Standard Operating Procedures a Waste of Time?

Do you have SOP’s or Standard Operating Procedures and no one in your team use them? Do they even know where they are?

If you operate a small business, you the business owner needs to get behind the SOP’s and embrace them. Sound like fun?

A great way to do this is get your team to create them with you. Have a small session and brainstorm the best way to create instructions and step by step procedures.

Then get your team to help you add the detail in quiet times or moments where you are not working flat out. This will make a big difference.

A massive benefit is that if one of your team members leaves, they won’t take everything in their head with them because you will have documented it right?

Let’s face it. People will come and go, and what you must have as business operator is a place that shows others how to complete their role. A system manual.


So there are a few items to consider if you are looking for a free SOP template. Plenty of things to consider there and also don’t forget to check out Digital Documents Direct Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template if you need something more detailed.

If you have a small or medium business and are struggling or if you have just started your business we highly recommend you start on your Operating Procedure Manual now.

Put everything else aside for at least a day or two until you can get your system setup in heading in the right direction. This is a massive task however it will add a bucket load of value to your business.

Standard Operating Procedure Template Essentials

Think about it This Way

Think about it this way. If you are wanting to sell your business in the future and you are not involved in the day to day operations, you potentially have a very valuable business.

However, if you are right in there everyday pulling all the strings and still operating the organization, it won’t be such an attractive buy for anyone, if at all.

This is all underpinned by your Operating Procedures. These things are not just there to make something look nice or gather dust on the shelf. They are there because they are the foundation of your organization and add significant value.

Get this right and you will either have a very good business that supports a lot of people and/or a very sell-able business.

Get started today! Don’t forget to check out our Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template!

Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template
Standard Operating Procedure Manual Template

Got any comments? Feel free to leave a comment below.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Garry33

    SOP’s make a difference to any organization. We use them all the time.

  2. JD44Center

    Heaps of info here. Thanks for the links. We are looking for SOP’s for a health center. It takes a big effort to create them.

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