Free Template for Standard Operating Procedure. Download Yours Instantly

Standard Operating Procedures. What a joyful experience it is creating these things. However, you can make it easier by using a template and before you know it you will be back into your coffee and donuts.

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.

By the way – we won’t be ‘diving into it’ because diving is something you do at the pool after you have checked there is nothing in the way and you know it is deep enough…

Template for 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.

image of Step by Step Procedure Template Layout Cover
Step by Step Standard Operating Procedure

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).

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.


Got any of your own tips? What advice do you have for others when creating Standard Operating Procedures?

Feel free to share below. It would be good to hear your best advice.

5 Crucial things a Procedure Manual Should Include

If you don’t have a procedure manual in your business you need to get one immediately. This tool will change your business dramatically and create an organization that is professional and profitable.

What should a procedure manual include? If you are not striving for quality, professionalism, efficiency and decent profit in your business then why are you in business? All of these things will help you to create a strong business that provides not only you, but also for your team and their families as well.

A Procedure Manual is a tool that is your ‘Business Bible’. It will help you operate your business. So, what should a Procedure Manual include? Passwords? People’s salaries? Phone numbers? Instructions? Well it depends on your business type.

A procedure manual should include a range of things depending on the type of your business what it performs how it operates and what industry it is in.

It really is going to make a difference on the type of business that you operate. However generally a lot of businesses have fundamental principles that can be replicated. As the old saying goes it’s not worth reinventing the wheel. You simply don’t need to when somebody has already done it before you.

Generally a lot of businesses have fundamental principles that can be replicated.

So today we’re going to take a look at five crucial things that you should include in your procedure manual or quality system. These five items should be generic in relation to your business type however they may not be specifically relevant. But read on down and see what you think and if you’ve got any comments please do not hesitate to leave the comments at the end of the text.

So let’s not hesitate any longer and get underway and check out 5 crucial things that a procedure manual should include.

Crucial Thing Number 1

Rules. OK, so crucial thing number one has to do with rules. If you operate a business and don’t really care about rules it is likely it’s going to turn into a mess quickly. Rules can come in any form including policies.

Policies are designed to not only keep your team safe but also level the playing field across your organization. Everyone needs to be treated equally and the idea behind policies is to set a foundation for equality. So policies are crucial.

It could be policies about bullying or policies about personal phone use or policies about travel. There are literally dozens of areas that any business needs policies for.

If you haven’t set up policies in your business yet then you should get started as soon as you can.

Crucial Thing Number 2

Essential Procedures. Procedures are important to ensure cohesive team all striving for the same goals. Procedures will ensure that team members are performing their duties the way they are supposed to be performing them. As business owner you know and understand how things need to be done correctly.

After all this is how you have built your business from scratch. You understand that quality and delivering it well makes a massive difference to the performance of your business and the importance of getting repeat work.

However your team may not know this or even may not care about this. It is your responsibility as leader to communicate this to them and provide the tools for them to follow. This is why this particular thing is so crucial. Procedures for everything you do in your business is essential.

Crucial Thing Number 3

Safety Requirements. You have a responsibility as business owner to keep your team, visitors and subcontractors safe.

Very last thing you need in your business is accidents or incidents or any items where people are injured or even worse lose their lives. The knock-on effects of things like this can be extremely devastating.

Putting things in place with the aim of avoiding accidents should be a priority for your business. This is particularly important for junior staff who have little experience in operating in the business.

Crucial Thing Number 4

Disaster Management. When something goes wrong are you prepared? Whether it’s a fire or a terrorist event or a bomb threat having these guidelines in place will assist people to move through these events. It’s important that you communicate what actions should be taken if such an event occurs.

You may not be able to cover all events however you can surely cover some of the most commonly known who ends based on the history of your location.

For example if you often receive hurricanes in your area been having these procedures and instructions in place is going to be fairly obvious. However it’s a good idea to accommodate many other events that could possibly not happen but be prepared just in case.

Crucial Thing Number 5

Vision, Direction and Values. If you don’t have any of these your business is like a boat without a rudder. Floating aimlessly in a sea of other businesses. Getting vision and Direction and values together is relatively easy and should be one of the first things you do when creating a quality or procedure manual.

No doubt you already have an idea of what you want to achieve with your business so modifying this to determine a vision should be reasonably straightforward.

It’s always good to aim high and underpin your business with something that produces good well for your community or your passion. For example you may support a local community cause. This provides meaning for not only your business and yourself but also for your team and give some confidence that they are contributing to something in the community that is bigger than them.

What should a Procedure Manual include in Your Business?

What items do you have in your procedure manual? Are there things that you see are absolutely crucial and you cannot do without? Are there things that you wouldn’t bother with?

Every business is different so any comments you put below are certainly going to help others in their business experiences. Join the conversation below and provide your best advice for others to help them as well.

What should a Procedure Manual Include?

1. Vision, Direction and Values
2. Rules
3. Essential Procedures
4. Safety Requirements
5. Disaster Management
6. Operations Manual
7. Marketing Manual
8. Financial Manual
9. Policies
10. Human Resource Manual

A Procedure Manual is Your Ticket to more Freedom

You didn’t start a business to be tied to a desk or tied to your team. Ensure you set up systems so your team have a rule book to follow.

You likely started a business because you felt like you could either do it better, wanted to earn more money or desired more freedom. Or maybe it was a lifestyle choice?

So, if that is the case, then how will you make it actually work to achieve your goals?

Do you need to be realistic?

OK, notice I didn’t say total freedom. I said more freedom. If you think you can operate a business and not be involved – let’s get real. It is very difficult. In fact, I am not sure it is possible.

It sounds like one of those fantasies dreamed up by people trying to sell you nothing by pretending it is something. They are spreading around the internet like a massive rash.

Some of the dodgy ones look incredibly like ponzi schemes. A house of cards all ready to collapse and destroy a lot of people’s lives. Anyway, let’s not go there.

The truth

The truth is your business needs you. However, you don’t need to spoon feed everyone in your business do you?

How do you stop spoon feeding your team?

By using a procedure manual, quality manual or systems manual. Whatever you want to call it – these things are the best tool ever.


Because they show your team ‘how we do things around here’ and avoid the need for you to repeat yourself over and over again.

Apart from this there are many other benefits for having good quality systems that get updated on a regular basis. This is important – ensuring they are updated.

What are the benefits?

If you operate a small business you might find it overwhelming. It isn’t easy. Dealing with all the issues daily can wear you down really fast. Then, add people into the picture and it becomes a major challenge.

If you are passionate about your business and want to deliver to a high standard, don’t be shocked, it is likely your team probably don’t care. Well maybe not as much as you do.

This is where a system comes into play. A system ensures your team deliver to the standards you the business owner expect. If they don’t, then it is time for a discussion about performance. Maybe they shouldn’t be in your business if they don’t see the value of providing a top quality product or service.

The biggest benefit of getting your system sorted is that you can breathe a sigh of relief – just a bit. You will certainly be able to delegate better in accordance with the ‘rules’ and lead your team to be more responsible for the tasks they complete.

Having rules, procedures and guidelines in place makes a huge difference.

Are you building your system daily?

If you operate a small or medium business, one of your most important tasks is to build your procedure manual – daily.

This means adding content every time someone in your business asks you a question.

Sound like a lot of work? Well – it won’t be a walk in the park but it is achievable. You can also use your team to help you get your system together and achieve progress daily.

Depending on the complexity of your business, you may have a very extensive manual or a simple manual.

What does our manual have?

Our manual is extremely detailed. It has so much stuff in it, it is amazing. And it is constantly growing. Our business is highly technical and therefore requires a lot of information and steps for our team to follow.

You would take a month to read it. We have built it by adding a answer every-time a question is asked.

When new team members arrive in our business, that have a massive resource to refer to. This is so helpful in saving time and allowing the business owner to delegate tasks efficiently. It also improves the quality of our output.

Having a step by step instruction to follow for our team allows them to perform their role more accurately.

What a fantastic tool this really is!

What a fantastic tool

If you are not convinced yet on how good a procedure manual is, then think about your business if you have 10 or 20 team members. It will be very difficult for the business to produce consistent results. I encourage you to grow your business through your procedure manual.

This is steady regular and controlled growth.

What about you?

Where does your manual stand today? Does it have a few pages or does it have hundreds of pages?

What have you found that works and what have you found that doesn’t get used?

It would be great to hear your comments.