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Everything you need to know about SOP and Process Documentation

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An all-inclusive guide on SOP and process documentation.

Table of Contents

The best example of SOP and process documentation in practice

There is ALOT more to SOP and process documentation than purely writing SOPs. What you need to realize is that SOP and process documentation are the very keys you need to scale your business. 

It’s for this very reason we recently launched “The Ultimate Guide to SOP and Process Documentation” But if you want the summarised version, read all about it here.

Don’t believe that SOPs will help you scale? 

One example of a company (and there are a ton more) that has successfully used processes to scale is Starbucks. Starbucks’ emphasis on processes and operational efficiency has contributed to its overall success and financial performance. By maintaining consistency in its operations and delivering a reliable customer experience, Starbucks has built a strong brand and customer loyalty, which has translated into financial gains. This includes revenue growth, Store-Level Profitability, operating margins, and ROI.

The Starbucks story began in 1971 along the cobblestone streets of Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Ten years later, a young New Yorker named Howard Schultz transformed the business, and as of November 2021, the company had 33,833 stores in 80 countries, 15,444 of which were located in the United States. The company recently announced long-term plans to increase its number of stores to 55000 by 2030!

Interesting but you don’t make coffee? No, you probably don’t.

But if you want to unlock the next level of growth in your business, you need to have a solid SOP and process documentation strategy in place.

What exactly is SOP and process documentation?

A process is a series of tasks that are done or required in order to achieve a specific goal. Typically, processes are higher-level documents devoid of too much detail.

SOPs and procedures (used interchangeably) are important tools for ensuring consistency, efficiency, and quality in organizational activities, and they help to promote best practices and standardization across an organization.

Thy are the must-have set of instructions that outline exactly how to run a task. Whether you’re showing how the hiring process works or how to manage entire projects, a clear SOP can help unify tasks so outcomes are the same across every team.

Why you need SOP and Process Documentation?

For entrepreneurs and leaders who want to be truly free, strengthening their business’ process component is essential. When business owners and leaders are stuck in the day-to-day helping employees do simple tasks or cleaning up the mess when that doesn’t happen, they have no time or energy to invest in creativity, innovation or strategic growth initiatives that will take them and their business to the next level

Well, if we haven’t convinced you with the Starbucks story, consider this.

Check out the 6 Massive problems process documentation solves, which includes;

  • Competition

Documenting processes and SOPs can help you deliver a more consistent and seamless customer experience. which can give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.

  • Inconsistency

Once you have a competitive advantage, it’s essential to maintain the customer experience and levels of service across all locations. Consider the challenge Starbucks faces in delivering the same great cup of coffee and experience in a store in New York versus one of its stores in Singapore or the UK! 

Starbucks customers know they can expect the same great coffee experience anywhere in the world, irrespective of the person they engage with. 

Your customers should feel the same!

  • Operating efficiency

Documenting your processes and SOPs can help you identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. In today’s competitive world, the edge lies in continuous improvement and making sure that the business is operating efficiently in every aspect.

  • Employee onboarding and experience

With 51% of employees feeling unengaged at work (Gallup), creating processes your teams want to engage with should be your #1 priority.

There are ALOT more reasons you should be viewing SOP and process documentation as a key priority in your organization but we think you get the picture.

So now, where to start?

What are the TOP 10 Processes EVERY company needs?

As a scaling team, it’s natural that team members wear many different hats. So it’s pretty natural to feel overwhelmed at the beginning, especially if you don’t have anything documented.

We suggest this approach; document only 20% of the major steps that get you 80% of the results. 

Consider the most important things that would need to be documented in your business and start there. 

Here is a list of the Top 10 processes every company needs;

  1. Recruitment and Hiring Process
  2. Employee Onboarding and Training Process
  3. Sales Process
  4. Product Development or Service Provision Process
  5. Accounting Process and Finance
  6. Customer Service and Support Process
  7. Inventory and Supply Chain Management Process
  8. Advertising and Marketing Process
  9. Quality Control and Assurance Process
  10. Human Resource Management Process

How to document SOP and Process Documentation?

Documenting your processes is easier than you think! It’s simply a matter of identifying what  SOPs and processes to document, documenting, and organizing the content.

Identify topics to document using methods such as THE NEW HIRE RAMP UP. This means thinking about what topics a new hire would need to ramp up quickly. 

Alternatively, consider THE DELEGATE MATRIX, which considers thinking about If you were to hand over tasks to another team member, what tasks would those be?

For more methods of identifying, check out our Ultimate Guide to SOP and Process Documentation.

When it comes to documenting, Nike was right, JUST DO IT! 

And remember;

  • Use templates to make document creation easy
  • 50% is better than 0%
  • Focus on visual SOPs and add images, video and even GIFs to make it engaging
  • Focus on common and repeatable tasks, not exceptions
  • Use your company’s common terminology
  • Make the crucial points evident to the reader. Don’t go into the details too soon!
  • Utilize AI technology such as Whale’s AI Assist to help you create SOPS in seconds!

And when it comes to organizing company information and documentation, we suggest using SOP Software to help you create seamless information transfer that speeds up your organizational efficiency. 

3 Helpful tips to create and organize your SOP and Process Documentation

  1. Name your documentation for easy organization
  2. Assign ownership and review regularly
  3. Use video and rich media to help create engagement

How to train using SOP and Process Documentation?

Have you ever wondered why Nokia lost the game to Apple? The bottom line is that Nokia lost out because it failed to learn, and it failed to learn fast. 

Continuous learning keeps your business competitive and improves employee retention and engagement, thereby improving productivity.

To capitalize on company knowledge, there are three types of training a business needs to consider;

3 Helpful tips to train your teams SOP and Process Documentation

Some studies report that up to 70% of knowledge is lost within 24 hours of learning. Retraining people regularly can ensure long-term retention and compliance.

    1. Use quizzes for continuous learning
    2. Utilize “The Netflix Effect
    3. Create tailored learning journeys utilizing technology

How SOP Software takes it to the next level?

If you’ve been in the business game for long, you’ll know that Google Docs is where documentation goes to die (yep, we said it).

Because using a tool that’s made for document creation to manage your docs will never work. (The same goes for outdated paper handbooks and any tool that doesn’t focus on leveraging your content.)

That’s where Standard Operating Procedures software comes in.

By choosing a tool to digitize, centralize and leverage your processes, you can make sure your employees get the right information at the right time and actually use it.

Save time documenting

  • AI Assist™
  • Templates
  • Gallery
  • Screen recorder
  • GIF & image library

Train and amplify the value of your playbooks

  • Assignments
  • Training flows
  • Quizzes
  • Web Extension
  • Search facility

Measure & gain insight

  • View questions
  • See overall scores
  • See document views
  • Set document reviews
  • See completion

How to calculate the ROI of Documenting your Processes?

You know the saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

And if you want to scale your business, you’re going to have to measure progress every step of the way. 

In and of itself, SOP and process documentation are worthless. If it’s not used, it’s worthless. If it’s not up to date, it’s worthless. 

But you’ll soon realize the value when;

  • Onboarding new employees
  • Training team members
  • Trying to find relevant information

When you’re implementing SOP and process documentation, not only should you be able to state the value to the business, but you should also be able to quantify it. That’s why we created this piece to calculate the ROI of Whale in your business.

The Ultimate SOP and process documentation checklist

This may sound somewhat complicated but it isn’t. Here’s a quick checklist we put together to help: 


  • Use the 80-20 rule to identify the essential
  • processes to document
  • Document core process using time-saving methods
  • Organize documentation for scalability


  • Identify essential training
  • Counter the forgetting curve with reinforcement and
  • the Netflix for training effect
  • Assess and reward knowledge


  • Identify & close the gaps
  • Continuously improve

Bottom line? SOP and Process Documentation helps you scale

If you’re struggling to maintain efficiency in your business and to scale operations, then you should definitely check out our newly released Ultimate Guide to SOP and Process Documentation.

The ULTIMATE guide features;

🚀 The TOP 10 Processes EVERY company needs?

🚀 The Ultimate Growth Framework

🚀 Overcoming Common Challenges 

🚀 How to train with SOP & Process Documentation

And more!

Ultimate Guide to SOP & Process Documentation

The why, what, and how to unlock the next level of growth in your business with SOPS & systems