Glossary Item

SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)

A standard operating procedure is a set of written instructions that describes the step-by-step process that must be taken to properly perform a routine activity. SOPs should be followed the exact same way every time to guarantee that the organization remains consistent and in compliance with industry regulations and business standards.



SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)

Table of Contents


What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

Standard operating procedures provide the policies, processes and standards needed for the organization to succeed. They can benefit a business by reducing errors, increasing efficiencies and profitability, creating a safe work environment, and producing guidelines for how to resolve issues and overcome obstacles.

What is another name for a Standard Operating Procedure?

Another name for an SOP is a process or process documentation or even a playbook!

Unlock the next level of growth today!

Whale is the simple yet powerful standard operating procedure software. Explore the easiest way to document, train and measure SOPs today!

Unpacking SOPs

At its core, an SOP is a documented process that outlines how to execute a task or operation. Think of it as a recipe that your business follows to cook up consistency and quality in every task. 

Each SOP includes step-by-step guidelines that help team members perform complex operations uniformly and safely.

The value of SOPs in business

  1. Consistency and quality control: With SOPs, every process is done the same way, every time. This uniformity ensures that quality remains high, whether it’s the hundredth time or the thousandth time you’re performing a task.

  2. Efficiency and time management: Time is a treasure in business. SOPs streamline tasks, making training quicker and reducing the time taken to complete duties. They act as a reference, speeding up decision-making and minimizing errors and rework.

  3. Risk management: SOPs mitigate risks by providing clear instructions on handling tasks, especially those involving compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

  4. Scalability: For businesses aiming to grow, SOPs are vital. They make it easier to replicate successful practices across new teams and locations, ensuring that every part of your business knows exactly "how we do things."

  5. Employee empowerment and satisfaction: Well-defined SOPs empower employees by removing ambiguity. Workers feel more confident and contribute more effectively when they understand their roles and responsibilities clearly.

SOP Examples

There are SOPs to direct every process in your business. SOP Examples include;

  • Marketing SOPs
  • Hiring SOPs
  • Sales SOPs
  • Operations SOPs
  • Accounting SOPs

Check out our SOP template gallery to find your perfect example and get started in seconds.

Crafting an effective SOP

Creating an effective SOP requires a clear understanding of the process, a knack for detail, and a focus on clarity. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Identify the Scope: Determine what processes need SOPs by identifying tasks that are critical, repetitive, or require consistency.
  • Involve Your Team: The people who perform the tasks are your best resource. Their insights ensure that the SOP covers all necessary details and is practical.
  • Write Clearly and Concisely: Use simple language and bullet points. Visual aids like flowcharts or diagrams can enhance understanding.
  • Review and Test: Before finalizing your SOP, test it with a small group to ensure it’s clear and works as intended. Feedback is golden—use it to refine your document.
  • Update Regularly: Business processes evolve, and so should your SOPs. Regular reviews will keep them relevant and effective.

SOPs: Your blueprint for business success

In the bustling arena of business, SOPs are your backstage technicians. They ensure that every part of your show runs without a hitch, delivering stellar performances that wow your audience—your customers. 

So, whether you’re launching a start-up or scaling up, remember that a well-crafted SOP isn’t just paperwork; it’s one of your strongest tools for success.

Now, go forth and systematize. Your next level of growth awaits, and with solid SOPs, you’re well-equipped to unlock it!

What's your greatest challenge?

Radically improve your organization’s efficiency.
Use Whale to get everyone from rookies to veterans on the same page, starting today.

Posts you might like

Your first step in getting your teams on the same page

And keeping them there.