Using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Is The Secret Sauce to Getting The Results You Want In Your Real Estate Business
Close your eyes and imagine you’re at your favorite restaurant. Or, maybe you’re not much of a restaurant person - so let’s say your favorite fast food joint.
You’ve walked up to the counter…
… been greeted by the cashier...
… taken the time to review the overhead menu behind the counter with the 100’s of selections...
… placed an order for your food...
… been upsold by the cashier, “can I offer you a super size fry and jumbo size drink with your colossal burger?”
… and finally you receive your food and head to your seat to indulge in that first bite.
Alas... that first bite is exactly as you expected. The burger doesn’t taste any better or any worse than the last time, it’s exactly the same. Which is fine with you, because that’s EXACTLY what you wanted.
As a matter of fact, pretty much everything was exactly as you expected. The greeting from the cashier, the menu, the way you placed an order, the fact that you were upsold – all of it was what you expected.
This isn’t by accident. It’s because your favorite restaurant uses standard operating procedures (SOPs) to make sure you have a predictable experience every time you come there to eat.
So Now That You’ve Got Me Stomach Rumbling... What’s This Have To Do Me?
My fast food example was meant to open your eyes to what makes the most successful businesses thrive.
They don’t operate their businesses by the seat of their pants, hoping that things will go well with every transaction.
Instead, they use SOPS so that their systems and outcomes are as predictable as possible. If you want to run your company like a business instead of a hobby, SOPs will make all the difference.
What Are SOPs And How Do They Apply to My Real Estate Investing Business?
S·O·P: The documented processes that a company has in place to ensure services and products are delivered consistently every time.
Businesses like McDonald’s are successful because you know what to expect when going there as a customer - and their employees know what to expect because they have systems in place to produce predictable results for you.
As it relates to your real estate business...
"SOPs are the secret sauce that will reduce your time spent training the people that work for you, help you maintain a consistent quality of work, allow you to be more efficient when you’re working, and allow you to scale your business."
Below is a list advantages of using SOPs in your real estate business. I use virtual assistants (VAs) to take care of many of the activities that drive my business on a daily basis (and I highly encourage you to also consider hiring a virtual assistant to take routine, tedious tasks off your plate). So, in the examples below I refer to both virtual assistants (VAs) as well as local staff.
Download Your Real Estate Virtual Assistant Toolkit
Discover how to leverage virtual assistants to free up your time while growing your income!
Some the advantages of using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in your real estate business:
- Save you significant time training people because you’ll have written processes in place.
- Create structure in your business activities so nothing slips through the cracks.
- Make it simpler for VAs/staff to do their jobs.
- Your VA/staff don't have to guess how you want a task done.
- Your VA/staff can enjoy more predictability in their jobs and hone their skills to raise overall performance.
- Reduces errors or variation so you and your customers know what to expect.
- Make it easier to conduct employee reviews.
- Make it straightforward to compare performance of staff doing the same tasks.
- Make it painless to replicate processes in order to scale up and expand to other markets.
- They force you to think thoughtfully about your business - which can only make you and your business better.
Sounds Good So Far. So...How Do You Create SOPs?
Now that you’ve know how important SOPs are to your real estate business, how and when should you create them?
Here’s the key: You should develop an SOP for any task or activity that you or your staff will need to perform more than once (i.e. running comps, putting together offers, loading homes on your site), then you should create an SOP for it.
This will save you considerable time and headache teaching something over and over again as well as make you more efficient if you’re doing the tasks yourself.
And don’t let the words “Standard Operating Procedures” freak you out and make you think that it needs to be something overly complicated - because it doesn’t.
SOPs can be in the form of checklists, process charts, or videos. The point is, it needs to be in a format that you can hand off to someone and they’d be able to follow the instructions to get your desired outcome.
Whatever is the path of least resistance to document those steps and make it easy for others to follow – that’s what you do.
Tools To Create SOPs
- I recommend having your favorite note taking application - like Evernote, or a Google Doc in Gdrive - open at all times. If you prefer video, you can use free online tools like screencastomatic.com and keep it open in the bottom tray on your computer while you’re working.
As you’re doing activities in your business such as putting together a purchase agreement, you’ll either write out the steps you’re doing in the note taking application, or simply record your screen using Screencastomatic while you’re walking through the steps.
Over the course of a couple of weeks, you want it to become second nature for you to document repeatable activities that you think will serve as good SOPs.
Then, as you become more consistent, you’ll eventually have an SOP library that you and your staff can refer to for any of the processes that occur in your business.
This is a true ASSET!
So, What's Next?
Using SOPs will be the difference between you running a real estate business with the structure in place needed for you to be able to scale your company and take time off...
...Running a business that you operate by the seat of your pants, with your head on a swivel because you’re always reactive instead of proactive about getting things done.
Your next step should be to set aside some time to determine which SOPs you need in your business.
Then, take some time over the next couple of weeks while you’re doing those activities to actually document the steps.
And remember, taking the time to set up SOPs will not only help you become more efficient in your business and ensure your staff understands your expectations -
– It will also make you a better business owner because you’ll be taking time to think through your business systems and processes, which will make all the difference in your success.