What Is a SOP And Why Do Event Professionals Need Them?

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In February, Goodshuffle Pro hosted our 2021 Annual User Summit and covered a lot of fantastic topics. One guest speaker, Cam Petty of Render Events and Render Educate, talked to us about a game-changing business move: implementing event SOPs.

What is a SOP?

SOP stands for “standard operating procedure.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations.” Cam more succinctly defines it as, “how you do what you do.”

You can have SOPs for almost anything. As Cam put it, if you do the same task 3 times, it deserves an SOP. They are essentially step-by-step instructions, procedures, and/or protocols for the day to day activities of your company, from client emails to event fulfillment to delivery. They also work to ensure that all of your team members are on the same page, and have answers for questions that crop up with some regularity.

SOPs can also come in different formats. They can be photos, screenshots, videos, and/or text— whatever format works best for the SOP you’re creating.

Why do you need event SOPs?

SOPs are surprisingly multi-purposed, and the results of using them will be felt at all levels of your business. They allow your company to run with a degree of cohesiveness that simply isn’t possible without them — we bet your clients will even notice a difference.

So, now what we’ve answered what is an event SOP? Why do you need event SOPs?

For when you aren’t there

As a founder and/or business owner, you need to ask yourself if and how your business will keep moving if you aren’t there.

Let’s say you get a once in a lifetime opportunity to take an exclusive wine tasting tour of Tuscany, an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii, or some other reason that pulls you away from your work for a few weeks. Is your business able to continue without you there? That’s where SOPs come in. If you have all of your steps for all of your tasks documented, someone can fill in while you’re out– without turning your company upside down.

For future growth

Solo business owners are probably thinking that this won’t apply to them; after all, it’s just them, there isn’t anyone else to step in. However, most solo event planners and rental companies plan to hire in the future, and creating an SOP before you hire will take a lot of headache out of the training on onboarding process, as it will eliminate the need for them to repeatedly ask you routine questions. Answering the question, “where are the furniture pads/extension cords/screwdrivers,” can now turn into, “check the SOP.” It’s easier to work out any snags in your processes while your solo versus while you’re trying to train up your new team member.

Now is always the perfect time to create SOPs!

For setting expectations   

SOPs are life savers when it comes to managing your team, as they set clear expectations for tasks and processes. We all want to offer our employees as much training and support as possible, but it is a big challenge when everyone is busy. Having SOPs in place provides team members with a point of reference that doesn’t involve them interrupting you or another team member when they get stuck. This will save you time and energy for your responsibilities and instill confidence in your employees.

Nothing sets a team up for failure quite like unclear expectations. Having a source that new hires and long-term team members can access independently when they aren’t sure how to handle something can only serve to benefit your company and your client’s experience.

For keeping everyone on the same page

Having documented SOPs helps keep you and your team on the same page in terms of expectations and protocols. This will pull your business into a cohesive group and will take much of the guesswork out of both daily tasks and quarterly tasks. When you’re busy, it’s easy to get off track with how you’d like business to run, but SOPs provide a clear guide for everyone.

At Goodshuffle Pro, we’re confident that implementing SOPs will change your business for the better. We’re grateful for Cam sharing her knowledge with us so we no longer have to wonder “What is a SOP?”.

But don’t worry, we’re not done with event SOPs yet. We think they are so important that we’re doing a whole series on them. Now that you know what SOPs are and how they can help you, we’ll be talking more about how to create SOPs, the SOPs necessary for event pros, and other ways they can level-up your company. Keep an eye out!

Feature Image by Alexander Suhorucov

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Author: Carmen Bodziak

Carmen Bodziak has been on the marketing team at Goodshuffle since 2019 and got into the business because of her passion for empowering business owners through technology. She loves connecting with the events industry both virtually and in-person, so say hi if you see her at a trade show! Outside of Goodshuffle, she loves to travel and spend time outdoors.