How to Create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

How to Create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Our #1 marketing secret is revealed…

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BECOME A CREATOR

From Consumer to Creator
The Content Creation Flow.

Our #1 marketing secret revealed… (long article)

BECOME A CREATOR
Many brilliant minds are still consumers. I see friends and clients, people with such big hearts and sharp minds, who do not create and ship every week. And it was never as easy and affordable as now!

OBSTACLES
The inner struggle goes something like this: “I cannot ship this week because my website is not ready”, “I cannot ship this week because it is not finished”, “I cannot ship this week because our kids are sick”. I strongly resonate with the kids one:-) Everyone can relate, but we are still talking about excuses. 

OVERCOMING EXCUSES
Today, I’m going to share with you something that is our number one marketing secret. It is a specific process. We call it an SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, of how we create content every week. It’s our Content Creation Flow because it is the flow that creates content for you, the people we care about every week and makes it possible that we regularly ship many small chunks of valuable content. It’s not just a nice-to-have task to be outsourced to external agencies anymore. It is one of the fundamental jobs of every CEO, founder, and key executive. 

YOUR JOB IS NOT YOUR JOB 
Your job as CEO is not to make shareholders happy. Even if it may be one of the tasks included in your function. Your job as a CEO is to ensure the company has direction, viability, and memory

Direction: A clear picture of who you are, what you stand for, and what the next steps are. For example Creating a process that ensures clarity on Goals (3 Months), Outcomes (1 Month), Commitments (1 Week). 

Viability: Provide clarity on the core health metrics (Market, Innovations, Productivities, Attractiveness, Profitability, Liquidity and Cashflow). Ensure the current value creation bottleneck is identified and your sprint teams are on it. 

Memory: The opposite of Storage. Recent studies show only 30% of the employees can tell what the current company strategy is. To ensure memory means creating contexts and routines that enable everybody in the company to know the current Vision (1 Year), Goals (3 Months), Outcomes (1 Month), Commitments (1 Week). 

At Strategy Sprints we follow Peter Drucker’s advice that a CEO can delegate and outsource every task, except Innovation and Marketing. And this is exactly where the Content Creation Flowfits in. 
It’s not the job of their marketing department, it is your job. 

THE SERVICE PART OF YOUR BUSINESS 
If you’re in a service business, you might think, why do I need this? First of all, it is not that easy anymore to be seen with your offerings. You need a minimum viable audience to test new problems, new solutions, new products, and to find out if your experiments are validating or invalidating your hypothesis. 

THE PRODUCT PART OF YOUR BUSINESS 
If your business is only products at some point you lose contact with what is going on in the life of your customers. Most entrepreneurs in our Business Accelerators have a mix of products and services that works like a ping-pong between serving the customer but also extracting what works repeatedly. 
You need this ping-pong to be near enough to the client to know what is really relevant and needed. And you need also the distance of the product building team, which is dictated by the client’s needs. They have the freedom to experiment in many directions and finding out new solutions to current problems. Because by using the same patterns to try to solve new problems, you will not come up with new solutions. 

A MIX OF SERVICES AND PRODUCT 
You need the service business where you are near to the needs and to the problems and you need the product business where you create, at a distance, with people who are not in the projects every day. So they have time and space and creativity to test new solutions to current problems. And in the service business, you still have the pulse check if these are still the relevant problems or if they are shifting like life and markets over, your clients are shifting. Why would their problems stay the same?

“Your job as a CEO is to ensure the company has direction, viability, and memory.” 

BURN OUT 
92% of startups burn out in the first 3 years. One main stressor (both emotionally and economically) is starting every new project from scratch. Most service providers (Teachers, Coaches, Consultants, etc.) deny it for years. Until they crash. 
Some of them eventually start to limit their services to a certain percentage of their week and start extracting the general knowledge and tools from their services to create productized services. Leveraged services that work both 1:1 and 1:n. 
Some of them even make the transition from having a job (projects) to running a business (a reliable steady income-generating machine), something we went through and now teach in the BA (Business Accelerator) program

CALIBRATE YOUR  EXPECTATIONS 
Some of us manage to move from consumer to creator. The beginning (like every start of a project) is exciting and rewarding. And then comes a frustrating phase. Most creators think about giving up at a certain point because they feel that the reaction is missing. Because we have this illusion that we should have 100,000 followers on Instagram in the first two years. That’s not a realistic expectation if you are bootstrapping. It should be to reach people more every week. How can you become more genuine, more open, more ready to give more of you in a way that is both helpful to you and your curiosity and your creative voice? 

DOCUMENTING YOUR JOURNEY 
Think in terms of documenting, instead of creating something completely new. 
Some powerful questions are: 
What did I learn this week, when solving my own business problems?
Who is trying to solve the same problem right now that you were solving last week? 
Who needs this tool right now? 

So you have something to give and if you’re ready, give it away.

THE CONTENT CREATION SOP 
Now our SOP is exactly what transforms our documentation (What did we solve and learn this week?) into multiple moments of valuable content for the people we serve (Entrepreneurs). 

It changes slightly as we learn. I would strongly encourage you to write down this SOP, which starts with your own editorial plan. 



STEP ONE 
Who is it for? 
Write down who is it for and then make a Five Levels Segmentation. Specify five times. 
For example, if you work with Agencies it could be:
1. Agency owners 
2. With more than two kids
3. Who run a digital service business
4. Live in Europe
5. Do CrossFit

STEP TWO 
Create the Avatar
Think from their perspective, how do they feel in the morning? How much time do they have today? What are they trying to solve? Which problems do they encounter? What did they try?

STEP THREE 
Limit your categories
When creating your editorial plan it is important to limit the options when you write. This will create a helpful focus for you because when you sit down to write it is one less decision. It will also avoid burnout because it will help you stay on track.
So this will be the editorial upfront and now that you have your audience in mind, what we do is for one year we do only have one or two topics and we decide them in advance. 
Currently, in our case, it’s gettingbetter clients and regain your freedom. These are the only two things I am writing about this year and I can only pick one of these two categories. This is where social media comes in: test a couple of topics and see what your audience resonates with and then pick the top one or two. I did eliminate the possibility to write another topic. It is even better if you have one topic and you write for one year about that topic, although that can be quite difficult. 

And this is important for many reasons. One reason is you focus so you can go deepen your expertise. Another thing is when you focus something magic happens that Goethe and other poets have described well. When you make a decision to commit to one thing, you filter basically which parts of everyday life you are going to see. It is as if you are preparing to buy a red car, suddenly on the street you’ll see lots of red cars.  

“You can change what you see. Limit your filters” 

STEP FOUR 
Define the starting point
What is easier for you to start with, Writing or Talking? 
I start talking and record it. I share it via Google Suite with our team and mark the column in our Content Creation GSheet called “Live”.  Now I give it a working title and mark it green if it’s done or yellow if it’s in progress. Then I write 200 words in a Google Doc and share the link with my team. My last task is to record a video and from then on my team takes over. 

STEP FIVE 
Refine and Reuse
It is a productivity catapult to reuse one module of content in multiple contexts. 
Treat every context with respect, by caring about the details (Example: Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are not the same. The length, dramaturgy, and technicalities are very different and need taking into consideration). 
Our flow is currently this one

STEP SIX 
Measure and Learn
In your weekly meeting, we analyze which one’s are the most helpful in terms of interactions and likes. 
This knowledge is very valuable and relevant. It will be where you learn about the people you serve, what they really need, and what they want more of. 

STEP SEVEN
Build bigger
In our weekly meeting, we track the interaction metrics of every piece. The ones that resonate most with the people we serve will get discussed. And these are the ones that will become also an article on our Website, LinkedIn and Medium. 
Cumulate 6 articles of 500 words each and you have a chapter of a book. Ten chapters and ready your first Kindle Book to self-publish. 

So that’s the whole process and it is documented in a very transparent way. What is done is marked green and the rest is yellow. So everybody knows if I have created something, it’s green and then everybody knows who is doing what. And every Friday we will discuss, learn from it, see what really helped and what was the resonance from our audience. And we will build on whatever worked. 

…now to you. What is your current content creation flow?`

Keep Rolling!
Your Strategy Sprints Team

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