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.

Burger

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.

And 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 ok 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 you selected from, the way you placed an order, the fact that you were upsold – all of it was what you had 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.

How Do SOPs Apply to My Real Estate Investing Business?

It’s why chains like McDonald’s are so successful – 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.

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.

keep calm and read your sop

S·O·P: The documented processes that a company has in place to ensure services and products are delivered consistently every time.

Below is a list of why SOPs are important in your real estate investing 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 VA to take routine, tedious tasks off your plate), so I refer to VAs and as well as local staff.

Let’s talk about some the advantages of using a CRM in your real estate business:

  1. Save you significant time training people because you’ll have written processes in place.
  2. Create structure in your business activities so nothing slips through the cracks.
  3. Make it simpler for VAs/staff to do their jobs.
  4. Your VA/staff doesn’t have to guess how you want a task done.
  5. Your VA/staff can enjoy more predictability in their jobs and hone their skills to raise overall performance.
  6. Reduces errors or variation so you and your customers know what to expect.
  7. Make it easier to conduct employee reviews.
  8. Make it straightforward to compare performance of staff doing the same tasks.
  9. Make it painless to replicate processes in order to scale up and expand to other markets.
  10. They force you to think carefully and thoughtfully about your business which can only make you and your business better.
Sounds Good So Far. So, How Do You Create SOPs?

idea

Now that you’ve confirmed how important SOPs are to your REI business, how and when should you create them?

The key to know whether or not you should create an SOP for an activity is:develop an SOP in the form of a process chart, checklist or video for anything you have do more than once.

Here’s the key:If you do any activity 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 the free application 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 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?

Board

Using SOPs is the difference between you running a real estate investing business with the structure in place needed for you to continuously be able to scale your company and take time off, versus a business that you operate from 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 to be more efficient in your business and ensure your staff understands your expectations – but 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.