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How to Use Software to Organize SOPs & Business Documentation (Beginner SmartSuite Tutorial)

How to Use Software to Organize SOPs & Business Documentation (Beginner SmartSuite Tutorial)

10 minutes

November 30, 2022

It's no secret that businesses are brimming with information. From the standard way you greet customers over the phone to the meticulous details of your bookkeeping, all these pieces of knowledge are crucial for your company's cohesion and efficiency. But here's a fun fact: the human brain isn't the most reliable safe for this treasure trove of information. Yep, you read that right. Those vital tiny details we trust ourselves never to forget? They can vanish faster than your childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

So, what's better than keeping all that essential business intel locked up in our heads? The answer is a centralized spot—a digital HQ if you will—for all this knowledge. We want something that stands robust, even if the unexpected happens, like say, the proverbial bus situation. We're talking about a solid solution that outlives any tenure, mishaps, or, well...memory mishaps.

Enter SmartSuite. It's not just the name that's clever; the tool itself is a powerhouse for creating a hub for your business's brain. And it's about to become your team's best friend.

Why You Need to Get Smart with Your SOPs

Blockquote:"We don't want to get hit by a bus and lose 20% of our business knowledge."

This quip might sound lighthearted, but it carries the weight of truth. The continuity of your business's operations and, indeed, its very existence, hinge on the accessibility and preservation of its internal knowledge. So let me walk you through making SmartSuite your sidekick in battling the forgetfulness of human memory.

The Click-by-Click SmartSuite Tour

Setting Up Your Starting Point

When you log into SmartSuite, you'll notice that it's as clean as a whistle. If you're expecting us to dive into templates right off the bat, hold your horses. Though SmartSuite has some brilliant ones, we're going old-school and starting from scratch because we want you to have the full experience.

So you're staring at your new blank solution. Let's call it "Documentation" since that's what it will be. Feel free to get artsy with colors and icons—maybe throw in a brain symbol because it's all about that grey matter, after all.

Laying the Foundations with SOPs

The first 'app' or section you'll create within your Documentation solution is dedicated to SOPs—Standard Operating Procedures. This way, you'll catalog those essential 'how-tos' for your biz, from handling customer queries to drafting breathtaking invoices.

Keep it simple, though. Stick to SOPs with fewer than eight steps. Why? Because you're not trying to teach rocket science here.

Structuring Your SOPs

You've named your view "All SOPs by Department," which is telling. It's vital to organize your SOPs neatly so they can be easily found. Consider this the digital equivalent of not throwing all your clothes in one drawer and hoping for the best when you're in a rush.

Now, start filling in the blanks. Your SOPs might look like "How to Make Toast" and "How to Butter Toast" as placeholders (unless your business is genuinely a toast factory, which would be pretty cool). These examples help you get the hang of the platform without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty of your actual business processes.

The Personal Touches

Got all that in place? Great. Now let's customize. Get rid of any fields you don't need (say goodbye to "Priority" if all SOPs are VIPs) and tweak the rest. An "Owner" field is more fitting than "Assignee," for example, because ownership implies responsibility for keeping that SOP pristine.

Under each SOP field, you're going to want a "Condition" status. Not for medical diagnostics—relax—but to track your SOP's state of health. Is it in tip-top shape, or does it need some TLC?

Adding the Meat to Your SOP Skeleton

With everything else in place, it's time to flesh out those SOPs. Add a "Procedure" section to detail the steps involved in each process using SmartSuite's fancy 'Smart Doc' field type, which lets you jazz up your content with formatting, images, and even tables.

** Departments and Tags and Groups, Oh My!**

Give your SOPs a home within departments for easy identification and sorting. Use tags for additional organization and the 'Group by' feature to see everything delineated by departments at a glance.

Breathing Life into Your Second Brain

Now comes the fun part. Start transferring all those SOPs from your brain into SmartSuite. Don't stress about getting it done in one sitting; begin with the framework and flesh it out as you go.

Remember, SOPs are just the start. Your digital HQ can hold all sorts of documentation—market research, wikis, favorite industry blogs, you name it. The aim is to make everything readily accessible to anyone on your team who might need it, newbies included.

Turning Documentation into a Game

The final step? Turn it into something you look forward to. SmartSuite allows you to create dashboards and charts that turn the somewhat monotonous task of documenting into a visual feast. Think of it as gamifying the arcane art of safeguarding business knowledge.

Wrapping Up and Rolling Out

So, you've got the tools and the know-how. What are you waiting for? Roll up those metaphorical sleeves and dive headfirst into organizing your business's knowledge with SmartSuite.

If you hit a snag or just want to chat about the sorcery of SOP organization, drop a comment or check the links below. Don't forget to like and subscribe too—it's free, and it helps more folks discover the magic of turning their internal knowledge into a collective business asset.