and kept for the same amount of time before they are thrown out. That is why, regardless of any McDonald’s you go to, the fries are the same. Is your business set up the same way? Regardless of the product or the service, does each customer get the same exact result every time? SOPs also allow staff to be easily trained while maintaining the expected result for the customer. The challenge is always hiring the right people, but once that is accomplished, it becomes quite easy for the staff to follow SOPs as the business grows. There is a reason a lot of businesses can be run by teenagers. SOPs also allow the business owner to have a life. Too many owners burn themselves out thinking they must do everything, when all they really need to do is create documented SOPs and then hire staff to follow them. A truly successful business can be run without the owner being physically present. TIPS FOR CREATING SOPS Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges with creating and documenting SOPs is that it is very time- consuming on the front end. And, quite frankly, it is not usually a strength of the entrepreneur who owns the business. They are usually great at creating a vision and making things happen on a larger scale, but generally they are not great at taking the time needed to create and document proper SOPs.

Greg Slaughter has been investing in single-family homes since 1999. He entered the industry full time in 2002 when he retired from McDonald’s Corp. after 19 years. Since then, Greg has been involved with more than 1,000 real estate transactions, doing a lot of flips and creative finance deals. He also currently self-manages his portfolio of rentals in multiple states. SOPs also should never be considered 100% complete. As the business grows, SOPs need constant review and possible revisions. You should always be looking for ways to make things better and easier for everyone while maintaining that consistency for the customer. At the end of the day if you genuinely want a long-term successful business, then SOPs are the key. • There are exceptions, but most business owners would be much better off bringing in a manager-type individual to help document the SOPs—or hire a third party to do so. If left to most entrepreneurs, the task probably won’t get done at all, or not to the extent it needs to be for true success. It is also important for business owners to understand this process should be done early in the business. The SOPs are a foundation for the business. Too many businesses do not do this, and they grow too quickly, only to suffer the consequences eventually. Either the business crashes because it just cannot handle the volume without SOPs, or it crashes because customers get turned off when their expectations are not met because of the lack of consistency. If you already own a business and have not created and documented all your SOPS yet, do not panic. It is never too late to get started. Just get it done.

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