The success of cannabis businesses relies on many factors. Some of the most vital components include compliance, consistency, and quality control. Your bottom line matters, too. To achieve these goals, you need effective standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Your SOPs are crucial for creating structure within your cannabis operation. SOPs are a set of instructions that you document to ensure everyone performs all processes consistently (and correctly). At the same time, they help everyone in your company understand how to do their work.
Documenting your SOPs is vital for their effectiveness. While creating a list of procedures to ensure consistency and quality control might feel intimidating, writing them down serves an essential function: it helps to ensure that everyone in your company can do what they need to even if you’re not there. You can hire and train new employees and scale your business, all while ensuring your business runs smoothly. Additionally, your local city and or State may require you to submit detailed SOPs for your cannabis operation in order to obtain licensing or maintain licensing.
Are you wondering how to create SOPs for a cannabis business and aren’t sure how to go about it? Here are a few tips to help make the process easier.
1. Start with a List of Procedures You Want to Standardize
Your first step is to determine what procedures you want standardized for your cannabis business. For example, if you run a cannabis cultivation business, you might want to record all of the steps from seed to sale. Consulting with your master grower or cultivation team may also help ensure you haven’t missed anything.
2. Find a Template That Works for Your Business
A template can be a beneficial tool for creating effective SOPs for your cannabis business. You have a few different options here. The right one depends on your business and what will be best for (and most easily understood by) your team.
Common Types of SOPs
There’s no one right SOP template for all cannabis businesses. Here are a few different styles to consider:
- The checklist. Checklist-style SOPs are quick and easy to create, as well as simple to follow.
- Flowcharts. Flowcharts offer a way to present complex or lengthy processes (such as seed to sale processes) in an easier-to-understand format.
- Graphical. Visual SOPs work well for processes that someone might misinterpret in written form. Again, they’re simple, easy to follow, and show a lot of detail.
- A hybrid blend. You may find that blending SOP templates works best. You can mix and match different types to suit the needs of your business.
3. Document Your SOPs
Once you figure out what processes you want to standardize and choose your template, it’s time to start writing out your SOPs. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin documenting:
What Your SOPs Should Include
Your SOPs don’t have to be (nor should they be) complicated. They should, however, include:
- The task or process name/title
- The purpose of the task/process
- Who should do the task (there may be more than one person or role involved)
- When the process should be done
- All steps the person must take to complete the task
- A list of all necessary equipment
- Any other pertinent information
Make Sure Your SOPs are Clear
When it comes to your SOPs, you don’t want any misunderstandings. To avoid potential misinterpretation or confusion, use clear, simple language instead of technical or industry speech. If there are any terms or acronyms, make sure that you include their definitions so anyone can reference them quickly if they’re unsure.
Make sure all of your steps are concise, too. That allows you to quickly and efficiently communicate your processes. It also makes those steps easier to memorize.
Things to Avoid
Along with knowing how to create SOPs for a cannabis business, it’s also essential to know what NOT to do. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Poor formatting. Break up your text into smaller, easier-to-read sections, use bullets, and include pictures or diagrams (if applicable).
- Negative language. Instead of telling employees what NOT to do, use positive language to tell them what they should do.
- Ignoring the “why.” Letting them know why they’re doing specific things a certain way can help them understand the importance of each task and foster the adoption of these practices.
4. Get Others Involved
One of the goals of creating SOPs is to make it easier to share, teach, and train employees how to do specific critical tasks. While you might know how to do everything within your business, you should ask others who perform these tasks for their input. For instance, in a cannabis cultivation company, speak with your master grower and other cultivation employees. If you run a dispensary, consult with your budtenders and shop manager.
In addition to getting input from those who work in your company, you might also find it helpful to get some outside advice from a cannabis SOP consulting group or cannabis manufacturing consultant. Getting extra eyes on your SOPs can help to ensure you haven’t missed anything and that everything you’ve written is easy to follow and understand.
5. Review and Update SOPs as Needed
No matter how perfect your SOPs are when you first create them, there may come a time when you need to alter them. The cannabis industry is growing rapidly, and things change quickly. Sometimes, you find an easier or more effective way to perform certain tasks. You may get new software or machinery that works differently than what you used to use. Or, scaling your business may require a change to your processes.
Run through your SOPs periodically and ask yourself why each task is important. As you go over your current SOPs, you may also find that some are no longer relevant or in use. Reviewing your SOPs is one of the best ways to ensure that they’re up-to-date and effective.
Ensure the Success of Your Cannabis Business with Effective SOPs
Standard operating procedures are a vital component of your cannabis business. They help you to maintain consistency, compliance, and quality control. While it might look like a daunting task, creating effective SOPs really isn’t that difficult. And, if you find you need help, you can always consult with an expert.
For more information and advice on how to create SOPs for a cannabis business from an experienced cannabis consultant, contact M Consulting Experts today.