Empresaria analizando su plan estratégico
Timothy R
By: timothy-ronaldson
Read in 19 minutes

The Benefits Of A Strategic Plan and How to Write One

Having a strategic plan in place can help you run your business more smoothly and effectively. This planning aims to create a blueprint for your success based on real-world data, your own goals, and any obstacles that might stand in your way.

Businesses that use them come out the other end much more prepared for what’s ahead.

Following is a complete guide on how to write one successfully.

Tables of Content
1. Benefits of having a strategic plan for the business
2. How the strategic planning process is
3. How to write a strategic plan
4. Examples of strategic planning
5. What is strategic planning
6. It is time to strategize
7. FAQs

Benefits of Having a Strategic Plan for the Business

Strategic planning helps:

  • align all people at the company around a common purpose.
  • set objectives proactively, all of which will help the company get where it wants to go.
  • set goals for the long-term, which allows you to then set goals for the short-term that will support the overall mission.
  • provide a sense of stability and continuity for the business, even during times of change or uncertainty.
  • assess a company’s current situation, as well as any threats to watch out for and opportunities to take advantage of.
  • the strategy execution can help businesses to identify and capitalize on opportunities for growth.
  • give direction and motivation to employees. Additionally, it can help to improve communication within the organization.
  • improve decision-making within the organization by providing a framework for evaluating options and making decisions based on the company’s goals.

Businesses that engage in strategic planning are typically more durable because they’re thinking in terms of the big picture.

The purpose of strategic planning it’s also to increase employee engagement and motivation up and down the corporate ladder.

By being proactive instead of reactive, a company can stay ahead of the marketplace, which gives them a competitive advantage over others.

And in the end, this can all lead to an increased share of the market and, as a result, higher profitability.

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Strategic Planning Process

There are five basic steps of completing the strategy execution and process:

  1. First, determine to position: You have to know where the company currently stands to understand where you must go, as well as how you can get there.
  2. Prioritize: This step will involve prioritizing the company’s objectives. You’ll list out all of your objectives and then set them in priority order for what will get the most accomplished.
  3. Create the plan: Then, you’ll create the plan that will help you meet your goals and objectives. You’ll include the tactics that will help you get there, too.
  4. Execute: Now that the plan is in place, it’s time to execute it. This will involve a lot of ongoing management to ensure everyone stays on task.
  5. Revise: Every five years, you should review and then revise any aspects of the plan that need a change.

#DidYouKnow
Writing a business plan is similar to writing a strategic plan. The difference is that business plans deal with more day-to-day activities for newer businesses. A strategic management plan describes long-term strategies and goals for an established company.

Strategic Planning Tools

Some tools will help you along the way to develop key initiatives.

For example, you can use what’s known as the balanced scorecard, a model that will help you create your plan.

You should also consider spreadsheet and presentation-type tools that will help you organize all the data and then present it effectively.

How to Write a Strategic Plan

To develop strategic plans, start listing all of your current positioning items. This will include internal and external data about sales, products, services, etc.

Then, you can write a list of objectives and how you’ll go about meeting them.

When you are embarking on the strategic planning process steps, you should take some to make the process run smoothly and avoid missing anything major.

What Is Success?

First, define what you believe success looks like for your business.

Is it opening a new location?

Is it landing a certain number of customers or surpassing a certain amount of revenue?

Whatever it may be, you want to define this success in this way and also include a timeframe for it. Then, you can create goals that will help you get there.

Evaluate Your Business

Next, you’ll assess the current state of affairs at your company.

Many businesses do this through what’s known as a SWOT analysis, where you identify your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

This will help you see what areas you need to continue building on, what areas you need to improve, where you might be able to capitalize, and where you might need to be on the lookout.

Understand Your Finances

Next, you’ll conduct a financial forecast.

This forecast should integrate realistic projections, not pie-in-the-sky hopes. A solid and realistic financial forecast backed by real-world data will help you make intelligent business decisions to reach your goals.

This will also help you create an organizational direction for the company and set strategic objectives for all departments.

You can set objectives for customer relations, finances (both sales and accounting), growth, and other internal processes.

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Everyone Should Have the Same Shared Values

Then, you’ll need to get alignment up and down the organization.

This starts with your departmental leaders, who will then be responsible for getting the people who answer them on board as well.

#CaminoTip 
Senior leadership is a critical part of the strategic planning process. They provide the vision and direction for the organization, and they are responsible for making sure that the plan is executed effectively.

Map the Road

Next, you’ll map out a strategy. This will provide a visual tool for people to refer to when they’re trying to understand where you’re going and how you will get there.

This map will include strategic initiatives, which you will break down in more depth for each department or function.

Measure, Analyze, and Evaluate

Finally, you’ll set up formal processes for performance measurements, regular data collection and analysis, and evaluation.

This will help ensure you stay on task toward your initial vision.

Examples of Strategic Planning

Strategic plans don’t stop after their creation. Instead, they will come up with a blueprint for what’s next and how to accomplish them.

The most effective strategic planners have a long-term vision and shorter-term, departmental plans. These micro plans will have shorter-range goals and objectives that you have to measure more consistently.

To better understand the concept, let’s see an example of strategy development for a fictitious small business:

  • Goal: Grow the business by expanding marketing efforts and offering new products.
  • Objective: Explore new marketing strategies and tools. Start putting out Google and Facebook ads and opening a YouTube channel. Develop and launch two new product lines.
  • Action plan: Start putting out Google and Facebook ads, as well as opening a YouTube channel. Develop ideas for new products, do market research and select the best 2.
  • Measurement: Revenue growth of 30%. Improve brand awareness and increase followers by 40%.

What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic plans for small businesses are documents that list a company’s goals and how to achieve them.

They provide business owners with the proper tools to create a budget, prepare for whatever might come their way, and track their overall growth.

They are key to a company’s long-term success and growth.

A strategic business plan also serves as an internal document that helps all leaders and employees remain on the same page and focused on the same objectives.

You have to write them out to constantly refer back to them as you set your ongoing budgets, goals, and measurables.

This part of the business planning process focuses on growth objectives as measured over the long term. While there are undoubtedly short-term aspects to business planning and strategy management, they won’t come into play when you’re developing a strategic plan.

This strategic plan will also serve as a tool that a business can use to gain financing or investment in the company.

Why Is Strategic Planning Important?

Most businesses that don’t have a strategic plan in place fail. Oftentimes, this isn’t the result of a bad business idea but poor planning and execution.

That’s because a strategy will allow leaders to clearly identify what’s important to the company, how the company plans to reach its goals, what pitfalls they need to avoid, and other outside noise they should ignore.

Without all this in place, it can be very easy to steer the train off the tracks.

Strategic planning gives everyone in the company a roadmap for success. A company will need to operate on an as-you-go basis if they don’t have a strategic map to guide everything they do.

#DidYouKnow
Creating a financial plan is also important.

Characteristics of Strategic Planning

If you follow best practices for strategic planning, your work will involve some common characteristics. Best practices in strategic planning will:

  • Provide an objective analysis of where the company stands in its current state.
  • Outline the company’s purpose and realistic goals that it seeks to achieve.
  • Layout strategies that will reflect the organization’s values, the goals it seeks to achieve, and how it can achieve them.
  • Incorporate necessary changes if there are holes in the organization’s current structure.

The key elements of strategic planning are:

  • Defining the company’s mission and vision
  • Conducting a SWOT analysis
  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Developing strategies
  • Putting the plan into action
  • Monitoring progress and making adjustments as needed.

Types of a Strategic Business Plan

There are three main types of planning which are divided according to their respective strategic objectives:

Corporate

This strategic plan will incorporate the overall company. This will provide a top-down approach that the entire company can follow in all departments.

Business

This strategic plan deals with positioning the company against competitors. It will outline how the company can compete and in what areas to gain advantages over any competitors.

Functional

This strategic plan works at the individual departmental level of the business. In other words, there can be functional strategic plans for marketing, IT, HR, and finance.

These plans will carry out stated goals and objectives set in the business and corporate strategic vision

It’s Time to Strategize!

Strategic planning is one of the most critical aspects of success for any business. Unfortunately, companies that don’t engage in strategic planning are much more likely to fail than those that do.

Part of your strategy formulation will outline your goals and how you want to get there. At times, you may find through the planning process that you need capital to vault you forward.

This is a great time to get a Solopreneur loan from Camino Financial.

At Camino Financial, we work every day to live up to our motto of “No Business Left Behind.” We do this by providing outstanding loan products to small business owners just like yourself.

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FAQs

Is strategic planning a skill?

There are a lot of leadership skills required to do great strategic management, and it’s for any business owner to learn them.

What is the goal of strategic planning?

The goal is to give a current overview of the company, outline where the company would like to go, and detail how they plan to get there.

What percentage of strategic plans fail?

Surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of strategic plans fail. But, they often fail due to poor execution, not poor planning. It’s important to define strategic goals and operational plans to achieve your long-term strategy.

What are the differences between strategic vs. tactical planning?

The main difference between strategic and tactical planning is that strategic planning is long-term, while tactical planning is short-term.

While both types of planning are important, strategic planning is more because it establishes the overarching framework within which tactical plans can be created and executed. Without a clear strategy, tactical plans will be ineffective or even counterproductive.

What does a strategic plan look like?

It is a written document that outlines where the company is now, where it is going and how it plans to get there.

You can write it in paragraph form and accompanied by charts, graphs, and images.

How often should a company revise its strategic plan?

The best practices of strategic planning say a company should revise its strategic management plan every five years.

You will, of course, review your company’s performance on an annual basis—at least—but a full-fledged revision of the plan should occur once every five years.

What are the benefits of planning?

Planning, in general, gives a business the ability to set priorities based on real-world data and realistic goals rather than pie-in-the-sky hopes.

Businesses that plan are more likely to succeed than those that don’t.

What is the goal of strategic planning?

The goal is to give a current overview of the company, outline where the company would like to go, and detail how they plan to get there.

Why do companies need strategic management planning?

Companies need strategic management planning to clearly state goals and objectives for all involved in the company. Without strategic plans, keeping everyone working in the same direction can be challenging.

What is the first step in the strategic planning process?

The first step in the strategic planning process is getting buy-in from the company’s leaders.

These people are crucial to helping build the plan and execute it.

What are the 6 benefits of strategic planning?

A strategic plan can:

  • give the company a sense of direction
  • allow the company to be proactive
  • increase the efficiency of the operation
  • boost market share
  • increase profits
  • make the business durable over the long term

What is the overall focus of strategic planning?

The overall focus is on long-term growth and building a sustainable company. It’s a top-down approach to planning. However, you can integrate shorter-term plans with this overarching plan.

 

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