Strategic Plan – Do you need one?
There is much confusion, particularly among small business owners and start-ups, about what Strategic Planning is. In fact, in our experience, many clients come to us looking for help on their business plan, only to determine that what they really need is a Strategic Plan. This is intended to demystify Strategic Planning and explain why you probably need to think about this process for your business.
How is a Strategic Plan different from a Business Plan?
First, let’s briefly talk about the infamous Business Plan. This plan is typically not optional, particularly if you are looking for financing or applying for a loan, grant or subsidy. In these cases, you will always be required to present one. From a high-level perspective, a Business Plan:
- Answers the question of “what business are you in”
- Is required for a new business or new business venture
- Provides structure to define your business venture and its viability
- Includes operational structure, marketing plan, financial projections, and so on.
A Strategic Plan contains some of the same background elements, but instead focusses on the concrete strategies and tactics you will need to reach your goals. A Strategic plan:
- Answers the question of “How will you get there?”
- Is generally about an existing business
- Is for businesses that are serious about growing
- Includes a timeline of specific proactive actions you will need to take
- Helps to prioritize your efforts and spend your time on the less urgent, but still important activities that are necessary to take your business to the next level
Who needs a strategic plan?
A clear and practical Strategic Plan is an essential tool for entrepreneurs and business leaders! Larger corporations usually expend large amounts of money and time to develop their Strategic Plan and, since it is often not requested as part of the financing process, entrepreneurs often don’t develop one. It doesn’t need to be this way – there are ways to develop your strategy at a cost of time and money that is more appropriate to smaller businesses.
As an entrepreneur, you can usually relate to some or all the following:
- Being faced with conflicting priorities
- Constantly dealing with day-day emergencies
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Never seeming to get to the important things
- Not knowing which new business ideas and opportunities to explore
- Uncertainty about how to decide what to work on
A Strategic Plan is there to help with all of this. It will provide a roadmap to guide you into the future, rising above day-to-day challenges and emergencies.