The Complete Guide to Writing a Strategic Plan

By Joe Weller | April 12, 2019 (updated February 22, 2024)

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Writing a strategic plan can be daunting, as the process includes many steps. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of writing a strategic plan, what to include, common challenges, and more.

Included on this page, you'll find details on what to include in a strategic plan , the importance of an executive summary , how to write a mission statement , how to write a vision statement , and more.

The Basics of Writing a Strategic Plan

The strategic planning process takes time, but the payoff is huge. If done correctly, your strategic plan will engage and align stakeholders around your company’s priorities.

Strategic planning, also called strategy development or analysis and assessment , requires attention to detail and should be performed by someone who can follow through on next steps and regular updates. Strategic plans are not static documents — they change as new circumstances arise, both internally and externally.

Before beginning the strategic planning process, it’s important to make sure you have buy-in from management, a board of directors, or other leaders. Without it, the process cannot succeed.

Next, gather your planning team. The group should include people from various departments at different levels, and the planning process should be an open, free discussion within the group. It’s important for leaders to get input from the group as a whole, but they don’t necessarily need approval from everyone — that will slow down the process.

The plan author is responsible for writing and putting the final plan together and should work with a smaller group of writers to establish and standardize the tone and style of the final document or presentation.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to hire an external party to help facilitate the strategic planning process.

John Bryson

“It often can be helpful to have a really good facilitator to organize and pursue strategic conversations,” says Professor John M. Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota and author of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement .

Byson says the facilitator can be in-house or external, but they need experience. “You need to make sure someone is good, so there needs to be a vetting process,” he says.

One way to gauge a facilitator’s experience is by asking how they conduct conversations. “It’s important for facilitators to lead by asking questions,” Bryson says.

Bryson says that strong facilitators often ask the following questions:

What is the situation we find ourselves in?

What do we do?

How do we do it?

How do we link our purposes to our capabilities?

The facilitators also need to be able to handle conflict and diffuse situations by separating idea generation from judgement. “Conflict is part of strategic planning,” Bryson admits. “[Facilitators] need to hold the conversations open long enough to get enough ideas out there to be able to make wise choices.”

These outside helpers are sometimes more effective than internal facilitators since they are not emotionally invested in the outcome of the process. Thus, they can concentrate on the process and ask difficult questions.

A strategic plan is a dynamic document or presentation that details your company’s present situation, outlines your future plans, and shows you how the company can get there. You can take many approaches to the process and consider differing ideas about what needs to go into it, but some general concepts stand.

“Strategic planning is a prompt or a facilitator for fostering strategic thinking, acting, and learning,” says Bryson. He explains that he often begins planning projects with three questions:

What do you want to do?

How are we going to do it?

What would happen if you did what you want to do?

The answers to these questions make up the meat of the planning document.

A strategic plan is only effective when the writing and thinking is clear, since the intent is to help an organization keep to its mission through programs and capacity, while also building stakeholder engagement.

Question 1: Where Are We Now?

The answer (or answers) to the first question — where are we now? — addresses the foundation of your organization, and it can serve as an outline for the following sections of your strategic plan:

Mission statement

Core values and guiding principles

Identification of competing organizations

Industry analysis (this can include a SWOT or PEST analysis)

Question 2: Where Are We Going?

The answers to this question help you identify your goals for the future of the business and assess whether your current trajectory is the future you want. These aspects of the plan outline a strategy for achieving success and can include the following:

Vision statement about what the company will look like in the future

What is happening (both internally and externally) and what needs to change

The factors necessary for success

Question 3: How Do We Get There?

The answers to this question help you outline the many routes you can take to achieve your vision and match your strengths with opportunities in the market. A Gantt chart can help you map out and keep track of these initiatives.

You should include the following sections:

Specific and measurable goals

An execution plan that identifies who manages and monitors the plan

An evaluation plan that shows how you plan to measure the successes and setbacks that come with implementation

What to Include in a Strategic Plan

Strategic planning terminology is not standardized throughout the industry, and this can lead to confusion. Instead, strategic planning experts use many names for the different sections of a strategic plan.

Denise McNerney

“The terms are all over the map. It’s really the concept of what the intention of the terms are [that is important],” says Denise McNerney, President and CEO of iBossWell, Inc. , and incoming president of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). She recommends coming up with a kind of glossary that defines the terms for your team. “One of the most important elements when you’re starting the strategic planning process is to get some clarity on the nomenclature. It’s just what works for your organization. Every organization is slightly different.”

No matter what terms you use, the general idea of a strategic plan is the same. “It’s like drawing a map for your company. One of the first steps is committing to a process, then determining how you’re going to do it,” McNerney explains.

She uses a basic diagram that she calls the strategic plan architecture . The areas above the red dotted line are the strategic parts of the plan. Below the red dotted line are the implementation pieces.

Strategic Plan Architecture

While the specific terminology varies, basic sections of a strategic plan include the following in roughly this order:

Executive summary

Elevator pitch or company description

Vision statement

Industry analysis

Marketing plan

Operations plan

Financial projections

Evaluation methods

Signature page

Some plans will contain all the above sections, but others will not — what you include depends on your organization’s structure and culture.

“I want to keep it simple, so organizations can be successful in achieving [the strategic plan],” McNerney explains. “Your plan has to be aligned with your culture and your culture needs to be aligned with your plan if you’re going to be successful in implementing it.”

The following checklist will help you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do.

Writing A Strategic Plan Section

‌ Download Strategic Plan Sections Checklist

How to Write a Strategic Plan

Once you’ve assembled your team and defined your terms, it’s time to formalize your ideas by writing the strategic plan. The plan may be in the form of a document, a presentation, or another format.

You can use many models and formats to create your strategic plan (read more about them in this article ). However, you will likely need to include some basic sections, regardless of the particular method you choose (even if the order and way you present them vary). In many cases, the sections of a strategic plan build on each other, so you may have to write them in order.

One tip: Try to avoid jargon and generic terms; for example, words like maximize and succeed lose their punch. Additionally, remember that there are many terms for the same object in strategic planning.

The following sections walk you through how to write common sections of a strategic plan.

How to Write an Executive Summary

The key to writing a strong executive summary is being clear and concise. Don’t feel pressured to put anything and everything into this section — executive summaries should only be about one to two pages long and include the main points of the strategic plan.

The idea is to pique the reader’s interest and get them to read the rest of the plan. Because it functions as a review of the entire document, write the executive summary after you complete the rest of your strategic plan.

Jim Stockmal

“If you have a plan that’s really lengthy, you should have a summary,” says Jim Stockmal, President of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). He always writes summaries last, after he has all the data and information he needs for the plan. He says it is easier to cut than to create something.

For more information about writing an effective executive summary, a checklist, and free templates, read this article .

If you want a one-page executive summary, this template can help you decide what information to include.

One-page Executive Summary Template

Download One-Page Executive Summary Template

Excel | Word | PDF

How to Write a Company Description

Also called an elevator pitch , the company description is a brief outline of your organization and what it does. It should be short enough that it can be read or heard during the average elevator ride.

The company description should include the history of your company, the major products and services you provide, and any highlights and accomplishments, and it should accomplish the following:

Define what you are as a company.

Describe what the company does.

Identify your ideal client and customer.

Highlight what makes your company unique.

While this may seem basic, the company description changes as your company grows and changes. For example, your ideal customer five years ago might not be the same as the current standard or the one you want in five years.

Share the company description with everyone in your organization. If employees cannot accurately articulate what you do to others, you might miss out on opportunities.

How to Write a Mission Statement

The mission statement explains what your business is trying to achieve. In addition to guiding your entire company, it also helps your employees make decisions that move them toward the company’s overall mission and goals.

“Ideally, [the mission statement is] something that describes what you’re about at the highest level,” McNerney says. “It’s the reason you exist or what you do.”

Strong mission statements can help differentiate your company from your competitors and keep you on track toward your goals. It can also function as a type of tagline for your organization.

Mission statements should do the following:

Define your company’s purpose. Say what you do, who you do it for, and why it is valuable.

Use specific and easy-to-understand language.

Be inspirational while remaining realistic.

Be short and succinct.

This is your chance to define the way your company will make decisions based on goals, culture, and ethics. Mission statements should not be vague or generic, and they should set your business apart from others. If your mission statement could define many companies in your line of work, it is not a good mission statement.

Mission statements don’t have to be only outward-facing for customers or partners. In fact, it is also possible to include what your company does for its employees in your mission statement.

Unlike other parts of your strategic plan that are designed to be reviewed and edited periodically, your company’s mission statement should live as is for a while.

That said, make the effort to edit and refine your mission statement. Take out jargon like world class, best possible, state of the art, maximize, succeed , and so on, and cut vague or unspecific phrasing. Then let your strategic planning committee review it.

How to Write a Vision Statement

Every action your company does contributes to its vision. The vision statement explains what your company wants to achieve in the long term and can help inspire and align your team.

“The vision is the highest-ordered statement of the desired future or state of what you want your business to achieve,” McNerney explains.

A clear vision statement can help all stakeholders understand the meaning and purpose of your company. It should encourage and inspire employees while setting your company’s direction. It also helps you rule out elements that might not align with your vision.

Vision statements should be short (a few sentences). They should also be memorable, specific, and ambitious. But there is a fine line between being ambitious and creating a fantasy. The vision should be clearly attainable if you follow the goals and objectives you outline later in your strategic planning plan.

Because you need to know your company’s goals and objectives to create an accurate vision statement, you might need to wait until you have more information about the company’s direction to write your vision statement.

Below are questions to ask your team as you craft your vision statement:

What impact do we want to have on our community and industry?

How will we interact with others as a company?

What is the culture of the business?

Avoid broad statements that could apply to any company or industry. For example, phrases like “delivering a wonderful experience” could apply to many industries. Write in the present tense, avoid jargon, and be clear and concise.

Vision statements should accomplish the following:

Be inspiring.

Focus on success.

Look at and project about five to 10 years ahead.

Stay in line with the goals and values of your organization.

Once you write your vision statement, communicate it to everyone in your company. Your team should be able to easily understand and repeat the company’s vision statement. Remember, the statements can change as the environment in and around your company changes.

The Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements

Mission and vision statements are both important, but they serve very different purposes.

Mission statements show why a business exists, while vision statements are meant to inspire and provide direction. Mission statements are about the present, and vision statements are about the future. The mission provides items to act upon, and the vision offers goals to aspire to.

For example, if a vision statement is “No child goes to bed hungry,” the accompanying mission would be to provide food banks within the city limits.

While many organizations have both mission and vision statements, it’s not imperative. “Not everyone has a vision statement,” McNerney says. “Some organizations just have one.”

If you choose to have only one statement, McNerney offers some advice: “Any statement you have, if you have just one, needs to include what [you do], how [you do it], why [you do it], and who you do it for.”

During the planning process, these key statements might change. “Early on in the process, you need to talk about what you are doing and why and how you are doing it. Sometimes you think you know where you want to go, but you’re not really sure,” McNerney says. “You need to have flexibility both on the plan content and in the process.”

How to Write Your Company’s Core Values

Company core values , sometimes called organizational values , help you understand what drives the company to do what it does. In this section, you’ll learn a lot about your company and the people who work with you. It should be relatively easy to write.

“The values are the core of how you operate [and] how you treat your people, both internally and externally. Values describe the behaviors you really want to advance,” McNerney says.

There are both internal and external values looking at your employees and coworkers, as well as customers and outside stakeholders. Pinpointing values will help you figure out the traits of the people you want to hire and promote, as well as the qualities you’re looking for in your customers.

Your values should align with your vision statement and highlight your strengths while mitigating weaknesses. McNerney says many organizations do not really consider or are not honest about their company’s values when working on strategic plans, which can lead to failure.

“Your strategies have to align with your values and vice versa,” she explains.

Many companies’ values sound like meaningless jargon, so take the time to figure out what matters to your company and push beyond generic language.

How to Write about Your Industry

When planning ahead for your business, it’s important to look around. How are matters inside your company? What are your competitors doing? Who are your target customers?

“[If you don’t do a thorough industry analysis], you’re doing your planning with your head in the sand. If you’re not looking at the world around you, you’re missing a whole dimension about what should inform your decision making,” McNerney advises.

Writing about your industry helps you identify new opportunities for growth and shows you how you need to change in order to take advantage of those opportunities. Identify your key competitors, and define what you see as their strengths and weaknesses. Performing this analysis will help you figure out what you do best and how you compare to your competition. Once you know what you do well, you can exploit your strengths to your advantage.

In this section, also include your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. You can choose from many templates to help you write this section.

Next, identify your target customers. Think about what they want and need, as well as how you can provide it. Do your competitors attract your target customers, or do you have a niche that sets you apart?

The industry analysis carries a price, but also provides many benefits. “It takes some time and money to do [a thorough industry analysis], but the lack of that understanding says a lot about the future of your organization. If you don’t know what is going on around you, how can you stay competitive?” explains McNerney.

How to Write Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

This section is the bulk of your strategic plan. Many people confuse goals and objectives, thinking the terms are interchangeable, but many argue that the two are distinct. You can think of them this way:

Goals : Goals are broad statements about what you want to achieve as a company, and they’re usually qualitative. They function as a description of where you want to go, and they can address both the short and long term.

Objectives : Objectives support goals, and they’re usually quantitative and measurable. They describe how you will measure the progress needed to arrive at the destination you outlined in the goal. More than one objective can support one goal.

For example, if your goal is to achieve success as a strategic planner, your objective would be to write all sections of the strategic plan in one month.

iBossWell, Inc.’s McNerney reiterates that there are not hard and fast definitions for the terms goals and objectives , as well as many other strategic planning concepts. “I wouldn’t attempt to put a definition to the terms. You hear the terms goals and objectives a lot, but they mean different things to different people. What some people call a goal , others call an objective . What some people call an objective , others would call a KPI. ” They key, she explains, is to decide what the terms mean in your organization, explain the definitions to key stakeholders, and stick to those definitions.

How to Write Goals

Goals form the basis of your strategic plan. They set out your priorities and initiatives, and therefore are critical elements and define what your plan will accomplish. Some planning specialists use the term strategic objectives or strategic priorities when referring to goals, but for clarity, this article will use the term goals.

“[Goals] are the higher level that contain several statements about what your priorities are,” McNerney explains. They are often near the top of your plan’s hierarchy.

Each goal should reflect something you uncovered during the analysis phase of your strategic planning process. Goals should be precise and concise statements, not long narratives. For example, your goals might be the following:

Eliminate case backlog.

Lower production costs.

Increase total revenue.

Each goal should have a stated outcome and a deadline. Think of goal writing as a formula: Action + detail of the action + a measurable metric + a deadline = goal. For example, your goal might be: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020.

Another way to look at it: Verb (action) + adjective (description) = noun (result). An example goal: Increase website fundraising.

Your goals should strike a balance between being aspirational and tangible. You want to stretch your limits, but not make them too difficult to reach. Your entire organization and stakeholders should be able to remember and understand your goals.

Think about goals with varying lengths. Some should go out five to 10 years, others will be shorter — some significantly so. Some goals might even be quarterly, monthly, or weekly. But be careful to not create too many goals. Focus on the ones that allow you to zero in on what is critical for your company’s success. Remember, several objectives and action steps will likely come from each goal.

How to Write Objectives

Objectives are the turn-by-turn directions of how to achieve your goals. They are set in statement and purpose with no ambiguity about whether you achieve them or not.

Your goals are where you want to go. Next, you have to determine how to get there, via a few different objectives that support each goal. Note that objectives can cover several areas.

“You need implementation elements of the plan to be successful,” McNerney says, adding that some people refer to objectives as tactics , actions , and many other terms.

Objectives often begin with the words increase or decrease because they are quantifiable and measurable. You will know when you achieve an objective. They are action items, often with start and end dates.

Use the goal example from earlier: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020. In this example, your objectives could be:

Approach three new possible clients each month.

Promote the three key product areas on the website and in email newsletters.

Think of the acronym SMART when writing objectives: Make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound.

Breaking down the process further, some strategic planners use the terms strategies and tactics to label ways to achieve objectives. Using these terms, strategies describe an approach or method you will use to achieve an objective. A tactic is a specific activity or project that achieves the strategy, which, in turn, helps achieve the objective.

How to Write about Capacity, Operations Plans, Marketing Plans, and Financial Plans

After you come up with your goals and objectives, you need to figure out who will do what, how you will market what they do, and how you will pay for what you need to do.

“If you choose to shortchange the process [and not talk about capacity and finances], you need to know what the consequences will be,” explains McNerney. “If you do not consider the additional costs or revenues your plan is going to drive, you may be creating a plan you cannot implement.”

To achieve all the goals outlined in your strategic plan, you need the right people in place. Include a section in your strategic plan where you talk about the capacity of your organization. Do you have the team members to accomplish the objectives you have outlined in order to reach your goals? If not, you may need to hire personnel.

The operations plan maps out your initiatives and shows you who is going to do what, when, and how. This helps transform your goals and objectives into a reality. A summary of it should go into your strategic plan. If you need assistance writing a comprehensive implementation plan for your organization, this article can guide you through the process.

A marketing plan describes how you attract prospects and convert them into customers. You don’t need to include the entire marketing plan in your strategic plan, but you might want to include a summary. For more information about writing marketing plans, this article can help.

Then there are finances. We would all like to accomplish every goal, but sometimes we do not have enough money to do so. A financial plan can help you set your priorities. Check out these templates to help you get started with a financial plan.

How to Write Performance Indicators

In order to know if you are reaching the goals you outline in your strategic plan, you need performance indicators. These indicators will show you what success looks like and ensure accountability. Sadly, strategic plans have a tendency to fail when nobody periodically assesses progress.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) can show you how your business is progressing. KPIs can be both financial and nonfinancial measures that help you chart your progress and take corrective measures if actions are not unfolding as they should. Other terms similar to KPIs include performance measures and performance indicators .

Performance indicators are not always financial, but they must be quantifiable. For example, tracking visitors to a website, customers completing a contact form, or the number of proposals that close with deals are all performance indicators that keep you on track toward achieving your goals.

When writing your performance indicators, pay attention to the following:

Define how often you need to report results.

Every KPI must have some sort of measure.

List a measure and a time period.

Note the data source where you will get your information to measure and track.

ASP’s Stockmal has some questions for you to ask yourself about picking performance indicators.

Are you in control of the performance measure?

Does the performance measure support the strategic outcomes?

Is it feasible?

Is data available?

Who is collecting that data, and how will they do it?

Is the data timely?

Is it cost-effective to collect that data?

ls the goal quantifiable, and can you measure it over time?

Are your targets realistic and time-bound?

Stockmal also says performance indicators cannot focus on only one thing at the detriment of another. “Don’t lose what makes you good,” he says. He adds that focusing on one KPI can hurt other areas of a company’s performance, so reaching a goal can be short-sided.

Some performance indicators can go into your strategic plan, but you might want to set other goals for your organization. A KPI dashboard can help you set up and track your performance and for more information about setting up a KPI dashboard, this article can help.

Communicating Your Strategic Plan

While writing your strategic plan, you should think about how to share it. A plan is no good if it sits on a shelf and nobody reads it.

Stefan Hofmeyer

“After the meetings are over, you have to turn your strategy into action,” says Stefan Hofmeyer, an experienced strategist and co-founder of Global PMI Partners . “Get in front of employees and present the plan [to get everyone involved].” Hofmeyer explains his research has shown that people stay with companies not always because of money, but often because they buy into the organization’s vision and want to play a part in helping it get where it wants to go. “These are the people you want to keep because they are invested,” he says.

Decide who should get a physical copy of the entire plan. This could include management, the board of directors, owners, and more. Do your best to keep it from your competitors. If you distribute it outside of your company, you might want to attach a confidentiality waiver.

You can communicate your plan to stakeholders in the following ways:

Hold a meeting to present the plan in person.

Highlight the plan in a company newsletter.

Include the plan in new employee onboarding.

Post the plan on the employee intranet, along with key highlights and a way to track progress.

If you hold a meeting, make sure you and other key planners are prepared to handle the feedback and discussion that will arise. You should be able to defend your plan and reinforce its key areas. The goal of the plan’s distribution is to make sure everyone understands their role in making the plan successful.

Remind people of your company’s mission, vision, and values to reinforce their importance. You can use posters or other visual methods to post around the office. The more that people feel they play an important part in the organization’s success, they more successful you will be in reaching your goals of your strategic plan.

Challenges in Writing a Strategic Plan

As mentioned, strategic planning is a process and involves a team. As with any team activity, there will be challenges.

Sometimes the consensus can take priority over what is clear. Peer pressure can be a strong force, especially if a boss or other manager is the one making suggestions and people feel pressured to conform. Some people might feel reluctant to give any input because they do not think it matters to the person who ultimately decides what goes into the plan.

Team troubles can also occur when one or more members does not think the plan is important or does not buy into the process. Team leaders need to take care of these troubles before they get out of hand.

Pay attention to your company culture and the readiness you have as a group, and adapt the planning process to fit accordingly. You need to find the balance between the process and the final product.

The planning process takes time. Many organizations do not give themselves enough time to plan properly, and once you finish planning, writing the document or presentation also takes time, as does implementation. Don’t plan so much that you ignore how you are going to put the plan into action. One symptom of this is not aligning the plan to fit the capacity or finances of the company.

Stockmal explains that many organizations often focus too much on the future and reaching their goals that they forget what made them a strong company in the first place. Business architecture is important, which Stockmal says is “building the capabilities the organization needs to fulfill its strategy.” He adds that nothing happens if there is no budget workers to do the work necessary to drive change.

Be careful with the information you gather. Do not take shortcuts in the research phase — that will lead to bad information coming out further in the process. Also, do not ignore negative information you may learn. Overcoming adversity is one way for companies to grow.

Be wary of cutting and pasting either from plans from past years or from other similar organizations. Every company is unique.

And while this may sound obvious, do not ignore what your planning process tells you. Your research might show you should not go in a direction you might want to.

Writing Different Types of Strategic Plans

The strategic planning process will differ based on your organization, but the basic concepts will stay the same. Whether you are a nonprofit, a school, or a for-profit entity, strategic plans will look at where you are and how you will get to where you want to go.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Nonprofit

For a nonprofit, the strategic plan’s purpose is mainly how to best advance the mission. It’s imperative to make sure the mission statement accurately fits the organization.

In addition to a SWOT analysis and other sections that go into any strategic plan, a nonprofit needs to keep an eye on changing factors, such as funding. Some funding sources have finite beginnings and endings. Strategic planning is often continuous for nonprofits.

A nonprofit has to make the community care about its cause. In a for-profit organization, the marketing department works to promote the company’s product or services to bring in new revenue. For a nonprofit, however, conveying that message needs to be part of the strategic plan.

Coming up with an evaluation method and KPIs can sometimes be difficult for a nonprofit, since they are often focused on goals other than financial gain. For example, a substance abuse prevention coalition is trying to keep teens from starting to drink or use drugs, and proving the coalition’s methods work is often difficult to quantify.

This template can help you visually outline your strategic plan for your nonprofit.

Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Download Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Excel | Smartsheet

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a School

Writing a strategic plan for a school can be difficult because of the variety of stakeholders involved, including students, teachers, other staff, and parents.

Strategic planning in a school is different from others because there are no markets to explore, products to produce, clients to woo, or adjustable timelines. Schools often have set boundaries, missions, and budgets.

Even with the differences, the same planning process and structure should be in place for schools as it is for other types of organizations.

This template can help your university or school outline your strategic plan.

University Strategic Plan Outline Word Template

‌ ‌Download University Strategic Plan Outline – Word

How to Write a 5-Year Strategic Plan

There is no set time period for a strategic plan, but five years can be a sweet spot. In some cases, yearly planning might keep you continually stuck in the planning process, while 10 years might be too far out.

In addition to the basic sections that go into any strategic plan, when forecasting five years into the future, put one- and three-year checkpoints into the plan so you can track progress intermittently.

How to Write a 3-Year Strategic Plan

While five years is often the strategic planning sweet spot, some organizations choose to create three-year plans. Looking too far ahead can be daunting, especially for a new or changing company.

In a three-year plan, the goals and objectives have a shorter timeframe and you need to monitor them more frequently. Build those checkpoints into the plan.

“Most organizations do a three- to five-year plan now because they recognize the technology and the changes in business that are pretty dynamic now,” Stockmal says.

How to Write a Departmental Strategic Plan

The first step in writing a strategic plan for your department is to pay attention to your company’s overall strategic plan. You want to make sure the plans align.

The steps in creating a plan for a department are the same as for an overall strategic plan, but the mission statement, vision, SWOT analysis, goals, objectives, and so on are specific to only the people in your department. Look at each person separately and consider their core competencies, strengths, capabilities, and weaknesses. Assign people who will be responsible for certain tasks and tactics necessary to achieve your goals.

If you have access to a plan from a previous year, see how your department did in meeting its goals. Adjust the new plan accordingly.

When you finish your departmental plan, make sure to submit it to whomever is responsible for your company’s overall plan. Expect to make changes.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Project

A strategic plan is for the big picture, not for a particular project for an organization. Instead of a strategic plan, this area would fall under project management.

If you have a failing project and need to turn it around, this article might help.

How to Write a Personal Strategic Plan

Creating a strategic plan isn’t only for businesses. You can also create a strategic plan to help guide both your professional and personal life. The key is to include what is important to you. This process takes time and reflection.

Be prepared for what you discover about yourself. Because you will be looking at your strengths and weaknesses, you might see things you do not like. It is important to be honest with yourself. A SWOT analysis on yourself will give you some honest feedback if you let it.

Begin with looking at your life as it is now. Are you satisfied? What do you want to do more or less? What do you value most in your life? Go deeper than saying family, happiness, and health. This exercise will help you clarify your values.

Once you know what is important to you, come up with a personal mission statement that reflects the values you cherish. As it does within a business, this statement will help guide you in making future decisions. If something does not fit within your personal mission, you shouldn’t do it.

Using the information you discovered during your SWOT and mission statement process, come up with goals that align with your values. The goals can be broad, but don’t forget to include action items and timeframes to help you reach your goals.

As for the evaluation portion, identify how you will keep yourself accountable and on track. You might involve a person to remind you about your plan, calendar reminders, small rewards when you achieve a goal, or another method that works for you.

Below is additional advice for personal strategic plans:

There are things you can control and things you cannot. Keep your focus on what you can act on.

Look at the positive instead of what you will give up. For example, instead of focusing on losing weight, concentrate on being healthier.

Do not overcommit, and do not ignore the little details that help you reach your goals.

No matter what, do not dwell on setbacks and remember to celebrate successes.

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The last business strategy template you’ll ever need

business strategic plan sample

If you don’t know where you’re going, then the road you take doesn’t really matter. While wandering is fine for adventures, it’s far from ideal for starting a business or turning a struggling one around. A high-level strategy can help you build some much-needed momentum — and with the right business strategy template , you can ride into the unknown with confidence.

In this article, we’ll get to the core of what a business strategy template is and why you need one. We’ll also explore how monday.com can help you on your journey and answer a few frequently asked questions along the way.

Get the template

What is a business strategy template?

If you want to truly capitalize on a business opportunity, you have to have a strategy. And not just any strategy will work either. It needs to be a strategy you can pull off with your budget, human resources, timeline, and experience. Let’s quickly define strategy.

A s trategy is a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period and can be used to drive the success of either a product or service.

A business strategy template acts as a fill-in-the-blank resource that’ll guide you when creating your own winning business strategy. A great one will outline a wide range of factors such as your marketing strategy, go-to market strategy, tools, product-market fit, team dynamic, strategic goals, competitive analysis, and more.

Why use a business strategy template?

You may have heard about a landmark study performed in the ‘80s where a team of psychologists surveyed people, asking if they believed they were great drivers. Naturally, 80% of them believed they were exceptional drivers.

Download Excel template

It’s a funny study because we all know 80% of drivers aren’t exceptional. The same could be said for both small and big business strategies. Very few people would openly admit to having a bad business strategy. A little strategic planning goes a long way when capitalizing on limited key resources, figuring out the key action items your team needs to focus on, and developing some serious business growth in a short period of time.

Using a template can help ensure that you include all the necessary information in your business strategy. In short, it should include everything you need to launch a successful go-to-market strategy and leave room for error and unforeseen events.

If you’re an existing business that needs to pivot or avoid some potential risks, then a fresh business strategy template could be the answer to getting you back on track. Sure, it may be time-consuming and expensive to switch gears, but your investors, staff, and most importantly, your customers will thank you when you get it right. Business strategy templates have many different applications.

What are some examples of a business strategy template?

So how do you go from no business strategy to a brilliant one using a template? Let’s take a look at two business strategy example templates to help you get started.

Business strategy template sorted by phases

This business strategy template breaks up your strategy into different phases. This is helpful because it allows you to picture how your plans progress over time. Within each phase, you can insert information related to different areas of your business. Then, you can also include major objectives at the bottom and mission statement at the top.

Example of a business strategy template separated into different phases

( Image Source )

Business strategy template sorted by primary and support activities

This business strategy template example organizes information by primary and support activities. This is helpful if you want to be able to clearly understand how each department in your company contributes to your business strategy.

Example of a corporate strategy template sorted into primary and support activities

While these two template examples help show you the value of organizing the information that goes into a business strategy, they lack the flexibility and integration that you get from monday.com’s business strategy template.

monday.com’s business strategy template

Unless you’re Google or Apple, you’re probably working with a finite amount of resources . Like any other business, you’re going to need a helping hand once in a while, and that’s where the right business strategy template comes into play.

business strategic plan sample

Here at monday.com, we know how important it is to get your strategy right from the beginning, so we took the liberty of crafting a handy template that’ll boost your confidence and speed things up a bit.

monday.com understands that an iron-clad business strategy isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ deal. It’s a living, breathing process that needs to remain flexible as your business grows, the competitive landscape changes, and your customer’s needs fluctuate.

You can easily change the columns, swap out section owners, change the status, communicate on specific items, and even set up automations like email triggers and phase advancements. There’s a lot you can do to put this template to work for you rather than letting it collect dust like most programs do.

monday.com takes customization to the next level by offering you a wide array of custom columns, charts, dashboards, and integrations. And the automation actively takes work off your plate and keeps all parties in the know when it matters most.

monday.com’s template makes it easy to build a business strategy by keeping your company’s goals visible at all times. While a business plan or business strategy is necessary for high-level and long-term planning, you’re still going to need some more specific templates to get the job done right.

More related templates from monday.com

Check out a few related templates that are sure to kickstart your next project .

SWOT analysis template

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. At its core, a SWOT analysis helps organizations bring clarity to all the factors that go into making key business decisions. Sure, you can continue to make decisions in a silo without thinking about your customers, competitors, or economic factors, and sometimes you’ll make the right call. But a better long-term play is taking those key factors into account.

monday.com SWOT template

A SWOT analysis template complements a business strategy template because it goes a layer deeper. Most companies take the time to factor their strengths and opportunities into their strategic vision, but a lot of them skip over the weaknesses and threats part.

Strategic plan template

There are a lot of words thrown around in the business world that begin to feel synonymous over time. Business plan, business goal, business strategy, strategic plan, and all the other plans all start to sound the same. Believe it or not, there are some key differences.

A business plan and strategic plan template will both include an executive summary , company descriptions, and even mission, vision, and value statements. Where a business plan differs is that it’s an overview of how the business runs day-to-day, while a strategic plan focuses on how you’ll achieve specific initiatives that have the power to transform your business. In short, every company should spend time developing a strategic plan for their project management office (PMO) .

Marketing plan template

Marketing strategies are a dime a dozen, and so are marketing strategy templates. So how can you tell which one is worthwhile? Yet again, it’s the engine behind the marketing plan template that makes the difference.

marketing plan template

monday.com amplifies your marketing plan by providing a visually appealing board (as shown above), complete customization across your marketing plan columns, and the ability to communicate in real-time with your staff about important initiatives, company updates, or changes to your product or service.

FAQs about business strategy templates

Naturally, with any business process comes a lot of questions, and to help you on your journey, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

How do you write a business strategy?

Any writing endeavor begins by asking basic questions and coming up with answers. Good starting points (beyond the templates offered here) include:

  • Where are we today?
  • What direction are we heading?
  • Is that the right path?
  • How do we know if it’s the right path?
  • What are our strategic objectives?
  • What are our tactical plans?

As you answer these questions, try to be as specific as possible. And don’t forget to take your competitors into account.

What are the key elements of a business strategy?

Key elements of a business strategy will vary depending on the type of business you’re starting, the competitive landscape, and many other factors. That being said, there are a few that are universal, such as:

  • what your goals are and the corresponding objectives that’ll get you there
  • a reflection of not only your strengths but your weaknesses as a company
  • potential risks such as competitors, economic factors, law changes, and more
  • how you’ll create value for your customers
  • how you’ll get the word out about your product or service
  • contingency plans for if things don’t go as expected

As you can see, the key elements really break down what it is you want to do, how you’ll get there, what makes you different, and what you’ll do if things don’t go according to plan.

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Sample strategic plans, strategy is more than simply achieving business goals. it creates clarity, alignment and organization-wide engagement. we’ve assembled a handful of sample strategic plans. some are from our clients. others are just examples. all of them reflect good general guidelines and structure, which can be incorporated into your own strategy design., for profit sample strategic plans, these sample plans are based on a fictional organization. the information for our business clients is confidential..

business strategic plan sample

One-Page Strategic Plan

An easy-to-read, full-color overview to help everyone visualize the complete strategy.

business strategic plan sample

Company Strategic Plan

A summary of your strategic plan with strategic objectives, goals and action items.

business strategic plan sample

Department Strategic Plan

business strategic plan sample

Company SWOT

An assessment of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

business strategic plan sample

Department Action Plan

A quick-hit summary of progress against goals and action items. Great for use at strategy reviews.

business strategic plan sample

Individual Action Plan

business strategic plan sample

Team Member Performance Review

Use this action plan as a performance review sheet for periodic staff reviews.

Non-Profit Sample Strategic Plans

These sample plans are deliverables for north slope borough school district. this is public information and is shareable..

business strategic plan sample

School One-Page Strategic Plan

business strategic plan sample

School Full Strategic Plan

business strategic plan sample

School Strategic Plan with Progress

business strategic plan sample

Church Sample Strategic Plans

business strategic plan sample

Church One-Page Strategic Plan

business strategic plan sample

Church Full Strategic Plan

business strategic plan sample

Church One-Click Strategic Plan

A comprehensive report from mission through action items & includes SWOT, scorecard, roadmap & budget.

business strategic plan sample

Church Roadmap

A summary of high-level goals broken out by year according to the dates established during goal.

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How To Write A Strategic Plan That Gets Results + Examples

business strategic plan sample

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the thought of writing a strategic plan for your business? Do you want to create a plan that will help you move your team forward with inspired alignment and disciplined execution? You're not alone.

Gone are the days of rigid, 5- or 10-year planning cycles that do not leave room for flexibility and innovation. To stay ahead of the curve, you need a dynamic and execution-ready strategic plan that can guide your business through the ever-evolving landscape.

At Cascade, we understand that writing a strategic plan can be dreadful, especially in today's unpredictable environment. That's why we've developed a simple model that can help you create a clear, actionable plan to achieve your organization's goals. With our tested and proven strategic planning template , you can write a strategic plan that is both adaptable and effective .

Whether you're a seasoned strategy professional or a fresh strategy planner, this guide will walk you through the process step-by-step on how to write a strategic plan. By the end, you'll have a comprehensive, easy-to-follow strategic plan that will help you align your organization on the path to success.

#1 Strategy Execution Platform Don't plan to fail.  Break down the complexity of your plans from high-level initiative to  executable outcome.   Learn how. Book a demo!

Follow this guide step-by-step or skip to the part you’re most interested in: 

  • Pre-Planning Phase: Build The Foundation

Cascade Model For Strategic Planning: What You Need To Know

  • Key Elements of a Strategic Plan

How To Write A Strategic Plan In 6 Simple Steps

3 strategic plan examples to get you started, how to achieve organizational alignment with your strategic plan.

  • Quick Overview of Key Steps In Writing A Strategic Plan

Create An Execution-Ready Strategic Plan With Cascade 🚀

*Editor’s note: This article is part of our ‘How to create a Strategy’ collection. At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to each piece within this collection so you can dig deeper into each element of an effective strategic plan and more related resources to master strategy execution.

Pre-Planning Phase: Build The Foundation 

Before we dive into writing a strategic plan, it's essential to know the basics you should cover before the planning phase. The pre-planning phase is where you'll begin to gather the data and strategic insights necessary to create an effective strategic plan.

1. Run a strategic planning workshop

The first step is to run a strategic planning workshop with your team. Get your team in the room, get their data, and gather their insights. By running this workshop, you'll foster collaboration and bring fresh perspectives to the table. And that’s not all. 

The process of co-creating and collaborating to put that plan together with stakeholders is one of the most critical factors in strategy execution . According to McKinsey’s research , initiatives in which employees contribute to development are 3.4 times more likely to be successful. They feel like the plan is a result of their efforts, and they feel ownership of it, so they're more likely to execute it. 

💡 Tip: Use strategy frameworks to structure your strategy development sessions, such as GAP analysis , SWOT analysis , Porter’s Five Forces , Ansoff matrix , McKinsey 7S model , or GE matrix . You can even apply the risk matrix that will help you align and decide on key strategic priorities.

2. Choose your strategic planning model

Before creating your strategic plan, you need to decide which structure you will use. There are hundreds of ways to structure a strategic plan. You’ve likely heard of famous strategic models such as OKRs and the Balanced Scorecard .

But beyond the well-known ones, there's also a myriad of other strategic planning models ranging from the extremely simple to the absurdly complex.

Many strategic models work reasonably well on paper, but in reality, they don't show you how to write a strategic plan that fits your organization's needs.

Here are some common weaknesses most popular strategic models have:

  • They're too complicated. People get lost in terminology rather than focus on execution.
  • They don’t scale. They work well for small organizations but fail when you try to extend them across multiple teams.
  • They're too rigid. They force people to add layers for the sake of adding layers.
  • They're neither tangible nor measurable. They’re great at stating outcomes but lousy at helping you measure success.
  • They're not adaptable. As we saw in the last years, the business environment can change quickly. Your model needs to be able to work in your current situation and adapt to changing economic landscapes.

Our goal in this article is to give you a simpler, more effective way to write a strategic plan. This is a tested and proven strategic planning model that has been refined over years of working with +20,000 teams around the world. We call it the Cascade Strategy Model.

This approach has proven to be more effective than any other model we have tried when it comes to executing and implementing the strategy .

It’s easy to use and it works for small businesses, fast-growing startups, as well as multinationals trying to figure out how to write a fail-proof strategic plan.

We’ve created a simple diagram below to illustrate what a strategic plan following the Cascade Model will look like when it's completed:

The Cascade Model for strategic planning and execution

Rather than a traditional roadmap , imagine your strategy as a flowchart. Each row is a mandatory step before moving on to the next.

We call our platform  Cascade for a reason: strategy must cascade throughout an organization along with values, focus areas, and objectives.

Above all, the Cascade Model is intended to be execution-ready —in other words, it has been proven to deliver success far beyond strategic planning. It adds to a successful strategic management process.Key elements of a Strategic Plan

Key Elements Of A Strategic Plan

The key elements of a strategic plan include: 

  • Vision : Where do you want to get to? 
  • Values : How will you behave on the journey? 
  • Focus Areas : What are going to be your strategic priorities? 
  • Strategic objectives : What do you want to achieve? 
  • Actions and projects : How are you going to achieve the objectives? 
  • KPIs : How will you measure success?

In this part of the article, we will give you an overview of each element within the Cascade Model. You can follow this step-by-step process in a spreadsheet , or sign up to get instant access to a free Cascade strategic planning template and follow along as we cover the key elements of an effective strategic plan.

Your vision statement is your organization's anchor - it defines where you want to get to and is the executive summary of your organization's purpose. Without it, your strategic plan is like a boat without a rudder, at the mercy of strong winds and currents like Covid and global supply chain disruptions.

A good vision statement can help funnel your strategy towards long-term goals that matter the most to your organization, and everything you write in your plan from this point on will help you get closer to achieving your vision.

Trying to do too much at once is a surefire way to sink your strategic plan. By creating a clear and inspiring vision statement , you can avoid this trap and provide guidance and inspiration for your team. A great vision statement might even help attract talent and investment into your organization.

For example, a bike manufacturing company might have a vision statement like, “To be the premier bike manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest.” This statement clearly articulates the organization's goals and is a powerful motivator for the team.

In short, don't start your strategic plan without a clear vision statement. It will keep your organization focused and help you navigate toward success.

📚 Recommended read: How to Write a Vision Statement (With Examples, Tips, and Formulas)

Values are the enablers of your vision statement —they represent how your organization will behave as you work towards your strategic goals. Unfortunately, many companies throw around meaningless words just for the purpose of PR, leading to a loss of credibility.

To avoid this, make sure to integrate your organization’s core values into everyday operations and interactions. In today's highly-competitive world, it's crucial to remain steadfast in your values and cultivate an organizational culture that's transparent and trustworthy.

Companies with the best company cultures consistently outperform competitors and their average market by up to 115.6%, as reported by Glassdoor . 

For example, a bike manufacturing company might have core values like:

  • Accountability

These values reflect the organization's desire to become the leading bike manufacturer, while still being accountable to employees, customers, and shareholders.

👉 Here’s how to add vision and values to your strategic plan in Cascade: 

After you sign up and invite your team members to collaborate on the plan, navigate to Plans and Teams > Teams page, and add the vision, mission and values. This will help you to ensure that the company’s vision, mission statement, and values are always at top of mind for everyone.

📚When you're ready to start creating some company values, check out our guide, How To Create Company Values .

3. Focus Areas

Your focus areas are the strategic priorities that will keep your team on track and working toward the company’s mission and vision. They represent the high-level areas that you need to focus on to achieve desired business outcomes.

In fact, companies with clearly defined priorities are more likely to achieve their objectives. According to a case study by the Harvard Business Review , teams that focus on a small number of key initiatives are more likely to succeed than those that try to do too much. 

That’s also something that we usually recommend to our customers when they set up their strategic plan in Cascade. Rather than spreading your resources too thin over multiple focus areas, prioritize three to five. 

Following our manufacturing example above, some good focus areas include:

  • Aggressive growth
  • Producing the nation's best bikes
  • Becoming a modern manufacturer
  • Becoming a top place to work

Your focus areas should be tighter in scope than your vision statement, but broader than specific goals, time frames, or metrics. 

By defining your focus areas, you'll give your teams a guardrail to work within, which can help inspire innovation and creative problem-solving. 

With a clear set of focus areas, your team will be better able to prioritize their work and stay focused on the most important things, which will ultimately lead to better business results.

👉Here’s how you can set focus areas in Cascade: 

In Cascade, you can add focus areas while creating or importing an existing strategic plan from a spreadsheet. With Cascade’s Focus Area deep-dive functionality , you will be able to: 

  • Review the health of your focus areas in one place.
  • Get a breakdown by plans, budgets, resources, and people behind each strategic priority. 
  • See something at-risk? Drill down into each piece of work regardless of how many plans it's a part of.

add focus areas in cascade strategy execution platform

📚 Recommended read: Strategic Focus Areas: How to create them + Examples

4. Strategic Objectives

The importance of setting clear and specific objectives for your strategic plan cannot be overstated. 

Strategic objectives are the specific and measurable outcomes you want to achieve . While they should align with your focus areas, they should be more detailed and have a clear deadline. 

According to the 2022 State of High Performing Teams report , there is a strong correlation between goals and success not only at the individual and team level but also at the organizational level. Here’s what they found: 

  • Employees who are unaware of their company's goals are over three times more likely to work at a company that is experiencing a decline in revenue than employees who are aware of the goals. 
  • Companies with shrinking revenues are almost twice as likely to have employees with unclear work expectations. 

Jumping straight into actions without defining clear objectives is a common mistake that can lead to missed opportunities or misalignment between strategy and execution.

To avoid this pitfall, we recommend you add between three and six objectives to each focus area .

It's here that we need to start being a bit more specific for the first time in your strategic planning process . Let's take a look at an example of a well-written strategic objective:

  • Continue top-line growth that outpaces the industry by 31st Dec 2023.

This is too specific to be a focus area. While it's still very high level, it indicates what the company wants to accomplish and includes a clear deadline. Both these aspects are critical to a good strategic objective.

Your strategic objectives are the heart and soul of your plan, and you need to ensure they are well-crafted. So, take the time to create well-planned objectives that will help you achieve your vision and lead your organization to success. 

👉Here’s how you can set objectives in Cascade: 

Adding objectives in Cascade is intuitive, straightforward, and accessible from almost anywhere in the workspace. With one click, you’ll open the objective sidebar and fill out the details. These can include a timeline, the objective’s owner, collaborators, and how your objective will be measured (success criteria).

📚 Recommended read: What are Strategic Objectives? How to write them + Examples

5. Actions and projects

Once you’ve defined your strategic objectives, the next step is to identify the specific strategic initiatives or projects that will help you achieve those objectives . They are short-term goals or actionable steps you or your team members will take to accomplish objectives. They should leverage the company’s resources and core competencies. 

Effective projects and actions in your strategic plan should: 

  • Be extremely specific. 
  • Contain a deadline.
  • Have an owner.
  • Align with at least one of your strategic objectives.
  • Provide clarity on how you or your team will achieve the strategic objective.

Let's take a look at an example of a well-written project continuing with our bike manufacturing company using the strategic objective from above:

Strategic objective: Continue top-line growth that outpaces the industry by 31st Dec 2023.

Project: Expand into the fixed gear market by 31st December 2023.

This is more specific than the objective it links to, and it details what you will do to achieve the objective.

Another common problem area for strategic plans is that they never quite get down to the detail of what you're going to do.

It's easier to state "we need to grow our business," but without concrete projects and initiatives, those plans will sit forever within their PowerPoint templates, never to see the light of day after their initial creation.

Actions and projects are where the rubber meets the road. They connect the organizational strategic goals with the actual capabilities of your people and the resources at their disposal. Defining projects is a vital reality check every strategic plan needs.

👉Here’s how you create actions and projects in Cascade: 

From the Objective sidebar, you can choose to add a project or action under your chosen objective. In the following steps, you can assign an owner and timeline to each action or project.

Plus, in Cascade, you can track the progress of each project or action in four different ways. You can do it manually, via milestones, checklists, or automatically by integrating with Jira and 1000+ other available integrations .  

📚 Recommended read: How to create effective projects

Measuring progress towards strategic objectives is essential to effective strategic control and business success. That's where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. KPIs are measurable values that track progress toward achieving key business objectives . They keep you on track and help you stay focused on the goals you set for your organization.

To get the most out of your KPIs, make sure you link them to a specific goal or objective. In this way, you'll avoid creating KPIs that don't contribute to your objectives and distract you from focusing on what matters. 

Ideally, you will add both leading and lagging KPIs to each objective so you can get a more balanced view of how well you're progressing. Leading KPIs can indicate future performance while lagging KPIs show how well you’ve done in the past. Both types of KPIs are critical for operational planning and keeping your business on track.

Think of KPIs as a form of signpost in your organization. They provide critical insights that inform business leaders of their organization’s progress toward key business objectives. Plus, they can help you identify opportunities faster and capitalize on flexibility. 

👉Here’s how you can set and track KPIs in Cascade: 

In Cascade , you can add measures while creating your objectives or add them afterward. Open the Objective sidebar and add your chosen measure. 

When you create your Measure, you can choose how to track it. Using Cascade, you can track it manually or automatically. You can automate tracking via 1000+ integrations , including Excel spreadsheets and Google Sheets. In this way, you can save time and ensure that your team has up-to-date information for faster and more confident decision-making.

📚 Recommended reads:

  • 10 Popular KPI Software Tools To Connect & Visualize Your Data (2023 Guide)
  • ‍ How To Track KPIs To Hit Your Business Goals

Corporate Strategic Plan 

Following the steps outlined above, you should end up with a strategic plan that looks something like this:

corporate strategy plan template in cascade

This is a preview of a corporate strategic plan template that is pre-filled with examples. Here you can use the template for free and begin filling it out to align with your organization's needs. Plus, it’s suitable for organizations of all sizes and any industry. 

Once you fill in the template, you can also switch to the timeline view. You’ll get a complete overview of how the different parts of your plan are distributed across the roadmap in a Gantt chart view.

timeline view strategic planning corporate strategy

This template will help you create a structured approach to the strategic planning process, focus on key strategic priorities, and drive accountability to achieve necessary business outcomes. 

👉 Get your free corporate strategic plan template here.

Coca-Cola Strategic Plan 

Need a bit of extra inspiration to start writing your organization’s strategic plan? Check out this strategic plan example, inspired by Coca-Cola’s business plan: 

coca-cola strategy plan template in cascade

This template is pre-filled with Coca-Cola’s examples so you can inspire your strategic success on one of the most iconic brands on the planet. 

👉 Grab your free example of a Coca-Cola strategic plan here.

The Ramsay Health Care expansion strategy

Ramsay Health Care is a multinational healthcare provider with a strong presence in Australia, Europe, and Asia.

Almost all of its growth was organic and strategic. The company founded its headquarters in Sydney, Australia, but in the 21st century, it decided to expand globally through a primary strategy of making brownfield investments and acquisitions in key locations.

Ramsay's strategy was simple yet clever. By becoming a majority shareholder of the biggest local players, the company expanded organically in each region by leveraging and expanding their expertise.

Over the last two decades, Ramsay's global network has grown to 460 locations across 10 countries with over $13 billion in annual revenue.

📚 Recommended read: Strategy study: The Ramsay Health Care Growth Study

✨ Bonus resource: We've created a list of the most popular and free strategic plan templates in our library that will help you build a strategic plan based on the Cascade model explained in this article. You can use these templates to create a plan on a corporate, business unit, or team level.

We highlighted before that other strategic models often fail to scale strategic plans and goals scales across multiple teams and organizational levels. 

In an ideal world, you want to have a maximum of two layers of detail underneath each of your focus areas. This means you'll have a focus area, followed by a layer of objectives. Underneath the objectives, you'll have a layer of actions, projects, and KPIs.

Diagram of the Cascade Model framework showing the structure for focus areas, objectives, KPIs, actions and projects

If you have a single team that’s responsible for the strategy execution, this works well. However, how do you implement a strategy across multiple and cross-functional teams? And why is it important? 

According to LSA research of 410 companies across 8 industries, highly aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable. And this is what Cascade can help you achieve. 

To achieve achieve organization-wide alignment with your strategic plan and impact the bottom line, there are two ways to approach it in Casade: through contributing objectives or shared objectives .

1. Contributing objectives

This approach involves adding contributing objectives that link to your main strategic objectives, like this:

diagram showing contributing objectives in the cascade model

For each contributing objective, you simply repeat the Objective → Action/Project → KPI structure as follows:

contributing objectives with kpis and actions cascade model

Here's how you can create contributing objectives in Cascade: 

Option A: Create contributing objectives within the same plan 

This means creating multiple contributing objectives within the same strategic plan that contribute to the main objective. 

However, be aware that if you have a lot of layers, your strategic plan can become cluttered, and people might have difficulty understanding how their daily efforts contribute to the strategic plan at the top level. 

For example, the people responsible for managing contributing objectives at the bottom of the plan ( functional / operational level ) will lose visibility on how are their objectives linked to the main focus areas and objectives (at a corporate / business level ). 

This approach is best suited to smaller organizations that only need to add a few layers of objectives to their plan.

Option B: Create contributing objectives from multiple plans linking to the main objective

This approach creates a network of aligned strategic plans within your organization. Each plan contains a set of focus areas and one single layer of objectives, each with its own set of projects, actions, and KPIs. This concept looks like this:

Diagram showing contributing objectives from multiple plans linking to the main objective in Cascade

This example illustrates an objective that is a main objective in the IT strategic plan , but also contributes to the main strategic plan's objective.

For example, let’s say that your main business objective is to improve customer satisfaction by reducing product delivery time by 25% in the next quarter. This objective requires multiple operational teams within your organization to work together to achieve a shared objective. 

Each team will create its own objective in its plan to contribute to the main objective: 

  • Logistics team: Reduce the shipment preparation time by 30%
  • IT team: Implement new technology to reduce manual handling in the warehouse
  • Production team: Increase production output by hour for 5%   

Here’s how this example would look like within Cascade platform:

example of contributing objectives in cascade

Although each contributing objective was originally created in its own plan, you can see how each contributing objective relates to the main strategic objective and its status in real-time.

2. Shared objectives

In Cascade, shared objectives are the same objectives shared across different strategic plans.

For example, you can have an objective that is “Achieve sustainable operations”. This objective can be part of the Corporate Strategy Plan, but also part of the Operations Plan , Supply Chain Plan , Production Plan, etc. In short, this objective becomes a shared objective between multiple teams and strategic plan. 

This approach helps you to:

  • Cascade your business strategy as deep as you want across a near-infinite number of people while maintaining strategic alignment throughout your organization .
  • Create transparency and a much higher level of engagement in the strategy throughout your organization since objective owners are able to identify how their shared efforts contribute to the success of the main business objectives.

The more shared objectives you have across your organization, the more your teams will be aligned with the overarching business strategy. This is what we call " alignment health ”. 

Here’s how you can see the shared objectives in the alignment map and analyze alignment health within Cascade:

Alignment Map and Objective Sidebar in cascade for shared objectives

You get a snapshot of how is your corporate strategic plan aligned with sub-plans from different business units or departments and the status of shared objectives. This helps you quickly identify misaligned initiatives and act before it’s too late.  Plus, cross-functional teams have better visibility of how their efforts contribute to shared objectives. 

So whether you choose contributing objectives or shared objectives, Cascade has the tools and features to help you achieve organization-wide alignment and boost your bottom line.

Quick Overview Of Key Steps In Writing A Strategic Plan

Here’s a quick infographic to help you remember how everything connects and why each element is critical to creating an effective strategic plan:

The Cascade Model Overview cheatsheet

This simple answer to how to write a strategic plan avoids confusing jargon and has elements that the whole organization can both get behind and understand. 

💡Tip: Save this image or bookmark this article for your next strategic planning session.

If you're struggling to write an execution-ready strategic plan, the Cascade model is the solution you've been looking for. With its clear, easy-to-understand terminology, and simple linkages between objectives, projects, and KPIs, you can create a plan that's both scalable and flexible.

But why is a flexible and execution-ready strategic plan so important? It's simple: without a clear and actionable plan, you'll never be able to achieve your business objectives. By using the Cascade Strategic Planning Model, you'll be able to create a plan that's both tangible and measurable, with KPIs that help you track progress towards your goals.

However, the real value of the Cascade framework lies in its flexibility . By creating links between main business objectives and your teams’ objectives, you can easily scale your plan without losing focus. Plus, the model's structure of linked layers means that you can always adjust your strategy in response to new challenges or opportunities and keep everyone on the same page. 

So if you want to achieve results with your strategic plan, start using Cascade today. With its unique combination of flexibility and focus, it's the perfect tool for any organization looking to master strategy execution and succeed in today's fast-paced business world. 

Want to see Cascade in action? Get started for free or book a 1:1 demo with Cascade’s in-house strategy expert.

This article is part one of our mini-series "How to Write a Strategic Plan". This first article will give you a solid strategy model for your plan and get the strategic thinking going.

Think of it as the foundation for your new strategy. Subsequent parts of the series will show you how to create the content for your strategic plan.

Articles in our How to Write a Strategic Plan series

  • How To Write A Strategic Plan: The Cascade Model (This article)
  • How to Write a Good Vision Statement
  • How To Create Company Values
  • Creating Strategic Focus Areas
  • How To Write Strategic Objective
  • How To Create Effective Projects
  • How To Write KPIs + Ultimate Guide To Strategic Planning

More resources on strategic planning and strategy execution: 

  • 6 Steps to Successful Strategy Execution
  • 4-Step Strategy Reporting Process (With Template)
  • Annual Planning: Plan Like a Pro In 5 Steps (+ Template) 
  • 18 Free Strategic Plan Templates (Excel & Cascade) 2023
  • The Right Way To Set Team Goals
  • 23 Best Strategy Tools For Your Organization in 2023

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Learn What Makes a Good Example of a Strategic Plan

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What Makes a Good Example of a Strategic Plan?

Many companies are looking for help, searching for an example of a strategic plan as a yardstick they can use to compare their own plans. But strategic plans can come in many forms, shapes, and sizes; they are not a “one size fits all” document.  There are simple strategic plans that include goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics, as well as complex plan structures that include multiple levels and layers. How developed your plan needs to be depends on several factors, including the level of accountability you are trying to create, the time frame for implementing the plan, and the culture of your organization. In this post, you’ll see an example of a strategic plan that is most common among businesses today.

Strategic Plan Example: Basic Structure

At a minimum, strategic and operational plans contain three levels that serve specific functions. These are listed in inverse order as they appear in a plan, to demonstrate the linkage from bottom up:

  • Tactics: These are task assignments that must be carried out on an individual basis. These action items comprise the strategies. For instance, if you have a client satisfaction strategy that focuses on an annual client event, there are a number of things that must be completed in order for the event to happen. These are the tactics, which include due dates, deliverables, and are assigned to specific people for execution.
  • Strategies: The collection of tactics need a name, and this name is the strategy. The name of the strategy provides the focus for something specific, and the strategy itself contains individual tactics. As such, strategies are the broad action-oriented items that we implement to achieve the objectives. In this example, the client event strategy is designed to improve overall client satisfaction. We may have additional strategies aimed at improving client satisfaction, and each of these other strategies will have a collection of tactics, too.
  • Objectives: These are quantifiable and measurable targets, that answer the questions of how much, by when. There is an old adage that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. As such, plans without measurable objectives are no plans at all; they are merely task lists. Objectives include baseline performance, targeted performance, and an established date for achieving the objective. Any example of a strategic plan must include objectives, as they are the foundation for planning. In this example, our objective is to increase client satisfaction from 82% to 90% by December 31st. How we accomplish that is the business of strategies and tactics.

Strategic Plan Example: Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics

Objective 1: Increase client satisfaction from 82.0% to 90.0% by December 31st.

  • Strategy 1.1: Implement an annual client conference • Tactic 1.1.1: Identify date and venue • Tactic 1.1.2: Develop agenda • Tactic 1.1.3: Identify and invite speakers • Tactic 1.1.4: Develop social events • Tactic 1.1.5: Develop menus • Tactic 1.1.6: Develop invitations

Strategic Plan Example: Strategic Themes and Goals

Although objectives, strategies, and tactics are core elements in any example of a strategic plan, they are not the only elements. Many plans are more robust and include additional levels in the hierarchy. These levels are usually referred to as strategic themes and goals, and they come before objectives. As such, a fully developed plan would look like the example of a strategic plan below:

  • Strategic Themes: These are one- to three-word affinity group headings used to compartmentalize strategic and operational plans, such as Quality, Safety, People, Customers, Service, Finance, and Growth. For companies that use strategic themes, four to six such categories appear to be the most common.
  • Goals: These are broad statements that translate the organization’s vision statement into something more meaningful and time-bound. If strategic themes are also used, goal statements are used to translate the vision to specific strategic themes.
  • Objectives: Similar to above, Objectives are the quantifiable items that measure the success of your Goals, and ultimately your strategic plan. They should measure how you plan to increase, decrease, or maintain some key performance indicators critical to the success of the goal.
  • Strategies:  With an understanding of success measures, Strategies determine  how your strategic plan will be executed and ultimately move the needle on Objectives. In some organizations, strategies are called initiatives or projects or programs. Regardless of the term used, Strategies set the foundation for the actual work that will make up the plan itself.
  • Tactics:  To best execute a strategic plan, a strategy needs to be broken down properly. In many cases, these are your tactics. Tactics are the core components of your strategies that will help measure success towards completion. Tactics are NOT quick tasks that can be completed by checking a box and instead are milestones or key deliverables of the strategies.

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This five level strategic plan template will help you create a plan that’s built around best practices for optimized execution.

Free Strategic Plan Template

Strategic Plan Example: A Complete Plan

Strategic Theme : Satisfaction

Goal : To be considered a trusted partner by our clients

Objective 1:  Increase client satisfaction from 82.0% to 90.0% by December 31st.

Keep in mind that there are many acceptable formats for strategic plans and you should use the approach that is right for you. Some companies prefer the one-page approach and others don’t adhere to specific approaches other than perhaps implementing a basic structure like the ones above. Either way, remember that creating a strategic plan is only the beginning; the hard part is executing it .

The best way to ensure your plan gets executed is to get everything in view, get everyone engaged, and work with a team that will give you every possible advantage. When you’ve got your plan crafted and ready to execute, take these next steps .

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Examples of Strategic Plan

Examples of a Strategic Plan to Achieve Long-Term Growth

Team Ninety, Author at Ninety

This is a comprehensive guide on strategic planning for small to midsize companies.

If you want to:

  • Move your organization in the direction you intend for long-term success,
  • Implement your plan smoothly for greater growth,
  • Use a better platform for developing a truly effective strategic plan,

… then you’ll love this guide. Let’s get started.

What’s Covered in This Guide

Click on each to jump to that section.

What is Strategic Planning?

What does strategic planning mean, what is the goal of strategic planning.

  • What is Strategic Leadership?

4 Strategic Planning Strategies

The strategic planning process [11 steps], what does strategic planning involve.

  • How to Implement Your Strategic Plan

Examples of Strategic Plans

Get your strategic planning done on ninety.

Strategic planning is the process you use to:

  • Establish and document a clear direction for your organization.
  • Identify business goals and set priorities that create growth for your company.
  • Formulate a long-term plan of action designed to achieve these objectives.
  • Determine an internal system tracking and evaluating performance.

When organizations want to, they use a strategic plan to:

  • Strengthen their operation.
  • Focus on collective energy and resources.
  • Enable leaders, teams, and other stakeholders to work toward common goals.
  • Make agreements around desired results.
  • Refresh direction and prevail over a changing or challenging environment.

Thinking strategically helps companies take the right action for more success and better outcomes. Some even call it an art.

Strategic planning is one of three essential ways to pursue important objectives for your company. When tackling challenges and determining action plans, you can think strategically, tactically, or operationally. These three thought processes often work in concert to help you create a framework that achieves your desired objectives.

  • Strategic plans are designed for multilevel involvement throughout the entire organization. Leaders will look ahead to where they want to be in three, five, and ten years and develop a mission.
  • Tactical plans support strategic plans. They outline the specific responsibilities and functionalities at the department level so employees know how to do their part to make the strategic plan successful.
  • Operational plans focus on the highly detailed procedures, processes, and routine tasks that frontline employees must accomplish to achieve desired outcomes.

The goal of your strategic plan is to determine:

  • Where your company stands in relation to the current business environment. Understand how your business operates, how you create value, and how you differentiate from your competitors.
  • Where you want to take the business based on long-term objectives such as your company’s vision, mission, culture, values, and goals. Envision how you see the company five or ten years from now.
  • What you need to do to get there. You come away from your planning sessions with a roadmap that helps deliver on your strategic objectives. Determine better ways to enable and implement change, schedule deadlines, and structure goals, so they’re achievable.

The main purpose of your strategic plan is to create clearly defined goals for achieving the growth and success of your organization. These goals are connected to your organization’s mission and long-term vision.

What is Strategic Leadership? 

Strategic leadership is how you create, implement, and sustain your strategic plan, so your organization moves in the direction you intend for long-term success. This usually involves establishing ongoing practices and benchmarks, allocating resources, and providing leadership that supports your strategic mission and vision statement.

Strategic leadership, also known as strategy execution, can employ two different approaches:

  • A prescriptive approach is analytical and focuses on how strategies are created to account for risks and opportunities.
  • A descriptive approach is principle-driven and focuses on how strategies are implemented to account for risks and opportunities.

Most people agree that a strategic plan is only as good as the company’s ability to research, create, implement, evaluate, and adjust when needed. The benefits can be great when:

  • Your entire organization supports the plan.
  • Your business is set up to succeed.
  • Your employees are more likely to stay on track without being distracted or derailed.
  • You make better decisions based on metrics that facilitate course correction.
  • Everyone in your company is involved and invested in better outcomes.
  • Departments and teams are aligned across your company.
  • People are committed to learning and training.
  • Productivity increases, and performance improves.
  • Creativity is encouraged and rewarded.

What are the four main points of strategic planning? You engage in strategic thinking so you can create effective company goals that are:

Purpose-driven

Align your strategic plan with the company’s purpose and values as you understand them.

Actionable strategic goals are worth spending your time and resources on to reach organizational objectives.

It’s critical for you to track your strategy's progress and success, enabling your teams to take action and meet the goals more effectively.

Focused Long-term

A long-term focus distinguishes a strategic plan from operational goals, which involve daily activities and milestones required for success. When planning strategically, you’re looking ahead to the company’s future.

A strategic plan isn’t written in a day. Critical thinking evolves over several months. Those involved in the strategic planning are usually a team of leaders and employees from your company and possibly other stakeholders.

When should strategic planning be done?

You should plan strategically for start-ups and newer organizations from the start. But even if your company is more established, it’s not too late to start working on strategy.

Flexible timing that’s tailored to the needs of your organization is smart. Although the frequency of strategy sessions is up to you, many leaders use these milestones as a guide:

  • When the economy, your market, and industry trends change, or a global event occurs (like the onset of a pandemic).
  • Following a change in senior leadership.
  • Before a product launch or when a new division is added to your business.
  • After your company merges with another organization.
  • During a convenient time frame such as a quarterly and annual review.

Many organizations opt to schedule regular strategic reviews such as quarterly or annually. Especially when crafting a plan, your strategic planning team should meet regularly. They will often follow predetermined steps in the development of your long-term plan.

What are the 11 steps of strategic planning?

Identify your company’s strategic position in the marketplace. .

Gather market data and research information from both internal and external sources. You may want to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis to determine your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats against success. Your strengths and weaknesses are directly related to your current competitive advantage within your industry. They are what you use to balance challenges to your success. They also influence the likelihood of increased market share in the future.

Define your unique vision and mission. 

What would success look like for you in three years? Five years? Ten years? Articulate that in a vision statement. How do you intend to realize your vision? That’s articulated in your mission statement. Formulating purpose-driven strategic goals articulates why your company does what it does. Your organizational values inform your mission and vision and connect them to specific objectives.

Determine your company’s value.

Many companies use financial forecasting for this purpose. A forecast can assign anticipated measurable results, return on investment (ROI), or profits and cost of investment.

Set your organizational direction.

Defining the impact you want to have and the time frame for achieving helps focus a too-broad or over-ambitious first draft. This way, your plan will have objectives that will have the most impact. 

Create specific strategic objectives.

Your strategic objectives identify the conditions for your success. For instance, they may cover:

  • Value: Increasing revenue and shareholder value, budgeting cost, allocating resources aligned with the strategic plan, forecasting profitability, and ensuring financial stability. 
  • Customer Experience: Identifying target audiences, solution-based products and services, value for the cost, better service, and increased market share.
  • Operational Efficiency: Streamlining internal processes, investing in research and development, total quality and performance priorities, reducing cost, and improving workplace safety.
  • Learning and Growth: Training leaders and teams to address change and sustain growth, improving employee productivity and retention, and building high-performing teams.

Set specific strategic initiatives.

Strategic initiatives are your company's actions to reach your strategic objectives, such as raising brand awareness, a commitment to product development, purpose-driven employee training, and more.

Develop cascading goals.

Cascading goals are like cascading messages : They filter your strategy throughout the company from top to bottom. The highest-level goals align with mid-level goals to individual goals employees must accomplish to achieve overall outcomes. This helps everyone see how their performance will influence overall success, which improves engagement and productivity.

Create alignment across the entire company.

The success of your strategy is directly impacted by your commitment to inform and engage your entire workforce in strategy implementation. This involves ensuring everyone is connected and working together to achieve your goals. Overall decision-making becomes easier and more aligned.

Consider strategy mapping.

A strategy map is an easy-to-understand diagram, graphic, or illustration that shows the logical, cause-and-effect relationship among various strategic objectives. They are used to quickly communicate how your organization creates value. It will help you communicate the details of your strategic plan better to people by tapping into their visual learning abilities.

Use metrics to measure performance.

When your strategy informs the creation of SMART organizational goals , benchmarks can be established and metrics can be assigned to evaluate performance within time frames. Key performance indicators (KPIs) align performance and productivity with long-term strategic objectives. 

Evaluate the performance of your plan regularly.

You write a strategic plan to improve your company’s overall performance. Evaluating your progress at regular intervals will tell you whether you’re on your way to achieving your objectives or whether your plan needs an adjustment.

Effective strategic planning involves creating a company culture of good communication and accountability. It involves creating and embracing the opportunity for positive change.

Consider these statistics:

  • In many companies, only 42% of leaders and 27% of employees have access to a strategic plan.
  • Even if they have access, 95% of employees do not understand their organization's strategy.
  • 5.2% of a strategy’s potential is lost to poor communication.
  • What leaders care about makes up at least 80% of the content of their communications. But those messages do not tap into around 80% of their employees’ primary motivators for putting extra energy into a change program.
  • 28% of leaders say one of the main reasons strategic initiatives succeed is the ability to attract skilled personnel; 25% say it’s good communication; 25% say it’s the ability to manage organizational change.

Here’s what you can do to embrace a culture of good communication and accountability:

Make your strategic plan visible. Talk about what's working and what isn't. People want to know where and how they fit into the organization and why their contribution is valuable. Even if they don't understand every element of the plan.

Build accountability. If you've agreed on a plan with clear objectives and priorities, your leaders have to take responsibility for what's in it. They must own the objectives and activities in your plan.

Create an environment for change. It’s much more difficult to implement a strategy if you think there will be no support or collaboration from your coworkers. Addressing their concerns will help build a culture that understands how to champion change.

Implementing Your Strategic Plan

  • 98% of leaders think strategy implementation takes more time than strategy formulation.
  • 61% of leaders acknowledge that their organizations often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.
  • 45% of leaders say ensuring employees take different actions or demonstrate different behaviors is the toughest implementation challenge; 37% of leaders say it’s gaining support across the whole organization.
  • 39% of leaders say one of the main reasons strategic plans succeed is skilled implementation.

The reality for so many is that it’s harder to implement a strategic plan than to craft one. Great strategic ideas and a clear direction are key to success, no matter what. But so is:

  • Turning strategic ideas into an easy-to-implement framework that enables meaningful managing, tracking, and adapting.  
  • Getting everyone in the organization on the same strategic page, from creation to execution.

When your plan is structured to support implementation, you're more likely to get it done.

What are examples of good strategic planning? There are lots of templates out there to help you create a plan document with pen and paper.

But Ninety has a better way.

The Vision planner is essentially a strategic planning template on Ninety’s cloud-based platform that allows you to:

  • Set goals, establish how you will meet them, and share them with those who need to know.
  • Gain visibility around your company values.
  • Create core values, a niche, and long-term goals that are accessible to everyone in your company.
  • Create a vision of the future that lets you know what needs to happen now.
  • Streamline and organize your processes.
  • Easily update and track changes.
  • Bring alignment to your entire organization.

And you can do all this with only two digitized pages.

In your Vision tool inside Ninety, you can easily access all the things that make strategic plans effective:

  • Executive Summary
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Industry Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Projections

Vision + Goals is also completely integrated with all other features on Ninety, such as Scorecards, 90-Day Goals, To-Dos, Issues, Roles & Responsibilities Chart, Meetings, One-on-Ones, and more:

  • Create a clear vision for each team.
  • Determine one- and three-year goals.
  • Reference past versions in a Vision archive.
  • Share your Vision with all teams, or keep it private.

Now that you’ve learned how to grow your company using strategic planning, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice:

Build your strategic plan on Ninety now.

Do you want more step-by-step guides on strategy, strategic planning, and creating actionable strategic plans?  Subscribe to our blog!

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Strategic Plan Template

Use this free Strategic Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better.

business strategic plan sample

When a company wants to map out its long-term business objectives and how it’ll get there, they use a strategic plan. Our free strategic plan template captures all topics that any company needs to define, so everything is aligned with the overall mission and vision of the company. More than that, the free strategic plan template guides you through the actions, resources and costs that will help you get there.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is a document that company leaders use to capture the company’s future vision, goals and objectives. Unlike a business plan that focuses on short-term goals of serval months to several years, a strategic plan looks at the mid-to-long-term goals such as 3-5 years but is often longer than that.

The strategic plan should be easily shared as it provides a map for the whole company to follow in order to meet its goals. The strategic plan isn’t only shared, but it’s thoroughly understood by company employees, customers, business partners and investors.

ProjectManager's free strategic plan template

Strategic planning and the strategic plan that comes from this process isn’t a one-time occurrence. Teams should conduct strategic planning regularly to quickly respond to changes in the business, industry, legal and regulatory conditions. As conditions shift, so should the response plans.

Why You Need a Strategic Plan Template

A strategic plan template is a great tool in that it’s already laid out for you. Everything you need to define is outlined and saves you the time and effort of creating a new document. Templates are great for creating an archive of consistent documentation, especially as historical data can influence your current strategic plan.

In more general terms, all businesses need a target or direction to work towards. Strategic plans are like the roadmap that gets you there and defines the landscape. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you get there. That’s true from the highest executive to the newest employee as well as customers, investors and so on.

Strategic plans also help you track your goals across departments. Each department can then set its own goals to help the business achieve its larger goals. These various initiatives can be monitored and tracked with key performance indicators (KPIs). This can be extended to business units, teams and even individuals so everyone is working towards the same goals.

A strategic plan template is only a static document. To implement that plan you need project management software. ProjectManager has online roadmaps that allow you to manage all the projects that feed into your company’s overall mission. You can track your tasks, budgets, resources, processes and more, so you know you’re always progressing. Of course, you can build a strategic plan with milestones in the software, too. Try ProjectManager today for free.

Roadmap with a strategic plan

Who Should Use This Strategic Plan Template?

The free strategic plan template can be filled in by any number of people depending on the business. Usually, though, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the owner or top business managers.

However, sometimes specialists are employed or the whole company becomes involved in the strategic planning process. In fact, more voices provide a wider perspective. One person should oversee refining those different perspectives in order to rein in the possible chaos of too many chefs in the kitchen.

Once the strategic plan is finalized, it should be shared among the company. The strategic plan template acts as a guide to keep the long-term goal in sight and how to get there. For some businesses, the customer should also be aware of the strategic plan. Other companies will want to share the strategic plan with investors.

How to Use This Strategic Plan Template

When you download our free strategic plan template for Word, you’ll find it’s broken up into sections. The free template is completely customizable so you can add or subtract as many sections as you need to flesh out your strategic plan. What we provide you with is the backbone of any thorough strategic plan, which is as follows.

1. Executive Summary

To start, you want to summarize what will follow. That’s all the executive summary is; a short introduction to the important information that’ll be fleshed out in the strategic plan. It gives an overview to investors and stakeholders.

2. Vision Statement

A vision statement is a statement that declares the mid-to-long-term goals of the company. Think of it as the target you want to hit with your strategic plan. What this statement should do is project your company into the future and in so doing help to define the plan and execution of getting you there.

3. Mission Statement

The mission statement is a short description of the purpose of the company. It should be no longer than one to three sentences at most and explain what the company does, who it serves and how it’s different from its competitors. But more than a dry definition, it should be inspirational, offering direction and focus for employees and giving customers a clear picture of what they can expect from the company.

4. SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis is used to assess those four aspects of the company. This is how a company can capture its current performance and build a strategy to achieve its future goals. But beyond internal factors or charting the company, make sure to explore external factors as well. This provides a fuller picture of how a company can carve a route to reach its objectives.

5. Business Goals

Business goals should define the target that a company is aiming for in the future. By doing this, a company has a way to measure its success, communicate these goals to its employees and ensure the company is going in the right direction.

6. Marketing Plan

The marketing plan outlines a company’s advertising strategy. It can be used to generate leads and reach a target audience, outreach and PR campaigns. Also included is how the company will measure the effectiveness of the initiatives.

  • Market research:  Uses competitive analysis, testing, surveys, etc., to determine the target audience and what needs the company is fulfilling or pain point it’s resolving.
  • Marketing campaigns: These include promotions, value propositions, differentiation factors, pricing, distribution channels, etc., to see the product or service.
  • Marketing KPIs: Using various metrics will help the company measure the success of its campaigns.

7. Operations Plan

The operation plan is an outline of the strategic plan’s goals and how the company plans to meet them. It’s an action plan that shows team members what they’re responsible for in achieving the goals of the strategic plan.

8. Financial Projections

When making financial projections for a company’s strategic plans they should include a forecast of the income statement, the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. These financial projects like the strategic plan are mid-to-long term.

Identify the team members with the skills and experience who will be responsible for executing the operational plan set forth in the company’s strategic plan.

Other Templates to Help with Your Strategic Plan

The free strategic plan document template for Word is a helpful tool to outline a company’s mid-to-long-term objectives. We have dozens of other free templates for Word and Excel that can help you manage every phase of a project, from planning to closure. Here are just a few of the free templates that we offer for download that are related to strategic planning.

Executive Summary Template

If you need help with the executive summary portion of the free strategic plan template, this free executive summary template is a great asset. It breaks down the points you’ll want to capture for an effective executive summary and is a valuable tool to complete that section of the strategic plan.

Marketing Campaign Template

The marketing plan is another section of the strategic plan that can be fully fleshed out with the free marketing campaign template. It outlines all the steps you need to introduce your product or service to market. It has fields to collect the goals of the campaign, identify the target audience and much more.

SWOT Analysis Template 

We’ve included a small SWOT analysis table in the free strategic plan template, but you might want more space to capture this important data. If so, use our free SWOT analysis template for Word, which you can then attach to the strategic plan template. This colorful template helps you see where you are and offer guidance to get you where you want to be.

ProjectManager Is a Robust Planning Tool

Free templates are a great way to gather information and develop a strategic plan, but they’re not as good at managing that plan once you implement it. You need more robust tools, not static documents or spreadsheets. ProjectManager is online project management software that connects teams and helps them plan, manage and track their progress in real time.

Track Progress with Real-Time Dashboards

You’ve put the strategic plan in the Gantt chart and can now see the roadmap in a visual timeline. But to make sure you keep to that schedule you need to have a way to monitor progress and performance. Our real-time dashboards track metrics such as time, cost and more all in real time so you can respond quickly to changes that threaten your goals. Unlike other lightweight tools, there’s no configuration or set. It’s ready when you are.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Work How You Want with Multiple Project Views

Gantt charts are great for managers, but they’re not the ones who are will execute the strategic plan. It’s a group effort that involves every department in the company from marketing and sales to IT and manufacturing, and they all use different tools. That’s why we offer multiple project views that share the same real-time data whether you’re using a list view, the visual workflow of a kanban or a calendar to capture important dates. Everyone is working from a single source of truth.

Calendar for tracking strategic plans

Related Content

Strategic planning is a big subject and we’ve only scratched the surface. If you want to learn more, you’re in luck. ProjectManager isn’t only a great tool to create and manage your strategic plan, it’s also the online hub for all things project management. We have free blogs each week, tutorial videos, eBooks, white pages and, of course, free templates. Here are a few links to follow and read more about strategic plans.

  • 15 Free Word and Excel Templates for Business
  • Strategic Planning in Business
  • Strategic Planning Models: An Introduction to 5 Popular Models
  • A Quick Guide to Strategic Initiatives 

ProjectManager Helps You Reach Your Strategic Goals

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, manage and track your strategic plans. Our collaborative platform connects everyone across departments and time zones. With features that help you manage risk, tasks and resources you’re more likely to adjust to changes in the market and hit your target. See why teams in organizations as varied as NASA, Siemens and Nestle use our tool to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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  • Business strategy |
  • 7 strategic planning models, plus 8 fra ...

7 strategic planning models, plus 8 frameworks to help you get started

Team Asana contributor image

Strategic planning is vital in defining where your business is going in the next three to five years. With the right strategic planning models and frameworks, you can uncover opportunities, identify risks, and create a strategic plan to fuel your organization’s success. We list the most popular models and frameworks and explain how you can combine them to create a strategic plan that fits your business.

A strategic plan is a great tool to help you hit your business goals . But sometimes, this tool needs to be updated to reflect new business priorities or changing market conditions. If you decide to use a model that already exists, you can benefit from a roadmap that’s already created. The model you choose can improve your knowledge of what works best in your organization, uncover unknown strengths and weaknesses, or help you find out how you can outpace your competitors.

In this article, we cover the most common strategic planning models and frameworks and explain when to use which one. Plus, get tips on how to apply them and which models and frameworks work well together. 

Strategic planning models vs. frameworks

First off: This is not a one-or-nothing scenario. You can use as many or as few strategic planning models and frameworks as you like. 

When your organization undergoes a strategic planning phase, you should first pick a model or two that you want to apply. This will provide you with a basic outline of the steps to take during the strategic planning process.

[Inline illustration] Strategic planning models vs. frameworks (Infographic)

During that process, think of strategic planning frameworks as the tools in your toolbox. Many models suggest starting with a SWOT analysis or defining your vision and mission statements first. Depending on your goals, though, you may want to apply several different frameworks throughout the strategic planning process.

For example, if you’re applying a scenario-based strategic plan, you could start with a SWOT and PEST(LE) analysis to get a better overview of your current standing. If one of the weaknesses you identify has to do with your manufacturing process, you could apply the theory of constraints to improve bottlenecks and mitigate risks. 

Now that you know the difference between the two, learn more about the seven strategic planning models, as well as the eight most commonly used frameworks that go along with them.

[Inline illustration] The seven strategic planning models (Infographic)

1. Basic model

The basic strategic planning model is ideal for establishing your company’s vision, mission, business objectives, and values. This model helps you outline the specific steps you need to take to reach your goals, monitor progress to keep everyone on target, and address issues as they arise.

If it’s your first strategic planning session, the basic model is the way to go. Later on, you can embellish it with other models to adjust or rewrite your business strategy as needed. Let’s take a look at what kinds of businesses can benefit from this strategic planning model and how to apply it.

Small businesses or organizations

Companies with little to no strategic planning experience

Organizations with few resources 

Write your mission statement. Gather your planning team and have a brainstorming session. The more ideas you can collect early in this step, the more fun and rewarding the analysis phase will feel.

Identify your organization’s goals . Setting clear business goals will increase your team’s performance and positively impact their motivation.

Outline strategies that will help you reach your goals. Ask yourself what steps you have to take in order to reach these goals and break them down into long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals .

Create action plans to implement each of the strategies above. Action plans will keep teams motivated and your organization on target.

Monitor and revise the plan as you go . As with any strategic plan, it’s important to closely monitor if your company is implementing it successfully and how you can adjust it for a better outcome.

2. Issue-based model

Also called goal-based planning model, this is essentially an extension of the basic strategic planning model. It’s a bit more dynamic and very popular for companies that want to create a more comprehensive plan.

Organizations with basic strategic planning experience

Businesses that are looking for a more comprehensive plan

Conduct a SWOT analysis . Assess your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with a SWOT analysis to get a better overview of what your strategic plan should focus on. We’ll give into how to conduct a SWOT analysis when we get into the strategic planning frameworks below.

Identify and prioritize major issues and/or goals. Based on your SWOT analysis, identify and prioritize what your strategic plan should focus on this time around.

Develop your main strategies that address these issues and/or goals. Aim to develop one overarching strategy that addresses your highest-priority goal and/or issue to keep this process as simple as possible.

Update or create a mission and vision statement . Make sure that your business’s statements align with your new or updated strategy. If you haven’t already, this is also a chance for you to define your organization’s values.

Create action plans. These will help you address your organization’s goals, resource needs, roles, and responsibilities. 

Develop a yearly operational plan document. This model works best if your business repeats the strategic plan implementation process on an annual basis, so use a yearly operational plan to capture your goals, progress, and opportunities for next time.

Allocate resources for your year-one operational plan. Whether you need funding or dedicated team members to implement your first strategic plan, now is the time to allocate all the resources you’ll need.

Monitor and revise the strategic plan. Record your lessons learned in the operational plan so you can revisit and improve it for the next strategic planning phase.

The issue-based plan can repeat on an annual basis (or less often once you resolve the issues). It’s important to update the plan every time it’s in action to ensure it’s still doing the best it can for your organization.

You don’t have to repeat the full process every year—rather, focus on what’s a priority during this run.

3. Alignment model

This model is also called strategic alignment model (SAM) and is one of the most popular strategic planning models. It helps you align your business and IT strategies with your organization’s strategic goals. 

You’ll have to consider four equally important, yet different perspectives when applying the alignment strategic planning model:

Strategy execution: The business strategy driving the model

Technology potential: The IT strategy supporting the business strategy

Competitive potential: Emerging IT capabilities that can create new products and services

Service level: Team members dedicated to creating the best IT system in the organization

Ideally, your strategy will check off all the criteria above—however, it’s more likely you’ll have to find a compromise. 

Here’s how to create a strategic plan using the alignment model and what kinds of companies can benefit from it.

Organizations that need to fine-tune their strategies

Businesses that want to uncover issues that prevent them from aligning with their mission

Companies that want to reassess objectives or correct problem areas that prevent them from growing

Outline your organization’s mission, programs, resources, and where support is needed. Before you can improve your statements and approaches, you need to define what exactly they are.

Identify what internal processes are working and which ones aren’t. Pinpoint which processes are causing problems, creating bottlenecks , or could otherwise use improving. Then prioritize which internal processes will have the biggest positive impact on your business.

Identify solutions. Work with the respective teams when you’re creating a new strategy to benefit from their experience and perspective on the current situation.

Update your strategic plan with the solutions. Update your strategic plan and monitor if implementing it is setting your business up for improvement or growth. If not, you may have to return to the drawing board and update your strategic plan with new solutions.

4. Scenario model

The scenario model works great if you combine it with other models like the basic or issue-based model. This model is particularly helpful if you need to consider external factors as well. These can be government regulations, technical, or demographic changes that may impact your business.

Organizations trying to identify strategic issues and goals caused by external factors

Identify external factors that influence your organization. For example, you should consider demographic, regulation, or environmental factors.

Review the worst case scenario the above factors could have on your organization. If you know what the worst case scenario for your business looks like, it’ll be much easier to prepare for it. Besides, it’ll take some of the pressure and surprise out of the mix, should a scenario similar to the one you create actually occur.

Identify and discuss two additional hypothetical organizational scenarios. On top of your worst case scenario, you’ll also want to define the best case and average case scenarios. Keep in mind that the worst case scenario from the previous step can often provoke strong motivation to change your organization for the better. However, discussing the other two will allow you to focus on the positive—the opportunities your business may have ahead.

Identify and suggest potential strategies or solutions. Everyone on the team should now brainstorm different ways your business could potentially respond to each of the three scenarios. Discuss the proposed strategies as a team afterward.

Uncover common considerations or strategies for your organization. There’s a good chance that your teammates come up with similar solutions. Decide which ones you like best as a team or create a new one together.

Identify the most likely scenario and the most reasonable strategy. Finally, examine which of the three scenarios is most likely to occur in the next three to five years and how your business should respond to potential changes.

5. Self-organizing model

Also called the organic planning model, the self-organizing model is a bit different from the linear approaches of the other models. You’ll have to be very patient with this method. 

This strategic planning model is all about focusing on the learning and growing process rather than achieving a specific goal. Since the organic model concentrates on continuous improvement , the process is never really over.

Large organizations that can afford to take their time

Businesses that prefer a more naturalistic, organic planning approach that revolves around common values, communication, and shared reflection

Companies that have a clear understanding of their vision

Define and communicate your organization’s cultural values . Your team can only think clearly and with solutions in mind when they have a clear understanding of your organization's values.

Communicate the planning group’s vision for the organization. Define and communicate the vision with everyone involved in the strategic planning process. This will align everyone’s ideas with your company’s vision.

Discuss what processes will help realize the organization’s vision on a regular basis. Meet every quarter to discuss strategies or tactics that will move your organization closer to realizing your vision.

6. Real-time model

This fluid model can help organizations that deal with rapid changes to their work environment. There are three levels of success in the real-time model: 

Organizational: At the organizational level, you’re forming strategies in response to opportunities or trends.

Programmatic: At the programmatic level, you have to decide how to respond to specific outcomes or environmental changes.

Operational: On the operational level, you will study internal systems, policies, and people to develop a strategy for your company.

Figuring out your competitive advantage can be difficult, but this is absolutely crucial to ensure success. Whether it’s a unique asset or strength your organization has or an outstanding execution of services or programs—it’s important that you can set yourself apart from others in the industry to succeed.

Companies that need to react quickly to changing environments

Businesses that are seeking new tools to help them align with their organizational strategy

Define your mission and vision statement. If you ever feel stuck formulating your company’s mission or vision statement, take a look at those of others. Maybe Asana’s vision statement sparks some inspiration.

Research, understand, and learn from competitor strategy and market trends. Pick a handful of competitors in your industry and find out how they’ve created success for themselves. How did they handle setbacks or challenges? What kinds of challenges did they even encounter? Are these common scenarios in the market? Learn from your competitors by finding out as much as you can about them.

Study external environments. At this point, you can combine the real-time model with the scenario model to find solutions to threats and opportunities outside of your control.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your internal processes, systems, and resources. Besides the external factors your team has to consider, it’s also important to look at your company’s internal environment and how well you’re prepared for different scenarios.

Develop a strategy. Discuss the results of your SWOT analysis to develop a business strategy that builds toward organizational, programmatic, and operational success.

Rinse and repeat. Monitor how well the new strategy is working for your organization and repeat the planning process as needed to ensure you’re on top or, perhaps, ahead of the game. 

7. Inspirational model

This last strategic planning model is perfect to inspire and energize your team as they work toward your organization’s goals. It’s also a great way to introduce or reconnect your employees to your business strategy after a merger or acquisition.

Businesses with a dynamic and inspired start-up culture

Organizations looking for inspiration to reinvigorate the creative process

Companies looking for quick solutions and strategy shifts

Gather your team to discuss an inspirational vision for your organization. The more people you can gather for this process, the more input you will receive.

Brainstorm big, hairy audacious goals and ideas. Encouraging your team not to hold back with ideas that may seem ridiculous will do two things: for one, it will mitigate the fear of contributing bad ideas. But more importantly, it may lead to a genius idea or suggestion that your team wouldn’t have thought of if they felt like they had to think inside of the box.

Assess your organization’s resources. Find out if your company has the resources to implement your new ideas. If they don’t, you’ll have to either adjust your strategy or allocate more resources.

Develop a strategy balancing your resources and brainstorming ideas. Far-fetched ideas can grow into amazing opportunities but they can also bear great risk. Make sure to balance ideas with your strategic direction. 

Now, let’s dive into the most commonly used strategic frameworks.

8. SWOT analysis framework

One of the most popular strategic planning frameworks is the SWOT analysis . A SWOT analysis is a great first step in identifying areas of opportunity and risk—which can help you create a strategic plan that accounts for growth and prepares for threats.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s an example:

[Inline illustration] SWOT analysis (Example)

9. OKRs framework

A big part of strategic planning is setting goals for your company. That’s where OKRs come into play. 

OKRs stand for objective and key results—this goal-setting framework helps your organization set and achieve goals. It provides a somewhat holistic approach that you can use to connect your team’s work to your organization’s big-picture goals.  When team members understand how their individual work contributes to the organization’s success, they tend to be more motivated and produce better results

10. Balanced scorecard (BSC) framework

The balanced scorecard is a popular strategic framework for businesses that want to take a more holistic approach rather than just focus on their financial performance. It was designed by David Norton and Robert Kaplan in the 1990s, it’s used by companies around the globe to: 

Communicate goals

Align their team’s daily work with their company’s strategy

Prioritize products, services, and projects

Monitor their progress toward their strategic goals

Your balanced scorecard will outline four main business perspectives:

Customers or clients , meaning their value, satisfaction, and/or retention

Financial , meaning your effectiveness in using resources and your financial performance

Internal process , meaning your business’s quality and efficiency

Organizational capacity , meaning your organizational culture, infrastructure and technology, and human resources

With the help of a strategy map, you can visualize and communicate how your company is creating value. A strategy map is a simple graphic that shows cause-and-effect connections between strategic objectives. 

The balanced scorecard framework is an amazing tool to use from outlining your mission, vision, and values all the way to implementing your strategic plan .

You can use an integration like Lucidchart to create strategy maps for your business in Asana.

11. Porter’s Five Forces framework

If you’re using the real-time strategic planning model, Porter’s Five Forces are a great framework to apply. You can use it to find out what your product’s or service’s competitive advantage is before entering the market.

Developed by Michael E. Porter , the framework outlines five forces you have to be aware of and monitor:

[Inline illustration] Porter’s Five Forces framework (Infographic)

Threat of new industry entrants: Any new entry into the market results in increased pressure on prices and costs. 

Competition in the industry: The more competitors that exist, the more difficult it will be for you to create value in the market with your product or service.

Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers can wield more power if there are less alternatives for buyers or it’s expensive, time consuming, or difficult to switch to a different supplier.

Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers can wield more power if the same product or service is available elsewhere with little to no difference in quality.

Threat of substitutes: If another company already covers the market’s needs, you’ll have to create a better product or service or make it available for a lower price at the same quality in order to compete.

Remember, industry structures aren’t static. The more dynamic your strategic plan is, the better you’ll be able to compete in a market.

12. VRIO framework

The VRIO framework is another strategic planning tool designed to help you evaluate your competitive advantage. VRIO stands for value, rarity, imitability, and organization.

It’s a resource-based theory developed by Jay Barney. With this framework, you can study your firmed resources and find out whether or not your company can transform them into sustained competitive advantages. 

Firmed resources can be tangible (e.g., cash, tools, inventory, etc.) or intangible (e.g., copyrights, trademarks, organizational culture, etc.). Whether these resources will actually help your business once you enter the market depends on four qualities:

Valuable : Will this resource either increase your revenue or decrease your costs and thereby create value for your business?

Rare : Are the resources you’re using rare or can others use your resources as well and therefore easily provide the same product or service?

Inimitable : Are your resources either inimitable or non-substitutable? In other words, how unique and complex are your resources?

Organizational: Are you organized enough to use your resources in a way that captures their value, rarity, and inimitability?

It’s important that your resources check all the boxes above so you can ensure that you have sustained competitive advantage over others in the industry.

13. Theory of Constraints (TOC) framework

If the reason you’re currently in a strategic planning process is because you’re trying to mitigate risks or uncover issues that could hurt your business—this framework should be in your toolkit.

The theory of constraints (TOC) is a problem-solving framework that can help you identify limiting factors or bottlenecks preventing your organization from hitting OKRs or KPIs . 

Whether it’s a policy, market, or recourse constraint—you can apply the theory of constraints to solve potential problems, respond to issues, and empower your team to improve their work with the resources they have.

14. PEST/PESTLE analysis framework

The idea of the PEST analysis is similar to that of the SWOT analysis except that you’re focusing on external factors and solutions. It’s a great framework to combine with the scenario-based strategic planning model as it helps you define external factors connected to your business’s success.

PEST stands for political, economic, sociological, and technological factors. Depending on your business model, you may want to expand this framework to include legal and environmental factors as well (PESTLE). These are the most common factors you can include in a PESTLE analysis:

Political: Taxes, trade tariffs, conflicts

Economic: Interest and inflation rate, economic growth patterns, unemployment rate

Social: Demographics, education, media, health

Technological: Communication, information technology, research and development, patents

Legal: Regulatory bodies, environmental regulations, consumer protection

Environmental: Climate, geographical location, environmental offsets

15. Hoshin Kanri framework

Hoshin Kanri is a great tool to communicate and implement strategic goals. It’s a planning system that involves the entire organization in the strategic planning process. The term is Japanese and stands for “compass management” and is also known as policy management. 

This strategic planning framework is a top-down approach that starts with your leadership team defining long-term goals which are then aligned and communicated with every team member in the company. 

You should hold regular meetings to monitor progress and update the timeline to ensure that every teammate’s contributions are aligned with the overarching company goals.

Stick to your strategic goals

Whether you’re a small business just starting out or a nonprofit organization with decades of experience, strategic planning is a crucial step in your journey to success. 

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you and your team define, organize, and implement your strategic goals, Asana is here to help. Our goal-setting software allows you to connect all of your team members in one place, visualize progress, and stay on target.

Examples logo

Business Strategic Plan

Business Strategic Plan Examples

The importance of a business strategic plan cannot be understated for any company. A business strategic plan assists a company in achieving long-term sustainability. Without a strategic plan, companies would find it difficult to sustain their daily operations. They would not be able to identify their strengths to gain a competitive advantage as well as fix issues that hamper them from achieving their maximum financial potential. To help you formulate a business strategic plan, here are some examples (in PDF format) as well as some tips on how to write a strategic plan.

Strategic Business Plan Template

strategic business plan template

  • Google Docs

Size: A4, US

If you want your company to prosper, you need to come up with an effective plan. To help you out with this, we present to you, this strategic business plan template that comes with ready-made content. It lets you identify the various elements that a business can utilize to attract funding while also efficiently managing the company objectives. You can open and edit this  legal strategic plan example in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Docs.

Simple Strategic Business Plan Example

simple strategic business

If you want to outline the necessary strategies on how you can achieve your goals for your business, then you can make use of this “Strategic Business Plan” template that has pre-existing content. You can edit, add, or replace any content to your specifications by downloading and opening it in any of the file formats. Try it out now! You can also go through our  department strategic plan examples.

Small Business Strategic Plan Template

small business strategic plan template

  • Apple Pages

Size: 32 KB

New Business Strategic Plan Template

new business strategic plan template

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I.T Business Strategic Plan Template

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Business Strategic Action Plan Template

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HR Strategic Business Plan Template

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5 Year Strategic Business Plan Template

5 year strategic business plan template

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30-60-90 Day Strategic Business Plan Template

30 60 90 day strategic business plan template

Strategic Business Marketing Plan Template

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Strategic Communication Business Plan Template

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HR Strategic Plan Template for Retail Business

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HR Strategic Plan Template for Small Business

hr strategic plan template for small business

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ABCDE Business Strategic Plan Example

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Editable Business Strategic Plan Example

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Enterprise Strategic Plan Example

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The Strategic Planning Process

A business strategic plan requires multiple steps (specifically a process) before it is presented to executives and other stakeholders of the company. Listed below is the strategic planning process:

1. Mission and objectives

The mission statement describes the company’s vision or a long-term goal it wants to achieve. The vision is not an end-goal for the organization, as it can always change its vision after it has been achieved. But the vision is not easily achievable and requires years of consistent results and careful planning.

Guided by its vision, the organization’s management team can define measurable financial and strategic objectives. Sales objectives refer to the organization’s revenues and profit while strategic objectives refer to the firm’s business position (competitive advantage, market position, reputation). You may also see  strategic planning checklist examples.

2. Environmental scanning

Environmental scanning refers to the analysis conducted by the organization in both its internal and external environment. An environmental scan involves three functions: internal analysis of the firm, general analysis of the firm’s industry, and analysis of the external macroenvironment.

Firms usually conduct a SWOT analysis to analyze both the internal and external environment. The SWOT analysis identifies the organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats.

PESTLE analysis and Porter’s five forces can both be used to analyze the firm’s external macroenvironment. PESTLE analysis identifies the firm’s political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environment situation while Porter’s five forces create a detailed analysis of the firm’s direct competitors. You may also like sales strategic plan examples.

3. Strategy formulation

Based on the results of the environment scan, strategies must be formulated not only to capitalize on the strengths and opportunities but also to remedy the weaknesses and threats that were identified.

The purpose of strategy formulation is to gain a competitive advantage as well as achieve long-term sustainability. Organizations will find it difficult to achieve a large market share if they don’t use strategies to maximize their strengths and weaknesses and eradicate their weaknesses and threats. You may also view the  recruitment strategic plan examples.

4. Strategy implementation

The strategies being identified are then implemented using programs, budgets, and procedures. Implementation involves the organization of the firm’s limited resources as well as staff motivation to achieve the firm’s objectives and goals .

Proper implementation of a chosen strategy is crucial for the company to achieve its objectives. Even if the company identified the right strategy but failed in the implementation, it still deems the strategy useless. That is the reason why every individual in the organization should work collectively for the organization to achieve its objectives and goals. You might be interested in browsing through our  one-page strategic plan examples.

5. Evaluation and control

Even if the strategy was not properly implemented, it can still be fixed through evaluation and control. The strategic implementation does not go according to the  general plan every time, especially if the firm deals with threats they cannot control (i.e., implementation of new government policies, natural calamities that halted company operations, etc.).

As long as organizations don’t incur high costs and make the same mistakes multiple times, then they are still on the right track to achieve their goals.

Evaluation and control consist of the following steps:

  • defining parameters that need to be measured
  • performing measurements
  • comparing measured results to previous standards
  • making necessary changes

Business Strategic Plan Framework Summary Example

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Focus Strategic Plan Example

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Free Strategic Plan Template Example

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Executive Summary for Strategic Plan Example

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Companies Who Successfully Used Strategic Planning

1. microsoft.

The company that started in a garage in 1975 is now the largest computer manufacturer in the world and employs around 100,000 full-time personnel. A few years after Microsoft was founded, the company launched its own system, the MSDOS. Unfortunately, it was only available on Microsoft’s platform. The company partnered with tech giants IBM and Intel to increase its reach in the market, then the rest is history. You may also see personal strategic plan examples.

Microsoft’s network grew bigger and faster. Numerous participants teamed up with Microsoft and eventually, the interactions among participants evolved into complex webs of collaboration, not just within the company but also among groups of different players (business partners, investors, and third-party developers). You will also find our  health and safety strategic plan examples highly useful.

Today, the company is worth $560 billion (USD) and might even reach $1 trillion by 2020 according to Wall Street analysts.

2. Exxon Mobil

The world’s largest oil company was not always in the position it is in today. Exxon Mobil is a result of a merger between two oil companies, Exxon and Mobil.

The company produces 3.9 million BOE (barrels of oil) every day, easily beating out the other “Big Oil” companies or supermajors which include BP plc (England), Chevron Corporation (USA), Royal Dutch Shell plc (Netherlands), Total SA (France), and Eni SpA (Italy). Our  club strategic plan examples will also come in handy for you.

The company currently has 100,000 employees and also earned $237 billion (USD) in 2017, the largest revenue for any oil company in the world.

Apple, similar to Microsoft, also started in a garage. The first innovator of smartphones introduced to the world the Apple iPhone. Since then, smartphone manufacturers directed all their efforts in beating out the company that earned an average of $150 billion from 2010–2013 alone. You might be interested in the  HR strategic plan templates .

Apple is not only famous for producing smartphones. It began as a company selling computers. If Apple is the first innovator of smartphones, did you know it was also the first innovator of personal computers when it introduced the Macintosh in 1984? Back then, Microsoft could not keep up with Apple in the technology and functionality that the original Mac provided. You may also see five-year strategic plan examples.

Even if the sales of the iPhone have decreased in recent years, the company still earned a massive $230 billion (USD) in 2017. It also employs around 66,000 full-time software designers, developers, graphic artists, and marketing personnel.

4. Facebook

Facebook started as a school experiment in 2004, as well as a prank from the company’s founder to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend. After a few years, it forced existing social media platforms at that time to close down while continuing to add features to make the website more convenient and accessible for users (chat, user location, comments and likes, games) as well as business entities (business page, advertisements) to use.

Even today, Facebook still controls the majority of the social media environment, especially after it acquired the photography app Instagram.

The company currently has around 1.80 billion daily active users, with whom 80% are located outside the US and Canada. Facebook had an annual revenue of $40.7 billion (USD) for 2017 alone, easily beating out the $7 billion average revenue it achieved in the five previous years. Facebook also has a current workforce of 15,000 employees. You may also like security strategic plan examples.

5. China Mobile

China Mobile is not the only the largest telecommunication corporation in China but is also the largest mobile phone operator in the world, with over 900 million subscribers as of June 2018. China Mobile’s core subsidiary “China Mobile Limited” is listed in both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK). You may also take a look at our  procurement strategy plan examples.

China Mobile is a state-owned corporation that was born as a result of a breakup from other telecom giants China Telecom. Since then, China Mobile has dominated the country’s telecom market, controlling 70% of the market share while China Unicom and China Telecom share the remaining spoils. Feel free to also view some of our  community strategic plan examples.

China Mobile tallied a total of $102 billion (USD) in revenues for 2016 and currently employs half a billion employees.

The tech giant that was founded on Japanese philosophies kaizen (continuous improvement) and 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) possess a diversified business portfolio that is incomparable to other conglomerates.

Its portfolio includes electronics (Xperia, Alpha, Bravia), gaming (Playstation, Playstation VR), entertainment (Sony Pictures Entertainment), and financial services (Sony Life, FeliCa). It is no surprise that all of Sony’s products are market leaders in their respective industries. You may also see school strategic plan examples.

Sony was founded in 1946 and has produced devices that have also been associated with pop culture. You may have heard of (or even used) the Walkman, Discman, TR-55 Transistor Radio, and the classic Betamax. After seeing a drop in revenue for 2016 ($67 billion), Sony recovered big in 2017 earning $77 billion (USD) in total revenues. The Japanese conglomerate has a current workforce of 128,000 employees. You may also like restaurant strategic plan examples.

7. Johnson and Johnson

Johnson and Johnson is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Aside from its headquarters in New Jersey, USA, it has corporate offices in England, Singapore, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, China, and the Philippines, to name a few.

Johnson and Johnson has three main divisions under its umbrella: consumer healthcare (baby care, skin and hair care, wound care and topicals, oral health care, women’s health, nutrition), medical devices (sterilization products, Animas Corp., Biosense Webster, DePuy Sythes, Ethicon Inc.), and pharmaceuticals (Janssen). You may also go through our  audit strategic plan examples.

The conglomerate began in 1885 after the Johnson brothers (James, Robert, and Edward) decided to manufacture and sell ready-to-use surgical dressings. Johnson and Johnson then ventured into consumer healthcare in the 1950s and eventually pharmaceuticals in the 1960s (thus, the inception of Janssen). The US-based company currently employs 125,000 employees and tallied a total revenue of $75 billion (USD) in 2017. We also a collection of  maintenance strategy plan examples that you can take a look at.

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We hope you found this article to be informative as well as help when you will be writing your business strategic plan.

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24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

Free Business Plan Template

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The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

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I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

sample business plans and examples

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. To me, the same logic applies to business.

If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

business strategic plan sample

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First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, and only include the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

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Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry.

You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

I like this example because it uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are.

After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. 

This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

Use this section to describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

I’d also recommend building a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

I like the example below because it uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. I’d suggest including information:

  • Your brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll need to review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services.

Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use. It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. 

For this reason, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

I like how this business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

To me, this section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more.

 According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll need to include in the financials section of your business plan.

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. 

So, I’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business.

You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. In my opinion, internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some of my favorite templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow.

Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why I Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it.

There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders.

It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis.

The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made.

Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (I always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

I absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service.

You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business.

Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you.

It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things I love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, I especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan.

Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue.

I included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives.

This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact. Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best.

For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement  should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University .

While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more.

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. 

This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. 

Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission.

The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" and this example does just that. In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. 

You can use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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3 Business Strategy Examples to Inspire Your Own

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  • 03 Nov 2022

Successful businesses often change the way the world lives. Consider Apple, Google, and Netflix and the immense value each offers customers. Despite ambitious profit margins, the companies' business strategies didn't stem solely from financial goals. Each prioritized consumer value through innovations such as smartphones, faster search engines, and video streaming.

If you want to develop a successful business strategy, here's an overview of value creation, how to create value, and examples of companies successfully implementing it into their business models.

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What Is a Value-Based Business Strategy?

Creating value for the customer and company determines whether a business strategy is successful. According to Harvard Business School Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee in the HBS Online course Business Strategy , "These companies don't win by having the best product or most impressive service. They win by creating the most value."

While this can be difficult to visualize, the value stick framework illustrates how a company can maximize profit while creating more value for its customers, suppliers, and stakeholders.

The Value Stick

The value stick is a graph comprised of four components: willingness to pay (WTP), price, cost, and willingness to sell (WTS). Each segment represents how a sale's value is split between a firm, its customers, and suppliers. While each component leads to value, two levers create it: WTP and WTS.

To better understand how these components aid value-based business strategies , here are examples of how you can implement them in your organization.

Raising WTP

Willingness to pay (WTP) refers to the highest price a customer is willing to pay for a product or service. This calculation determines the threshold at which customers are more likely to make a purchase. Any slight imbalance in this number can deter, or even dissuade, consumers from purchasing. Only when a customer is delighted by a product or service are they willing to pay more.

Companies need to know their customer's WTP to remain profitable. According to HBS Online's Business Strategy course, it's influenced by the functional attributes of the product or service and other considerations, including:

  • Business sustainability: Is the product or service environmentally sound?
  • Social status: Does the media give your product or service additional value?
  • Market influence: Does your product or service inspire your competition?

Raising WTP can be an effective strategy for companies interested in increasing profit margins. This difficult balancing act requires an understanding of the product and target consumer. Business Strategy identifies three main mechanisms for raising WTP:

  • Conferring status: Earning "status" granted by media and the consumers to gain more value through public attention and brand legitimacy
  • Reducing uncertainty: Ensuring quality and purpose within an organization, so customers know what to expect with your product and service every time
  • Forming tastes: Taking the time to get your brand to the consumer as soon as possible because of nostalgic drivers

Lowering WTS

Willingness to sell (WTS) is the lowest price suppliers are willing to accept in exchange for materials needed to create products or services. Just as customers must weigh personal versus monetary value in determining whether they want to participate in a transaction, so do suppliers.

Another way to measure WTS is by considering employee engagement and retention. One of the most valuable assets a company has is its talent. Effective leaders nurture and develop employees to ensure salary isn't their only motivator.

Lowering WTS for one or both of these groups can be an effective business strategy for companies that can't raise their WTP. For example, companies that can motivate employees to work for a lower cost by providing value in other ways—such as benefits packages, flexible work hours, and generous paid time off—can lower WTS. Another method of lowering WTS is creating value for suppliers. This can take the form of additional warehouse space or long-term contracts.

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3 Companies With Successful Business Strategies

One of the best ways to learn about business strategy is from real-world examples. Here are three companies that faced numerous challenges but overcame them through value-based business strategies.

1. Best Buy

Best Buy, the multinational electronics retailer, is an excellent example of how a shift in business strategy can lead to rapid growth. In 2012, Best Buy faced fierce market competition with online platforms like Amazon and big-box stores like Walmart and Home Depot. As a result, the company lost over a billion dollars in revenue in a single quarter.

Rather than closing stores or developing new products, Best Buy's leadership decided to leverage an existing asset not being utilized to its full potential: its storefronts. Best Buy started using its stores as "mini warehouses," providing faster shipping times, easier customer pick-up, and improved product availability. As a result of enhancing convenience for the customer, Best Buy increased its WTP.

Best Buy is an exceptional example of a value-based business strategy because it subsequently lowered WTS with this initiative. By keeping the vast network of stores intact and allowing vendors to build showrooms within its stores, Best Buy provided a cost-effective option for its vendors. This additional value lowered vendors' WTS, leading to product discounts.

As the largest sportswear manufacturer of shoes, clothing, and accessories, Nike has become one of the world's leading global sports brands. While much of Nike's success has come from its iconic products, it's also resulted from effective business strategies that out-compete in today's crowded sportswear market.

Value-based pricing greatly contributed to the company's reported global revenue of more than $44 billion in 2021 . For example, Nike has consistently leveraged consumers' perceptions of its products to drive prices up within their WTP. Nike can do this by creating the highest quality products to justify charging a premium price.

Many of Nike's competitors struggle to follow this same business model because of Nike's most valuable asset: its image. Company leadership at Nike has long understood that its pricing model isn't just reflected in the quality of its products but in the influence of its logo. By understanding its social and market influence, Nike's exclusive products, such as Air Jordans, have contributed to driving its perceived value to an even higher level. As a result, brand value and customer loyalty are two major pillars of Nike's long-term success at consistently raising its customer's WTP.

3. Starbucks

The world's largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, also needed to adopt a value-based strategy to gain market domination. In 2008, Starbucks faced immense financial pressure from increasing fast-food chain competition, rising prices in food and supplies, and global strains on coffee trading. In fact, by March 30, 2008, its profits had fallen nearly 28 percent compared to the previous year, leading to 300 closed stores and 6,700 employee layoffs.

To combat these challenges, Starbucks focused on better understanding the company's WTP. According to a letter by Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz, "The company must shift its focus away from bureaucracy and back to customers. We need to reignite the emotional attachment with our customers."

One method of doing this was the "My Starbucks Idea." Its goal was to create a space for customers to exchange ideas with each other and the company about Starbucks' products, services, stores, and corporate social responsibility . With nearly 93,000 ideas recorded and 1.3 million newly generated on social media, Starbucks tapped into what their customers cared about most.

Understanding what drives customer value led to many business model changes synonymous with Starbucks today. For example, free Wi-Fi, lounge chairs, and Starbucks' rewards program all sparked from customer feedback and forums. As a result, Starbucks is widely known as one of the fast-food chains with the highest WTP because of its loyal customer base.

Which HBS Online Strategy Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Making Profits the Outcome, Not the Goal

Companies considering a shift in business strategy are often facing financial hardships. Whether an impending bankruptcy, decreasing profit margins, or increasing employee turnover, business strategies are meant to solve these problems. Yet, this isn't where your strategy should start.

"Profit is not the goal," says Oberholzer-Gee in HBS Online's Business Strategy course. "You treat it as an outcome. It's people first, then business."

Business leaders need an in-depth understanding of customer value to succeed in today's competitive marketplace. While real-world examples illustrate the implementation of these value-based strategies, taking an online course like Business Strategy can help you create an effective business strategy that wins over customers while generating a profit.

Are you interested in learning how customer value relates to financially successful business strategies? Explore our online course Business Strategy , or other strategy courses , to develop your strategic planning skills. To determine which strategy course is right for you, download our free flowchart .

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Coffee Shop Business Plan PDF Example

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  • February 23, 2024
  • Business Plan

Business plan template for a coffee shop

Creating a comprehensive business plan is crucial for launching and running a successful coffee shop. This plan serves as your roadmap, detailing your vision, operational strategies, and financial plan. It helps establish your coffee shop’s identity, navigate the competitive market, and secure funding for growth.

This article not only breaks down the critical components of a coffee shop business plan, but also provides an example of a business plan to help you craft your own.

Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or new to the food and beverage industry, this guide, complete with a business plan example, lays the groundwork for turning your coffee shop concept into reality. Let’s dive in!

Our coffee shop business plan is structured to cover all essential aspects needed for a comprehensive strategy. It outlines the shop’s operations, marketing strategy, market environment, competitors, management team, and financial forecasts.

  • Executive Summary : Offers a quick look at your coffee shop idea, market research, your team, and money plans.
  • Coffee Shop & Location: Talks about the design, special features, and why the spot is great for customers.
  • Operations: Describes how your shop runs daily, like hours, staff roles, and your menu items with prices.
  • Key Stats: Gives numbers on how big the coffee shop world is and what’s trending.
  • Key Trends: Points out new things in coffee shops, like eco-friendly practices or tech for ordering.
  • Key Competitors: Looks at other coffee places nearby and how your shop is different.
  • SWOT: Lists strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks for your shop.
  • Marketing Plan : Ideas for getting the word out and keeping customers coming back.
  • Timeline : Major steps and goals from starting up to the first year.
  • Management: Highlights Info on your leading team and their roles.
  • Financial Plan : Predicts financials for 5 years, like how much you’ll make, spend, and keep as profit.

Business plan template for a coffee shop

Coffee Shop Business Plan

Download an expert-built 30+ slides Powerpoint business plan template

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary presents a concise overview of your coffee shop’s business plan, encapsulating the essence of your establishment and its offerings. It should articulate your market positioning, the variety of coffee and related products you offer, its location, size, and a brief on the daily operations.

This section should also delve into how your coffee shop will carve its niche within the local community, including an analysis of the number of direct competitors in the vicinity, identifying who they are, as well as highlighting your coffee shop’s unique selling points that set it apart from these competitors.

Moreover, information about the management and co-founding team should be included, elaborating on their roles and the value they bring to the coffee shop’s success. Additionally, a synopsis of your financial projections, including anticipated revenue and profits over the next five years, should be provided here to offer a clear view of your coffee shop’s financial strategy.

Make sure to cover here _ Business Overview _ Market Overview _ Management Team _ Financial Plan

Coffee Shop Business Plan executive summary1

Dive deeper into Executive Summary

Business Overview

For a Coffee Shop, the Business Overview section can be neatly divided into 2 main slides:

Coffee Shop & Location

Talk about your coffee shop’s look and feel, highlighting cozy seats and nice lighting that make it welcoming. Mention its location, noting how easy it is to get there, like being close to shops or having easy parking. Explain why this spot is great for attracting customers.

Operations & Offerings

List the kinds of coffee and other items you sell, including snacks or light food. Discuss pricing, making sure it matches the quality of what you’re selling and suits your target customers. Share special features of your shop, such as using local products or offering unique coffee flavors. Mention any deals or events you have to keep customers coming back.

Make sure to cover here _ Coffee Shop & Location _ Operations

Business Plan_Fast Food RESTAURANT

Market Overview

Industry size & growth.

In the Market Overview of your coffee shop business plan, begin by exploring the size of the coffee industry and its potential for growth. This analysis is key to understanding the breadth of the market and pinpointing opportunities for expansion.

Key Market Trends

Next, discuss current trends in the coffee market, like the growing demand for specialty coffee, the appeal of ethically sourced and organic beans, and the innovation in coffee brewing techniques. Highlight the interest in offerings that cater to diverse preferences and dietary needs, such as plant-based milk options and artisanal blends, as well as the increasing importance of sustainability in the coffee industry.

Key Competitors

Then, examine the competitive landscape, which encompasses a variety of coffee shops from high-end specialty cafes to more affordable, convenient options, as well as the rise of home brewing. Focus on what sets your coffee shop apart, whether it’s through top-notch customer service, a unique selection of products, or expertise in certain types of coffee. This section will underscore the demand for coffee shop services, the competitive atmosphere, and how your coffee shop is well-placed to succeed in this vibrant market.

Make sure to cover here _ Industry size & growth _ Key market trends _ Key competitors

Coffee Shop Business Plan market overview1

Dive deeper into Key competitors

Start by doing a SWOT analysis for the coffee shop. Point out Strengths (like skilled baristas and a variety of coffee options), Weaknesses (such as high running costs or lots of competitors), Opportunities (for instance, more people wanting unique coffee experiences), and Threats (like economic changes that might reduce how much people spend on coffee).

Marketing Plan

Then, make a marketing plan that shows how to draw in and keep customers. This could include ads aimed at the right people, deals to save money, an active and interesting online presence, and getting involved in the local area.

Lastly, set up a detailed timeline that marks important steps for the coffee shop’s start, marketing actions, growth in the number of customers, and goals for getting bigger. Make sure there’s a clear plan and goal for moving the business forward.

Make sure to cover here _ SWOT _ Marketing Plan _ Timeline

business strategic plan sample

Dive deeper into SWOT

Dive deeper into Marketing Plan

The Management section focuses on the coffee shop’s management and their direct roles in daily operations and strategic direction. This part is crucial for understanding who is responsible for making key decisions and driving the coffee shop toward its financial and operational goals.

For your coffee shop business plan, list the core team members, their specific responsibilities, and how their expertise supports the business.

Coffee Shop Business Plan management1

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan section is a comprehensive analysis of your financial projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability. It lays out your coffee shop’s approach to securing funding, managing cash flow, and achieving breakeven.

This section typically includes detailed forecasts for the first 5 years of operation, highlighting expected revenue, operating costs and capital expenditures.

For your coffee shop business plan, provide a snapshot of your financial statement (profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statement), as well as your key assumptions (e.g. number of customers and prices, expenses, etc.).

Make sure to cover here _ Profit and Loss _ Cash Flow Statement _ Balance Sheet _ Use of Funds

Coffee Shop Business Plan financial plan

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Free Clothing Retail Sample Business Plan

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Kateri Kosta

1 min. read

Updated February 25, 2024

If you’re writing a business plan for your clothing retail business, it can be helpful to start by looking at a sample business plan to help you get a sense of what to include in each section. You’re in luck. Download Bplans’ free clothing retail sample business plan Word doc  or PDF to help you create a business plan of your own.

Remember, finding a sample business plan that exactly matches your business isn’t necessary . The details your in your plan will be different based on whether you’re starting a high fashion boutique in a big city, or a neighborhood shop catering to weekend adventurers, for example. But either way, the bones of the plan will be the same, so you can use an example from any type of retail clothing business for inspiration.

Are you writing a business plan for your clothing shop because you’re seeking a loan? Is your primary concern building a clear roadmap for growth? Either way, you’re going to want to edit and customize it so it fits your particular company.  Take the time to create your own financial forecasts and do enough market research so you have a solid plan for success. 

  • What should you include in a clothing retail business plan?

Your clothing retail business plan doesn’t need to be hundreds of pages—keep it as short and concise as possible. You’ll probably want to include each of these sections: executive summary, company summary and funding needs, products, market analysis, strategy and implementation plan, management team, financial plan, and appendix. 

Here’s an example of a clothing retail business plan outline .

Clothing Retail Sample Business Plan

Download and edit this free clothing and retail sample business plan PDF  or  Word doc  now, or visit Bplans’ gallery of more than 550 sample business plans if you’re looking for more options.

There are plenty of reasons retailers can benefit from writing a business plan —you’ll need one if you’re seeking a loan or investment. Even if you’re not seeking funding, the process of thinking through every

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Content Author: Kateri Kosta

Kateri is a leader in innovative brand and content marketing. She’s committed to putting the best words in the right order to deliver high quality, discoverable, and useful tools and resources at scale. She enjoys exploring the intersection of tech, words, and the people to who drive small business culture.

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Sample Consulting Firm Business Plan

consulting firm business plan

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a consulting firm. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring consulting firm business owners, having access to a sample consulting firm business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own consulting firm business plan.

Download our Ultimate Consulting Firm Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful consulting firm venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A consulting firm business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The consulting firm business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your consulting firm as Growthink’s Ultimate Consulting Firm Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a consulting firm business plan of your own.

Example – InsightAdvantage Consultants

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.

Welcome to InsightAdvantage Consultants, our new consulting firm rooted in the vibrant landscape of San Francisco, CA. Born out of a vision to fill the void for high-quality local consulting services, our mission is dedicated to offering unparalleled consulting solutions tailored to the unique needs of businesses in our community. Specializing in strategic planning, management consulting, and financial advisory, we craft personalized solutions that empower our clients to navigate their specific challenges and seize opportunities for growth. With our firm strategically located in San Francisco, we not only ensure our services are highly relevant and specialized for the local market but also contribute actively to the local business ecosystem, making us the go-to consulting firm in the area.

Our success at InsightAdvantage Consultants is driven by a blend of factors. The wealth of experience brought by our founder, who has a proven track record in the consulting industry, sets a solid foundation for our operations. Coupled with our commitment to superior consulting expertise, we stand out as a leader in the field. Our specialized understanding of the San Francisco market further cements our position as the preferred local consulting partner. Since our launch in January 2024, we’ve hit several key milestones, including establishing our brand identity, securing a prime location for our operations, and structuring our business as an S Corporation ready for growth. These accomplishments underscore our readiness and enthusiasm to empower local businesses towards success.

The Consulting Firm industry in the United States, currently valued at over $250 billion, exhibits a robust demand across various sectors, including healthcare, technology, and finance. With an expected annual growth rate of 3-4%, the industry is on a trajectory of steady expansion. A notable trend is the emergence of specialized niche consulting firms like InsightAdvantage Consultants, which cater to specific business needs with highly targeted expertise and solutions. This trend aligns with our focus on the San Francisco market, positioning us to leverage the increasing demand for specialized consulting services in the region.

InsightAdvantage Consultants targets a diverse customer base, starting with local residents to establish a strong community presence. We also focus on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tech startups in San Francisco, offering them tailored consulting services to address their unique challenges. By providing strategies for growth, efficiency improvements, and competitive positioning, we aim to support the backbone of the local economy and the dynamic tech startup sector with agile, innovative solutions that drive sustainable success.

Our main competitors include Run Right Business Consulting, with their tailored services and deep local market understanding; Piedmont Avenue Consulting, specializing in marketing and branding strategies; and BookSoEasy, which combines business consulting with technological solutions. Despite the strengths of these firms, InsightAdvantage Consultants remains unmatched in our blend of industry experience, innovative strategies, and deep local market insights. Our diverse team of industry veterans and young innovators enables us to offer solutions that are both time-tested and infused with fresh, forward-thinking ideas. This unique combination, along with our strategic location in San Francisco, positions us as a leader in the consulting industry.

InsightAdvantage Consultants offers a comprehensive suite of services, including Strategic Planning, Management Consulting, and Financial Advisory, each designed to meet our clients’ diverse needs. Our pricing strategy is tailored to reflect the value and customization of our services, with prices varying based on scope and complexity. To promote our offerings, we employ a robust digital marketing strategy, leveraging social media, SEO, and email campaigns, complemented by content marketing to position us as thought leaders. Networking events, referral programs, and targeted advertising campaigns further amplify our visibility and attract a broad spectrum of clients.

Our operations at InsightAdvantage Consultants are centered around key processes such as client communication, market research, strategy development, project management, and quality assurance, to name a few. We are committed to continuous learning and professional development to stay ahead of industry trends. In the coming months, we aim to achieve several milestones, including securing initial client contracts, achieving operational efficiency, and building a strong local network. These efforts are all geared towards ensuring our firm’s success and sustainable growth.

At the helm of InsightAdvantage Consultants is Lucas Jackson, our President, who brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record from the consulting industry. His expertise in strategic planning, operational efficiency, and business development is invaluable to guiding our firm towards achieving its strategic goals. Lucas’s leadership and deep market understanding ensure we are well-equipped to navigate the industry landscape and achieve lasting success.

Welcome to InsightAdvantage Consultants, a new consulting firm based in the vibrant city of San Francisco, CA. As a local consulting firm, we stand out in a landscape that previously lacked high-quality local consulting services. Our mission is to bridge this gap and offer unparalleled consulting solutions that cater specifically to the needs of businesses in our community.

At InsightAdvantage Consultants, we specialize in a range of services designed to empower businesses to achieve their goals. Our offerings include strategic planning, which helps businesses chart a course for success in an ever-changing market. We also provide management consulting to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and foster leadership within teams. Additionally, our financial advisory services are tailored to help businesses optimize their financial strategies for growth and stability. Each of these services is crafted with our clients’ success in mind, offering personalized solutions that address their unique challenges and opportunities.

Our firm is proudly based in San Francisco, CA, serving customers within this dynamic city. This strategic location not only allows us to be close to our clients but also to be an integral part of the local business ecosystem. By focusing on serving San Francisco businesses, we ensure that our services are highly relevant and tailored to the specific needs of companies operating in this unique market.

InsightAdvantage Consultants is uniquely qualified to succeed for several reasons. Firstly, our founder brings valuable experience from previously running a successful consulting firm, ensuring that we have the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver exceptional results. Moreover, we pride ourselves on offering superior consulting expertise compared to our competition, setting us apart as a leader in the field. These factors, combined with our deep understanding of the local market, position us as the go-to consulting firm in San Francisco.

Since our inception on January 5, 2024, InsightAdvantage Consultants has achieved several milestones. We have successfully established our brand, starting with the design of our logo and the development of our company name, which resonate with our vision and values. Furthermore, we secured a prime location that not only serves as our base of operations but also reflects our commitment to being an accessible and integral part of the local business community. As a S Corporation, we are poised for growth and are excited to continue building our legacy as we serve and empower businesses in San Francisco.

The Consulting Firm industry in the United States is a thriving sector with a significant market size. Currently, the industry is estimated to be worth over $250 billion, showcasing the high demand for consulting services across various sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, and more.

Market research indicates that the Consulting Firm industry is expected to experience steady growth in the coming years. With an annual growth rate projected to be around 3-4%, the industry is set to reach new heights as businesses increasingly seek out expert advice and guidance to navigate complex challenges and drive growth.

One of the key trends in the Consulting Firm industry is the rise of specialized niche consulting firms, such as InsightAdvantage Consultants. These firms offer tailored services to specific industries or business needs, providing clients with highly targeted expertise and solutions. This trend bodes well for InsightAdvantage Consultants, as their focus on serving customers in San Francisco, CA, positions them to capitalize on the growing demand for specialized consulting services in the region.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

InsightAdvantage Consultants will target a diverse range of customer segments, beginning with local residents. This group is essential for establishing a strong community presence and reputation. By focusing on the unique needs and challenges of San Francisco’s residents, InsightAdvantage Consultants will tailor services to offer practical, impactful advice and solutions.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the city will also form a significant part of InsightAdvantage Consultants’ target market. These businesses, which are the backbone of the local economy, often encounter unique challenges that require specialized consulting services. InsightAdvantage Consultants will provide these companies with strategies for growth, efficiency improvements, and competitive positioning.

Furthermore, tech startups, which are prolific in the San Francisco area, will be another primary customer segment for InsightAdvantage Consultants. This sector is dynamic and requires agile, innovative consulting solutions to navigate rapid growth, funding rounds, and scaling challenges. The firm will offer bespoke services that align with the fast-paced nature of tech startups, helping them to achieve sustainable success.

Customer Needs

InsightAdvantage Consultants caters to the distinct needs of San Francisco residents by delivering high-quality consulting services that align with their diverse ambitions and challenges. Clients can expect tailored solutions that resonate with their unique scenarios, whether they are startups seeking to innovate, enterprises aiming to scale, or individuals pursuing personal growth. This dedication to customization ensures that every strategy is not just a roadmap but a reflection of the client’s vision and potential.

In an environment as dynamic and competitive as San Francisco, customers demand not just advice but actionable insights that can lead to tangible outcomes. InsightAdvantage Consultants rises to this expectation by leveraging cutting-edge research, data analytics, and industry expertise to empower clients with strategies that are both innovative and practical. This approach guarantees that clients not only navigate their immediate challenges but are also equipped for long-term success.

Moreover, InsightAdvantage Consultants understands the value of accessibility and ongoing support for San Francisco’s bustling clientele. Clients have the convenience of engaging with experts who are committed to their success beyond the initial consultation. This includes follow-up services, the provision of resources for implementation, and the availability of guidance through the evolution of their projects or businesses. Such comprehensive support underscores our dedication to not just meeting but exceeding client expectations.

InsightAdvantage Consultants’ Competitors Include the Following Companies

Run Right Business Consulting

Run Right Business Consulting offers a comprehensive suite of services including strategy development, operational improvements, and financial advisory. The firm specializes in serving small to medium-sized businesses across various industries. Their services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client, ensuring a personalized consulting experience.

Pricing models at Run Right Business Consulting are project-based, with costs varying depending on the scope and complexity of the consulting engagement. This flexibility allows them to cater to a wide range of budgets. The firm reports annual revenues in the mid-range, indicating a stable client base and consistent service delivery.

Located primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Run Right Business Consulting has a strong local presence. However, they also serve clients across the United States, leveraging remote consulting capabilities. Their customer segments include startups, established SMEs, and occasionally larger corporations seeking niche expertise.

Key strengths of Run Right Business Consulting include their tailored service approach and deep local market understanding. Weaknesses may include limited international exposure and a narrower service offering compared to larger consulting firms.

Piedmont Avenue Consulting

Piedmont Avenue Consulting focuses on marketing and branding strategies, offering services such as social media management, public relations, and digital marketing. They cater to a diverse clientele, including retail, hospitality, and technology sectors. This specialization enables them to offer deep insights and innovative strategies in these areas.

Their pricing strategy is flexible, offering both retainer-based and project-specific engagements. This allows businesses of varying sizes and budgets to access their services. Piedmont Avenue Consulting’s revenue is competitive, reflecting their strong position in the niche of marketing consultancy.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Piedmont Avenue Consulting maintains a strong local presence while also serving clients nationwide. Their geographic reach is supported by a robust online consulting platform. The primary customer segments include small to medium-sized businesses looking to enhance their market presence and brand visibility.

The firm’s key strengths lie in its specialized focus on marketing and branding, coupled with a strong understanding of digital trends. However, their narrow focus could be seen as a weakness, limiting their appeal to businesses seeking more comprehensive consulting services.

BookSoEasy offers a unique combination of business consulting and technological solutions, with a focus on streamlining operations, improving customer engagement, and enhancing digital presence for their clients. Their services are particularly appealing to the hospitality and retail sectors, where they leverage technology to drive growth and efficiency.

The firm employs a value-based pricing strategy, ensuring clients only pay for tangible improvements and outcomes. This approach has contributed to their competitive positioning in terms of revenue, signaling strong client satisfaction and results-driven service delivery. BookSoEasy operates primarily in San Francisco but has started expanding its services to other major cities across the US.

Their customer base mainly consists of small to medium-sized enterprises seeking to leverage technology for business improvements. BookSoEasy’s strength lies in its ability to integrate consulting services with technological implementation, providing a comprehensive solution to business challenges.

A potential weakness is their sector-specific approach, which might limit their appeal to a broader audience. Additionally, as they expand geographically, maintaining the high level of personalized service that characterizes their San Francisco operations could present a challenge.

Competitive Advantages

At InsightAdvantage Consultants, we pride ourselves on delivering superior consulting expertise compared to our competitors. Our team comprises industry veterans and young innovators, all of whom bring unique perspectives and cutting-edge strategies to the table. This blend of experience and fresh ideas enables us to provide our clients with solutions that are not only time-tested but also infused with innovative approaches. We understand that the landscape of business is ever-changing, and our ability to adapt and foresee shifts in the market sets us apart. Our consultants specialize in various sectors, ensuring that clients receive tailored advice that directly impacts their specific industry challenges and opportunities.

Furthermore, our location in a vibrant city such as San Francisco allows us to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and trends. This geographical advantage complements our commitment to utilizing the latest tools and methodologies in our consultancy services. We leverage local networks and partnerships to offer our clients exclusive insights and opportunities that are not readily available elsewhere. Additionally, our commitment to fostering strong relationships with each client means we go beyond traditional consultancy roles, acting as true partners invested in their success. Our approach is holistic and personalized, ensuring that every strategy we develop is not only innovative but also practical and sustainable in the long run. This unique combination of expertise, innovation, and partnership is what makes InsightAdvantage Consultants a leader in the consulting industry.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

InsightAdvantage Consultants offers a comprehensive suite of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its clients. With a focus on delivering actionable insights and strategic direction, the firm has positioned itself as a valuable partner for businesses looking to navigate the complexities of today’s market landscape. Among the services offered, Strategic Planning, Management Consulting, and Financial Advisory stand out as core competencies, each designed to address specific areas of client concern.

Strategic Planning is a critical service offered, designed to help businesses define their vision, set achievable goals, and develop a roadmap for success. Clients can expect to engage in deep-dive sessions aimed at understanding their market position, competition, and internal capabilities. The average selling price for Strategic Planning services is typically around $10,000. This price can vary based on the scope and complexity of the project, tailored to meet the unique needs of each client.

Management Consulting is another key service area, focusing on improving organizational performance through the analysis of existing business problems and the development of plans for improvement. InsightAdvantage Consultants leverages industry best practices and innovative strategies to guide leadership teams through transformational changes. Clients opting for Management Consulting services can expect to invest approximately $15,000, depending on the project’s duration and depth.

Lastly, the Financial Advisory service aims to help clients manage their financial strategy, planning, and risk. This service covers a broad spectrum of financial disciplines, including mergers and acquisitions, financial planning, and risk management. With an average selling price of $20,000, this service provides clients with expert advice and insights into optimizing financial performance and achieving long-term financial stability.

InsightAdvantage Consultants prides itself on delivering high-quality, tailored services that drive value and competitive advantage for its clients. By focusing on strategic planning, management consulting, and financial advisory, the firm ensures that it covers a comprehensive range of needs that are crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in the modern economy.

Promotions Plan

InsightAdvantage Consultants employs a comprehensive suite of promotional methods to attract customers, with a keen focus on leveraging the power of online marketing. In the digital age, establishing a robust online presence is non-negotiable, and InsightAdvantage Consultants recognizes this by prioritizing a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. This includes the utilization of social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing campaigns, all designed to build brand awareness and drive customer engagement.

In addition to these online marketing efforts, InsightAdvantage Consultants also taps into the potential of content marketing. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, the firm aims to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. This strategy not only positions InsightAdvantage Consultants as thought leaders in the consulting industry but also helps in building trust with potential clients. High-quality blog posts, whitepapers, and case studies will serve as tools to showcase the firm’s expertise and success stories.

Networking events and industry conferences represent another pivotal promotional method for InsightAdvantage Consultants. By actively participating in these gatherings, the firm has the opportunity to connect with potential clients face-to-face, build meaningful relationships, and stay abreast of the latest industry trends. These interactions often translate into business opportunities and collaborations, further amplifying the firm’s reach and influence within the consulting sector.

Referral programs will play a critical role in the firm’s promotional strategy as well. Encouraging satisfied clients to refer others to InsightAdvantage Consultants not only helps in acquiring new customers but also strengthens the firm’s reputation. Offering incentives for referrals demonstrates appreciation for existing clients while simultaneously expanding the customer base.

Lastly, targeted advertising campaigns, both online and offline, will complement the firm’s promotional activities. These campaigns will be carefully crafted to reach potential clients within specific industries or sectors, ensuring that the messaging is relevant and resonates with the intended audience. By employing a mix of traditional advertising mediums and digital channels, InsightAdvantage Consultants aims to maximize its visibility and appeal to a broad spectrum of clients.

In conclusion, InsightAdvantage Consultants employs a diverse range of promotional methods to attract customers, with a strong emphasis on online marketing. By integrating content marketing, networking, referral programs, and targeted advertising into its promotional strategy, the firm is well-positioned to build its brand, engage with potential clients, and achieve sustainable growth in the competitive consulting industry.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of InsightAdvantage Consultants, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Client Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with clients through emails, phone calls, and meetings to understand their needs and provide timely updates.
  • Market Research: Conduct continuous market research to stay updated on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities relevant to our clients’ businesses.
  • Strategy Development: Develop customized strategies for each client, focusing on their specific goals, challenges, and market position.
  • Project Management: Utilize project management tools to track progress, manage deadlines, and ensure that all team members are aligned and accountable.
  • Data Analysis: Analyze data from various sources to inform strategies, measure performance, and make data-driven decisions.
  • Quality Assurance: Regularly review and assess the quality of our work to ensure that it meets high standards and delivers value to our clients.
  • Professional Development: Engage in continuous learning and professional development to enhance our skills and stay ahead of industry changes.
  • Networking: Actively participate in local and industry-specific events to build and maintain a strong professional network in San Francisco and beyond.
  • Financial Management: Monitor and manage the firm’s finances, including budgeting, invoicing, and financial reporting, to ensure healthy cash flow and profitability.
  • Feedback Collection: Solicit feedback from clients post-engagement to identify areas for improvement and strengthen client relationships.
  • Marketing and Business Development: Implement marketing strategies and business development activities to attract new clients and retain existing ones.
  • Team Collaboration: Foster a collaborative work environment where team members can share ideas, solve problems together, and contribute to each other’s professional growth.
  • Compliance and Ethics: Ensure that all business practices comply with local laws and regulations and adhere to the highest ethical standards.

InsightAdvantage Consultants expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Launch Our Consulting Firm : Successfully establish and officially launch InsightAdvantage Consultants, including setting up a fully functional office in San Francisco, CA, and a polished online presence that showcases our value proposition and services offered.
  • Secure Initial Client Contracts : Within the first three months, secure at least 3-5 initial client contracts through networking, marketing efforts, and leveraging personal and professional contacts. This will provide an early revenue stream and case studies/testimonials for future business.
  • Achieve Operational Efficiency : Streamline business processes, including client onboarding, project management, and billing, to ensure operations are as efficient and scalable as possible. Proper use of technology and software tools should be integrated to support these operations.
  • Build a Strong Local Network : Participate in local business events, join relevant associations, and actively engage with the business community in San Francisco. Building a strong local network will be crucial for word-of-mouth referrals and gaining trust within the community.
  • Develop a Robust Marketing Strategy : Implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes digital marketing (SEO, content marketing, and social media), speaking engagements, and workshops. This strategy should aim to establish InsightAdvantage Consultants as thought leaders in the industry.
  • Hire and Train Key Staff : As revenue starts to grow, hire additional consultants and support staff to ensure the ability to scale operations without compromising on the quality of service. Implement a training program to ensure all team members are aligned with the company’s methodologies and values.
  • Get to $15,000/Month in Revenue : This is a critical financial milestone that indicates the business is gaining traction. Achieving this goal will likely require a combination of increasing the client base, possibly raising prices for services (based on the value delivered), and ensuring high levels of client satisfaction for repeat business and referrals.
  • Establish Partnerships : Form strategic partnerships with other businesses and organizations that can offer complementary services or refer clients, such as law firms, accounting firms, and local business associations. These partnerships can help expand the client base and add value to InsightAdvantage Consultants’ offerings.
  • Implement a Client Feedback System : Develop and implement a systematic approach for collecting and analyzing client feedback to continuously improve the service quality and address any areas of concern. This will not only help in refining the services but also in retaining clients and encouraging referrals.
  • Evaluate Expansion Opportunities : After achieving a stable client base and consistent revenue growth in San Francisco, begin evaluating opportunities for expansion either by offering additional services or by extending the geographic reach to other cities or regions.

InsightAdvantage Consultants management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Lucas Jackson, President

Lucas Jackson brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success to InsightAdvantage Consultants. Having previously helmed a consulting firm, Lucas has demonstrated an exceptional ability to lead, innovate, and drive growth within the consulting industry. His expertise spans strategic planning, operational efficiency, and business development, making him well-positioned to guide InsightAdvantage Consultants towards achieving its strategic goals. Lucas’s leadership skills, combined with his deep understanding of the consulting market, ensure that InsightAdvantage Consultants is not just equipped to navigate the complexities of the industry but is also poised for lasting success.

To reach our growth goals, InsightAdvantage Consultants requires $397,000 in funding. This capital will be allocated across both capital and non-capital investments, including location buildout, equipment, working capital, initial marketing, and staffing. These resources are crucial for establishing our operations, securing a competitive position in the market, and laying a foundation for future growth and profitability.

Financial Statements

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Income Statement

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Cash Flow Statement

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