You will often find people interchanging the term ‘business plan’ and ‘strategic plan’, however, there is an important difference between the two. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve with my business?” and “What do I want to avoid?” The answers to these questions are objectives. Your plan to meet those objectives is your strategy.
Business Planning The business plan is a written guide of why your business exists, how it operates, and who it serves. It identifies the business’ missions, objectives, and models. It addresses marketing and financing, as well as staffing and organization. A well written business plan examines the organization’s potential for success by analyzing its competition, competitive advantages, and risks.
Many of the components of the business plan are meant to endure through the life of the business, however, the plan should be reviewed annually to ensure that course corrections to the business’ direction are reflected in the plan.
Many organizations, great and small, will allocate precious resources of time and money into developing a business plan but never utilize its potential. Business plans that are regularly reviewed and implemented consistently can be used as:
Strategic Planning The strategic plan is framed by the mission and objectives found within the business plan. It will identify the steps and strategies that the business will take in order to meet, or exceed, its objectives. It may take a holistic approach to the business, or focus on key areas, such as brand management, operational efficiency, or market expansion. Consequently, an organization may have several strategic plans to address the various aspects of the business.
The strategic plan can outline the business’ strategy for any number of months or years into the future, nevertheless, the plan should be reviewed by the organization’s management regularly to ensure progress toward successful strategy implementation and objective realization. The strategic plan should be revised annually, or as needed, to make certain that the organization’s objectives remain realistic and relevant.
A good strategic plan will influence the everyday decisions made by management in directing the course of the business. It will also demand accountability and responsibility from employees and management tasked with carrying out the strategies.
We can help with both! Planning is important, which is why we will help you prepare both business plans and strategic plans that you can use. We’ll work with you to understand the business and its objectives, then we’ll get to work. Depending on the type of plan, we will:
Be it ongoing advice, training, workshops, or just a sounding board we’ll do what it takes. We’ll be available to support you when and how you need us
a tool in obtaining financing from lenders and investors, and
even more powerful, they can be a way of aligning and unifying the vision and purpose of employees, managers, and other stakeholders working within and without the organization.
Observe - As part of the process we will observe how the organization currently runs, who its customers are, what motivates employees, its existing and previous planning documentation, and other relevant aspects of the business.
Research - We’ll investigate industry benchmarks and best practices, market activity and forecasts, legal and financial implications, etc.
Discuss - We’ll speak with you about our findings and ask for your input and suggestions. You will know your business better than we do, so the information you provide will be a critical element of the planning process.
Plan - Based on observations, research, and your input, we’ll prepare a plan that will meet the needs of your organization.
Implement - A plan adds little value until it moves from paper into practice. We’ll encourage a partnership to assist you with implementation of our recommendations.