A strategic plan template is a document used by organizations to come up with a short-mid term plan. When preparing a strategic plan, you must take into account your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses. You must also consider all the external and threats so you can come up with detailed strategies on how to address these.
Generally, a strategic plan contains the following:
- A vision or mission statement
- The niche(s) of your organization
- Goals related to these niches for the period of the plan
- Tasks to be done in order to meet these goals
- A timeline for the completion of these tasks
- Budget and resources needed to complete the tasks
- A list of the performances indicators used to know when a particular task is completed
- What are the highest and lowest priorities in the first year, second year, and third-year?
Every task that is to be achieved within a year can be removed from the strategic plan and included in a separate document known as the operational plan. The operational plan will be used to guide the organization’s work within a year period.
Here’s a sample Strategic Plan template that can be easily customized and adapted to meet your requirements. It’s free to download and use.
How to Use a Strategic Plan Template
Creating a strategic plan takes time. If you haven’t prepared one before, it makes a lot of sense to use a strategic business plan template. The strategic plan template gives you a blueprint of what a standard strategic plan is supposed to cover. The first step is using the template and downloading and renaming it. Once you have the template, you can go over it with your team and brainstorm. As you are doing this, you must remember that your strategic plan will align stakeholders around your business’s priorities.
Using a strategic plan template requires attention to detail. As such, this document must be used by someone or a team of people who are able to follow through on the next steps and regular updates. As you are using this template, you must also keep in mind that strategic plans are not static documents. They can change whenever new circumstances arise, both within the company and externally.
Before you go on and use this strategic action plan template to create a strategic plan, first ensure that you have buy-in from the leadership of the business. This includes the management, board of directors, and other leaders. Without this buy-in, it might be difficult to get your plan approved.
Once you have your go-ahead, you can then gather your planning team. Your team must comprise individuals from several departments at different levels. Also, the process of creating the strategic plan must be an open, free discussion where everyone is free to contribute. If you are leading the team, you must make it a point to get input from the entire team. However, please note that you don’t necessarily need approval from everyone. Trying to get everyone’s approval will slow you down.
As the author of the strategic plan, you are responsible for writing and putting the final plan together. You can pass the final draft through a smaller group of people to establish and standardize the tone and style of your strategic plan.
Questions to Answer when Using a Strategic Plan Template
There are some questions that can help you brainstorm your strategic plan with your team. Answering these simple questions will move you one step closer to coming up with the best strategic plan.
Question 1: Where Are We Now?
There are several answers to these questions. The questions essentially address the foundation of your company. It will help you come up with the following sections of your strategic plan:
- The Mission statement
- Your core values and guiding principles
- A list of your competitors
- An industry analysis
Question 2: Where Are We Going?
When answering these questions, you will be able to come up with your organization’s goals for the future. You will also be able to assess whether the way you are doing things will enable you to achieve those goals. This section of the strategic plan outlines a strategy for achieving your goals. It includes the following:
- A vision of what your business will look like in the next few years
- How you are doing things and what you need to change
- The factors necessary for success
Question 3: How Do We Get There?
Providing answers to this section will enable you to come up with several routes that you can take to achieve your goals. You will also discover how you can match your strengths with opportunities in the market. To make things easier, you can use a Gantt chart to map out and keep track of your initiatives. Include the following in this section:
- Specific and measurable goals
- Your organization’s objectives
- Outline who will manage and monitor your plan,
- An evaluation plan indicating how you will measure successes and setbacks as you implement the plan.
The Benefits of a Strategic Plan Outline Template
It allows Your Organization to be Proactive.
By using a strategic plan template, you can help your organization to foresee its future and prepare accordingly. The process of strategic planning allows you to anticipate certain unfavorable scenarios before they take plan. As such, you will have enough time to take the proper precautions and avoid negative situations. When you use our strategic plan template, you will be able to get ahead of your problems and be proactive rather than merely waiting for things to happen so you can react. By doing things this way, you will be able to keep up with the ever-changing market trends. You will effectively stay one step ahead of your competition.
It sets up a sense of direction.
Direction is one of the most important aspects of running a business. At any given time, you need to know where you are going, so you can come up with the best way to get there. Our simple strategic plan template allows you to define the direction in which your company must travel. That way, you can come up with realistic objectives and goals that complement your vision and mission. This template will give you a foundation that you can use to grow your organization. It will also help you evaluate your success, compensate your employees and find a way to make the most appropriate moves.
It increases operational efficiency.
Having a strategic plan enables the management to have a roadmap that aligns with the organization’s functional activities. This helps organizations achieve their goals, and it also helps guide the management’s discussions. Apart from that, having a properly drafted strategic plan helps to determine resource and budget requirements to achieve goals. This way, operations efficiency is effectively increased.
It helps to increase profitability.
Businesses that have a dedicated strategic plan can easily get insights on the following:
- Market trends
- Consumer segments,
- Product and service offerings.
These are factors that can affect how companies do their business. By taking a targeted and well-strategized approach, businesses can turn all their sales and marketing efforts into the highest possible outcomes, which will help increase profitability and market share.
It can make a business more durable.
Running a business is not easy. One year, you can receive very high profits, and the next, you can experience some heartbreaking losses. All this is because markets are constantly changing. As such, it would be highly beneficial for businesses to have a strong strategic foundation. This will make it easier to ride the ever-changing waves. Statistics show that a third of all companies that are leading their industries might not even be in business in the next five years. To survive and not be part of this statistic, companies need to have a strong and effective strategic plan!
If you are thinking of coming up with your own strategic plan, it would be a good idea to use our free strategic plan template. This will help you align your staff and daily operations and increase efficiency in your business. Our strategic plan template helps organizations come up with the best strategic plans that cover all the important aspects like operating plans, tracking performance, and reporting to stakeholders.