Business Planning·

Download Strategic Plan Template for free

Simple Strategic Plan Template [Free Download]

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 threats so you can come up with detailed strategies on how to address these in the strategic planning process.

Generally, a strategic plan contains the following:

  • A mission or vision statement
  • The niche(s) of your organization
  • Company goals related to these niches for the period of the plan and your current business model
  • Tasks to be done in order to meet these business goals
  • A timeline for the completion of these tasks
  • Budget and resources needed to complete the tasks (e.g. marketing campaigns)
  • A list of the performance 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 and business strategy. 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 the key elements 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, such as project managers and business leaders.

Using a strategic plan template requires attention to detail. As such, this document must be used by someone or a team of people who can follow through on the next steps and regular updates around internal factors in your business.

As you are using this template, you must also keep in mind that strategic plans are not static documents. Just like the market landscape and economic factors, 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 if you want to meet your strategic objectives and financial projections. 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 and the essential elements to include in your own final version of the 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

Doing an analysis first helps you determine the key factors that will influence your implementation strategy and execution plan in the later stages.

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

Use this part of the plan to find your competitive edge and determine your future goals in such a way that they move you from your current position into a more profitable one in 3-5 years or less.

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 growth initiatives.

Include the following in this section:

  • Specific and measurable goals, e.g. marketing strategies for your target audience
  • Your organization’s objectives and larger goals
  • 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

Strategic planning templates can help you predict external factors, do a competitive analysis, align your team with your strategic goals, come up with actionable steps and opportunities for growth

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 the plan. As such, you will have enough time to take the proper precautions and avoid negative situations and potential risks in your business plan.

When you use our strategic plan template, you can get ahead of your problems and be proactive rather than merely waiting for things to happen so you can react and take the right action steps. 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 the rest of the industry, giving you competitive advantage and increased chances for business growth.

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.

For example, you can set a wide range of marketing plans with realistic and SMART goals, giving you real-time visibility of whether your goals are feasible and how you can achieve them.

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 and you have a visual representation of all the critical elements and external opportunities in an operation.

It helps to increase profitability

Businesses that have a dedicated strategic plan have a valuable tool that can easily get them insights on the following:

  • Market trends
  • Consumer segments,
  • Product and service offerings.

These are factors that can affect how companies do their business in a competitive landscape. 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 in a tough business environment.

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 that outlines their business performance.

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 for your business planning process.

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. You can also use it as a strategic planning tool that helps you spot new business opportunities.

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