50+ SAMPLE Printable Strategic Plan

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is a plan that charts an organization or company’s direction. It is a plan that is designed to accomplish or implement objectives. Depending on the organization’s need, it can either be a broad, all-encompassing plan or a specific and targeted plan

According to a 2020 article published by Harvard Business School, around 90% of businesses fail to meet their strategic targets. It is important to understand that strategic planning is not an event or a one-time task, it is an evolving and ongoing process. According to studies, 93% of those who successfully implemented their strategies incorporated changes or diverted from their original plans.        

Tips In Crafting a Strategic Plan

There can be various ways of creating a strategic plan. Different companies employ different strategies to accomplish their internal organizational goals. The following examples below are some practical tips on creating an effective and dynamic strategic plan. 

Conduct a SWOT analysis. If you are unsure of where to begin with your strategic plan, one of the most practical ways of doing so is by performing a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This approach is not only applicable to corporate or organizational settings; essentially anything that requires planning and strategizing can use this type of analysis. Personal growth or career development plans can be done using this same method. So whether you are an individual, team or even an entire department, the analysis is a helpful tool in determining your strategies and actions moving forward. Set realistic goals. One of the basic elements of any strategic plan is a goal. This may be a singular goal or several goals, depending on the need and direction of the company. Although it is good to aim high and dream big, it is also wise to remember that your goals should be grounded in reality as well. You need to take into consideration if your goals are measurable and attainable. It can be quite easy to get lost in unfettered expansion; and without clear-cut objectives, the chances of encountering miscommunication and uncoordinated actions increase. So along with a set timeline, make sure to come up with realistic goals that you can reasonably reach within the given timeline. Review and revise. The value of reviewing and revising is often overlooked. Once the first phase of brainstorming and stargazing is completed, it is important to set aside time to review everything you came up with. This can be time-consuming, so it is crucial that you schedule any revisions and amendments at the proper time. If you are preparing a departmental strategic plan, make sure to go through it as a team. You need to ensure that all team members are present, duly consulted and that everyone is informed of any changes or corrections to the strategic plan. Lastly, you do not necessarily end with final revisions. A strategic plan must always remain open to improvements and changes. Many companies and organizations hold quarterly or annual strategic planning seminars. The purpose of holding it regularly is to review and update any strategies as time passes. Always plan as a team. A strategic plan can prove futile if there is failure in coordination or communication. In most structured organizations, strategic planning always requires an alignment of goals or objectives. Alignment can be achieved through structured and strategic planning. It is important to note that this is rarely ever accomplished by a single person. Whether it is a small core group or a network of multiple members, successful plans are born out of teamwork. And being on the same page, especially for a big company, is crucial. Thus, coming together and sitting down as one team is absolutely needed. This helps promote coordination and optimized communication.

Elements of a Strategic Plan

The content of your strategic plan may highly depend on the needs and preferences of your organization. There can be several components in a strategic plan. However, there are a few foundational elements that ought to be present in a basic strategic plan.  

Objectives. As a team, you need to sit down and set goals as a team. Whether that be organizational goals, departmental goals or even individual team member goals, a strategic plan must always begin by stating clear objectives. Setting a clear direction is not always an easy thing to do, especially when there are multiple concerns or conflicting interests involved. Therefore, setting measurable and realistic goals right from the beginning will help provide direction and help set the tone of the strategic plan. For example, local church group leaders sit down and strategize on the best way to grow their congregation and retain churchgoers. Establishing the main objectives first will help the church leaders transition more smoothly into figuring out the right strategies and action plans. Mission and Vision Statement. Another key component of a strategic plan is the mission and vision statement. Although some teams or organizations opt to leave this portion out, it is a relatively important section. Similar to objectives, a mission statement can be a proper introductory section in your strategic plan. And like most mission statements, it only needs to be brief. Avoid exceeding a couple of sentences when stating your mission. As for the vision statement, the important thing to keep in mind is keep it specific, relevant and try to use active language as well. Analysis. Once you have covered your goals, mission statement and vision statement, the next step is to conduct the appropriate analysis. This would depend on the kind of strategic plan you are creating. For instance, if you are creating a strategic plan for a retail or commercial company, then a proper market study would be required. A market study could require a broad range of subject matter including customer profiles, economic forecasts, etc. The purpose of having a sound analysis is to sufficiently assess the current situation that will enable you to better weigh your decisions vis-à-vis your objectives. One common method of analysis is the SWOT approach. With this approach, you are able to efficiently compartmentalize and determine the different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that affect your decision-making or strategizing. Action Items. A strategic plan is essentially an action-oriented plan. After you have done the necessary analysis and have studied the various factors affecting your goals, the next step is determining the appropriate action items that will bring you closer to your goals. For example, if your team is working on a strategic plan that aims to increase sales and advertising revenue, then a sound marketing action plan should be integrated into your strategies. In this section, you are basically putting together the next steps that will enable you to move forward in the direction of your objectives. In other words, you are assigning concrete actions and expounding on how you plan on executing and implementing these actions.

How to Create a Strategic Plan

To create a strategic plan, you need to invest the time and energy to create one. Whatever your needs- whether you are an individual planning your next career move or a startup mapping out the next 3 years- an effective strategic plan requires enough structure for it to work. Follow the step-by-step tutorial below and be guided accordingly.   

Step 1: Goals

The first step in crafting a strategic plan is establishing your goals. Setting expectations and objectives can help you decide on the direction to take. Whether it is a public school strategic plan for an academic year, or a nonprofit strategic plan for communications and sponsorship, setting realistic and attainable goals is key. It does not have to be long, drawn out goals. Keep it simple with bullet points or short paragraphs. A couple of objectives should suffice. You want to avoid spreading yourself too thin, it is best to be focused on a few major objectives and simply adjust as you go along.  

Step 2: Key Performance Indicators

Once you have covered your strategic goals, you need to be able to come up with the appropriate measurements of success or progress. Many corporate environments use key performance indicators or KPIs to measure an employee or team’s performance and chart their professional growth. These are needed to objectify and quantify productivity and accomplishment. KPIs help individuals and teams plot their deliverables and targets and also allow them to plan and strategize better.        

Step 3: Action Items

After establishing your key performance indicators, you can then proceed to enumerating the different proposed action items and strategies. Essentially, you must describe how you plan to address the KPIs you listed. Action items ought to be a product of your analysis or study. It must be based on sound research. How you present your action items will also depend on you. Some people use tables and charts to organize their strategies. The format must meet the requirements of your action items. For example, if you have multiple objectives or KPIs, creating a table might be a good idea to better organize your information. 

Step 4: Progress Tracker 

Strategic plans are rarely one-time meetings. Although they can take a few days or sessions to complete, these types of plans are constantly evolving and adapting to new circumstances and developments. Therefore, it would be best to integrate a progress monitoring tool that will help you chart the growth of your strategic action plans. Keeping track of progress is not only important for documentation, it also serves as an important reference point for improvement plans and modifications.    


How do you write a strategic plan?

To write a strategic plan, you need to first have a good grasp of your objectives, vision and mission. Aside from establishing goals and setting the direction, you also need to prepare concrete action items and their corresponding rubric or key performance indicators.

What is a strategic planning template?

A strategic planning template is a ready-made template that is designed to help anyone who uses it accomplish his or her job faster. It is especially useful for those who would prefer not to start from scratch. A strategic plan can have several components; and with an existing template, you would be saving a lot of time and energy.

What are the 5 essential components of strategic planning?

According to Cascade, the five key elements of strategic planning are vision, values, outcomes, accountability and KPIs.

If done correctly, a strategic plan can be a very helpful tool in setting the direction of your team or organization. It can be a useful guide in accomplishing collective goals and improving performance. Browse the  printable strategic plans above now to get started on yours today!