What’s the difference between a business plan and strategic planning?
To some, there’s no difference, and both play a critical role. But to me, it’s a difference in focus between planning and action and strategic plans are the better choice when the goal is to get out of the starting gate and win the race.
A full, formal business plan is great if you’re a start-up at square one, you’re going for funding or it’s a contractual mandate, or you’re at a major turning point. The process forces you to document more about your relationships, your market, and your operations than most of your competitors ever will. But for most, making the plan ends up being the goal.
Consider strategic planning. For most going concerns, what is incredibly helpful is to agree on what must be accomplished and to create a concrete action plan for doing so. That process – of focusing in on top issues, opportunities, and action-oriented solutions – is why good strategic planning produces results here and now. Here, the focus is action.
The new year is an excellent time to create strategic action but any time is great. For the simplest start, review each department or area of your business and identify no more than 3-4 issues to fix or things to capitalize on – items that, when accomplished, would definitely make this year measurably better than the prior year.
For each, create a plan and assign an owner and due date to literally every task. Here’s the kicker: make a commitment to get it
done, and keep your promise.
Follow this simple to say but magical method and you’ll have accomplished more in a more purposeful fashion and gotten better results before the ink on your competitor’s formal business plan is dry.