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Navigating Success: A Guide on How to Craft an Effective Strategic Plan

A strategic plan is not just a document; it's a roadmap that guides a company's journey over the next few years, outlining the path to success. Surprisingly, many small companies lack a formal strategic plan, with some relying on an informal mental blueprint. However, as businesses grow, a more structured approach becomes crucial to ensure everyone in the organization shares a unified vision.


Yet, the concept of strategic planning has faced challenges and, in many instances, has been reduced to a mere revisiting of the previous year's documents. This degradation occurs for several reasons:

  • Delegation to Junior Planners: Strategic planning is often delegated to junior staff instead of being led by the principal decision-makers, such as the CEO or business leaders.

  • Short-Term Focus: The difficulty of projecting 5 to 10 years ahead often leads to forsaking the strategic plan in favour of a shorter-term business plan spanning 1 to 2 years.

  • Neglected Previous Plans: Past strategic plans may have required significant preparation but ended up collecting dust on a shelf, diminishing their perceived value.

These challenges should not be a reason to abandon strategic planning altogether. A long-term perspective is essential, providing direction from the current state to the desired future. This process must be owned and driven by the company's leaders, who may seek assistance from strategic planners for detailed execution.

To simplify the strategic planning process, we propose addressing three fundamental questions:

1. Where Are We Now?

A strategic plan requires a telescopic view, examining the business's landscape at least 3 to 5 years into the future. Articulating the company's purpose and value proposition is vital, going beyond what it makes to why it exists. Key questions to answer include identifying customers, understanding their preferences, assessing growth patterns, and evaluating the competitive landscape.

2. Where Do We Want to Go?

Answering the fundamental question of existence is paramount. A concise framework, encapsulating what the company does, how, for whom, and the value it brings, sets the foundation. Strategic planning involves making choices, primarily focused on target audience segmentation and positioning the offer to make it compelling.

3. How Are We Going to Get There?

The latter part of the strategic plan involves developing a comprehensive map of goals and the strategies to achieve them. Components of the business are assessed individually, and their objectives integrate into an overarching strategy. The plan sets ambitious yet achievable objectives, outlining sales targets, financial implications, and high-level operational considerations.

Once approved, the strategic plan needs to be communicated across the organisation. Each team must understand their role in developing tactical plans that contribute to the big picture. The leadership team should establish mechanisms for monitoring strategy performance through regular updates, ensuring initiatives stay on track and corrective actions are taken when needed.


Implementing a strategic plan is a journey that requires patience. Regular evaluations and adjustments are essential, recognizing that the impact of the plan may take time to materialize. For further insights on giving frameworks the time they need, check our earlier blog post on "Patience is a virtue; give your frameworks time."

You may also want to look at more than 70 frameworks that are helpful to strategic planning that are featured on the site.


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