Q & A – How is a strategic plan different from a business plan?

Q: How is a strategic plan different from a business plan?

A: A strategic plan is a written statement of the future direction and goals of an organization.  It typically covers a two to five year time frame and is based upon an assessment of:

• The current state of the organization
• The organization’s strategy and future direction.
• The department’s strengths and limitations for each of its key result areas.
• The threats and opportunities present in the current and anticipated future environment in which the unit will operate.

A business plan can be viewed as a road map to achieving the organization’s broader strategic objectives.  Typically each major business unit within an organization produces a business plan for each budget cycle, usually a one-year time frame.  These plans lay out specific, short-term operational goals that convert the strategic goals into annual performance targets and provide the basis for budgeting and forecasting.  Supporting action plans provide the mechanism for executing the business plan and ultimately the strategy.