When a company wants to map out its long-term business objectives and how it’ll get there, they use a strategic plan. Our free strategic plan template captures all topics that any company needs to define, so everything is aligned with the overall mission and vision of the company. More than that, the free strategic plan template guides you through the actions, resources and costs that will help you get there.
What Is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a document that company leaders use to capture the company’s future vision, goals and objectives. Unlike a business plan that focuses on short-term goals of serval months to several years, a strategic plan looks at the mid-to-long-term goals such as 3-5 years but is often longer than that.
The strategic plan should be easily shared as it provides a map for the whole company to follow in order to meet its goals. The strategic plan isn’t only shared, but it’s thoroughly understood by company employees, customers, business partners and investors.
Strategic planning and the strategic plan that comes from this process isn’t a one-time occurrence. Teams should conduct strategic planning regularly to quickly respond to changes in the business, industry, legal and regulatory conditions. As conditions shift, so should the response plans.
Why You Need a Strategic Plan Template
A strategic plan template is a great tool in that it’s already laid out for you. Everything you need to define is outlined and saves you the time and effort of creating a new document. Templates are great for creating an archive of consistent documentation, especially as historical data can influence your current strategic plan.
In more general terms, all businesses need a target or direction to work towards. Strategic plans are like the roadmap that gets you there and defines the landscape. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you get there. That’s true from the highest executive to the newest employee as well as customers, investors and so on.
Strategic plans also help you track your goals across departments. Each department can then set its own goals to help the business achieve its larger goals. These various initiatives can be monitored and tracked with key performance indicators (KPIs). This can be extended to business units, teams and even individuals so everyone is working towards the same goals.
A strategic plan template is only a static document. To implement that plan you need project management software. ProjectManager has online roadmaps that allow you to manage all the projects that feed into your company’s overall mission. You can track your tasks, budgets, resources, processes and more, so you know you’re always progressing. Of course, you can build a strategic plan with milestones in the software, too. Try ProjectManager today for free.
Who Should Use This Strategic Plan Template?
The free strategic plan template can be filled in by any number of people depending on the business. Usually, though, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the owner or top business managers.
However, sometimes specialists are employed or the whole company becomes involved in the strategic planning process. In fact, more voices provide a wider perspective. One person should oversee refining those different perspectives in order to rein in the possible chaos of too many chefs in the kitchen.
Once the strategic plan is finalized, it should be shared among the company. The strategic plan template acts as a guide to keep the long-term goal in sight and how to get there. For some businesses, the customer should also be aware of the strategic plan. Other companies will want to share the strategic plan with investors.
How to Use This Strategic Plan Template
When you download our free strategic plan template for Word, you’ll find it’s broken up into sections. The free template is completely customizable so you can add or subtract as many sections as you need to flesh out your strategic plan. What we provide you with is the backbone of any thorough strategic plan, which is as follows.
1. Executive Summary
To start, you want to summarize what will follow. That’s all the executive summary is; a short introduction to the important information that’ll be fleshed out in the strategic plan. It gives an overview to investors and stakeholders.
2. Vision Statement
A vision statement is a statement that declares the mid-to-long-term goals of the company. Think of it as the target you want to hit with your strategic plan. What this statement should do is project your company into the future and in so doing help to define the plan and execution of getting you there.
3. Mission Statement
The mission statement is a short description of the purpose of the company. It should be no longer than one to three sentences at most and explain what the company does, who it serves and how it’s different from its competitors. But more than a dry definition, it should be inspirational, offering direction and focus for employees and giving customers a clear picture of what they can expect from the company.
4. SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis is used to assess those four aspects of the company. This is how a company can capture its current performance and build a strategy to achieve its future goals. But beyond internal factors or charting the company, make sure to explore external factors as well. This provides a fuller picture of how a company can carve a route to reach its objectives.
5. Business Goals
Business goals should define the target that a company is aiming for in the future. By doing this, a company has a way to measure its success, communicate these goals to its employees and ensure the company is going in the right direction.
6. Marketing Plan
The marketing plan outlines a company’s advertising strategy. It can be used to generate leads and reach a target audience, outreach and PR campaigns. Also included is how the company will measure the effectiveness of the initiatives.
- Market research: Uses competitive analysis, testing, surveys, etc., to determine the target audience and what needs the company is fulfilling or pain point it’s resolving.
- Marketing campaigns: These include promotions, value propositions, differentiation factors, pricing, distribution channels, etc., to see the product or service.
- Marketing KPIs: Using various metrics will help the company measure the success of its campaigns.
7. Operations Plan
The operation plan is an outline of the strategic plan’s goals and how the company plans to meet them. It’s an action plan that shows team members what they’re responsible for in achieving the goals of the strategic plan.
8. Financial Projections
When making financial projections for a company’s strategic plans they should include a forecast of the income statement, the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. These financial projects like the strategic plan are mid-to-long term.
Identify the team members with the skills and experience who will be responsible for executing the operational plan set forth in the company’s strategic plan.
Other Templates to Help with Your Strategic Plan
The free strategic plan document template for Word is a helpful tool to outline a company’s mid-to-long-term objectives. We have dozens of other free templates for Word and Excel that can help you manage every phase of a project, from planning to closure. Here are just a few of the free templates that we offer for download that are related to strategic planning.
If you need help with the executive summary portion of the free strategic plan template, this free executive summary template is a great asset. It breaks down the points you’ll want to capture for an effective executive summary and is a valuable tool to complete that section of the strategic plan.
The marketing plan is another section of the strategic plan that can be fully fleshed out with the free marketing campaign template. It outlines all the steps you need to introduce your product or service to market. It has fields to collect the goals of the campaign, identify the target audience and much more.
We’ve included a small SWOT analysis table in the free strategic plan template, but you might want more space to capture this important data. If so, use our free SWOT analysis template for Word, which you can then attach to the strategic plan template. This colorful template helps you see where you are and offer guidance to get you where you want to be.
ProjectManager Is a Robust Planning Tool
Free templates are a great way to gather information and develop a strategic plan, but they’re not as good at managing that plan once you implement it. You need more robust tools, not static documents or spreadsheets. ProjectManager is online project management software that connects teams and helps them plan, manage and track their progress in real time.
Track Progress with Real-Time Dashboards
You’ve put the strategic plan in the Gantt chart and can now see the roadmap in a visual timeline. But to make sure you keep to that schedule you need to have a way to monitor progress and performance. Our real-time dashboards track metrics such as time, cost and more all in real time so you can respond quickly to changes that threaten your goals. Unlike other lightweight tools, there’s no configuration or set. It’s ready when you are.
Work How You Want with Multiple Project Views
Gantt charts are great for managers, but they’re not the ones who are will execute the strategic plan. It’s a group effort that involves every department in the company from marketing and sales to IT and manufacturing, and they all use different tools. That’s why we offer multiple project views that share the same real-time data whether you’re using a list view, the visual workflow of a kanban or a calendar to capture important dates. Everyone is working from a single source of truth.
Strategic planning is a big subject and we’ve only scratched the surface. If you want to learn more, you’re in luck. ProjectManager isn’t only a great tool to create and manage your strategic plan, it’s also the online hub for all things project management. We have free blogs each week, tutorial videos, eBooks, white pages and, of course, free templates. Here are a few links to follow and read more about strategic plans.
- Strategic Planning in Business
- Strategic Planning Models: An Introduction to 5 Popular Models
- A Quick Guide to Strategic Initiatives
ProjectManager Helps You Reach Your Strategic Goals
ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, manage and track your strategic plans. Our collaborative platform connects everyone across departments and time zones. With features that help you manage risk, tasks and resources you’re more likely to adjust to changes in the market and hit your target. See why teams in organizations as varied as NASA, Siemens and Nestle use our tool to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.