PlanWare - Home: business, plan, software, free, financial, model, budget, forecast, plan, planner, planning, projection, template, statement, analysis, business plan, business plan software, business planning, business planner, financial projections, financial planning, cash flow, cashflow, strategy, strategic
Software & free templates for business plans, financial projections, cashflow forecasting plus free business plan tools, models, samples, guides & planning papers
  Financial  
 Projection 
  Software  
 Cashflow 
  Forecasting  
  Software  
  Business  
      Plan      
  Software  
  Marketing 
       Plan       
  Software  
  Strategic  
    Planning    
  Software  
  Business  
      Plan      
     Guide     
   Business   
   Planning   
   Freeware   
    Online     
  Planning   
      Tools      
   Business   
   Planning   
    Papers    
     Other     
     Items     
                     

Bookmark and Share
 

Business Plan Guide:
3. Strategic Overview

Previous
Next

Limit this entire section to two or absolute maximum of three pages by focusing on major and long-term issues. Use succinct, affirmative statements and make every noun, adjective and verb important.

After the summary section, this is probably the most important element in the entire plan as it sets the direction, tone and framework for the detail that follows. If the proposed strategies and their rationale are flawed then the whole direction of the business may be wrong.

To compile this section, considerable research needs to have been completed particularly on markets, competition and sales potential. See 6. Profiles of Target Markets.

For further guidance, see the white papers on Devising Venture Strategies and Developing a Business Strategy.

Also, have a look at the free Online Strategic Planner, which could be used to help draft this entire section as illustrated by the Sample Strategic Plan.

Suggested Length & Structure:

Allow 1-2 pages (excluding the SWOT table). Keep under one page for a basic/short plan.

The subsections below are for general guidance only. They could result in some undesirable duplication or overlapping of proposals and ideas. Accordingly, you may prefer to:

  • Amalgamate some of them (e.g. Vision & Mission or Values & Objectives).
  • Use less obtrusive sub-headings like Vision:
  • Delete all sub-headings and cover all relevant matters in a series of short paragraphs.

Note: Free-Plan, a comprehensive 150-page Business Plan Guide and Template based on this business plan guide, can be downloaded for free here.

 
 
Useful Links
More Info
Develop strategic plan
Devise business strategies
Write strategic plan
See planning surveys
Buy planning book
View sample plan
See Also
Get business ideas
Write business plan
Get planning insights
Prepare financial projections
Seek planning advice
Plan to plan
Business plan guide
Software Tools
Financial Planners
Expert Business Planner
Strategy Planner
Idea Assessor
Marketing Planners
Free Planners
Buy Software
Financial Projections
Cashflow Forecasts
Business Plans
Marketing Plans
Strategic Plans

Bookmark and Share

 

3.1. Vision

Describe what your business will look like in, say, five years time. Indicate its likely size and the nature, breadth and depth of its operations etc. For example, start your vision with the following:

By 20XX, Xyz will be engaged in xx (activities). It will be selling xx (offerings) to a customer base comprising xx. It expects to have staff of xx mainly engaged in xx (activities) and located at xx. Annual sales could be xx and net income could reach xx. A key feature of Xyz will be its emphasis on xx to maintain its competitive advantage. And so on .....

For further guidance, see the white paper on Developing a Business Strategy. Also, have a look at the free Online Strategic Planner that could be used to help draft this entire section as illustrated by the Sample Strategic Plan.

3.2. Mission

In one succinct paragraph, describe the central purposes and activities ("mission") of your business. Explain concisely what the business is about - along the lines of a so-called "elevator pitch". For example:

Xyz designs, develops, manufactures and markets xx products/services for sale on the basis of xx features to meet the xx needs of xx customer groups via xx distribution channels in xx geographic areas. It intends to expand/develop new/additional products/markets/channels by means of xx .......

3.3. Values

Describe the business's values and the ethical standards it will apply in dealings with stakeholders, customers, suppliers etc. A sentence or two should suffice for most businesses. If your organization is NFP (not-for-profit), you may wish to expand on its values using bullet points.

3.4. Objectives

Briefly, explain the promoters' (or shareholders', management's) underlying long-term objectives in setting up (or expanding) the business. For example:

      • Get rich?
      • Build a big business?
      • Support local community?
      • Develop a natural resource?
      • Mobilize help for a deprived group?
      • Create a pension fund for managers?
      • Create employment for self or others?
      • Exploit an invention?
      • Diversify or integrate?
      • Get a stock market quote?
      • Defend or enhance the business?

For further guidance, see the white paper on Developing a Business Strategy.

3.5. SWOTs

SWOTs ( Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) are mentioned here to highlight the importance of addressing them in the 3.6. Strategies subsection that follows.

What are the business’s real SWOTs? Be very honest about identifying any major strengths, weaknesses and threats and justify opportunities based on market analysis and research rather than on wishful thinking or supposition.

Internal

External

Strengths :

 

Opportunities :

 

Weaknesses :

 


Threats :

 


It may not be appropriate to tabulate SWOTs within the final version of your plan in view of the fact that your proposed strategies presented in 3.6 Strategies below are designed to resolve shortcomings identified in this table. One solution would be to add a closing subsection to this main section to serve as a wrap-up statement (or an overall assessment) that describes how the proposed strategies/plans will:

        - built on the business's key strengths (name them)
        - resolve its internal weaknesses (name the areas)
        - fully exploit its external opportunities (identify them) and
        - avoid major external threats (explain how).

Alternatively, an item along these lines could be included as part of the overall 14. Conclusion towards the back of the plan.

For further guidance, see the white papers on Devising Venture Strategies and Developing a Business Strategy.

3.6. Strategies

Use bullets to highlight up to eight (or so) key strategies (actions, programs, projects, operating methods etc.) in relation to major functional areas - markets, sales, products/services, technology, finance, management, operations etc.

Be sure you are presenting realistic, medium-term strategies and not merely short-term tactics. The following table highlights differences between strategic and tactical issues when planning a holiday:

Strategic

Tactical

When to go ?

What to pack ?

Where to go ?

How to get to airport ?

Who to go with ?

Where to go on third day ?

How to travel ?

Hire car for a day ?

What budget ?

What presents to buy ?

How long to go for ?

When to use taxis ?

Clearly, it would not make much sense when planning a holiday to address the tactical issues without first having resolved the strategic matters. This also applies to strategic planning for a business plan.

Your strategies are critically important, as they become the road map for all the (tactical) detail presented in the balance of the plan. In essence, set out the basic strategies in this subsection and then use the remainder of your plan to flesh out the detail.

Use 3.5. SWOTs above to prompt thinking on internal and external issues as indicated in the table below and explain how your plan will deal with them in strategic terms.

Internal

External

.. build on strengths

.. exploit opportunities

.. resolve weaknesses

.. avoid threats

Here are some possible strategies for a newly formed handbag designer/producer/distributor:

Markets:

  • Target high-income earners in the 18-25 age group
  • After two years expand into the 25-35 age group

Sales:

  • Initially, sell directly via own and third-party web sites
  • Progressively appoint distributors and agents to target specialist retail outlets within xx States
  • Establish a foothold in the xx Country by means of a joint venture.

Offerings:

  • Limit initial offerings to four main designs of handbags
  • Extend range by reselling handbags produced within xx Country by 20XX
  • Extend range to include "weekend-size" cases

Design:

  • Update designs on annual basis with particular reference to xx trends

Operations:

  • Develop a networks of sub-contract manufacturers
  • Use third parties for distribution
  • Operate from rented space at xx City

Management:

  • Build up a strong experienced team (4) within first year
  • Appoint high-caliber non-execs (2) to board

Finance:

  • Raise external equity of $xx in two rounds in years 1 and 2.

For further guidance, see the white papers on Devising Venture Strategies and Developing a Business Strategy.

3.7. Goals/Targets

Summarize the prime goals/targets - for sales, profits, employment, market shares etc. – to be achieved within the life of your plan i.e. three to five years.

For example, the handbag firm might have the following third-year targets:

      • Achieve annual sales of at least $2 million
      • Net profit margin of 5%+
      • Ten main outlets in about xx Countries/States
      • Offer at least ten significant ranges
      • Recognition as a high fashion designer.

For further guidance, see the white paper on Developing a Business Strategy. Also, have a look at the free Online Strategic Planner that could be used to help draft this entire section as illustrated by the Sample Strategic Plan.


Additional Help

For further guidance, review the white papers on Devising Business Strategies and Developing a Strategic Business Plan. You can use the free Online Strategic Planner or view the Sample Strategic Plan.

If you need assistance with the assessment of possible strategies and the development of strategic plans, have a look at the following expert-based software packages:

Expert Strategic Planning Tools
Title
Description
For Whom
Info
Demo
Buy (US$)*
For Business Plans:
  Plan Write Expert Business Planner
Expert system for developing strategies and then compiling a complete business plan.
Managers, entrepreneurs & consultants.
Click
Click
229.95
For Strategic & Market Assessments:
  Quick Insight
Expert system for assessing new product and service ideas for new/smaller businesses.
Managers, entrepreneurs & consultants.
Click
Click
229.95
  Business Insight
Expert system for evaluating and enhancing strategies in larger businesses.
Marketing & sales managers, analysts & consultants.
Click
Click
795.00
For Marketing & Sales Plans:
  Plan Write for Sales
Expert system for developing and assessing strategies, and compiling a comprehensive sales and marketing plan.
Marketing & sales managers, consultants & entrepreneurs.
Click
Click
229.95
  Plan Write for Hi-Tech Marketing
Expert system for developing strategies and tactics, and preparing a comprehensive sales and marketing plan for a tech-based business.
Marketing & sales managers, consultants & entrepreneurs in tech-based businesses.
Click
Click
299.95
  Plan Write for Pricing
Expert system for determining optimal pricing and writing a comprehensive pricing plan.
Marketing & sales managers, consultants & entrepreneurs.
Click
Click
229.95
  Insight for Sales Strategy
Specialist expert system to help plan, forecast & close complex sales.
Marketing/sales managers & reps selling medium/high value items.
Click
Click
229.95

* To download & use now. Special bundles of packages available for managers, consultants and entrepreneurs. More info

Top - Business Plan WareTop of Page Previous | Next

 
 
  Financial  
 Projection 
  Software  
 Cashflow 
  Forecasting  
  Software  
  Business  
      Plan      
  Software  
  Marketing 
       Plan       
  Software  
  Strategic  
    Planning    
  Software  
  Business  
      Plan      
     Guide     
   Business   
   Planning   
   Freeware   
    Online     
  Planning   
      Tools      
   Business   
   Planning   
    Papers    
     Other     
     Items     
                     
PlanWare, Invest-Tech Limited, Ardmeen Park, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland
International Tel:
+353-1-283 4083
International Fax:
+353-1-288 7805
Email:
info@planware.org
WWW:
http://www.planware.org
Subscribe:
RSS  RSS-Planware's Bog
Follow:
Twitter Twitter
PlanWare, Cashflow Plan, Exl-Plan, Quik-Plan, Free-Plan, Biz-Plan, Easi-Plan, Cash-Plan, Pers-Plan, Your-Plan and Bank-Plan are trademarks or registered trademarks property of Invest-Tech Limited. Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Plan Write, Quick Insight and Business Insight are trademarks or registered trademarks property of BRS Inc. © Copyright 1999-2016. Invest-Tech Limited. All rights reserved.