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Free Online Strategic Planner

Page Contents

  1. Introduction to Planner

  2. Strategic Business Planning Form

  3. Follow Through

Need Financial Projections for Your Plan ?

Use Exl-Plan for preparing comprehensive financial projections for 1/3/5/7 years ahead. Ideal for a business plan, strategic planning, cash flow forecasting, raising finance, budgeting and financial appraisals. Get full details, download free or trial copies or buy & use now.




1. Introduction to Planner

This Online Strategic Planner is suitable for substantial start-ups, established businesses and strategic business units within major corporations. When completed, your plan will print out on three pages. It will be usable in its own right as a stand-alone document or as the precursor to a business plan (see How to Write a Business Plan).

View this Sample Strategic Plan (you may wish to print this plan for reference purposes) and check out feedback from past users. Here is an overview of past users based on anonymous feedback supplied using the form immediately underneath the online planner.

Numbers Employed
(% Total)
Location of Users
(% Total)
Minutes Spent on Planner
(% Total)
None
22
North America
55
Under 15
9
Up to 50
51
Europe
10
15-30
15
50-250
14
Other
35
30-45
18
250-1000
7
Total
100
45-60
17
Over 1000
8
  Over 60
40
Total
100
Total
100

Note: The content of your plan is strictly confidential and is not disclosed to us. In theory, your plan could be observed by a third party during the compilation process, as might be the case for virtually every text-based transmission. In practice, this is extremely unlikely to happen.

Prior to using the online planner, we recommend that you review the contents of the following white papers:

Once your strategic thoughts have been assembled, the online planner can be used as follows:

  1. Enter text as guided for some/all the sections in the form below. These cover:

    1. SWOTs
    2. Vision
    3. Mission Statement
    4. Corporate Values
    5. Business Objectives
    6. Key Strategies
    7. Future SWOTs
    8. Review of Plan
    9. Major Goals
    10. Strategic Action Programs
       
  2. At any stage, press the Compile Plan buttons below to update your compiled plan which will be displayed on a separate page.
  3. To resume drafting, use your browser's back arrow to get back to your place in the form.
  4. When your plan has been completed, you can use the compiled plan as is, or copy/paste its contents into a word processor for final editing and/or reformatting. See Follow Through.
Need More Help with your Strategic Planning ? Have a look at:

That's it !!!! Get a cup of coffee, take the phone off the hook, get thinking and start planning. Allow yourself reasonable time (about 60 minutes) to complete the plan in one sitting.

The planner is also very suitable for use by a management team - just print and distribute copies of the plan's structure, and appoint an "editor" to input ideas into the form below. Allow plenty of time for discussion and debate.

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2. Strategic Business Planning Form

Whenever you press a Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a separate newly-compiled page containing your plan. To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow to get back to your place in the form.

VERY IMPORTANT: Your inputs to the form below and the resultant plan will reside in your PC's memory and online. Consequently, if you close (or refresh) this page before completing the form and saving the compiled plan, you'll lose all your work!

Tip # 1: When you see your plan after pressing the Compile Plan button, we recommend you periodically copy and paste its entire contents into a text editor such as Notepad. You can keep overwriting previous pastes so you only retain the latest version. This may seem a pain in the *** but it will ensure that your plan is safe even if a problem arises.

Tip # 2: You can go off-line and continue working on your plan (provided you do not close this page). When your plan has been finalized, press the Compile Plan button to get back online and to see/print your compiled plan. If you work on your plan off-line, you must finish the entire plan off-line. Once you go back online, you'll be able to see/print your plan but you will not be able to edit it online.



  Name of Business
    

Get Started:
Enter a real or fictitious name for your business and press the Compile Plan button below to check that the system works OK - you will be sent to a new page containing the bare bones structure of your plan.

To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form. You can press the Compile Plan button at any stage during drafting for an updated view of your plan.


  1. SWOTs
Guide:
Briefly list major existing strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities(O) & threats (T). S & Ws are internal to the business and O & Ts are external. All SWOTs should be 'one-handed', for example, something is either a S or a W but cannot be both! Enter up to six items under each heading. If planning a new business, consider the project's and its promoters' existing SWOTs.

More help on the SWOTs
(use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form). Also, see this Sample Strategic Plan (use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form) for ideas on how to complete this form - you may wish to print this sample as a guide.
Key Strengths Key Weaknesses
Key Threats Key Opportunities

  2. Vision
Guide:
What will the business look like in 3-4 year's time? If a visitor from Mars dropped in what would be seen and sensed. Write in future tense. Maximum of 150 words.

More help on the Vision
(use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).
If you press the Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a new page containing your compiled plan. To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow. You can press the Compile Plan button at any stage during drafting for an updated view of your plan.

  3. Mission Statement
Guide:
What is/will the business really, really be doing? What activities is/will it perform, where, how etc.? What is/will the business offer and how is/will it be special/competitive? Every noun, adjective and verb in the statement is important and must be justified. Write in present tense. Maximum of 150 words.

More help on the Mission
(use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).

  4. Corporate Values

Guide:
Describe the values and standards governing the operation of the business and its relationships with society, customers, suppliers, employees, local community and other stakeholders. Maximum of 150 words. This item may be especially important for NFP (not-for-profit) and educational organizations.
If you press the Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a new page containing your compiled plan. To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow. You can press the Compile Plan button at any stage during drafting for an updated view of your plan.
 This might be a good time to copy your plan into Word or Notepad as backup.

  5. Business Objectives

Guide:
Highlight the achievements and broad progress to be realized over the next 3-4 years. These can relate to shareholders, management (if not shareholders) and business itself. Do not enter specific goals or targets - these come later in the plan. Maximum of 150 words.

More help on the Objectives (use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).

6. Key Strategies
Guide:
Devise strategies by building on strengths, resolving threats, exploiting opportunities and avoiding threats. Consider any new dimensions revealed by your Vision and Mission. List major strategies covering the business as a whole (including such matters as diversification, organic growth, or acquisition plans) or primary matters within key functional areas (finance, management, marketing, sales, operations, R and D etc.). Separate must do and should do strategies.

More help on the Strategies (use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).
Must Do Strategies Should Do Strategies

  7. Future SWOTs
Guide:
Review your plan so far and add any new or emerging SWOTs which may not have been adequately addressed within the proposed vision, mission, objectives and strategies. This task is optional. Note: If you insert future SWOTs, they will be added to the initial SWOTs (see #1 above) in your compiled plan.

More help on the SWOTs (use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).

If you press the Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a new page containing your compiled plan. To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow. You can press the Compile Plan button at any stage during drafting for an updated view of your plan.
Future Strengths Future Weaknesses
Future Threats Future Opportunities

  8. Review of Plan
Guide:
Refine and revise/restate key strategies to deal with the perceived FUTURE SWOTs and to make sure that all elements of the plan are realistic, specific, practical, internally consistent and mutually supportive.

If you press the Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a new page containing your compiled plan. To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow. You can press the Compile Plan button at any stage during drafting for an updated view of your plan.
This might be a good time to copy your plan into Word or Notepad as backup.

  9. Major Goals

Guide:
Based on the foregoing, quantify key high-level targets which are (very) achievable over next 3-4 years in terms of sales, market segments/shares, products/services, finances, operations, technologies, employment, profits etc.

More help on the Goals (use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).


  10. Strategic Action Programs





Guide:
Based on the proposed strategies and set goals, outline up to six major action programs in order of importance. For each, indicate what, who, where, how and when, i.e. specify the resources, objectives, time-scales, deadlines, budgets and performance targets for each action program. Let them stand alone or use them (later) as the basis for a detailed business plan (use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form).

If you press the Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a new page containing your compiled plan. To continue drafting/refining, use your browser's back arrow. You can press the Compile Plan button at any stage during drafting for an updated view of your plan.

Review the completed plan to check its realism and that the proposed actions make sense and can be fulfilled.

This would be a good time to copy your plan into Word or Notepad as a permanent record and as a backup.

That completes the Plan !

If you press the Compile Plan button above, you will be sent to your final compiled plan. To preserve its contents, you should copy/paste the entire plan into Microsoft Word (or similar) on your PC. Alternatively, you can save the file containing the compiled plan on your PC. Note that it will be saved as a *.htm file if using Internet Explorer and as *.php if using Netscape.

By copying and pasting your compiled plan into Word, you can do final editing and/or reformatting. This could include the following:

  • Deleting or merging headings.
  • Merging items to eliminate duplication and to generally tighten up the text - shorter is best.
  • Removing the SWOT analyses where it might not be appropriate to show these, for example, to investors.
    Tip: If the strategic plan should include SWOTs, consider redrafting them as a very positive concluding statement to the strategic plan, e.g. XXX Inc is now very well placed to exploit xxx & yyy opportunities as a result of building up its xxx & yyyy resources and surmounting difficulties in the xxx & yyy areas ............. and so on.

Bear in mind that a good strategic plan is not simply written (once). It should be revised and redrafted (several times, if necessary) until it becomes a tightly focused, practical and attainable plan of action. If you produced the plan by yourself, it could be very beneficial to show it to some independent,experienced person for feedback before finalization.

Send Feedback

If you have used the On-Line Strategic Planner, we'd welcome anonymous feedback about it and how you'll use the resultant plan. No identification or e-mail address is required. However, if you wish us to reply to your feedback, you must include an e-mail address, or better still, use this Contact Form.

How long did you spend drafting your plan (minutes) ?
How many people are employed in the organization for which you made the plan ?
Where is this organization located ?

  

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3. Follow Through

Once your Strategic Plan has been drafted, you need to give some thought to its detail, execution and implications. There are lots of other useful tools at PlanWare to explore. Software for writing detailed business plans including:

  • Business Planner - Comprehensive business plan writer (incorporating outliner, text, charts, financials and extensive help.

  • Expert Business Planner - Similar to Business Planner with the addition of an expert system to analyses your plan and provides expert advice.

  • Free-Plan - Free Business Plan Template for Word (48 pages) and a complementary Guide (supplied as a 90+ topic Help file and as a 100+ page PDF file for printing.
    Note that the output from the Strategic Planner is ideal for inclusion in edited form in Section 3. Strategic Overview of this Template.

Click to display full sizeIf you need to produce financial projections as part of your plan, take a look at our financial planner - Exl-Plan (for Excel) which can be used to prepare fully-integrated 3/5/7-year financial projections (P&Ls, cashflows, balance sheets, ratio analyses and graphs). It incorporates a Quik-Plan facility for doing quick and dirty projections as well as tools for doing "what-ifs" and several types of sensitivity analyses. Click the thumb opposite to view a Du-Pont type Profitability Planner which can be used to drill down through ratios and explore high-level "what-ifs" (included in Exl-Plan Super, Super Plus, Ultra & Ultra Plus versions). For a more basic planner, look at Exl-Plan Basic (US$ 29) which generates comprehensive "high-level" 5-year projections based on annual assumptions (in contrast to the more detailed monthly and quarterly assumptions used by other versions in the Exl-Plan range). Get full details and trial copy downloads.

If you want to go into more detail with your strategic plan, especially from a marketing perspective, have a look at the following software-based expert systems:

Take a moment to complete or view the results of these surveys:

Survey about Strengths & Weaknesses of Businesses Survey about Writing a Business Plan

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