Business Plan Vs Strategic Plan?

The terms ‘business plan’ and ‘strategic plan’ are often bandied around businesses and used interchangeably, but what exactly is the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

I’d love at this point to put digital marketing into full swing and make you comment before getting the answer… But honestly, I don’t know how to and without a lengthy discussion with our ‘Web Man’ this blog post which is born out of something that I’m currently working on, would turn into the campaign of the century and that’s not the point. The POINT IS, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BUSINESS PLAN AND A STRATEGIC PLAN? That’s the point…

Definition; Business Plan; Noun: – Collins English Dictionary.

“a detailed plan setting out the objectives of a business, the strategy and tactics planned to achieve them, and the expected profits, usually over a period of three to ten years.”

This is too simplistic a definition as it fails to state the context in which a business plan is usually written.

Definition; Business Plan; Noun: – Alex Beardsley, Chartered Marketer, Director ABL Business Ltd.

“A business plan is a plan that is developed by a start-up business outlining how they ‘plan to run the business’. The business plan is developed to obtain funding from external sources, be it investment or commercial lending and provide a starting point from which the business moves.”

As someone who is in the business of developing strategic plans, one of my biggest obstacles is that business owners think the strategic plan is developed in place of the business plan…at this point it’s probably useful to define a strategic plan…

Definition; Strategic Plan; Noun: Alex Beardsley, Chartered Marketer, Director ABL Business Ltd.

“A strategic plan aligns the activities of a existing business in order to move it forward to a desired position by playing to the business strengths and minimizing weaknesses whilst jumping on opportunities and avoiding the threats inherent in the wider marketplace.”

You can find other definitions of a “Strategic Plan” by doing a quick Google Search!

Strategic plans can be developed at any level – Organisational, Financial, Marketing, Operational and Departmental. But they all include the same formula:

1. Provide a vision and road map as to where the business wants to go

2. An alignment of the businesses resources to achieve the goals and objectives set out int he BUSINESS PLAN (See above for definition)

3. Key performance measure to determine whether or not the PLAN is working

4. Strategic plans MUST be developed from the TOP down or a business has no chance of everyone moving forward together.