(Updated for 2018) Need a helping hand to create your strategic plan? Download our tried and tested strategic plan template – the same strategic plan template being used by thousands of startups and multinationals alike. Our strategic plan template will help you to create a complete strategy, from your vision statement through your values, to your focus areas, strategic objectives, and goals.
The strategic planning template is in Microsoft Excel format and will walk you through the steps involved in creating a strategic plan tab-by-tab. In the end, you’ll have a simple, clean and elegant one-page strategic plan that you can print, share or even upload into our strategy tool Cascade.
To use the strategic plan template, just download it, fire up Excel then work through each tab in turn. The final tab will automatically output a beautifully formatted strategic plan that you can save, export or even upload into our online strategy tool Cascade. Cascade is easy to use, incredibly powerful and trusted by some of the largest (and smallest) brands in the world. Pricing starts at $29 per month.
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This template will walk you through all the steps involved in creating a strategic plan. Click the download button below.
The strategic plan template is quick and easy to fill out and can be used in workshops or team meetings. It comes with sample entries for each section so you can get an understanding of how best to complete the template. At the bottom of each tab in the strategic plan template, we’ve also referenced our detailed guides on each section to help you create the perfect strategic plan.
What to expect in the strategic plan template?
The first tab of the strategic plan template will assist you in creating the perfect vision statement. The vision statement is the anchor point of any strategic plan and will guide the direction of the rest of your plan. The vision statement should be a memorable and inspirational summary that describes your reason for existence as an organization – one that will help to motivate existing employees and even attract high-quality new ones.
A few questions you should ask yourself to test your vision:
- Does it communicate why we exist?
- Is it tangible?
- Will it inspire our people?
- Can it be easily memorized?
A good example of a clear and tangible vision statement- ‘An apple computer on every desk in the world’
If you want a more detailed guide on creating a vision statement, check out our comprehensive guide: How To Write A Good Vision Statement
The second tab of the strategic plan template will allow you to input the strategic values of your organization. While organizational values can often be overlooked or considered ‘just for show’, our view is different – we see Values as a critical part of the strategic planning process – the reason being, that they go right to the heart of the most important ingredient of your strategy – your people.
When creating organizational values, if you find yourself struggling to come up with values that truly resonate with your company, think about your next hire:
- What type of behaviors and mindset are you looking for?
- Are there personality traits that will help the new person to work well with the rest of the team?
- What type of individual potential will be most useful for the greater good of the organization?
Asking yourself these questions will help you to hone in on some common themes and hopefully define your organizational values. If you’re still struggling to define your organizational values, check out our detailed guide on Creating Organisational Values.
The third tab of the strategic plan template will help you to create the focus areas of your company. Focus Areas are the foundation stones of your strategy. They expand on your Vision Statement and start to create some structure around how to actually get your organization to achieve its goals. We usually recommend anywhere between 3-6 focus areas, any more and it will become difficult to focus on all of them.
When creating your strategic focus areas we advise to keep 4 rules in mind-
- No longer than 5 words each
Long winded Focus Areas are an oxymoron – if you can’t distill your focus into 5 words or less, keep refining it until you can – it needs to be simple and memorable.
- Not too broad
Don’t cheat by creating broad Focus Areas like ‘Be profitable’ unless this really is a specific focus (e.g. for new startups) – this defeats the point of the exercise and doesn’t help you to focus at all!
- No jargon
Avoid ambiguous terms like ‘maximize’ or ‘succeed’ – state what you are trying to achieve an outcome, not how you are going to do it.
- No metrics
Conversely, it might be tempting to add specific targets or metrics to your Focus Areas – avoid this. Metrics will absolutely come into play for your plan, but not at this stage. Keep things high level for now, but still, outcome focused.
If you’d like to view a detailed guide on focus areas, be sure to check out Creating Strategic Focus Areas
Goal types are a way of categorizing your data and become extremely useful when reporting on and filtering your data. You can slice and dice your data in many ways depending on the goal types you choose. A few examples of goal types are given below:
The Balanced Scorecard- categorize your goals into one of the four quadrants.
Mckinsey’s Strategic Horizons-
- Horizon1 (Core business)
- Horizon2 (Emerging opportunities)
- Horizon3 (Entirely new opportunities)
For more goal types and detailed explanations on frameworks, check out 5 Of The Best Strategy Frameworks
Units refer to the unit of measurement that will be used to determine whether your goal was successful or not. Your unit of measurement may be any of the following:
The nature of the goal will determine the unit of measurement that is most appropriate for tracking the completion of your goal.
Your organizational goals are the high-level goals of your organization. It is a specific objective that will help you to actualize one or more focus areas. Unlike your focus areas, your organizational goals should be specific and contain where possible a metric and a deadline.
An example of a well defined organizational goal: Increase weekly users to the website, from 7.5 k to 15k by the 31/12/2018.
Goals are the backbone of your strategy. They should break up your organizational goals into manageable projects which allow you to achieve the organizational goals, and require a metric and time frame also.
Going on from the organizational goal example, an example go a well-defined goal: Launch new Facebook ads campaign by 01/03/2018
The strategic plan template will help you to create all the elements of a strategic plan, and by the end you will have a beautifully formatted strategic plan document which you can download, share, or save. If you need any help at all using our free strategic plan template, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the comments below and we’ll do our best to help you create the perfect strategic plan.
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Cascade is the complete strategy execution platform and will help you to create your strategic plan and much more. Easy to use, incredibly powerful and trusted by some of the largest (and smallest) brands in the world. Pricing starts at $29 per month