The purpose of a strategic plan is to define a strategy, or direction, in planning for the future. It allows the user to make more effective decisions on allocating its resources, including both labor and capital resources. Strategic planning forces the organization (both for-profit and non-profit) to be proactive, and to take a look at what it wants to be when it “grows up”. While strategic planning may be a tool for effectively setting a course for the direction of an organization, planning itself cannot foretell exactly how the market will evolve and what issues will surface in the future. Therefore, it’s appropriate to revise and update strategic plans, as the business/organizational climate changes.

The following is an outline for a strategic plan. Typically, plans are done for 1, 3, and 5 years. There are numerous acceptable formats for a strategic plan, and not all sections apply appropriately to all organizations. This strategic plan outline is a more extensive version, which can be condensed and tailored for specific needs.

  1. The nature of the organization
    1. Description of the organization
    2. Industry characteristics
    3. Competition
    4. Location description
    5. Distinctive competencies
  2. Mission statement
    1. Product line or services provided
    2. Philosophy, vision, and values
  3. SWOT Analysis (Internal strengths & weaknesses; External opportunities & threats)
  4. Unit-level goals & strategies
    1. Marketing
      1. Target market
      2. Product/service strategy
      3. Pricing strategy
      4. Distribution strategy
      5. Promotion strategy
    2. Production
      1. Location in distribution channel
      2. Make or buy decisions
      3. Lease/purchase of equipment
      4. Sourcing strategy
      5. Production methods
    3. Human Resources
      1. Employment strategy
      2. Promote from within versus hiring from outside
      3. Wage/salary/benefit strategy
    4. Financial
      1. Debt/equity strategy
      2. Capital sourcing strategy
      3. Growth/stability strategy
      4. Financial projections
  5. Long-term goals (5 years)
  6. Short-term goals (1 year)
  7. Short-term action plan
  8. Assessment/Evaluation

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