34 Free Strategic Plan Templates | Guide to Perfect Planning

34 Free Strategic Plan Templates | Guide to Perfect Planning

A strategic plan is a management tool that describes the goals of an organization and functions as a comprehensive guideline that details the necessary sequence of events or actions required to accomplish the specified objectives.

A strategic plan provides a clear path for an organization to follow in progressing from a current situation to a desired one over a specified timeline. A strategic plan is necessary to fully actualize an organization’s model by identifying what it hopes to achieve and how to achieve it. 

By the precise specification of objectives and goals, the level of progress towards the desired outcome is effectively measured and qualified by the attainment of set goals. The predefined pathway to a successful outcome specified in a strategic plan provides a strict course, which, if maintained, should result in the attainment of the predefined outcome or an approximation of it.

This article provides you with the steps to make a strategic plan work perfectly, along with free customizable templates. But first, let us get a basic concept of what a strategic plan is and how it can benefit us:

Benefits of a Strategic Plan

The strategic plan serves as an indication of the current success or failure of the organization at any point in time. A measurement of the variation in the strategic position of an organization at any time can be made against the set expectation then, thus indicating a positive or negative variation. This enables early course correction by implementing pre-emptive changes to prevent derailment from the set path.

A strategic plan is vital as a communication tool between the management of an organization, its stakeholders, and its employees. In a strategic plan, the purpose of the organization is clearly defined, and its expected future is stated. This is integral in decision-making processes, as only decisions, which bring the organization closer to its set goals, will be favored.

A strategic plan also shows the best resource management techniques to employ at any point in time. By recognizing the organization’s expectations, the necessary resources that are to be focused on each section of the organization become apparent.  Employees to be hired can be determined, and the commitment’s financial resources can be quantified.

Different Types of Strategic Plan

A strategic plan is intended for the same purpose in any instance in which it is applied, that is, to serve as a roadmap for achieving set goals. While this is the intention of any organization in using a template of the strategic plan, the great variation in different organization types means that the strategic plan developed for each organization will vary significantly. This can be due to the differences in purpose, size, and complexity of the organizations.

A strategic plan template contains pre-defined sections for entering information, but due to the differences in the organizations which might use it, only a vague generalization is possible with a one-size-fits-all template. This necessitates the specialization of templates, with each one addressing a specific organization or a generalization of a specific group. Below are different types of template specializations.


Strategic Business Plan Template

The strategic business plan template is a structured model of the components necessary for developing a strategic business plan. This includes sections that cover the company information, the strategic features of the business, the goals, and the available resources. A strategic business plan template is useful for assessing the performance of a business, evaluating the strategic advantages, and creating a strategic business plan for developing the business.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Non-Profit Strategic Plan Template

The non-profit strategic plan template provides sections for the major focuses of non-profit organizations: the goals of the organization, the section of the society being served, the allocation of available resources, and options for growth.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


HR Strategic Plan Template

The HR strategic plan template creates an avenue for the coordination of human resources. This template deals with the strategic plan for managing employees, including recruitment and project allocation.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


IT Strategic Planning Template

The IT strategic planning template provides sections for integrating available technological resources into the overall organizational strategic plan. By making do considerations for the available resources, options for procurement of new assets, and the usage of the assets.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Strategic Marketing Plan Template

This template is intended to promote a service or product by assessing current market information and combining this with a marketing plan to indicate the most significant opportunities for success.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Social Media Strategy Plan Template

Social media is a vital means of reaching an audience and establishing a marketing plan to utilize this resource effectively is essential. Analyzing the current market, the type of content needed to promote an organization, and the best way to promote content online is tracked in this template.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


SWOT Analysis Strategy Template

The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to an organization heavily define its actualization. This template allows for a comparison of the various influences on which its success is so reliant and the development of strategies for minimizing or maximizing either.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


One-Page Strategic Planning Template

The one-page strategic template presents the entirety of a strategic plan on a single page enabling ease of viewing and compression of information into a compact, precise form. This type of template is useful for a quick summary or a presentation of a strategic plan.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Strategic Vision Template

The strategic vision template is useful for presenting an organization's vision and the necessary set objectives for realizing it.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


University Strategic Plan Outline

Reconciling educational goals, campus development, and the means of achieving them requires a comprehensive strategic plan that covers the institution's long-term goals.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


School Strategic Plan Template

The school strategic plan template is useful to institutions of learning for attaining establishment objectives.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Departmental Strategic Plan Template

The departmental strategic plan template provides the roadmap for the units of an organization in terms of what to achieve, when, and how.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Project Strategic Plan Template

The project strategic plan template follows the expectation in terms of the realization of a project. This template provides sections for the definition of project expectations, deadlines, and possible limiting factors.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


5-Year Strategic Plan Template

The 5-year strategic plan template is designed for projects or enterprises to be completed within a 5-year duration. This template provides a means of tracking the progress of the project over this time and ensures the desired conclusion at the termination of the period.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


3-Year Strategic Plan Template

The 3-year template is like the 5-year template but spans over a period of 3 years. This type of template is particularly useful in a dynamic environment, in which significant changes can happen in a short period of time. The shorter outlook time also make this template ideal for running tests on the viability of either a new product, or a new company.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Steps To Make A Strategic Plan Work

    A strategic plan is a carefully planned document, as its influence is intended to be very significant and usually far-reaching. A strategic plan works by providing an avenue to set goals, identify relevant information, and recognize how the information identified can be used to achieve the set goals. Thus, developing a strategic plan template requires a precisely structured, procedural means of reconciling these three crucial actions.

    Step 1: Determine your strategic position

    A key feature that defines the potential success of any organization is the strategic edge it possesses relative to its competitors. The strategic position of an organization is what sets it apart from other organizations that offer similar services to it.

    A strategic position is influenced by factors that can either be positive or negative. Positive factors such as the uniqueness of the service offered, the influence of the organization in the market it serves, or the ownership of revolutionary technology boosts the survivability and potential for success of an organization.

    Negative factors such as a poor public image, terrible sitting location, or product inferiority damage a company’s strategic position, but also indicate where changes can be made to improve the chances for success. A determination of this combination of factors indicates the current strategic position of an organization which will be integral in developing a strategic plan.

    Identify key strategic issues

    The organization’s current position with respect to its competitors, the state of the market in which it exists, and its current strategic advantages have to be identified. Clear identification of the current situation of an organization gives a concise starting point and indicates the variation from a new desired position.

    Identify opportunities and threat

    Opportunities and threats are factors external to an organization that is both competing influences on its potential success or failure. Opportunities to an organization are possible avenues for attaining success, while threats can stymie, retard, or halt the progress of an organization. Identifying opportunities and threats present a means of recognizing the influences that can affect the progression of an organization to its desired outcome.

    Assess current and future demands

    The changes in the market that an organization serves determine the strategic position of the organization at any point in time. By studying the behaviour of the market, an assessment of the current demand and potential changes in the future can be established. Thus, resources can be reallocated at certain times to cope with changes, or opportunities can be exploited as the market changes to ensure a good strategic position is continually maintained.

    Synthesize data

    Data relevant to the organization that can be used to alter its course at any point in time should be synthesized. This includes a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and a PEST (political, economic, social, and technological) analysis. These analysis methods are means of assessing the internal and external factors that can influence the position of the organization in the market in which it exists.

    Step 2: Prioritize your objectives

    A strategic plan specifies what an organization hopes to achieve. This is expressly stated as long-term goals and short-term objectives which contribute to achieving the overall goals. The specification of the organization’s goals provides a clear destination that is to be reached to qualify as a success. Objectives should be prioritized to determine which are to be accomplished at specific times and in what sequence. Objectives can be prioritized using one or more established objective-setting models.

    Identify short SMART goals

    Goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) should be stated in the strategic plan to give a clear definition of what is expected. By contrasting the set goals, prioritization of which is expected at certain times can be made.

    Key performance indicators (KPIs)

    Key performance indicators are used to track and measure the success or failure of an organization in achieving its set goals. KPIs are certain criteria integral to an organization’s success. This can include the total monthly sales or the number of clients engaged in a fiscal year. By the monitoring of these criteria, the progress of an organization towards its set goals can be quantified.

    Department goals

     A multi-sectional organization may be made up of several departments, with each geared towards a particular function. The reconciliation of the function of each department determines the attainment of the set goals of the overall establishment. The goal for each department to reach to ensure a contribution to the overall organizational goals should be set in a strategic plan.

    Team member goals

    The efforts of each individual in the organization should be towards the achievement of its set goals. Specifying goals for each team member ensures an adequate designation of roles and responsibilities that, when considered in collaboration with others, serve the general purpose.

    Long-term objectives

    Long-term objectives are outcomes that are desired at the expiration of a long duration of time. Thus, long-term objectives provide a constant indicator of where the organization wishes to end up after a prolonged period.

    Step 3: Develop a strategy

    Events, occurrences, and actions that must be realized for the objectives of the organization to be attained must be established. This provides a key set of points of what must be done to produce the desired outcome. The typical sets of standards by which such achievements are established include the following:

    The vision statement

    The vision statement represents the core values of an organization and how those values translate to realizable achievements. The vision statement contains a statement or a number of statements that explain why the organization exists.

    The mission statement

    The mission statement of an organization specifies the short-term achievements necessary for obtaining the long-term achievements specified in the vision statement. In addition, the mission statement details the working strategy of approaching a favorable situation that brings the organization closer to its long-term goals.

    A problem statement

    The problem statement identifies what the organization seeks to solve or a role it seeks to fill.

    Step 4: Build a plan

    A plan is the means of executing a strategy. A plan states the actions or sequence of actions that should be implemented at certain periods to bring about the desired result. A plan gives the specifics about how a defined strategy will be employed to accomplish a set of objectives. The plan should include a comprehensive itemization of what is needed to implement a strategy.

    An elevator pitch or company description

    The elevator pitch is a short, concise description of an organization that quickly helps others identify and understand what an organization is about, does, and hopes to achieve.

    Organizational structure

    The organizational structure gives an overview of the various departments and units that make up the organization. In addition, the organizational structure highlights the function of each unit and its contribution to the overall organizational objectives.

    Target customers

    An organization provides a service to a select group of people, and identifying those groups of people, and how to reach them, is instrumental in any plan.

    Competitive and advantage analysis

    The competitive and advantage analysis reviews the organization’s stance in relation to others offering a competing service.

    Marketing plan

    The marketing plan covers the means of ensuring that the service or product provided by an organization reaches its target customers and enough profit is made in the process.

    Team

    The team section of the plan relates the utilization of human resources in the planning model. This section details the type of people needed in the organization to fulfill one or more roles.

    Operations plan

    The operations plan illustrates the means of executing individual set-pieces which contribute to the overall organizational goal. The operations plan outlines how each project should start, what is to be done, and when it should be completed.

    Financial projections

    The financial projections indicate the financial viability of a particular enterprise. This requires the use of predictive models to anticipate the financial returns that can be potentially gained from a particular pursuit.

    Executive summary

    The executive summary is a recap of all the other sections of a plan itemized above. This is a brief consideration of each aspect of the plan to provide an easily understandable conclusion of the entire plan model. This will be useful for providing a quick description of the intended plan for an organization to relevant parties such as stakeholders.

    Step 5: Execute and manage the project

    This final section of the strategic plan tracks the performance of the organization in relation to the specified standards in the developed strategic plan. Using strategic measures and metrics, criteria that describe the progress of the organization can be specified and monitored to satisfy congruency between the actual and expected results.

    Pre-Designed Templates

    A strategic plan template is a ready-made outline for creating a strategic plan for any organization, thus increasing the accuracy of produced strategic plans, reducing the overhead time for creating a strategic plan, and improving productivity by limiting the number of resources needed to create a strategic plan.

    Below is a selection of free customized strategic plan templates, each tailored to specific organizations to maximize function and clarity in creating strategic plan templates:

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        Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

        What are the four types of planning and the three levels of strategic planning?

        The four types of planning are based on the variance in the set of objectives and the means of achieving them at each tier of management. This includes strategic planning at the top-tier, tactical planning at the middle tier, operational planning at the low-tier, and contingency planning at all tiers.
        Strategic planning is focused on the distinct aspect of the operations of an organization. This creates levels of strategic planning which handle each aspect. This includes corporate-level strategic planning, business-level strategic planning, and functional-level strategic planning.

        What are the elements of strategic planning?

        The elements of strategic planning are the key components that make up any strategic plan. This includes the mission and vision of the organization, the strategic assumptions of the competing influences on the organization and their impact, and the strategic plan design, which outlines the actions to be executed to achieve the goals of the organization.

        What are the key terms in strategic planning?

        The key terms in strategic planning are words used to describe the most vital aspects of a strategic plan. This includes mission, vision, goal, objectives, action plan, measures, and metrics.

        How to design a strategic planning system

        A strategic planning system is a structured process by which the various levels of management coordinate planning activities. A strategic planning system is specific to each organization and must be tailored to fit each one. A strategic planning system can be designed by reconciling the communication of corporate-performance goals and the goal-setting process among an organization’s various tiers of management.

        What is a strategic action plan?

        A strategic action plan details the exact actions or sequences of actions by which an outlined strategy will be realized. The action plan specifies how the set goals and objectives will be achieved in a strategic plan.

        What are strategic measures and metrics?

        Strategic measures are observable values used to monitor an organization’s performance, while metrics quantify the selected measures.