How to Write a Strategic Plan in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

If you’re searching for how to write a strategic plan, you’re likely looking for a clear, succinct guide that breaks down this sometimes-daunting task into manageable steps. Here’s a quick answer to get you started:

  1. Define Your Vision and Mission: Clearly articulate where you want your business to go and what it stands for.
  2. Conduct a Situational Analysis: Understand your current position within the market and internal capabilities.
  3. Set Strategic Goals and Objectives: Decide on the broad outcomes you want to achieve, based on your analysis.
  4. Develop Strategies and Action Plans: Plan how you will achieve your objectives.
  5. Implement, Monitor, and Update the Plan: Execute your strategies, track progress, and make adjustments as needed.

Strategic planning is like setting up a GPS for your business journey. It’s about knowing where you are, figuring out where you want to go, and mapping out the best route to get there. For small business owners overwhelmed by day-to-day operations and decision-making complexities, a well-crafted strategic plan offers a much-needed roadmap. It helps in leveraging technology and data for strategic growth, enabling better decision-making and improving business performance.

Profit Leap specializes in simplifying this process, making strategic planning accessible to business owners regardless of their expertise level. By following a structured planning process, businesses can focus on growth without getting lost in the day-to-day.

Simplified guide to writing a strategic plan showing steps with brief descriptions: 1. Vision and Mission, 2. Situational Analysis, 3. Goals and Objectives, 4. Strategies and Action Plans, 5. Implementation and Monitoring - how to write a strategic plan infographic process-5-steps-informal

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of the steps involved in creating a strategic plan that not only outlines where you want your business to go but also provides a practical roadmap for getting there.

Step 1: Define Your Vision and Mission

When diving into how to write a strategic plan, the foundation of your journey starts with defining your Vision and Mission. These are not just fancy words to put on your website or office wall; they are the guiding stars that will keep your business on course through thick and thin.

Vision Statement

Imagine standing on top of a mountain, looking out into the future. What do you see for your company? That’s your Vision Statement. It’s a picture of what you aspire to achieve in the long run, say in 5 to 10 years. It’s ambitious, pushing you to stretch beyond your current capabilities but still within the realm of possibility.

For example, Tesla’s vision to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy isn’t just a goal; it’s a clarion call that guides every decision and innovation within the company.

Mission Statement

While your vision statement looks into the future, your Mission Statement focuses on the present. It answers the question, “Why does our business exist?” It talks about the purpose of your company, whom it serves, and how it serves them.

A well-crafted mission statement is like a compass for your business, keeping every team member aligned and moving in the right direction. For instance, Amazon’s commitment to being Earth’s most customer-centric company clearly defines its purpose and who it serves.

Core Values

Your Core Values are the bedrock of your company’s culture. They are the principles and beliefs that guide how your team behaves and makes decisions. When your vision and mission are where you’re going and why, your core values tell you how to get there.

Integrating values like innovation, excellence, and compassion into the fabric of your organization ensures that your journey towards your vision is consistent with who you are as a company. It’s about walking the talk.

Incorporating Vision, Mission, and Values

  1. Be Clear and Concise: Use simple language that everyone can understand. Your vision and mission should be memorable, inspiring, and easily communicated.

  2. Make it Inspirational: Both should inspire your team and stakeholders. They should be able to see their own values and goals aligning with those of the company.

  3. Reflect Your Unique Identity: Avoid generic phrases that could apply to any company. Your vision, mission, and values should reflect what makes your business unique.

  4. Involve Your Team: These foundational elements shouldn’t be decided in a vacuum. Involve your team in the process to ensure buy-in and alignment.

  5. Live by Them: Once defined, these aren’t just to be framed and forgotten. They should be integrated into every aspect of your business operations, from hiring to decision-making.

The first step in how to write a strategic plan is not just about drafting documents; it’s about laying down the foundation for your business’s future success. Your vision statement gives you direction, your mission statement gives you purpose, and your core values guide your journey. Together, they form the compass that will guide your business towards its true north.

As we move into the next section, keep in mind that your vision, mission, and core values are not set in stone. They will evolve as your business grows and the market changes. The key is to remain true to the essence of what your company stands for while adapting to the changing landscape.

Now, let’s proceed to Step 2: Conduct a Situational Analysis, where we’ll dive into understanding your current position within the market and the internal and external factors that impact your business.

Step 2: Conduct a Situational Analysis

In the journey of how to write a strategic plan, conducting a situational analysis is like drawing a map before a road trip. It helps you see where you are, the best routes to take, and the obstacles you might face. Let’s break it down into manageable parts: SWOT Analysis, Environmental Analysis, Industry Trends, and Internal Factors.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is your compass. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

  • Strengths: What does your company do best? Maybe it’s your cutting-edge technology or your dedicated team.
  • Weaknesses: Where could you improve? This could be anything from outdated processes to gaps in your product line.
  • Opportunities: Look outside your window. Is there a new market trend you can capitalize on? Perhaps a gap in your competitors’ offerings?
  • Threats: What challenges are lurking around the corner? This could include new regulations or a shift in consumer behavior.

Environmental Analysis

Think of the Environmental Analysis as checking the weather before your trip. This involves looking at the external factors that affect your business. These can range from political changes, economic trends, social shifts, to technological advancements. For instance, a new law might open up opportunities or pose challenges for your business.

Industry Trends

Understanding Industry Trends is like knowing the traffic patterns on your route. What’s the current direction in your industry? Are there new technologies disrupting the old ways? Keeping an eye on these trends can help you anticipate changes and adapt your strategy accordingly. Being proactive rather than reactive can set you apart from the competition.

Internal Factors

Lastly, examining Internal Factors is akin to making sure your vehicle is in good condition before hitting the road. This means looking at your company’s internal environment — your resources, team, and processes. Are they aligned with your strategic goals? Do you have the right people in place to achieve your objectives?

By conducting a thorough situational analysis, you’ll have a clearer understanding of where your business stands and the external and internal factors that could impact your journey. This foundational step is crucial for setting realistic goals and developing a strategic plan that navigates you towards success.

Remember, this analysis isn’t a one-time task. It’s important to revisit and update it regularly to stay ahead of the curve. Now, let’s gear up for the next step: Setting Strategic Goals and Objectives, where we’ll outline the destinations you aim to reach on your strategic road trip.

Step 3: Set Strategic Goals and Objectives

After diving deep into your current situation, it’s time to look ahead. Setting Strategic Goals and Objectives is like plotting the key stops on your journey to success. This step will help you turn insights into action and dreams into reality.

Strategic Priorities

Start by identifying what matters most. Ask yourself, What are the big wins we’re aiming for? These could be expanding into new markets, increasing efficiency, or launching new products. Your strategic priorities should align with your mission and vision, guiding your organization towards its ultimate purpose.


For each priority, set SMART Goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. This framework turns vague aspirations into clear targets. For example, rather than saying “increase sales,” a SMART goal would be “increase sales by 10% in the next 12 months.” This clarity empowers your team to focus and measure progress.


Objectives break down your goals into manageable chunks. If your goal is a destination, objectives are the milestones along the way. They answer the question, How will we get there? For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, objectives might include launching a new marketing campaign or entering two new geographic markets.

Key Initiatives

Finally, for each objective, define Key Initiatives—the specific actions you’ll take to achieve them. This is where strategy meets execution. Initiatives might involve developing a new product, hiring staff for a new department, or implementing a new IT system. Each initiative should have a clear owner, timeline, and budget.

Remember: Your strategic plan is a living document. As you implement, monitor, and update your plan, you’ll likely adjust your goals and objectives based on what’s working and what’s not. This agility is key to navigating the unpredictable waters of business.

By setting strategic goals and objectives, you’re doing more than planning; you’re laying the foundation for your organization’s future success. So, take the time to do it right. And remember, the clearer and more measurable your goals and objectives, the easier it will be to rally your team and resources around them.

Next, we’ll tackle Developing Strategies and Action Plans, turning your goals and objectives into detailed roadmaps for success.

Step 4: Develop Strategies and Action Plans

After setting clear and measurable goals, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the nitty-gritty of how to write a strategic plan by focusing on developing robust strategies and actionable plans. This step is where your strategic plan begins to take shape, turning broad goals into actionable steps.


Think of strategies as the “how” to your “what” — your goals are what you want to achieve, and your strategies are how you plan to get there. To formulate effective strategies:

  • Look at Your SWOT Analysis: Use the insights from your SWOT analysis to guide your strategy development. Leverage your strengths and opportunities while addressing weaknesses and threats.
  • Be Specific: Vague strategies lead to unclear paths. For example, if your goal is to increase market share, a strategy might be to “Launch a targeted marketing campaign in untapped markets.”

Action Plans

With your strategies in place, it’s time to break them down into action plans. These are the specific steps you’ll take to execute your strategies. Each action plan should include:

  • Tasks: List every task required to achieve the strategy.
  • Timelines: Assign a timeline to each task to keep the project on track.
  • Responsible Parties: Designate team members responsible for each task to ensure accountability.

Resource Allocation

Resources are finite, and how you allocate them can make or break your strategic plan. Consider:

  • Budget: How much money can you allocate to each strategy?
  • Personnel: Do you have the right team in place to execute the plan? If not, consider hiring or training.
  • Technology and Tools: Identify any tools or technology needed to support your strategies.

Risk Management

No plan is without risk, but identifying potential risks early can help you mitigate them. For each strategy, ask:

  • What Could Go Wrong?: List potential risks, from minor setbacks to major threats.
  • How Will We Respond?: For each risk, develop a contingency plan. This might mean setting aside a budget for unexpected costs or having a backup supplier.

By meticulously developing strategies and action plans, allocating resources wisely, and preparing for potential risks, you’ll have a roadmap that not only outlines where you want to go but provides a clear path on how to get there.

The key to a successful strategic plan is not just in the planning but in the execution. In the next section, we’ll delve into Implementing, Monitoring, and Updating the Plan, ensuring that your strategic plan lives, breathes, and adapts as your business grows and changes.

Step 5: Implement, Monitor, and Update the Plan

Now that we’ve outlined how to write a strategic plan, let’s dive into the final stretch: bringing your plan to life and keeping it fresh. This step is crucial because, without action, your strategic plan is just a fancy piece of paper.


First things first, let’s talk about implementation. This is where the rubber meets the road. To start:

  • Assign clear responsibilities. Every goal and action plan needs a champion. Someone who wakes up thinking about how to move the needle.

  • Communicate your plan. Make sure everyone in your organization knows not just the what but the why. When people understand the purpose behind their work, they’re more engaged and effective.

  • Break it down. Take those big, strategic objectives and break them into bite-sized tasks. This makes progress more manageable and less intimidating.

Performance Indicators

Next up, we need to talk about how you’ll know if you’re on the right track. That’s where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. These are your north star, guiding you toward your strategic goals. Remember:

  • Make them specific. Vague indicators won’t tell you much. If your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, use a specific metric like Net Promoter Score (NPS).

  • Check in regularly. Set a schedule to review your KPIs. This could be monthly, quarterly, or whatever makes sense for your goals.


Monitoring is like the ongoing maintenance of your strategic plan. It involves:

  • Keeping an eye on your KPIs to see how you’re performing against your goals.

  • Staying alert to changes in your industry or business environment that might affect your strategic direction.

Think of it as driving a car. You’re not just watching the road ahead; you’re also checking your mirrors and dashboard to make sure everything’s running smoothly.


Periodically, you’ll want to do a deeper dive into how your strategic plan is performing. This is where you ask:

  • Are we meeting our strategic goals? If not, why?

  • Do our strategies still make sense? Sometimes, the world changes, and what made sense last year doesn’t anymore.

  • What have we learned? Every success and setback is a learning opportunity. Use these insights to refine your approach.


Finally, based on what you’ve learned from your monitoring and evaluation, you’ll update your plan. This doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Instead, think of it as recalibrating. You might:

  • Adjust your goals to better reflect your current reality.

  • Tweak your strategies to overcome new challenges or capitalize on unexpected opportunities.

  • Refine your action plans to make them more effective.

A strategic plan is a living document. It should evolve as your business and the world around it change.

Implementing, monitoring, and updating your strategic plan are continuous processes. They ensure that your plan remains relevant and guides your business toward long-term success. By following these steps, you’re not just dreaming big; you’re making those dreams a reality. And that’s what strategic planning is all about.

Next, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about strategic planning, helping you navigate any uncertainties you might have.

Frequently Asked Questions about Strategic Planning

After diving deep into how to write a strategic plan, you might still have some questions. Let’s clear up some common queries.

What is the Difference Between a Strategic Plan and a Business Plan?

Strategic Plan: Think of it as your roadmap for the future. It’s all about your long-term goals and how you plan to achieve them. It looks at the big picture, including where your business is now and where you want it to be in the future. It’s about setting your direction and aligning your team to work towards common goals.

Business Plan: This one’s more about the nitty-gritty details of starting and running your business. It covers your business model, market analysis, financial projections, and the specific steps you’ll take to operate and grow your business. It’s often used to secure funding or bring in new business partners.

In short, your strategic plan sets your course, and your business plan shows how you’ll sail the ship day-to-day.

How Often Should a Strategic Plan be Updated?

Just like your favorite app on your phone, your strategic plan needs regular updates to stay useful. The world changes fast — new competitors emerge, technology advances, and market demands shift. That’s why it’s a good idea to review and update your strategic plan at least once a year. But, if you’re in a industry, you might need to do it even more frequently. A flexible plan is a powerful plan.

What Role Does AI Play in Strategic Planning?

AI isn’t just for sci-fi movies; it’s a game-changer for strategic planning too. It can help you analyze big data to spot trends, predict market changes, and make smarter decisions. Think of AI as your super-smart assistant that works 24/7, crunching numbers and offering insights that humans might miss. It can play a crucial role in areas like customer behavior analysis, risk management, and even helping to set strategic priorities. However, AI is a tool, not a replacement for human judgment. It’s there to enhance your strategy, not create it for you.

By addressing these FAQs, we hope you feel more confident about your strategic planning journey. The goal is to stay adaptable, informed, and always ready for what’s next. With a solid strategic plan in hand, you’re well on your way to steering your business toward success.


In the rapidly evolving business landscape, the ability to adapt to change is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. Adapting to Change is crucial for survival and growth. Our journey through how to write a strategic plan has equipped us with the tools and understanding needed to navigate this ever-changing world. A strategic plan is not a static document; it’s a living, breathing guide that must evolve as your business and the external environment change.

Continuous Improvement is the heartbeat of a successful strategy. It’s about constantly seeking ways to do better, to innovate, and to refine your approach. This mindset ensures that your strategic plan remains relevant and effective, helping you to achieve your goals and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

At Profit Leap, we understand the importance of a well-crafted strategic plan. We’re here to help you create a roadmap that not only outlines where you want to go but also provides the flexibility to adapt as you grow. Our expertise in business process improvement and strategic planning enables us to offer tailored solutions that align with your unique needs and objectives.

In conclusion, writing a strategic plan is a crucial step for any business looking to thrive in today’s competitive environment. It’s about setting a clear direction, making informed decisions, and being prepared to adapt and improve continuously. With the right approach and support from experts like those at Profit Leap, you can create a strategic plan that drives your business toward long-term success and resilience.

The journey doesn’t end with the creation of a strategic plan. It’s an ongoing process of implementation, monitoring, and updating to ensure that your business remains on the path to achieving its vision. Let’s embrace change, commit to continuous improvement, and together, we can leap toward a prosperous future.

By keeping these principles in mind, you’re not just planning for success; you’re building a foundation that allows your business to grow, evolve, and withstand the tests of time and change.