Is it a Business Plan or a Business Strategy?

August 30, 2011

Strategy Concepts

Seriously, there’s a lot of difference . . .

I was digging the internet, as I’m want to do, looking for some more StrategyDIY inspiration and found 2 great articles related to Business Plan vs. Business Strategy.  Funny enough, they are pretty much aligned on their conclusions.  And I think the conclusions provided are just great for considering how to simplify business strategy.  And they really shed some light on “complexity paralysis” and “template mania” referenced in another post.

As I note in the “About Me” page, I’m not a consultant, just a guy that works on building simple strategies.  I’m happy to find great stuff out there in the big wide world.

Cutting to the chase

The core difference is the phase of the business life and what needs to be achieved at each phase.  Essentially, both authors here note that the Business Plan is for the start-up phase of a business (or let’s consider early phase and or a major growth phase requiring, maybe, some serious cash).  The Business Plan establishes things like structure and tells what the business is ‘about’.  Time horizon: short.  The Business Strategy is for an established business and outlines where a business is going.  It highlights direction, priorities, maybe purpose.  Time horizon: long.   As discussed in other posts, strategy gives us the clarity of our action, defines the key priorities of the organization and key objectives.

Considering these more clear explanations of Plan vs. Strategy, it’s no wonder that we can get caught up in the complexity paralysis or template mania.  Most of the templates we can find online are directed toward the Business Plan, not the process of creating a Business Strategy.  So we are trying to use a wrench when we need a flashlight.  The tool doesn’t fit the job and so we either can’t figure out how to start or we just start waving the wrench around trying to see, hoping at the end we find the door (a stretch?).

So, anyway, these articles are really simple summaries of the key differences between the Business Plan and Business Strategy.  Helpful points here to keep in mind as we continue to consider how to make the ‘strategy’ part more simple so we can create aligned actions to achieve our objectives.

I figured no need to recreate what’s already great so I’ll just put in the links and give credit where credit is due.

Thoughts?  Share below in comments.




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