First, let’s look at the difference between a business and a strategic plan. 

business plan covers the “who” and “what” of the business. The strategic plan gives us long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there, providing a long-term view.

In broader terms, the business plan tells us who by showing us:

  • Who is running the business? What makes them qualified? What do they bring to the table that adds value?
  • Who is the competition? What do they offer and what makes you different?
  • Who is your customer? How big is the market? Where are they? What do they want and how will you give it to them? Also, how will you connect with your market?

The business plan answers the “what” by telling us:

  • What the business provides and how it’s provided. 
  • Product, services, and operations are all explained so that readers understand how customer needs are met.

The strategic plan, on the other hand, outlines long term goals and the “how”, focusing on the following:

  • Where will the business be in 3, 5, or even 10 years?
  • How will you expand to offer different products and services over time?
  • Will your market and industry change over time and how will your business react to those changes?
  • How will you grow your market and reach new customers?
  • What needs to happen so you can achieve your goals? What resources do you need to get there?
  • How will you measure success? What metrics matter and how will you track them?

So, your business plan explains what you are doing right now. Your strategic plan explains long-term aspirations and how you plan to transition your business from where it is today to where you want it to be in the future. The strategic plan helps you look more deeply into the future and explains the key moves you have to make to achieve your vision.