Strategic Planning

All small businesses should do yearly strategic planning. Your strategic plan for a given year isn’t written in stone, as your strategic activities may change as the year progresses. But most pieces of a strategic plan stay constant for the year, as you work to reach the goals you’ve set to move you further toward success.

You can choose from many methodologies to develop a strategic plan. The components and template presented here, however, have all the required critical pieces. Feel free to tweak the pieces to meet your needs.

Download the Strategic Planning Put In Practice Worksheet and get started!


Where is your business headed in the next 5 years? Everyone in your business should be aligned with you on your vision and moving with you in the direction required to make it a reality.


What do you do every day? What are you trying to achieve with the actions that you take at your business each day? How would you state your underlying reason for going into business? How would you describe what drives you to stay in business?

Internal Assessment: Strengths and Weaknesses

What is happening within your business? What are your business’ greatest strengths? Can you identify the gaps you need to address in order to continue fulfilling your mission and working toward your vision?

External Assessment: Opportunities and Threats

What is happening outside of your business? What opportunities are arising that you could potentially leverage? Have any new threats recently emerged? What is the required and appropriate response from you?

Strategic Goals

Where will put your focus this year? Which critical success factors will you need to keep on your radar? What specific goals will you set in these strategic areas?

Strategic Activities

Now that you are clear on your short term goals, how will you achieve them? What specific activities must be completed?


Who will complete what strategic activity? When will that happen? How will you prioritize your strategic activities to ensure that the most important ones get done as soon as possible?


Cartoon: White businessman stands, smiling, with his arms open. He wears blue pants, brown shoes, a white shirt, and a green vest. Keyword: strategic planning

Watch our webinar on Strategic Planning!