Strategic planning is an ongoing process that must be scalable and repeatable. A strategic planning framework provides both structure and flexibility. An overly rigid framework might overlook key elements of your strategic plan. A framework that is too high level might lack the structure to support an actionable and accountable strategic plan. One effective strategic planning framework is the Goal Pyramid. It provides an actionable framework for strategic planning at the individual, department, and company levels.  

Let’s dive into understanding how to use the Goal Pyramid for your startup’s strategic planning framework.

Quick takeaways: 

  • The Goal Pyramid consists of four layers: goal, strategy, execution, and resources
  • Understand how each level of the Goal Pyramid works to help put it into practice
  • Follow the example to create a simple, actionable Goal Pyramid for your startup

SMART goal pyramid strategic framework
The Goal Pyramid

The Goal Pyramid consists of four layers:

  • Goal: The top layer of the framework consists of one SMART goal.
  • Strategy: The second layer features one or more strategies that work together to reach the goal.
  • Execution: The third layer consists of tactics and processes that fulfill the strategies that deliver on the goal.
  • Resources: The bottom layer identifies the people and tools required to execute the tactics that fulfill the strategies to deliver on the goal.

Understanding How the Goal Pyramid Works

It’s important to understand how the Goal Pyramid works, as this will help you to create and then implement this strategic planning framework.

Setting a Goal = Define Your Why

The Goal Pyramid begins with setting one main goal for the organization. The goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). To set a goal, leadership must first define their WHY:

  • Why are we in business?
  • Why should customers do business with us?
  • Why do we want to achieve this specific goal?

Creating a Strategy = Determine the What, Who, and When

Once you’ve set a goal, you must create the strategies for achieving that goal. Strategies must align with the why to support the goal. When creating strategies, leadership should consider the WHAT, WHO, and WHEN:

  • What must need to be done to fulfill the goal?
  • Who is going to be responsible for putting the strategies into action?
  • When will the strategies be put into place?

Execution = Decide How to Implement the Strategies

After creating your strategies, you must decide how to put those plans into action. This involves developing tactics that provide direction on implementing the strategies. Many people confuse strategies with tactics: a strategy is a broach approach for achieving a goal, while a tactic is the process you follow to implement the strategy. Execution involves answering the HOW:

  • How will you fulfill each strategy?
  • How will you assign resources?
  • How will you pay for the resources?
  • How will you track and measure results?

Resources = Make a Plan and Do the Work

After determining the tactics for executing on your strategies, you must assign the resources (i.e., people, tools) for implementing the tactics. Goal setting is vital but doing the work to fulfill the goal will move your business forward and help you to realize success. This involves creating and implementing your operational plans, which should:

  • Set benchmarks to measure performance
  • Provide direction on making processes easier to achieve
  • Equip your people with the tools to do the work

Example of One Startup’s Goal Pyramid

To follow is an example of a startup’s strategic planning framework using the Goal Pyramid.


  • Increase profits by 20% compared to Q4 of this year within the next 12 months.


  • Increase existing product sales by 10%
  • Increase new product sales by 5%
  • Reduce expenses by 5%


  • Hire new sales reps
  • Launch new marketing campaigns
  • Improve energy efficiency to reduce energy costs
  • Eliminate wasteful production procedure
  • Sell off excess inventory


  • Provide new sales reps with training and implement CRM
  • Set quotas for sales reps
  • Purchase ads for social media platforms
  • Install energy-efficient equipment
  • Revise production procedure
  • Sell inventory at auction

Creating a Goal Pyramid for Your Startup

The Goal Pyramid is a flexible and actionable strategic planning framework that can help startups to create and fulfill a key goal. Start with one SMART goal, develop strategies to support your goal, create tactics to implement your strategies, and implement the resources to put those tactics to work.

Are you ready to grow your startup? Contact us to learn how.