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Here are some examples of strategic planning and a current state analysis template. Use them to chart a clear path toward business goals.

A strategic plan sets out a clear path for success. It also serves as a reference point for everyone involved. Vision, objectives, action plan, risks, and opportunities — they’re all laid out in your strategic roadmap. The better your startup gets at the strategic planning process, the easier it will be to execute goals. Use these examples of strategic planning and the current state analysis template to get started.

Key Takeaways:

  • Without strategic planning, startups risk wasting resources on initiatives that aren't impactful.
  • The more details in your strategy, the easier it will be to achieve goals.
  • Start with a current state analysis to identify the steps involved in transitioning from your business's current state to your desired future state.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A good strategy looks at all the moving parts of your business:

  • Current challenges
  • Risks
  • Opportunities
  • Stakeholders
  • Intentions
  • Processes

Then, it details which actions stakeholders will take to achieve strategic initiatives and end goals. It can include tactical and process-driven activities, a timeline, role delegation, a method for assessing and reevaluating the plan, and a current state analysis.

Who Should Be Involved?

Strategic planning is a collaborative process. Startups that have already established  departments should involve stakeholders from sales, marketing, and product development in the discussion. Choose stakeholders who can contribute to the process and bring value to your organization.

People from different functional areas will be able to identify unique risks and opportunities. Use these insights to prioritize strategic actions and effectively organize resources.

Even if you’re operating as a one or two-person team, gather data to build a stronger strategic plan. The following information channels will provide helpful insights:

  • Feedback from customers
  • Discussions with partners
  • Consultations with professionals

4 Steps to Creating an Effective Strategic Plan, Plus Examples

Here’s a basic framework for startups:

Identify the goal

Your strategic plan will focus on one goal. The goal should be SMART:

  • Specific — What do you want to achieve?
  • Measurable — Which metrics will you use to gauge progress?
  • Attainable — Can you realistically achieve the goal?
  • Relevant — How does this goal help your business get closer to your long-term vision?
  • Time-bound — What’s your deadline for achieving the goal?

Starting with an end goal will point the rest of your strategic planning in the right direction. It also creates the business case for your plan’s budget.

Goal examples:
  • A startup wants to increase awareness about its new event promotions platform. The goal: Boost brand recognition to 75 percent of the target market by the end of the year.
  • A company has launched a new ordering app for food trucks and small restaurants, and it has tested the app with early adopters. The goal: Increase gross revenue by 35 percent every quarter for the next two years.
  • A marketing team for a SaaS company that designs industry-specific budgeting apps for small businesses wants to enhance customer experience to create a competitive advantage. The goal: achieve an average four out of five-star rating on the five most popular B2B software review sites.

Develop an action plan

Which processes, methods, and programs will you use to reach your goal? You may have more than one strategy that you’ll use.

Action plan examples:

  • The startup with the event promotions platform will use social media campaigns and influencers to build awareness.
  • The ordering app company plans to expand its sales efforts while also launching a content marketing campaign to drive more qualified leads to sales.
  • To improve customer experience, the SaaS startup that makes budgeting apps will enhance quality control procedures and expand its customer service team.

Detail actions for execution

List the activities that will fulfill your action plan. These can include both one-time tasks and ongoing processes.

Execution examples:

  • The events promotion startup will connect with three Instagram influencers and post consistently on the brand’s social media networks.
  • The ordering app company will post weekly blog posts that its market would find useful to generate leads, and sales will send regular emails to drive conversions.
  • The budgeting app company will hire an account management specialist and work on improving features to make the app easier to use.

Determine resource usage

Which people and tools do you need to execute the actions that will deliver on each strategy? This is where you’ll decide which skills and experience to add to your team, technologies to acquire, and other capital resources to invest in.

Why Startups Should Have a Current State Analysis for Strategic Planning

A key step in this process is clarifying where your business is right now with a current state analysis. This will serve as a foundational document for the strategic planning process. It will help establish which actions to take to move your business from Point A to Point B.

A current state analysis includes:

  • Current information about the business and your business plan, including customer segmentation, value propositions, finances, and sales projections.
  • Information on the ecosystem your business exists within. This is where you can draw upon insights from competitor analyses; market trends; and political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) trends. Which specific risks and opportunities does your business face in the current environment?
  • Long-term vision: What’s the core of your mission and company values? Is that coming across in your branding? Being clear on vision will help your business connect with the right people.
  • Strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Documenting these will make it easier to spot trends and prioritize goals within your strategic plan.

You’ll find a free gap analysis and SWOT analysis templates here.

We can also help you put together a smart strategic plan for your startup. Let’s talk!