Business Plan Vs. Strategic Plan Vs Operational Plan

What exactly is a strategic plan?

A strategic strategy serves as a road map to success. It describes where an organization is headed and how it intends to get there. A strategic plan should be detailed, quantifiable, attainable, timely, and relevant.

A successful strategic plan outlines specific goals and objectives and a thorough action plan for achieving them. It should also provide a method for tracking progress and success.

Strategic planning may be beneficial to companies of all sizes. It may assist entrepreneurs in defining their company goals and developing a strategy to attain them in small enterprises. Strategic planning may assist executives in deciding where to devote resources to more prominent companies by ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objective.

What exactly is a business plan?

Business plan on screen

A business plan is a codified document that defines a company’s aims and objectives. It also describes the tactics and procedures employed to achieve those objectives. A business plan is essential for every new or current company because it gives direction and keeps everyone on track.

The first stage in drafting a business plan is to write an executive summary, which provides readers with an overview of the plan’s essential features. You must establish your company’s goal statement and explain your target market. Following that, you must outline your marketing plan and sales projection. Finally, it would help if you offered financial estimates for your company.

A business plan may help you start on the right foot if you’re starting a new firm. If you already have a company, it may help you keep organized and focused on your objectives. Regardless of where you are in the process, taking the time to build a thorough business plan may pay off handsomely in the long run.

What exactly is an operational plan?

An operational plan is a comprehensive strategy that specifies how a company will accomplish its objectives. It comprises particular plans, objectives, and activities that members of the organization must adopt. The operational plan is intended to assist the organization in achieving its goals by defining how it will utilize its resources.

To ensure that the operating plan stays current and effective, it should be evaluated and revised regularly. The operational strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly to guarantee that the business can adjust to changes in the external environment and retain a competitive advantage.

Creating an operational strategy is a time-consuming process requiring involvement from all levels of the company. The first stage in creating an operational strategy is determining the organization’s goals. Following the identification of goals, the next phase is establishing particular plans and actions to attain those objectives. Once the plans and initiatives are defined, they must be translated into actions that individual company members may do.

Differences between a Business Plan, a Strategic Plan, and an Operational Plan

A group of people working together

The goals of the business plan, strategic plan, and operational plan are all distinct.

A business plan is a document that defines the goods or services offered by a firm, as well as the market potential, target consumers, competitive environment, and business strategy. A strategic plan is a high-level blueprint that guides a company. It usually comprises long-term objectives and projects that must be completed over several years. An operational plan is a comprehensive action plan that specifies how resources will be deployed to accomplish specific goals within the constraints of an organizational schedule.

So, what are the primary distinctions between these three sorts of plans?

Here’s a basic rundown:

  1. Business plans are more strategic and often have a longer time horizon than other plans. Strategic plans, like business plans, are concerned with overarching corporate strategy but have shorter time horizons. Operational plans are focused on specific activities that must be completed to accomplish goals within an organizational schedule.
  2. Business plans often contain information about the management team, product development roadmap, marketing strategy, financial estimates, and other topics. Strategic plans, which are focused on high-level objectives rather than particular activities, often do not contain this degree of detail. If it is essential to achieve goals, operational plans may incorporate comparable information (e.g., project timelines or budget allocations).
  3. Business plans are often produced before a company launches or when it is just getting started. Companies of all sizes often do strategic planning annually to ensure they are on track to meet their long-term objectives. Operational planning is often done quarterly or annually. However, the duration varies depending on the company.
  4. The critical distinction between a business plan and a strategic plan is the period covered by each plan. A business plan typically covers many years of firm operations, but a strategic plan focuses on shorter-term goals that must be fulfilled within one to three years.
  5. Another significant distinction is the degree of information in each design. Business plans sometimes contain more specific information than strategic plans, such as the firm management team, product development roadmap, marketing strategy, and financial predictions. This is because business plans focus on the entire corporate strategy, while strategic plans primarily focus on high-level objectives. If it is essential to achieve specified goals within an organizational schedule, operational plans may also contain comparable comprehensive information.
  6. Another contrast between these two forms of planning is the time frame they are often prepared. Business plans are often developed when a company launches or is just starting. Still, strategic planning is commonly done yearly by firms of all sizes to ensure they stay on track to fulfilling their long-term objectives. Operational planning is often done quarterly or annually. However, the timing might vary depending on the company.


Finally, there are numerous fundamental distinctions between business plans and strategic plans. Business plans often include many years of corporate operations and have a broader time horizon than strategic plans. They also provide more specific information about the company’s management team, product development plan, marketing strategy, and financial predictions.

On the other hand, strategic plans are primarily focused on high-level objectives and are frequently completed annually by businesses of all sizes. Operational planning is often done quarterly or annually and may contain comparable comprehensive information if required to achieve specified targets within an organizational schedule.