Business Plan Vs Strategic Plan: What’s the Difference?

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Business Plan vs Strategic Plan
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Writing a business plan?

Strategic and business plans are both different sides of the same coin! Some entrepreneurs use it interchangeably but they have a significant difference.

Now the question might arise, when to use which, and what is the difference, right?

Worry not—we’re here to guide you through it all. In this article, we’ll learn the differences between a business and a strategic plan, understand their meanings, and know how to use them effectively.

So, let’s kick-start this journey by exploring a business plan vs. strategic plan. Get ready to unlock everything about both!

Okay! And what about the strategic plan?

Key Difference Between a Business Plan and Strategic Plan

It was all about the basic definition of business and strategic plan. Now, let’s compare them side-by-side to understand their use case, and how they are distinct from each other:

Level of detail

A business plan is usually considered a granular and in-depth document. It outlines the tactics and actions necessary to achieve operational objectives. Business plans are usually 15-30 pages long.

A strategic plan typically provides a high-level overview of the organization’s goals and the strategies to achieve them without going deep into the business operations. Strategic plans are generally 10-15 pages long, but the length depends on various factors of the business.

Time horizon

A business plan focuses on a shorter time frame, often one to three years, and is more operational. It focuses on things like product development, marketing strategies, financial projections, etc.

A strategic plan answers the questions related to a longer time frame, usually five or more years. It sets the direction of the company for the future by mentioning the mission, vision, and objectives.

Audience and use

A business plan is primarily used to attract investors, bankers, or partners for securing funding or partnership.

Whereas, internal members, such as senior management or a board of directors, use a strategic plan to guide decision-making.


A business plan explains all the sections like market analysis, products & services, management team, target market, sales & marketing strategies, financial projections, and more.

While a strategic plan has a vision statement, mission statement, core values, action plans, and more. Some of the strategic planning models are SWOT analysis, PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental) analysis, Porter’s five forces, and more.


Entrepreneurs and startups use business plans to create a strategy to build a successful business. It is used for assessing how marketable a business idea is and also helps them gauge how they can get the funding to turn this idea into reality.

Established companies use the strategic plan to give them a clear direction for where they want the company to change or develop.

For instance, decisions like changing the products they provide or moving into a nonprofit can be made with the help of a strategic plan.

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Now that we know the key differences between strategic and business planning, let us understand the common pitfalls. 

Common Pitfalls in Execution

Despite the benefits of business planning as well as the strategic planning process, organizations often face many challenges in their strategy implementation. Here are some common pitfalls:

Disparity between strategy and execution: Without effective execution, even the strategic plan that is the most well-crafted may fail to give results.

Lack of alignment: Failure to align the business plan with strategic objectives often results in missed opportunities and misallocation of resources.

Inadequate marketing analysis: Insufficient analysis of external factors leads to missed opportunities or strategic blind spots that can cause more harm to a company.

To overcome these challenges, organizations need to foster a culture of communication, continuous improvement, and collaboration.

The Bottom Line

There is no one-fits-all solution when it comes to this decision! Choosing between a business and a strategic plan solely depends on the needs & objectives of your business.

Moreover, know this planning is not a one-time process! As your business evolves and external factors change, you will need to revise your plans accordingly.

A business and a strategic plan are crucial for guiding any organization to success. By using both methods effectively, businesses can navigate uncertainties, achieve steady growth, and grab opportunities in a constantly changing business world.

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About the Author


Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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