There are no shortcuts to success when it comes to driving profitable business growth. It’s hard. It’s challenging. It’s a grind. But you know what makes it even harder? Lack of guidance. No direction. No accountability.
That’s why we compiled our best-of-the-best, most popular, crème de la crème strategic plan templates to help you achieve business goals faster. And they are yours—for free. You can use these templates to make strategic plans for your business strategy, different business functions, or teams. Or you can use them as an aid in your analysis as part of the planning process.
101,347 strategy pros have already used them and added them to their strategy playbook. What are you still waiting for?
In this article, you will get:
- 20 free strategic plan templates that will help you to build a roadmap and execute it
- A quick rundown of 7 steps you shouldn't miss in strategic planning
What Is A Strategic Plan Template?
A strategic plan template is a tool that helps leaders translate business strategies into actionable steps with a clear roadmap, projects, deliverables, budgets, and owners. It provides a decision-making framework and ensures that all initiatives and resources within an organization align with the overall business strategy.
Think of it like a map that helps you navigate from point A to point B. It lays out roads and milestones to help you get to your destination, all while keeping you focused on your company goals.
In other words, a strategic business plan helps you create alignment and focus across all levels of your organization to maintain momentum and successfully execute your strategies.
And the best part is that it allows you to monitor performance in one place without having to switch between spreadsheets and disconnected systems. This simplifies identifying areas for improvement and measuring progress in real-time. With a well-integrated system, data errors are reduced, and performance analysis and strategy reporting become easier.
With the right template, you’ll be able to keep your team (or teams) on track and identify red flags before it's too late.
20 Strategic Plan Templates To Turn Your Goals Into Action
Success doesn't follow a set path—that's why this article gives you multiple strategic planning templates. Each is for a specific use case or team within your organization. Plus, you can pick between Cascade or Excel version—whichever works best for you.
1. Strategic Planning Template
If you're tired of using complicated spreadsheets for strategic planning, you’ll love the Strategic Planning Template—Cascade version!
This Cascade template offers you a better way than Excel and other static tools. It’s packed with pre-filled examples and features that will help you create a clear roadmap with timelines, KPIs, goals, and owners. You’ll be able to bring in your team and collaborate to transform goals into results faster than ever.
And there’s more! 👀
You’ll also get access to additional features like Dashboards, Timeline View, and Strategy Maps. This will help you pinpoint performance at any given moment and track progress so you can take corrective action before it’s too late.
Looking for a way to save time and automate your reports?
Cascade makes it easy for you with powerful Reports. With this template, you’ll get access to integrations that will help you automatically track key performance metrics and pull data into reports that can be easily customized to fit your target audience's needs.
How to use this template?
Start by filling out the objectives, goals, and KPIs, and start executing your plan right away!
💡Best for: This is a general, pre-filled strategic planning template, so you can use it as inspiration and set your own strategic goals. It’s suitable for outcome-oriented teams at any level of organization, regardless of industry or company size.
2. Strategic Plan Template (Excel)
Not feeling ready to elevate your strategic planning and execution to the next level?
Our simple Strategic Plan Template in an Excel spreadsheet will help you fill out key elements of a strategic plan, including the vision statement, strategic objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs). With this template, you can also add an executive summary and create a one-page strategic plan that you can quickly share with your team or leadership.
Download your Excel template here.
However, Excel isn’t the best way to create a strategic plan. Here’s why:
- You usually end up with multiple strategic planning documents that are difficult to align and track in real-time.
- When you are using manual methods, using spreadsheets to track performance, you run the risk of errors.
- You spend too much time collecting data and pinging your team members to collect the latest information on progress.
Excel is a great starting point for strategic planning, but you should consider the Excel alternative to streamline strategic planning and execution—Cascade, the strategy execution platform designed for teams of all sizes.
“Cascade provides a readily accessible platform for hosting our strategy and enables us to generate live updates at the push of a button. It has increased transparency and accountability for our Strategic Priorities and has allowed us to remove silo working and improve alignment. The real game changer from my perspective is the reporting function. Cascade has turned a labor-intensive manual process into something which can be completed in minutes.” - Enterprise user, Source: G2 review.
3. Business Strategy Template
Like the general strategic planning template above, the Business Strategy Template is loaded with features that will help you achieve business goals faster.
You’ll be able to set your organization’s strategic direction, long-term goals, business objectives, and KPIs to measure progress.
This business plan template will help you communicate business priorities, break down siloed teams, and gain real-time visibility into what’s happening across the business.
💡Best for: This is a pre-filled business strategy template, so you can use it as inspiration and streamline your business planning process. It can be used by leadership teams in organizations of any size, including enterprises and startups.
4. Operations Plan Template
Operations are the core engine of an organization’s performance. With this Operational Plan Template, you'll be able to plan your company's operational strategy in a way that helps your employees maximize the resources you have and gain a competitive edge.
You can build a high-level strategic plan for your operations or set goals for each of your departments. This will help you keep your teams accountable for progress and have visibility into what’s happening in your key areas.
By using Reports, you can build tailored progress reports and provide up-to-date information to your executive team at any time. This will help you save time, ensure accuracy, and build trust with your board by giving them insights into the company’s performance.
On top of that, you can link your operational plan template with the overarching business strategy. This will help you stay aligned with business goals, and your teams will have the needed context to make aligned decisions on a daily basis.
💡Best for: Chief operating officers (COOs) and operations teams that need to align day-to-day operations with strategic business goals and ensure they deliver on performance.
5. Human Resources Plan Template
A strong HR Strategic Plan Template is very helpful not only in the hiring process but also in defining the workplace culture and the types of people your organization wants to work with. With this template, you can set KPIs and track progress toward set targets in real time.
💡Best for: Business leaders, HR managers, and HR teams that need to support business goals with a clear HR roadmap.
6. Balanced Scorecard Template
A balanced scorecard (BSC) is a strategic planning tool that helps organizations track, monitor, and execute their business strategy.
This template will help you set goals, KPIs, and projects for each of the four perspectives within the balanced scorecard framework.
You’ll also get access to Dashboards where you can set up real-time dashboards to monitor progress within each perspective. Using the Cascade template, you will have a complete view of your balanced scorecard in one place.
💡Best for: Strategy teams, business leaders, and managers that are using a balanced scorecard methodology in their organizations.
7. OKR Template (Excel)
In recent years, OKRs have become one of the most popular performance management frameworks. Some are raving fans, and others cringe at their mention. If you fall into the first category, here's the OKR template that'll help you set and meet your OKRs.
You can use it to set OKRs at a company, team, or individual level.
💡Best for: Business and team leaders who are already familiar with the OKR framework and want to track performance.
8. Digital Transformation Plan Template
A digital transformation goes beyond implementing digital tools in your processes. It requires an organization-wide shift. This Digital Transformation Strategic Planning Template will help you build a digital transformation plan that takes into account all areas of your organization that need to change.
You'll be able to define focus areas, set clear goals, KPIs, and projects, which are all needed for a successful transformation.
Digital transformation is the responsibility of the whole organization. Using this template, you’ll make sure your team has the context and the right information so they can help you implement digital transformation initiatives across the organization.
Another key benefit of this template is that you’ll have all the data centralized in one place. This will help you make informed decisions and keep your digital transformation strategy from failing.
And yes, you can connect it with your favorite business tools, including Power BI, Tableau, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Microsoft Outlook.
9. IT Strategy Template
This Cascade IT Strategic Plan Template will help you outline your bold initiatives to transform, modernize, and optimize your IT landscape. Bring in your IT team and collaborate on shared goals.
Also, you'll be able to link your IT strategic plan to your business strategy and ensure the executive team understands how IT projects help achieve business goals. You’ll be able to demonstrate the interdependencies across IT initiatives that impact financial performance.
This template will help you prioritize key IT initiatives to support business outcomes and keep track of progress.
💡Best for: CTOs, CIOs, IT directors, and IT teams that are responsible for IT strategic planning and implementation.
10. Change Management Plan Template
Need a template to build a change management plan that will support your business strategy? Look no further.
This Change Management Plan Template will help you define a clear timeline, action steps, and clear expectations for those who will be involved in change implementation.
💡Best for: Leaders who own the change strategy and need to make a plan and monitor key metrics associated with change initiatives.
11. Digital Marketing Strategy Template
Build your digital marketing plan with this free template. You’ll be able to set goals, assign owners, and track the performance of key marketing metrics. This Digital Marketing Plan Template can be your living document as you scale marketing activities and serve as a North Star for your marketing team.
💡Best for: This template is designed for marketing teams aiming to expand their presence virtually and businesses aiming to go global or gain an international customer base. Digital content creators, project management teams, social media managers, digital CRM analysts, e-commerce executives, public relations specialists, and user experience specialists might also find this template useful.
12. McKinsey's 3 Horizons Strategy Template
This strategic planning template is based on McKinsey’s Three Horizons Framework. It helps you organize the organization’s goals into three timeframes:
- Horizon 1: Short-term initiatives and projects that will help you achieve business goals within a few months or a year. The focus of this horizon is to maintain and defend your core business.
- Horizon 2: This horizon focuses on extending your current business models that will pay off in 2 or 3 years.
- Horizon 3: Long-term strategic initiatives and investments that will create new business models or products in 3-5 years. Or later - depending on your strategic planning cycles.
The key benefit of the Three Horizons template is that it gives you a complete picture of your three horizons. On top of that, you'll be able to update key goals and initiatives with just a few clicks. A new update will be reflected in all subgoals or project plans that are linked. If you want to outperform your rivals or merely survive in uncertain times, you must be able to quickly adapt your strategy and plans.
💡Best for: Leadership and strategy teams who are responsible for strategic planning at a company level.
13. Retail Strategic Plan Template
This Retail Strategic Plan Template provides an example of a corporate strategic plan for companies in the retail industry. You can use it as inspiration to develop a strategic plan for your retail business.
💡Best for: Strategy teams and business leaders within the retail industry.
14. SWOT Analysis Template (Excel)
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps you identify the internal strengths, weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats that can impact the organization’s growth initiatives and pursuit of its goals.
You can also use it to perform a competitive analysis but you need to look at it through different lenses—from the competitor’s perspective.
💡Best for: Leadership, strategy teams, and other functional teams that are responsible for formulating strategies and strategic plans.
15-17. Internal Analysis Toolkit
In this collection, you will find 5 different templates to help you with internal analysis, including:
An internal analysis is an important step before drafting a strategic plan. It will help you carry out your competitive analysis, identify your current situation, and set action plans and relevant strategic goals.
💡Best for: Leadership, strategy teams, and other stakeholders that are involved in the strategic planning process.
18. VRIO Strategy Template
What’s the point of analysis if you don't use those insights to solve your business problem?
VRIO analysis helps you look at your resources and skills to see where your business is lacking. This is important if you want your business to build a sustainable competitive advantage.
Once you’ve found your gaps, you need to make a plan and set goals that will help you develop the missing resources and capabilities.
This VRIO Strategy Template will help you set clear strategic objectives, assign KPIs, and monitor performance so you can gain a competitive advantage and a market leadership position.
💡Best for: Strategy teams, COOs, and portfolio managers who are in charge of business development and business strategic planning.
19. Nonprofit Business Plan Template
Our Nonprofit Business Plan Template provides you with a comprehensive framework to develop a strategic plan specifically tailored to the unique needs and challenges of nonprofit endeavors. It serves as a roadmap, guiding you through the strategic planning process and ensuring that your nonprofit's initiatives are aligned with your core mission and objectives.
💡Best for: Nonprofit leaders, board members, and teams dedicated to advancing nonprofit missions.
20. Operating & Financial Model Template (Excel)
This template is your go-to for turning numbers into smart moves. You can establish your financial projections, automate your P&L statements, key financial and operational metrics, and even gain access to real-time automated dashboards.
With our Operating & Financial Model Template in Excel format, you'll grasp what your financial and operational metrics are really saying and act on these insights. Keeping a close eye on these key indicators will allow you to approach your planning process with clear data rooted in reality.
👉 Get your Operating & Financial Model Template here!
📚 Read our article to learn more about this template: The Ultimate Operating & Financial Model Template (Free Spreadsheet)
👀 Did you find what you were looking for? If not, you can explore our template library with 100+ strategy templates that will assist you in planning and executing your strategy. You can select between various strategic planning templates tailored for business leaders, specific departments, or industries.
5 Steps You Shouldn't Miss In The Strategic Planning Process
Here’s a short recap of each step so you know what to keep in mind before diving deep into the strategic planning process.
Step 1: Decide on your key metrics
How can you make a plan if you don’t know where you want the plan to take you?
This is the moment where you define your desired future state and align on the key metrics the whole company will need to work on to get there.
These should be no more than 4-5 and present in every strategic discussion.
💡 Pro Tip: To be able to set realistic key metrics for the future, you need to understand where you are today. Maybe you have a clear diagnosis of your current state, but if you don’t, we suggest you assess it before setting these metrics. But beware of analysis paralysis! Make a quick analysis and move.
Step 2: Choose your focus areas
Now that you know where you need to go, you can give your plan a little structure by setting focus areas. These are the areas that you’ll want to focus on to achieve those key metrics you defined in the previous step.
📚Recommended reading: Strategic Focus Areas: How To Create Them + Examples
Step 3: Define your strategic objectives
Strategic objectives are high-level statements that outline exactly what you want to accomplish by a specific deadline.
In other words, it is something that can be tangibly achieved and should contribute to achieving at least one of your strategic focus areas.
📚Recommended reading: How to Write Strategic Objectives.
Step 4: Assign projects & set KPIs
Projects and KPIs will ensure you move forward toward achieving your strategic objectives.
Projects will determine the actions that you’ll carry out to achieve the objectives, and your KPIs will help you understand and measure the progress toward them.
Having projects and KPIs in place will provide a clear roadmap with important milestones you need to hit to get closer to achieving your key metrics.
💡 Pro Tip: KPIs are necessary for any business, whether public, private, or non-profit, so think about the KPIs that are more relevant to your organization. To make them realistic and achievable, we suggest you use the SMART methodology.
Step 5: Constantly monitor and iterate
Things don’t always work out the way we plan.
Part of building your strategic plan is to monitor its progress toward the goals you set. With real-time tracking, you can quickly pinpoint those things that aren’t working and adapt fast to get back on track. That’s why strategic planning must be an iterative process.
🎁 Bonus Tip: Don’t forget your core elements—Vision Statement & Core Values
This is not a step in your strategic planning process, but it’s an important consideration.
Always remember to align your plans with the overarching core elements of your organization:
- Vision statement—your company’s North Star that guides the direction
- Mission statement—the “why” behind your company’s existence
- Core values—the behaviors you celebrate and preach as a company
Now that you know the steps you need to effectively plan your strategy, get your FREE strategic planning template to streamline the process!
Use Cascade To Plan And Execute Your Strategy 🚀
Too often, strategies live in the minds of intellectuals, spread through the organization via a fancy PowerPoint once a quarter. In truth, this approach will never work.
Organizations today are operating on razor-thin margins, and leaders need to be able to guarantee organizational-wide alignment, real-time visibility of the progress, and accelerated decision-making to maximize efficiency.
With Cascade, you get less chaos, more visibility, and faster results. By connecting your metrics, initiatives, and investments to your business performance, you’ll be able to make better decisions, faster.
Here’s what you get with Cascade:
- Streamline strategy development by simplifying complexity.
- Directly link your business data to core initiatives.
- Gain insight into the synergy of various organizational plans.
- Monitor activity interactions, log dependencies, blockers, and risks.
- Utilize dashboards and reports to assess strategic performance and share with stakeholders.
- Enjoy over 1,000 integrations with popular business tools like Teams, Jira, Airtable, Microsoft Outlook, Power BI, and more.
Streamline your strategic planning process with our tested and proven strategic plan templates.
What is the purpose of a strategic plan?
A strategic plan helps you build a roadmap to get your business or team from where it is today to where it wants to be in the future. It provides strategic clarity to all involved stakeholders, so they can make informed decisions on a daily basis.
How do you write a strategic plan?
One of the most effective ways to write your strategic plan is to choose one of the strategic planning models and follow step-by-step instructions. Read more in this in-depth overview of the 5 best strategic planning models.
What are the 7 elements of a strategic plan?
The seven elements of a corporate strategic plan are vision, values, focus areas, objectives, KPIs, projects, and initiatives. You can write a strategic plan for a team or department focusing only on five key elements—without vision and values.
Who should use a strategic planning template?
Anyone in a leadership role who needs to align their team (or teams) on specific goals, objectives, and initiatives, should use a strategic planning template. It's also helpful for anyone who needs to create a visual representation of their strategies, so they can be communicated and implemented across the organization.