There are many business strategy tools and frameworks out there that will help you create your strategic plan. Like all tools, you need to pick the right tool for the right job.
To paraphrase one of my favorite adages:
"If the only thing you have is a hammer, everything you see is a nail"
Below we've complied some of our favorite business strategy tools, as well as other strategic planning tools and resources that will equip you to create a better strategic plan.
Our Own Free Strategic Planning Tools:
This is our most popular strategic planning resource at SME Strategy. This sample agenda will give you an idea of how you can structure your strategic planning meeting. We use this same agenda with our clients to help them create their business strategy and strategic plan. If you're looking for a strategic planning facilitator contact us.
Our second most popular strategic planning tool is our free strategic planning template. This template will help frame the inputs that you should include as part of your strategic plan.
This template is made in word, and lacks design elements that you might want if you're looking to share your strategic plan with stakeholders.
What's most important is having a strategic plan that is easy to understand. That's why we created our strategic plan map; as a way to visually communicate your strategic plan in an easy to understand way.
If you're organizing a planning session, this resource will help you ask the rest of your team the right questions to get the best input into your strategic plan.
Want some inspiration for your own strategic plan? Check out one of the sample strategic plans that we have analyzed and provided for you to look at.
Everyone has a different approach to strategic planning, so we've included strategic plan examples from SME's, government and non-profits from around the world.
If you're creating your strategic plan, but are unsure of how to structure your strategic priorities and your balanced score card, this will give some examples to draw from and some KPI's that you can use or adapt to your own business strategy.
As alluded to earlier, creating a business strategy and a strategic plan is done by amalgamating a series of tools to analyze the market, analyze opportunities and them make the strategic choices that are best for your specific business strategy.
In this blog post we go over our favorite business strategy frameworks including, but not limited to:
- Porters 5 forces
- Blue ocean Strategy
- Scenario planning
- SWOT Analysis
- Value chain analysis
- Balanced Scorecard
- Resources based view (VRIN Model)
- Kotter Change Model
Other Strategic Planning Resources:
They have lots of create strategic planning frameworks and strategic planning tools. An excellent knowlege base that will teach you tonnes of stuff.
The Harvard business review is one of my favorite resources for business strategy and leadership literature. With so many great minds going to school there, as well as teaching there, the quality of thought leadership they offer is no surprise.
Other management consulting companies (Blogs ranked in order of personal preference):
I find that BCG has the easiest and broadest insights for strategic planning and strategy development.
Mckinsey has a great email subscription but their sector analysis is more in depth that I need, but if you're running a company, then you certainly want to have the pulse on what's going on.
I rarely look to Deloitte for management insights. They do have the odd data piece that I like, but I only find it if I'm on Linkedin.
Strategic Planning Software:
We don't use strategic planning software, but if you're looking for something to manage your mission and vision and progress against your goals (as part of your project plan) here are a few that I have come across.
Acheivit it: https://www.achieveit.com/
Collaborative Strategy: http://www.collaborativestrategy.ca/
Strat Pad https://www.stratpad.com/
Great books on strategic planning and leadership:
Looking for some great reading on leadership and management, here is a list of some of my favourite books:
- Managing one's self- Peter Drucker
- Leading Change- John Kotter
- Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors- Micheal Porter
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers- Alexander Osterwalder
- The Art of War- Sun Tzu
- Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't- Jim Collins
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You- John Maxwell
- HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy (including featured article “What Is Strategy?”by Michael E. Porter
- The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter-Micheal Watkins
We hope that these strategic planning tools and strategic planning resources help you lead your team and help with the execution of your business strategy. However, if you'd like step-by-step guidance on how to engage your team, develop your strategy and implement your plan, make sure to check out our complete Strategic Planning Starter Kit: