Strategic Plan vs. Business Plan – Creation of Jobs

Dear M & M:

What is the difference between a strategic plan and a business plan?


Dear Larry:

A major difference between a strategic plan and a business plan is the intent. A Strategic Plan is focused on improving a company’s performance, exploiting opportunities and building market share. A Business Plan is most often used at the beginning of a company’s existence to define the initial goals and objectives of the company, its structure and processes, products and services, financial resources, staffing/talent needs and all of the basics which go into forming a company and getting it functioning or describing a detailed plan of how one might pay back a loan or to justify expenditures to take on new products or services. A business plan has a distinct layout with the following key components; Title Page, Executive Summary, Description and Vision, Definition of the Market, Description of Products and Services, Description of Organization and Management, Market and Sales Strategy and a detailed Financial Management section to include Balance Sheet, Income Statements and Cash Flow Statements. Many times a business plan and a strategic plan overlap. They both will cover similar pieces or parts of the organization. Generally, however, we see a business plan as the roadmap for setting up your company and getting it started, and a strategic plan as the ongoing game plan to continually improve market share, volume and profitability. In your strategic planning, your focus turns more toward looking at the current situation, analyzing what your strengths and weaknesses are, determining how best to build on your strengths and avoid being trapped by your weaknesses. You will look for your strategic competency, which we define as a sustainable competitive advantage built on the skills, processes and knowledge contained within your company or your organizations core competencies. Basic components of a Strategic Plan include Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats Analysis (SWOT), Organizations Vision, Mission and Values, Defining Key Objectives, Action Planning, Implementation and Evaluation.  By building on your strategic competency, making it better and even more effective as a sustainable competitive advantage, you will improve the opportunities to excel as a company, gaining market share and profitability. A strategic plan should have detailed actions plans spelling out what you’re going to do, who is going to do it, when will it be done and what resources will they use. All of the components of strategic planning, starting with your current situation, working through the analyses of your company, your markets, competition, opportunities and finding out where you may have gaps between your current performance and where you should be in the future, lead to the development of logical, attainable plan which will start your organization working toward winning a higher market share and better profits.



Dear M & M:

Which businesses create more jobs – existing businesses or start-ups?

– Gail

Dear Gail:

According to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy in the last two decades about 60 per cent of the private sector’s net new jobs have been created by existing establishments and the remaining 40 per cent from the churn of start-ups minus closures. While firm births account for many new jobs, job losses from firm closures are equally important in accounting for the net effect of employment levels. Employment gains from growing businesses are less than employment declines in declining businesses. Total employment gains from start-ups are at its highest at birth and employment gains decline as the firm ages.  From 2007 – 2009 Counting employer based firms (those companies that had employees) 1,115,574 new companies were born, during the same years 1,322,116 employer based firms closed.  Small firms led by larger small firms with 20 to 499 employees created the most net new jobs, since 2009 to 2011 they have creased 67 per cent of the new net job gain. – Bureau of Labor Statistics



To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email


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