Strategic planning is among the most important processes in any business. It builds the roadmap for the future, creating a framework against which every major business decision can be made and weighed.
But its importance goes beyond that as well. Every type of business planning, from action plans to sprint plans and resource planning, ultimately derives from the larger strategic plan. That means one thing above all: you have to get your strategic planning process right.
To get there, you need to start somewhere. The many resources related to planning are a great start. But even more specifically, you need a template that can help you plug in information, digest that information, and come up with a plan that everyone in the organization can follow.
What exactly that ideal template looks like depends on your needs and existing software. That’s why in this guide, we’re sharing our 10 favorite free strategic planning templates you can start using (almost) immediately.
- What is a Strategic Planning Template?
- What Makes a Good Strategic Planning Template?
- 10 Strategic Planning Templates to Use for Your Team
- 1. ClickUp Strategic Roadmap List Template
- 2. ClickUp Strategic Roadmap Timeline Template
- 3. ClickUp Grand Strategy Matrix Template
- 4. ClickUp Strategic Plan Whiteboard Template
- 5. ClickUp Strategic Marketing Plan Template
- 6. ClickUp Event Strategic Plan Template
- 7. ClickUp Action Plan Template
- 8. ProjectManager Strategic Planning Word Template
- 9. PowerPoint Strategic Planning Template
- 10. Excel Strategic Planning Template
What is a Strategic Planning Template?
A strategic planning template is a roadmap to your business roadmap. It provides business leaders with the exact steps needed to build a plan that can outline the near- and long-term future of the business.
At its best, the template is a measurable tool that everyone involved in the planning process can follow. It helps you solidify where you are, and where you want to go.
And, just as importantly, it helps you consolidate that information into an actionable, measurable, and easy-to-process strategic plan that everyone in the organization can use.
Of course, there is no simple best business strategy template. Just like a project plan can differ from a product roadmap, you’ll need a template that matches the way you work and the type of planning you’re doing.
That’s why this guide highlights not just one, but 10 free planning templates to cover a variety of needs.
What Makes a Good Strategic Planning Template?
A good strategic planning template accomplishes a few key goals:
- It establishes a clear timeline for the planning process
- It outlines the goals of the strategic plan and derives any actions and strategies from those goals
- It clearly outlines the individual tactics and overall business strategy underlying those goals
- It establishes a way to measure the progress and outcomes of implementing the plan
- It outlines clear responsibilities for individual tasks related to the planning process
- It provides check-in points and opportunities for the team to review and adjust as needed
- It’s customizable enough to make tweaks that can make the plan more relevant for your organization and business planning process
Most importantly, though, the strategic plan template streamlines the entire process. Whereas in processes like capacity planning, details matter above all, business strategy planning should focus on a broader viewpoint that helps every stakeholder involved quickly gain an overview of the plan and its connection to the business.
10 Strategic Planning Templates to Use for Your Team
If every strategic plan has the same goals, you might think that most of them are nearly identical. You’d be surprised.
Much like project planning, different templates can lead to very different outcomes. That’s why it’s best to consider a few free strategic planning templates before selecting the one that works best for your business and situation. To help you get started, these are our 10 favorites to use for your next strategic plan.
1. ClickUp Strategic Roadmap List Template
It’s a basic template with potential power behind it. ClickUp’s Strategic Roadmap List Template helps you visualize how your organization can get through its strategic plam, with custom fields ranging from the duration of individual tasks to the progress of those tasks, their impact, and their ease of implementation.
Within ClickUp, you’ll be able to view your Strategic Roadmap as a progress view. But, once tasks and deadlines are assigned to individual tasks, you’ll also be able to see a timeline or even workload view to ensure continued progress. While it’s a primarily list-based template, we especially enjoy the Gantt chart as a way to see how the individual tasks interact with each other regarding the larger timeline.
2. ClickUp Strategic Roadmap Timeline Template
If you’re thinking of your strategic planning as basically bridging the gap between your company’s present and desired future state, this is the template for you. It’s more complex than the list-based template mentioned above, providing you with a more nuanced strategic roadmap once built.
ClickUp’s Strategic Roadmap Timeline Template defaults to a Gantt chart with sections for individual departments. From there, you can view a progress board and outline your current capacity. Meanwhile, a number of custom fields help you better plan through each of these efforts:
- Completion %
- Expected Outcome
- Strategy Progress
- Team Members
It might not be the right template if you’re just getting started with strategic planning. But for experienced leaders looking to take that planning process to the next level, it’s just the right outline.
3. ClickUp Grand Strategy Matrix Template
It’s simple but beautiful. ClickUp’s Grand Strategy Matrix Template allows you to build a four-quadrant view of the strategic environment surrounding your organization, with a framework designed to help you understand what the path to your organization’s future might look like.
How you get to that path, of course, is up to you. The quadrants can be used for a simple SWOT analysis or for more complex planning processes, like finding market growth niches and opportunities in a tight competitive environment. Some of these options are pre-built into the template, while others can be customized to match your exact marketing plan or whatever else you need your strategic planning process to be.
4. ClickUp Strategic Plan Whiteboard Template
For the visual thinkers among us, this ClickUp’s Strategic Plan Whiteboard Template is a perfect choice. Above all, it’s a visual road map that easily shows not just what steps are necessary for strategic planning, but also how those steps can (and should) flow into each other in the context of the larger project.
Of course, you can still assign different tasks and stages to individual members of the team to keep responsibilities intact and obvious. But the template’s flowchart nature and whiteboard feel also mean you can seamlessly adjust the process as needed.
The chart’s color coding ensures that anyone working on it keeps a clear overview of what’s needed and when.
5. ClickUp Strategic Marketing Plan Template
A strategic plan isn’t just relevant organization-wide. A solid business strategy is just as important for individual units, and this template shows just how those differences can manifest themselves.
Think of this ClickUp’s Strategic Marketing Plan Template as a more practical opportunity to plan your marketing efforts. The default list view is sorted by the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method, sorting tasks into defined overarching objectives for the larger marketing effort.
But that’s only the beginning. Custom fields allow you to define the channels through which you’ll approach executing the plan, while the timeline view helps you keep track of progress. And of course, the Progress Board allows you to see how those stages you’ve defined ultimately lead to achieving your strategic goals.
6. ClickUp Event Strategic Plan Template
Planning an event is hard work, and countless tasks will need need to be accomplished to ensure its success. A strategic plan template for that event, on the other hand, can keep a clear overview of the tasks needed and accomplished, and how everything connects to achieve core goals.
ClickUp’s Event Strategic Plan Template accomplishes that through a wide range of custom fields, from channel to budget, hashtags, the voice used, and more. It’s designed to plan multiple events at once, all overlapping to create an event-based strategy that helps to elevate your business or your marketing strategy.
Because of the complexities involved, we’re especially fond of the board-based Event Status view. This strategic plan template has a simple overview of where all events stand, and what still needs to be done.
Of course, the list and calendar-based views can also be helpful to get into some of the deeper nuances of event planning.
7. ClickUp Action Plan Template
Strategic planning is not universally liked, in part because it tends toward the theoretical. Goals and tasks alike tend to be lofty for a true business strategy, focusing on the 30,000-foot view rather than the on-the-ground needs of the organization or your business partners.
That’s a major reason why we love ClickUp’s Action Plan Template. It’s a note-based system that folds all necessary tasks to move your strategic plan forward into three sections:
- To Do
Within that structure, tasks are separated into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews to account for their varying complexities and timelines. The result is a simple overview of everything that needs to be done, which also does a great job highlighting existing successes and accomplished tasks for the entire team to see and celebrate. Now that’s a strategic plan.
8. ProjectManager Strategic Planning Word Template
What if we told you that you can build a strategic plan entirely in MS Word? That’s what this template seeks to accomplish, through easy-to-digest sections all designed to streamline the business strategy as much as possible:
- An executive summary that introduces the context and background of the strategic plan.
- A spot for your vision and mission statements to anchor your plan into your organization’s core being.
- A SWOT analysis to take an honest look at your organization and its environment (think vision statement)
- Business goals to define exactly what the strategic plan should accomplish
- A marketing plan that outlines the promotional side of the business strategy to hit those goals
- An operations plan that serves as the actionable road map toward achieving your goals
- Financial projections of the future with the goals for the business strategy (and business growth)
- The team that will be responsible for executing the strategic, marketing, and operational plan
Keep in mind that this plan is customizable to match your needs. It requires a bit more manual work than some of the other examples shared in this guide but can provide a nice overview of the plan you’re building.
9. PowerPoint Strategic Planning Template
If part of your strategic planning process includes presentations for stakeholders (and for most organizations, it does), why not go straight to the software in which those presentations will eventually happen?
This template is, at its core, a roadmap timeline similar to others we’ve discussed above. This business strategy template focuses on the individual milestones needed to get from goal setting all the way to execution. But it’s designed specifically for PowerPoint, with customization options that make it easy to dive in and tweak.
The download is free and easy, and customization only requires basic PowerPoint skills. The timeline is set to one year by default, so you might need to make some tweaks if your strategic plan spans multiple years across your vision statement.
10. Excel Strategic Planning Template
MS Excel is not always user-friendly, but its cell-based build has enormous customization potential. It’s no surprise, then, that our final template on Excel is also one of the most comprehensive options in this guide for your business strategy needs.
The worksheet itself divides into three areas or tabs:
- Goal identification to identify key elements like goals for your organization through focused brainstorming.
- Goal setting, using the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) business strategy template for business goals.
- Action planning, converting those goals into tactics, and tracking the progress of those tactics towards attaining your goals.
Keep in mind that, thanks to its MS Excel nature, this is largely an internal planning document and not designed for external presentation. But within that context, the key elements of this business strategy template can be immensely helpful to get and keep your strategic planning on track.
Supercharge Your Strategic Planning With ClickUp
It’s impossible to build a strategic plan in isolation. No matter the organization, chances are it’s a team effort. So why not expand that team to include the right tools?
This is not an exaggeration: the right strategic planning template can make or break the process for you. Whether you’re trying to hit business objectives, run competitive analysis, or perform SWOT analysis, a clear outline lets easily build a plan that the entire organization can follow.
And when that template is free? All the better.
And here’s the best part: the software powering most of the templates we’ve shared above, ClickUp, is free to try as well. It’s a project management and productivity tool built for teams, which works out perfectly if that project is your next plan to create your overall business strategy.
Ready to get started? Try ClickUp for free today.