Tactics vs Strategy Business Planning

Strategy and tactics are two words that appear to have the same meaning. However, in business both the words have entirely different connotations. Simply stated, strategy is a time bound plan which lays out in detail where the management wants to take the business within a particular time frame in the next 5/10/15 years or any other point in time. Tactics are the actions that need to be taken to achieve the desired results.

Business Strategy 101

Business strategy is laid out within a strategic business plan. Strategic planning involves the process of thinking in order to formulate ideas for creating the plan. It includes devising ways and means for taking the organization on a particular path to reach a definite goal. Parts of the plan are spread systematically over a specific time span in a meticulous and organized manner.

Your overall business strategy may consist of several strategic sub-plans that may either be put into effect chronologically, or may be rearranged.

People Responsible For Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is done by the ‘thinkers’ in the organization (i.e. the governing body, top management/board of directors) who are responsible for steering the business in a specific direction with clearly defined objectives to be achieved within a given time frame. Before embarking on the strategic planning exercise, a huge amount of data needs to be gathered.

It needs to analyzed and processed to be readily available in different forms in order to provide the information needed to facilitate the planning process. The data would be composed of both internal data from within the organization as well as external data from the market and other sources, collected by conducting the necessary research.

Tactics- The ‘HOWs’ of a strategic plan

Tactics relate to the action of a strategic plan. Simply speaking, tactics are actions employed to make a strategic plan successful. They are supposed to include how the organization chooses to accomplish the designed strategy. Tactical planning is an integral part of strategic planning, and therefore both are supposed to work in harmony.

However, the finer details need to be handled at a different level with the formulation of an explicit tactical plan that lays bare the finer points of the ‘action’ or ‘execution’ part of the strategic plan. Tactics being related to action are put in operation at the basic levels of an organization.

The Tactical Plan

The tactical plan is developed by the management team, which consists of the very people responsible for getting the actual work done. They have to make sure that the strategy developed to achieve the mission of the organization is successful, within the limits of available means and resources. Therefore, it is necessary to
understand strategic goals and systematically decipher those goals in order to formulate an effective tactical plan that charts segregated courses of action to result in the attainment of strategic objectives. Tactical moves are specific activities that are time bound and are geared to result in a predefined outcome.

Tactical plans are most often used in larger businesses – not because they aren’t needed in small business, but because small business owners very often don’t take the time to formulate them. Ironically, tactical plans are even more important to small businesses, whose survival often depends on plan execution due to a lack of deep pockets or other resources.

If you have a small business but have not taken the time to implement your business strategy or tactical plan, use the information above to do so. It certainly won’t be easy – but the end result will be well worth the time and effort.

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