Depending on your goals as an organization, you may need either a strategic plan or a business plan. A strategic planning process is a leadership tool. A business planning process is a management tool. If direction, alignment, and motivation are your goals, you need a strategic planning effort, which is a leadership development process. If planning, organizing, and controlling are needed, you should undertake a business planning effort, which is a management development process.
A strategic plan describes the company in the mid- to long- term future. It sets the direction for the company. The primary value lies in the process, not in the final product. Including key employees in a strategic plan gives them a sense of direction. Although conflicts within the planning group may arise, skillful handling of disagreements will lead to creative solutions and invaluable communication.
Setting short- or mid-term objectives and defining the steps necessary to achieve those objectives is the purpose of the business plan. A well-managed business uses a business plan as a tool. The business plan provides details that allow short-term measurement as an aid in controlling the organization's activities. The business plan aims to improve effectiveness without a significant change in direction. The business plan may help translate the strategic plan into a short-term management-control tool.