Strategy sets stage and tactics is play

September 11, 2014

Tactical planning

Entrepreneurs tend to be action oriented and on the lookout for more and different opportunities. Sometimes small business owners get wrapped up in pursuing their next “big thing” and not realize this big thing is actually diverting them from their core business.

As an entrepreneur I know how important it is to find a balance between being passionate and happy about your main work and the bills you need to pay every month. I have struggled with seeing a new opportunity, pursuing it and then realizing it is not supporting my online platform for start-ups.

Key to finding this, quite precarious, balance is to keep an eye on your overall strategy and your work every day. The phrase “strategy sets the stage, and tactics is the play” says it all.

Tactics are the every day work you undertake to implement your common goal. When you common goal is for example becoming a successful dog trainer, one such tactic may include partnering with pet stores who get high traffic of pet owners to their store. In short, it is how you are planning on achieving your success (the what).

It is much like most sports are taught and played – the coaches lay out a tactical plan for each game by investigating the competitor with the goal to win every game.

For small business, a tactical plan is developed to identify the course of action, day by day. The plan specifies who does what and when. By default it is short-term planning (up to a maximum of one year). This is exactly why for entrepreneurs and small business owners, the tactical plan is synonymous to the operational plan. There are differences between the two plans, but in the entrepreneurial world I find they are best combined.

Areas that a tactical/operational plan typically covers are product development and the production cycle (whether you sell a service or a product), marketing, and finance.

For example, in marketing the dog trainer may decide to start a blog with fun yet educational articles about healthy dog play and increase its outreach with a newsletter. She may also contact the participating pet store and develop a promotional event together that is a win-win for both parties. These are just two examples to show what you can do as a tactic.

Can you see how strategic planning and tactical planning go hand in hand?

Image Credit: by Maggio7via


Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.