Operations, Management

A Guide to Business Tactical Planning Basics

Expert author: Functionly Staff

Greetings, fellow entrepreneurs and business professionals! In this insightful guide, we will embark on an enlightening journey to unravel the mysteries of crafting an effective business tactical plan.

Along the way, we'll discover the importance of setting clear objectives, measuring progress through key performance indicators (KPIs), and harnessing the power of SWOT analysis to inform our decision-making. Together, we'll learn how to blend these essential components into a cohesive and successful strategic approach, empowering your business to reach new heights and conquer uncharted territories. So, buckle up and get ready to elevate your business acumen as we dive into the fascinating world of tactical planning!

What is a tactical plan in business?

Let’s take a moment to define what a tactical plan is and how it differs from a strategic plan. A tactical plan is a short-term, action-oriented plan that outlines the specific steps and resources needed to achieve a particular goal within a given timeframe. It is derived from a strategic plan, which is a long-term, visionary plan that defines the overall direction and purpose of your business. While a strategic plan answers the question “where do we want to go?”, a tactical plan answers the question “how do we get there?”. A tactical plan is more detailed, concrete and measurable than a strategic plan, and it usually covers a period of one year or less. A tactical plan is also flexible and adaptable, allowing you to adjust your actions based on the changing circumstances and feedback from your KPIs. In short, a tactical plan is a vital tool that helps you translate your vision into reality and execute your strategy effectively.

Summarising the key elements of a tactical plan

  • short-term, action-oriented
  • outlines the specific steps and resources needed to achieve a particular goal
  • answers the question “how do we get there?”
  • more detailed, concrete and measurable than a strategic plan
  • flexible and adaptable


Image by Adrian from Pixabay 

Conducting a SWOT analysis for tactical planning

A SWOT analysis is a strategic tool that helps you evaluate your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can gain insights into your internal and external environment, and use them to inform your tactical plan.

The 4 parts of a SWOT

1. Strengths: the positive attributes and capabilities that give your business an edge over your competitors. They are the things that you do well and that make you stand out. For example, your strengths could be your loyal customer base, your innovative products, or your skilled workforce. To leverage your strengths in your tactical plan, you should identify ways to enhance and showcase them, and use them to achieve your objectives.

2. Weaknesses: the negative aspects and limitations that hinder your business’s performance and growth. They are the things that you need to improve or overcome. For example, your weaknesses could be your high costs, your outdated technology, or your lack of brand awareness. To address your weaknesses in your tactical plan, you should identify ways to minimize or eliminate them, and use them as opportunities for learning and development.

3. Opportunities: the favorable conditions and trends in the external environment that create potential for your business to grow and prosper. They are the things that you can take advantage of to expand your market share, increase your revenue, or enhance your reputation. For example, your opportunities could be an emerging customer segment, a new technology, or a favorable regulation. To capitalize on your opportunities in your tactical plan, you should identify ways to seize and exploit them, and use them to achieve or surpass your objectives.

4. Threats: the unfavorable factors and challenges in the external environment that pose risks to your business’s survival and success. They are the things that you need to be aware of and prepared for. For example, your threats could be a new competitor, a changing customer preference, or a negative publicity. To mitigate your threats in your tactical plan, you should identify ways to anticipate and counter them, and use them as incentives for innovation and improvement.

By using a SWOT analysis to inform your tactical plan, you can ensure that you have a realistic and comprehensive understanding of your situation, and that you have a clear and effective objective and realistic actions and tasks to achieve your tactical goal. 

The importance of clear objectives

An important step of any great tactical plan is understanding your specific and measurable objectives, which should be aligned with your strategic goals and vision.

As the cornerstone of any thriving business, objectives provide motivation, direction, and an opportunity to celebrate milestones along the way.

business-gf296d6a30_640Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

When setting objectives, it's essential to use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) criteria. SMART objectives ensure that goals are realistic and relevant to your business's overall mission. For example, if your strategic goal is to increase your market share by 10% in the next three years, your tactical objective could be to launch a new product line by the end of the year that appeals to a new segment of customers.

Examples of tactical objectives related to strategic goals

Here's some more examples of tactical objectives to further demonstrate the idea of how shorter term tactical planning relates to longer term strategic planning:

  • If your strategic goal is to improve your customer satisfaction by 20% in the next two years, your tactical objective could be to implement a new customer feedback system by the next quarter that allows you to collect and analyze customer data and insights.
  • If your strategic goal is to reduce your environmental impact by 30% in the next five years, your tactical objective could be to switch to renewable energy sources by the end of the month that reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy costs.
  • If your strategic goal is to enhance your employee engagement and retention by 15% in the next year, your tactical objective could be to create a new employee recognition program by the next week that rewards and motivates your staff for their performance and contributions.

concept-gbc9ebec0b_640Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Setting actions and tasks

To determine the actions and tasks that are required to achieve your objectives, you need to break down your objectives into smaller and manageable sub-goals. For example, if your objective is to launch a new product line, some of the sub-goals could be to conduct market research, design the product features, test the product quality, and create a marketing campaign.

For each sub-goal, you need to identify the specific actions and tasks that are involved, such as conducting surveys, interviewing customers, creating prototypes, hiring testers, etc. You also need to assign these actions and tasks to the team members or departments that have the skills and expertise to carry them out.

For example, you could assign the market research tasks to the marketing department, the product design tasks to the engineering department, and so on. You should also define the roles and responsibilities of each team member or department, and establish clear expectations and deadlines for each task.

Additionally, you need to allocate the necessary resources to support the execution of your plan. Resources include anything that you need to complete your tasks, such as money, time, equipment and personnel. You should estimate how much of each resource you need for each task, and ensure that you have enough available or can acquire them in time. For example, you could estimate how much budget you need for the market research, how much time you need for the product testing, how many testers you need to hire, etc.

Finally, you should also prioritize your tasks and resources according to their importance and urgency, and allocate them accordingly.

By being thorough in setting actions and tasks and following the other guidance in this step, you will have a clear and detailed roadmap of how to achieve your tactical objectives efficiently and effectively.


Interactive org chart demonstrating how responsibilities can be assigned to roles in Functionly.

Key Performance Indicators: Your Path to Success

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable metrics that help gauge your business's progress towards achieving its objectives. By setting specific targets, tracking performance systematically, and periodically evaluating progress, KPIs can help steer your business in the right direction.

Examples of KPIs could include metrics such as sales revenue, profit margin, customer satisfaction, and employee retention rates. When tailoring KPIs for your business, take industry standards and your company's specific needs into account. Regularly track and analyze your KPIs to ensure alignment with your objectives and make data-driven decisions.

Crafting an Effective Business Tactical Plan

With clear objectives, allocated tasks and actions, well-defined KPIs, and a thorough SWOT analysis under your belt, you're now ready to mold these elements into an actionable business tactical plan. To create a well-rounded plan, integrate your vision with a realistic assessment of your business's current state.

Additionally, remember that an effective tactical plan requires continuous fine-tuning and adaptability. Responding to changes in the marketplace, evolving competition, and shifting consumer trends is crucial for maintaining success in the ever-changing business landscape.

Functionly helps business leaders ensure thorough execution of tactical plans through easy and collaborative planning of roles and responsibilities in a modern, easy to use org chart interface. Try it for free today.


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