What is a tactical plan?
In business, the term tactical refers to actions taken to achieve a specific goal. A tactical plan is, therefore, a written document that details the steps needed to achieve a particular objective.
Tactical plans are different from strategic plans in that they’re much more action-oriented and short-term. While strategic plans lay out your company’s long-term vision and overall direction, tactical plans focus on specific initiatives that will help you move closer to your goals.
For instance, a strategic plan might set the goal of increasing market share by 5% over the next three years. A tactical plan, on the other hand, would lay out the specific steps needed to achieve that, such as launching a new marketing campaign or opening a new sales office in a high-growth area.
Tactical plans are important because they provide focus and clarity to help you to make critical goal-oriented decisions with confidence. When everyone in your company is working from the same document, it’s easier to track progress and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Key elements of a tactical plan
While the details of a tactical plan will vary based on your specific business needs, it should include the following key elements:
- Company mission: A brief statement that outlines your company’s overall purpose and direction
- Goals and objectives: What you hope to achieve with your tactical plan and how it will help you move closer to your long-term vision
- Initiatives: The specific actions you’ll take to achieve your goals, these should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) initiatives that can be completed with the available resources
- Budget: How much money you’ll need to complete your initiatives and achieve your desired results
- Timeline: When each initiative will be launched and completed
- Key performance indicators (KPIs): Measures that will help you track whether your initiatives are successful
- Roles and responsibilities: Who will be responsible for each initiative and what their specific tasks will be
While it’s easy to understand the elements of the plan, what can a list of tactical goals accomplish for a company?
What are the benefits of tactical plans?
For businesses of any size, a tactical plan can be an invaluable tool. By their very nature, they’re designed to help you think about and execute short-term goals that are in line with your company’s long-term vision.
This means that they can be used to achieve many objectives, including:
- Improving efficiencies
- Increasing profits
- Gaining market share
- Raising sales numbers
- Boosting employee morale
- Enhancing customer satisfaction
Tactical plans are flexible, so they can be adapted as your business grows and changes. This makes them an ideal tool for small businesses in particular, who may not have the resources or manpower needed to develop a more comprehensive strategic plan.
Now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s examine a tactical plan template and help you customize it for your business.
How to create a tactical plan
It can be a daunting task when faced with an empty, white page and a blinking cursor. Luckily, we have a step-by-step guide on how to build your tactical plan:
1. Outline your strategy
Start by outlining your overarching strategy. This will be the foundation on which you build your tactical plan.
- What are your company’s core values?
- What’s your target demographic?
- How do you want to position your company in the market?
Once you have a good understanding of your strategy, you can start to think about how to implement it.
2. Define your goals and objectives
Here is where you start to get a little more specific. What are your overall business goals? What are the specific objectives you hope to accomplish in the short term? Without clearly defined, measurable goals, you and your team will be unlikely to achieve tactical success.
If your goal is to increase profits, you might want to focus on tactics that will help you to:
- Cut costs
- Increase sales
- Improve customer retention
- Gather new leads
On the other hand, if your goal is to gain market share, you might want to focus on tactics that will help you to:
- Differentiate your product or service
- Enter new markets
- Promote your brand more effectively
Whatever your goals may be, make sure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). This includes setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for each task that will allow you to monitor progress.
3. Set a timeframe
It’s important to take a closer look at the last part of that acronym. Making sure your tactical plan has a clear timeline is crucial to its success. This will ensure that each objective is given a due date and remains actionable. Without it, your plan will quickly become a list of goals with no real structure.
Start by looking at your company’s long-term vision and breaking it down into more manageable chunks. For each goal, ask yourself: what needs to be done and by when? This will give you a good starting point for mapping out your timeline.
4. Create and assign actions
Once you have your goals clearly defined, you must create tasks that will help get you there. This may include something as simple as increasing your ad spend or as complex as finding a new supplier for one of your materials.
Who will be responsible for carrying out each task? Make sure that each person knows what they need to do. If team members are left guessing, it will only lead to confusion and a lack of accountability.
5. Implement and monitor
Now, it’s time to put your plan into action. It’s not enough to just set it in motion though; you need to make sure you’re monitoring its progress and effectiveness. This will help you to fine-tune your plan as you go.
There are a few key things that you should be keeping an eye on:
- Sales figures
- Customer feedback
- Employee satisfaction
If you’re not seeing the results you want, don’t be afraid to make changes. A good tactical plan is a living document that should be regularly updated to ensure that it’s serving your business in the best way possible.
Tactical plan examples
Here are some examples of tactical plans that businesses could use:
The marketing team at Visual Studio has set a goal of 10,000 new followers on every social media platform by the end of the year.
- Michael will create a social media ad campaign and spend $100 every week on various platforms.
- Suzette will publish five original posts per week while engaging customers directly online.
- Bernie will do one live video every week that highlights new products.
- Emily will monitor platform analytics to ensure that social media activity continues to increase.
- Jen will use the company account to contribute to other online conversations that normally wouldn’t include our brand.
The manager in this scenario would be responsible for setting KPIs for each member of the team and monitoring their progress to ensure that the project is moving forward on schedule.
The management team at Black Rock Auto has created a strategic plan that requires its representatives to increase sales throughout May by 15%.
- James, Richard, Melissa and Beatrice will start arriving at work before peak sales hours.
- Jonathan will conduct employee reviews daily to reinforce effective sales methods.
- David will teach new sales techniques to the team during slow times.
- Marie will monitor goal progress and report outcomes weekly to sales representatives.
In this case, the goal is to increase sales over a relatively short period, so the manager must quickly act if some strategies aren’t having the desired effect.
Frequently asked questions about tactical goals
What’s a company’s tactical plan?
A company’s tactical plan is a document that outlines the specific steps that need to be taken to achieve short-term goals. It should include a clear statement of purpose, as well as measurable objectives and milestones.
What’s the difference between a tactical goal and a strategic plan?
A tactical goal is narrower in scope than a strategic plan; it covers shorter-term objectives that support the company’s overall strategy. Strategic plans are more long-term and take a bird’s eye view of where the business is headed and what needs to be done to get there.
Why is tactical planning important?
Tactical planning is essential for businesses that want to achieve specific short-term goals. Without a plan in place, it can be difficult to make decisions and lead your company in the right direction.