In a recent post, Ben McConnell outlined the four elements of a strategic plan . While he was writing for managers and executives of larger companies, I think these same four elements are also critical to small business success.

  1. Objectives – An objective is a high-level achievement
  2. Goals – A goal is anything that’s measured.
  3. Strategies A  way to describe a series of tactics, or very specific actions.
  4. Tactics A very specific action, like creating a new program or improving an existing one.

In my experience, business owners are often confused  about the difference between Objectives and Goals. In simple terms: The objective is what you want and the goal defines how much.  In order to develop a strategy, you must answer both questions.

There is often also confusion between strategy and tactics.  Strategy is a the general direction. For example, if I wanted to drive to Illinois, I know I need to head east. The tactics are the specific roads such as I 70 or I74 I would travel to get there.  In business, just as in driving,  sometimes either road will get you there!