The Difference Between Goals, Strategies and Action Plans

I have often been asked what the difference between goals, strategies and action plans. On the face of it, they seem similar, however they are very different, but interrelated.

What are your goals?

Your goals are defined objectives - which clearly identifies where you want to be within a specific timeframe.

An example of some business goals...
  • Financial goals – “To achieve revenue of $XX” or “Profit of $Y”.
  • Staffing goals – “To have XX number of staff” or “To have a full time staff member in the position of XYZ”.
  • Social Media Goals - To have 10,000 people following your blog within 2 years
  • Market Share – “To have 70% market share of the SME market in Austraia within 5 years”.

There are many different types of goals you can set.  Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and within a specific timeframe)

What is your Strategy?

The next step is to look at strategy.  Stuff or things you can do to achieve your goals.

At 10X, we have a growth chart with 660 strategies you can implement for each section of your business, helping you improve your sales, profit and cash flow.
  • Improve your Sales
    • Strategies to Increase your retention rate
    • Strategies to Increase your leads
    • Strategies to increase your conversions
    • Strategies to Increase your Prices
    • Strategies to Increase the frequency for your customers to buy
  • Improve your Cash Flow
    • Strateges to reduce your expenses
    • Strategies to reduce cost of sales
    • Strategies to collect debtors faster
    • Strategies to improve your inventory turnover

You may have 20 strategies in place to achieve your one goal.

What is your Action Plan - What are your Tactics – how you’ll do it

Tactics are the last piece of the puzzle. For every strategy, there will be a number of tactics or actions. These are the individual steps you’ll take to execute the strategy and achieve your goals.
Tactics could be based around activity i.e. every week contact X number of customers.  They’re the steps you need to take to achieve a goal.
When deciding on your tactics, include every part of the process - every step you can think of how long it will take to complete and who is responsible for completing it.

Goals, Strategy and Tactics – an example

Let’s assume one of your goals is to increase your clients  in the fashion industry who are interested in Exporting their products and services by 36 clients in a year (3 per month) .

One strategy you may adopt to do this is to define a specific offering.  In this example, your strategy is to create an e-book on export grants  that you can give away  to increase leads.

Let’s think through the actions/ tactics (or steps) you need to do to write the e-book.  Your tactics may include:
  • Decide on a topic for the book (Export Grants for the Fashion Industry)
  • See who your competition is and analyze their products
  • Decide on the relevant content to include
  • Find sources for the content
  • Write a chapter a week (or outsource this)
  • Find a designer to help with the design of the book
  • Decide how you’ll distribute the book
  • Complete the book three months from today on 1 January 2017
  • Have the book distributed by 10 January 2017
  • Develop a marketing plan to promote the book
Tactics are usually inter-related and you’ll find yourself working on a couple of active tasks at any one time.  In the example above, you may be writing chapters for your book, but you’ll also be working on a plan to market the book once it’s complete.


So that’s a brief overview of the difference between your goals, strategy and tactics.  Take some time out to think about your goals, and work on at least one strategy and set of tactics.

If you are interested in a copy of 55 10X strategies, and some amazing business calculators that will help you grow your business - click here