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Plan vs Strategy and Making it out Alive

Starting a new business is like trying to navigate a never-ending maze. You have to make a lot of decisions, and sometimes you don't even know what the right path is. But one thing is for sure, you need a plan and a strategy to make it out alive.

A plan is like a map for your startup journey. It's like the instruction manual that comes with IKEA furniture, it tells you step by step what to do and in what order. A plan is a detailed course of action for achieving a specific goal or objective. It outlines the steps that need to be taken, the resources required, and the timeline for completion.






On the other hand, a strategy is like a compass for your startup. It's the GPS that guides you to your destination. A strategy is a broader approach for achieving long-term success. It involves making choices and allocating resources to achieve a desired outcome.

According to a Harvard Business Review article by Michael Porter, "Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it's about deliberately choosing to be different." In other words, a strategy is about making conscious decisions about how to differentiate yourself from your competition in order to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Now, let's put it in a startup context. Let's say you want to start a new bakery business. Your plan would be to open a physical store, buy the necessary equipment, hire staff, and start baking delicious treats. But, your strategy would be to differentiate yourself from the competition by offering organic and gluten-free options. By implementing this strategy, you'll attract a different kind of customer and stand out from the other bakeries in the area.

It's like the difference between having a roadmap for a road trip and having a map of the entire country. A roadmap is great for getting from point A to point B, but a map of the entire country gives you a better understanding of where you are and where you can go.

Starting a business is like trying to cook a three-course meal for a dinner party. You need a recipe (plan) to make sure you don't burn the steak and overcook the vegetables. But, you also need a menu (strategy) to make sure you have a balance of flavors and a variety of dishes to please all your guests.

In conclusion, a plan is a detailed course of action for achieving a specific goal or objective, while a strategy is a broader approach for achieving long-term success. A plan is important for executing a strategy, but it is not a strategy in and of itself. To be successful, startups must have both a plan and a strategy in place.


  1. Porter, Michael E. "What Is Strategy?" Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996,


  • Startups should develop a clear strategy that outlines their approach for achieving long-term success

  • A plan should be developed to execute the strategy, outlining the specific actions that need to be taken to achieve the goals and objectives outlined in the strategy.

  • Regularly review and adjust the strategy and plan as needed to ensure they remain aligned with the startup's overall goals and objectives.

  • Clear Communication is essential, making sure that everyone in the startup understands and buys into the strategy and plan.

  • And most importantly, don't forget to add a pinch of humor to the mix, it makes the journey a lot more enjoyable.