The easy answer is that you need both. But... you may need one more than the other.
Hank Harris with FMI, offers these differences between strategic plans and business plans:
- A strategic plan sets the direction for the firm in the mid- to long-term future. It spells out the company's mission statement, primary goals, and measurable objectives, and explains the basic strategies for fulfilling the mission and achieving the goals.
- The purpose of the business plan is to define the steps necessary to achieve the short- or mid-term objectives. The business plan aims to improve the effectiveness of the organization without significantly changing its direction.
BOTTOMLINE: "The value of strategic planning lies in the process. Engaging team leaders - and eventually team members - is essential to the success of a strategic planning effort. Different viewpoints on directions, goals, and strategies will emerge, but they can lead to creative solutions. Alignment begins to occur as a consensus is reached on vision, values, mission, goals, strategies, and objectives.