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Corporate Planning vs Strategic Planning or Business Planning

Corporate Planning vs Strategic Planning

Are these all just different terms for the same thing are coporte planning vs strategic planning distinctly different activities?


Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

They can be considered the same thing. Sometimes corporate planning may be associated with just analyzing business results. Strategic planning is really developing a plan for multiple years. In any large company, a strategic plan will be developed for multiple periods (typically 3-5 years). Normal month to month planning would be reviewing either current year forecasts and actuals. This can be keeping an 18 month rolling forecast or just focusing on the remainder of the year. And of course planning also includes analyzing any other investments or company sale.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Anonymous, you might want to take a look at these free reports here at Proformative:

"Predictability Through Planning Agility: Best Practices in Collaborative Budgeting & Continuous Business Rebalancing"

"5 Ingredients Of A Modern Planning Solution"

Best... Sarah

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

Ditto on Mr. Dunne above; where I would draw a specific differentiation is that when I use the term Corporate Planning, I mean quite specifically the design of the organization itself. For example, doing a Double Irish is Corporate Planning and has nothing at all to do with Strategy.

Like any planning exercise they overlap; for example I may intend to expand from my base in SLC to the SouthEast. I might therefore put a manufacturing hub in Dothan, AL. The former is a Strategic, the latter Corporate, but they are intertwined.

Topic Expert
David Wittenberg
Title: Director of Financial Strategy
Company: World Vision
(Director of Financial Strategy , World Vision) |

...and to make life easier for all concerned, try to get everyone to use the same terms. It's not the specific words we use but the common understanding. If someone uses a different term, make them back up and explain what's different from the words you normally use.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Dave's answer is brilliant!

Can tell you how many different communities I'm part of that either use the same acronyms or terms but have different meanings.

Specificity rules the day so everyone is on the same page.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

To piggy back on the comments above, my large corporate experience had strategic planning focusing on five plus years out with detailed competitor analysis. Corporate planning was for capex over the next year as part of the budget and planning cycle.

Tyrone Thorpe
Title: Enrollment Auditor
Company: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
(Enrollment Auditor, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield) |

Similar but not exactly the same.

Richard Barrett
Title: Consultant
Company: Independent
(Consultant, Independent) |

In my time, I've seen a lot of corporate plans that have been woefully short on strategy - so guess I think there is a difference.

Corporate planning is more about execution, financials and funding whereas strategic planning should focus on tomorrow's customers and how they are going to generate revenue. That's not to say these two elements cannot happily co-exist in the same process though.

ArLyne Diamond
Title: Owner - President
Company: Diamond Associates
LinkedIn Profile
(Owner - President, Diamond Associates) |

I recall Ayn Rand saying that words need to have precise meaning - it is the ambiguous ones that cause misunderstanding and miscommunication. I think we are talking about levels of planning - with the highest level - future planning which might include visioning being Strategic Planning. Corporate planning would be more detailed - perhaps the next five years operational plan. Business Planning would be the same as Corporate - but for those that think of themselves as "businesses" as opposed to labeling themselves "corporations."

Joseph A Brown
Title: President
Company: Adoga International LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(President, Adoga International LLC) |

Amen to David, Wayne and ArLyne. Semantics form the base of success or confusion/frustration. These terms mean whatever you want them to mean. Generally, I would consider corporate planning to be more high-level company direction with strategic planning being more of the blue-print on how to achieve the corporate plan. That strategic plan is then broken down into tactical action goals to keep people focused and on track. But, then again, this is just my definition. Someone else my define these differently and those definitions need to be stated clearly and upfront in order to keep everyone pulling in the same direction. It doesn't matter how you define what plan is what, as long as you are actually making a useful plan and define it well, then you are definitely headed in the right direction. Good luck.

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