The ‘5 Question Framework’ to Simplify Your Strategic Plan

5th April, 2024

top view strategy written note - strategic planning

Many corporate leaders have perfected the eye-roll when strategic plan is brought up—it’s almost a universal reaction. But here’s the truth: as small business owners, we don’t have time for convoluted strategies. We need something clear, actionable, and yes, something that can fit neatly onto a single page. 

Each question we’ll explore is like a guiding light, illuminating the path forward for your business. I’ll be answering these questions, as well, using Leader By Design as an example, so keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list!

Here’s the ‘5 Question Framework to Create a Strategic Plan for Your Business:

  • What does success look like by XXX?
  • Why is it important to achieve success?
  • How will you measure success?
  • What key areas (3-5) do we need to focus on to achieve success?
  • What do we need to do in the next 90 days?


Question 1: What does success look like by XXX?

Success isn’t just about hitting financial targets; it encompasses areas like company growth, product innovation, customer satisfaction, and market positioning. The idea behind this question is to begin with the end in mind, inspired by Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

Try and focus on the next 12 months on average. If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, it is that we should be prepared for unexpected events. With my own businesses, I find it helpful to do this planning towards the end of December, so we can kick off the New Year with a clear direction. 

However, regardless of the time of year, if you still don’t have a roadmap for advancing your business, there’s no better time to begin than now!

“If you fail to plan you’re planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin


Question 2: Why is it important to achieve success?

Understanding your ‘why’ is crucial because it sustains your commitment during challenging periods. It’s what you think about to help you overcome the challenges that come up when you inevitably face them.

From my experience, if your ‘why’ doesn’t drive you to overcome challenges, you probably haven’t found ‘the thing’ that you really want as a result of achieving success from question one.

On the plan, you’ll find that my ‘whys’ are instrumental to overcoming my goals as they compel me to take action. My perfectionism is a huge challenge for my business but my dedication to improving as a caregiver and attaining the freedom to travel holds greater importance.

Download my one-page strategic plan template here.


Question 3: How will you measure success?

Whether it’s revenue targets, customer satisfaction scores, order fulfillment times, or employee engagement levels, having clear measures of success enables you to track progress and make informed decisions.

You can decide on detailed specifics later. What’s important is to establish your measure of success. For example, one option could be setting a target for the number of enrollments in your digital programs. Another option is setting a gross revenue target, which was what I chose in my template.


Question 4: What key areas (3-5) do we need to focus on to achieve success?

Narrowing your focus is essential for maximizing impact! What’s important is that these key areas align with your vision of success. Examples of key areas could include business development, marketing, e-commerce, sales, strategic partnerships, customer service, project management (for project delivery businesses), or team development. 

By establishing this focused approach, you can prioritize activities effectively to progress toward achieving your goals.


Question 5: What do we need to do in the next 90 days?

Planning is ineffective without taking action. Setting goals in 90-day intervals is a fantastic way to break down your bigger success goal into manageable chunks. It also creates a rhythm of reviewing your progress every 90 days, adjusting your course as needed, and setting new goals to keep moving forward toward your ultimate success.

So, what’s on the agenda for the next 90 days to keep that momentum going? Here’s a quick example of how this 90-day looks in my template sample:


Digital Products:

In the next 90 days, the focus is on scaling impact through digital programs. The goal is to have fifteen founding members who have paid to join this program. Let’s break down this goal using the SMART criteria:

Specific = I know exactly what I have to do.
Measurable = The measure is 15 founding members have paid.
Achievable = Yes but I need to work on having more people on the waitlist.
Relevant = Relevant towards my overall goal of ‘Scaling my impact through digital programs’.
Time Bound = When does the 90 days end? In case you had breaks during this period.

Here’s a quick example of how this 90-day looks in my template sample:


Marketing (Website, Social Media, Blog):
  • Define specific tasks and responsibilities for optimizing website, social media, and blog content.
  • Regularly review and analyze analytics to track progress and make data-driven decisions.
  • Allocate resources and delegate tasks effectively to ensure timely execution.


Podcast (Leader By Design, Culture of Leadership, My Worst Leadership Moment):
  • Launch new episodes consistently on the Leader By Design podcast.
  • Collaborate with guests and share valuable insights and tools.
  • Promote episodes across social media channels and engage with the audience for feedback.


Speaking (Guest Speaker on Other Podcasts):
  • Identify relevant podcasts and reach out to hosts for speaking opportunities.
  • Prepare engaging and informative content to share during podcast appearances.
  • Network with other podcast hosts and listeners to expand reach and community engagement.


Bringing It All Together: Leader By Design’s Single-Page Strategic Plan

Leader By Design Strategic Plan


Simplify Your Planning Process

Remember that the most important thing about a business plan isn’t how long or complicated it is, but how clear it is and the motivation it sparks in you and your team to take action. Make sure you have your plan right in front of you every day, take action on it consistently, and don’t forget those quarterly check-ins to see how you’re progressing and tweak things if needed.

Success in business comes from not just dreaming but doing. What makes the difference in achieving your plan is your dedication and discipline to make it happen!

If you want to download my 1-page strategic plan template with a real-live example from my business, go to

For a deeper dive into the planning process, tune in to the podcast episode The ‘5 Question Framework’ to Simplify Your Strategic Plan here.

Always remember – Leaders aren’t born. They’re designed by developing character, building competence, and creating connection.

Become a Leader By Design today.


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