Plans in Action via SOAP – Strategy On A Page

Plans in Action via SOAP: Strategy on a Page

Most people running a business (of any size) will have heard the terms Vision and Mission, and if going for a while, will understand the importance of a clearly defined Business Plan. But often these cornerstone declarations and documents languish in a forgotten drawer or folder not long after they’re written!

Many SME’s and start-ups can articulate well, but implement poorly. So, today Greywoods explores the concept of activating your strategy and working to it on a daily basis. How do you turn your business strategy into a tactical tranche of work and a living, breathing entity? In a word or rather, acronym, SOAP – Strategy On A Page.

Understanding the concept of a SOAP

Your SOAP is the essence of your business strategy encapsulated in a concise and accessible format. It condenses mission, vision, objectives, tactics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) onto a single page, fostering clarity, alignment, and actionable insights. While traditional business plans might be extensive and detailed, SOAP offers a streamlined alternative, ensuring that strategic goals remain visible and actionable.

Importantly, the SOAP is linked to short time frames (mostly financial quarters) and work is performed in sprints. You have visibility on your financial, operational and marketing goals instantly, as well as how you are tracking to them.

Here is an example of a SOAP template from the amazing Bernard Marr:



Importance of SOAP Strategy for Small Business Owners:

Clarity and Focus: In the whirlwind of daily operations, small business owners often find themselves entangled in a myriad of tasks and decisions. A SOAP strategy serves as a beacon of clarity, distilling complex objectives into digestible chunks. By clearly defining goals and tactics, it helps prioritise actions, thereby enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Alignment and Accountability: With limited resources at their disposal, small business owners must ensure that every effort contributes to overarching strategic objectives. SOAP facilitates alignment across different departments or stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding the business’s direction. Moreover, it fosters accountability by clearly outlining responsibilities and KPIs, thereby driving performance and results.

Adaptability and Agility: In today’s dynamic business environment, adaptability is key to survival. Small businesses face constant shifts in market trends, consumer preferences, and competitive landscapes. A SOAP strategy, characterised by its simplicity and flexibility, enables quick adjustments in response to changing circumstances. It empowers small business owners to pivot strategically without losing sight of their long-term goals.

Resource Optimisation: Small businesses often operate under resource constraints, be it financial, human, or technological. A SOAP strategy encourages resource optimisation by identifying high-impact initiatives and eliminating non-essential activities. By focusing efforts on areas that align with strategic objectives, small business owners can maximize the value derived from their limited resources.

Communication and Stakeholder Engagement: Effective communication is the lifeblood of any business endeavour. A SOAP strategy serves as a powerful communication tool, succinctly articulating the business’s vision, goals, and priorities to internal teams, investors, customers, and other stakeholders. It fosters transparency, trust, and buy-in, thereby strengthening relationships and fostering a sense of shared purpose. No excuses!

Case Studies and Examples:

Mom-and-Pop Bakery: A small bakery struggling to differentiate itself in a crowded market embraces a SOAP strategy focused on quality, community engagement, and innovation. By aligning all efforts towards these three core pillars for Q1 of FY24, the bakery not only attracts loyal customers but also earns recognition for its unique offerings, paving the way for sustainable growth. In Q2 they tweak their SOAP to add customer service KPIs.

Tech Start-up: A fledgling tech start-up facing uncertainty in product-market fit adopts a SOAP strategy centred around customer feedback, rapid iteration, and market validation. This agile approach enables the start-up to pivot quickly, fail fast, refine its product offering, and ultimately secure funding from investors impressed by its strategic clarity and execution. In their 2nd quarter, they introduce KPIs for the team and choose the 5 most important to achieve first. Broader themes can be seen, but the delivery of these 5 is vital.


For a new or small business, strategic clarity and focus are paramount. The adoption of a SOAP approach empowers small business owners to distil complex objectives into actionable insights, fostering alignment, accountability, and adaptability. By adhering to a SOAP strategy, small business owners can navigate uncertainties, optimise resources, and unlock sustainable growth opportunities. On a single page, your team can quickly see the objectives out to 1, 3 or 5 years, but also the priorities for the quarter in front of them.

As your entrepreneurial journey unfolds, let SOAP be the bedrock upon which you operate.

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