Yes, strategy is much more than a business plan. The word “strategy” means different things to different people. I’m always interested in origins, so here is where it came from. You can look it up at the online etymology dictionary.
Of the various definitions one can find, I think that this is one of the best. It is from the strategy+business website:
Plans can vanish. Strategy doesn’t. That doesn’t mean plans are wasted.
Strategy, simply put, is how you are going to play the game, the tournament, the season, or whatever other term you might use, long-term in order to win according to what you think winning is. Too many people mistake plans for strategy. They are not! Plans are strategic ideas. Plans are options put on paper. Plans represent the thinking, coordination and allocation of resources necessary for their successful execution. Plans represent possible contingencies so that minds are prepared when they do become necessary. Plans allow you to be swift and decisive when drawing up your current plan because you have walked through the process many times already. They are records. They are testament to your past work. They do not dictate your current choice for what action to take. That is the bailiwick of strategy. Bear in mind, your strategy can change, especially if some unforeseen beast suddenly crash-lands in the works. I hasten to say that your strategic aim shouldn’t have changed, otherwise it means that you are prepared to abandon your original desires for new ones. What do you think happens to all the hard work you put into planning then? Exactly. Back to the drawing board, as they say. But you go back to the drawing board much better equipped to draw up pertinent plans because you have exercised yourself to do so repeatedly in the past.
So, what is strategy? Deciding on courses of action that bring you closer to your vision. Deciding to do things that express your mission. Knowing that the courses of action embarked upon truly reflect your raison d’etre. If you are a house dealing in luxury goods, your strategy might be aimed at the best and wealthiest in society. Not the rich, I said; the best and the wealthiest. If so, then producing or acquiring “luxury items” of “lower cost” would represent a total abandonment of your strategy. If you go down that path, you will find that the wealthy will not buy from you, but the rich will. I am not sure that is what you would want. If your strategy is to reach every household with an instrument of investment that grows some funds, then you need to spend a long time educating people on the importance of doing so, and not only what they stand to gain from it, but also how they might contribute to the community by their participation.
Do you know why so many struggle in business? It is because they are not clear what their strategy is. When the strategy is unclear, people tend to mistake plans for the strategy. Recognize that, get yourself out of that tight spot, spread your wings and get ready to fly!