What makes an effective goal? Like relationships, business goals can be short term, long term or summer-long, each bringing unique value. But at the end of the day, long-term goals (and relationships) will have the biggest impact. So while understanding the value of long-term goals is vital, it’s following through that really counts. In this guide, we’ll get you equipped to answer the question, ‘What are your long-term goals?’ with real-world examples to help you make them a reality.
What are long-term goals?
Where do you want to be five or 10 years into the future? What about 50 years from now? If megamansions and luxury yachts came to mind, you’re not alone. Long-term goals are just that — hopeful intentions for the future. Without intention, long-term goals are simply daydreams, so it’s important to set objectives to drive you closer to your end goals. From wealth and work to marriage and kids, there are plenty of opportunities to accomplish big things with considered long-term goals.
What are long-term goals for business?
In business, long-term goals have varying definitions and periods. Some define long term as two years, and others as 20. The common ground is the reason behind setting long-term goals — progress. Organisations driven by long-term goals have a clearer course, helping to guide decision-making and reflection. Here are the four main areas where a business may set a long-term goal.
- Profit: Measuring success through an increase in profit year on year.
- Growth: Company expansion through new employees or locations.
- Reputation: Related to improving service and attracting/retaining customers.
- Social: Community-minded business. This may look like a commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
Examples of long-term goals
What’s an explanation without an example? Here are six long-term goal examples that can be tailored to any business.
1. Increase revenue
This one’s unlikely to be a shock — boosting profits is a key long-term goal for companies small and large. It’s the bottom line for all for-profit businesses, and many businesses measure this by looking at year-on-year growth. By delivering continuous year-on-year growth, organisations foster a culture of improvement. When it comes to goal setting, specificity is key, so pick an ambitious number to drive your business toward success.
2. Improve brand awareness
It’s marketing 101 — brand awareness, recognition and recall. This is a common long-term goal because (as many new businesses have discovered the hard way) growth doesn’t happen overnight. Brand recognition is essential when launching new products and services to sway consumer decision-making favourably. Whether through social media or other brand-building strategies, it’s important to invest in brand awareness.
3. Build a strong reputation
Reputation is slow-burning but nonetheless a long-term objective most businesses are working toward. Why? Because companies with fantastic reputations attract not only more customers, but loyal ones. Your loyal customers repeat purchases and often peddle your products and services for free.
4. Create a market-leading online presence
There’s no arguing the power of the internet — it can make or break your business. Ranking well on Google, gaining followers on social media and building a high-traffic website are all ways in which brands are improving their online presence. The potential of a market-leading online presence in this digital age is endless; it’s directly linked to sales, brand awareness, acquiring leads, establishing authority and more revenue-building opportunities.
5. Expand into new opportunities
Whether it’s a new location, more employees or an innovative offering, a growth mindset is critical to long-term success. No matter the means of expansion, its benefits are clear — an increased capacity that allows you to target new markets, ultimately leading to more revenue. New challenges also bring new perspectives, allowing your business to maintain a competitive edge.
6. Keep innovating
While a shiny new store is a great (and profitable) example of innovation, it’s not the only road to business expansion. Widening your horizons, whether through a new product offering or implementing new processes, is a worthwhile long-term business goal as it may generate more business. However, like most goals, it’s circular; innovation requires adequate resourcing, resourcing requires the budget, and the budget is what’s formed by innovation.
Achieve long-term goals with OKRs
Long-term goals are just one part of the puzzle that keeps a business growing and improving. A business' success depends on the balance between long-term goals and short-term objectives. Introducing OKRs — the goal-setting framework making long-term goals a reality.
How do OKRs work?
OKRs bridge the gap between top-level business goals and day-to-day operations. It’s a three-step methodology; Objectives, Key Results and Initiatives.
- Objectives: Objectives break down long-term goals into quarterly targets. They’re a simple statement outlining where you’d like to be in three months.
- Key Results: Key results are a way to measure progress on the objective. Good key results aren’t directly actionable, instead outlining a target value and a starting point.
- Initiatives: Initiatives are all the projects required to meet the Key Result target.
While setting OKRs is an important step to meeting long-term goals, tracking and tweaking as progress is recorded is what makes them ultimately successful.
Try OKRs for free
Here at Tability, we’ve designed software that makes committing to the OKRs framework easy for your whole team. With automated reminder emails and an easy-to-use interface, Tability takes the stress out of goal tracking, bringing you closer to your long-term goals. Try Tability for free today.