Short-term vs. long-term business goals: Comparison + 30 examples

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Not unlike the recipe for your mum’s famous chocolate cake, the recipe for business success calls for various ingredients and steps plus time and patience. It requires short-term work (baking) to yield long-term results (happy tummies). 

In business, short- and long-term goals are used tactically to help a business move forward. But what are they? And how are they set? We’ll define and compare short-term and long-term goals and show you 15 examples of what they look like in business.

What is a long-term business goal?

It’s all in the name — long-term outcomes are what your company wants to achieve in the long term. They’re high-level goals or strategies you want to accomplish in the coming years, driving you closer to your vision. Good long-term goals should be adaptable to technological, political and other environmental changes.

No exact period defines long-term goals, but most organisations think of them as goals you aim to achieve in the next one to ten years. While ambitious, they inform short-term goals and day-to-day business flow and vice versa. Knowing a general direction is essential, but keeping a bottom-up approach that supports adaptability, creativity and more input into decision-making is still crucial.

What is a short-term business goal?

The term ‘short’ is key in describing short-term goals. They define business goals you want to achieve in the near future, which can span from a week to a year, depending on the project and organisational preferences. They focus on the present, promoting productivity and good time management.

Short-term business goals are clear, easily actionable and geared toward individual or team efforts rather than overall strategy. That being said, short-term goals should still be set with long-term strategy in mind — to set short-term goals, you need to know generally where your business is heading. In simpler terms, short-term goals are the steps you need to take to get where you want to be and a tool to check you’re heading in the right direction.

Short-term vs long-term goals

Short-term and long-term goals may differ, but it’s not quite David and Goliath. Below we’ve listed three key factors that set short- and long-term goals apart.


The biggest difference between short-term goals and long-term goals is their purpose. Long-term goals are strategic — they’re a plan for the future of the business. Short-term goals contribute to the success of a business but have more to do with your current performance.


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to defining what’s considered short-term or long-term, but generally speaking, short-term goals are more likely to be measured by weeks or months and long-term goals by years. Long-term business strategies require many short-term goals to meet.

Goal Time horizon
Short-term 1-6 months
Mid-term 6-12 months
Long-term 1-5 years


Short-term goals and long-term organisational goals are also different in adaptability. Short-term goals are typically more clearly defined and actionable, whereas long-term goals are flexible to changes in strategy.

Examples of both short- and long-term goals in business

Looking for some real-world examples to help you write business goals? Using the SMART methodology — which requires goals to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound — we’ve compiled some examples of long- and short-term business goals that are easily adaptable.

Short-term vs long-term marketing goal examples

A long-term marketing goal might sound like this:

  • Drive more traffic to the shop tab on the website

And the short-term business goals that support this long-term strategy might look like this:

  • Develop a social media strategy that boosts posting from 3 times a week to daily
  • Plan an email campaign that achieves an average click rate of 10% before new product launch 

Short-term vs long-term finance goal examples

The following might be a long-term finance goal:

  •  Reduce operating costs

And to support the long-term strategy, short-term finance goals may look like this:

  • Automate 50% of payroll duties by adopting accounting software by June 30
  • Reduce cost of goods sold (COGS) expenses by 20% this quarter

Short-term vs long-term HR goal examples

Long-term HR goals would include:

  • Improve employee retention rate

Whereas the short-term HR goals for the long-term strategy may look like this:

  • Allocate 10% of HR budget to personal development training
  • Implement one feedback form a month for more visibility across company issues

Short-term vs long-term sales goal examples

A typical goal for long-term sales growth may look like this:

  • Increase total sales revenue

In contrast, the short-term goals for sales might be as follows:

  • Generate 50% of sales from clients X and Y by the end of June
  • Make $30,000 in new deals by the end of the quarter

Short-term vs long-term customer service goal examples

An example of a long-term customer service goal might be:

  • Increase customer satisfaction

Whereas customer service short-term goals are more likely to be specific:

  • Increase the first-contact resolution rate by 10% by the end of quarter
  • Improve first reply time by 5% overall by the end of the month

Other examples of short-term and long-term goals for business

Content Marketing

  • Short-term: Increase blog traffic by 25% in the next three months by optimizing existing content for SEO and publishing weekly articles on trending topics.
  • Long-term: Establish the company as a thought leader in its industry within two years, by consistently producing high-quality, research-backed content that addresses key challenges and trends.

Email Marketing

  • Short-term: Improve email open rates by 10% over the next quarter through A/B testing of subject lines and personalized content.
  • Long-term: Double the email subscriber list size within the next 18 months by leveraging lead magnets and optimizing signup forms across all digital platforms.


  • Short-term: Redesign the company homepage to improve visual appeal and user engagement within the next two months.
  • Long-term: Establish a cohesive brand identity across all products and marketing materials within two years, enhancing brand recognition and consistency.

User Experience (UX)

  • Short-term: Decrease website bounce rate by 20% in the next six months through improved navigation and faster page load times.
  • Long-term: Achieve top-tier customer satisfaction scores for the digital experience within the next three years by continuously refining and personalizing the user journey.


  • Short-term: Reduce deployment time by 30% within the next quarter through the implementation of automated deployment pipelines.
  • Long-term: Achieve a 99.9% uptime for all critical systems within the next two years by enhancing monitoring, scalability, and disaster recovery strategies.

Software Development

  • Short-term: Complete the development of a new mobile application feature within the next three months to meet market demand.
  • Long-term: Transition the entire software portfolio to a microservices architecture within the next five years to improve scalability and maintainability.

Project Managers

  • Short-term: Improve project completion rates by 15% over the next six months by adopting agile project management methodologies.
  • Long-term: Implement a company-wide project management software solution within the next year to enhance collaboration, tracking, and reporting capabilities.

How to turn short term business goals into OKRs

Whether you’re 20 years into trading or in the early stages of business, getting past the ‘vision’ part of goal setting is not always easy. You may know where you want to be, but getting there is the hard part.

The OKR acronym stands for Objectives and Key Results. It's a goal setting framework that bridges the gap between vision and strategy and introduces a simple shared language to write down the focus of the different teams in your organisation.

Turning your goals into OKRs can be done in 3 simple steps:

1. Define your objectives

First you need to define your overall objective. If you're setting quarterly goals, then you need a statement that clearly explain what you expect to get at the end of the quarter.

For instance a Customer Success team could have:

  • Significantly improve user satisfaction

2. Select your metrics

Now that you have an objective, the next step is to pick the Customer Success KPIs that will best map to that objective. That could be:

  • NPS
  • Average response time
  • CSAT

These metrics will become your key results in the next step.

3. Use the SMART formula to turn your metrics into Key results

Finally, all we need to do is to transform our KPIs into SMART professional goals to make them measurable and time-bound.

You end up with quarterly OKRs that look like the following:

Objective: Significantly improve customer satisfaction

  • KR1: Increase NPS from 20 to 50
  • KR2: Reduce average response time from 2h to 30min
  • KR3: Improve CSAT by 15%

Of course, there's a bit more subtleties to master, but there are some guides that can help you turn a vision into a simple set of OKRs.

How to track short and long term goals

Quarterly OKR progress chart in Tability
Tracking quarterly goals in Tability

Benefits of tracking your business goals

Setting goals is only the first step you take to achieve success. Without goals, it's difficult to determine what you want to accomplish and how to reach your destination.

But, tracking your progress towards your goals is equally important. This is what helps you stay focused and motivated. By tracking your short-term and long-term goals, you can keep yourself accountable and on track towards achieving your objectives.

Short-term business goals help you maintain a sense of urgency and motivation while working towards a larger long-term objective. You can see them as a way to ensure business productivity.

Long-term goals, on the other hand, help you maintain a clear long term vision and a sense of direction. Unlike short term business goals, the long term objectives will help you steer the company by looking many years forward.

Tracking both short and long-term goals helps you maintain a healthy balance between the two.

Optimising business goal-tracking: choosing between spreadsheets and specialised platforms

The role of spreadsheets for goal-tracking

Spreadsheets are a familiar tool for many businesses, known for their flexibility and ease of use in a variety of tasks. They offer a simple way to organise data and track the progress of your business goals. However, when it comes to effectively monitoring your achievements and assessing detailed progress, spreadsheets might not be the all-in-one solution you need.

While spreadsheets are incredibly versatile, allowing for the customisation and calculation of data, they fall short in providing a dynamic, holistic view of your business goals. One of the key challenges with spreadsheets is their static nature—they require regular, manual updates, which not only consumes valuable time but also increases the risk of errors. This manual process can lead to inaccuracies in your data, impacting your ability to make informed decisions.

Moreover, spreadsheets lack advanced data visualisation capabilities, making it harder to spot trends, forecast future performance, and make strategic adjustments. Without the ability to easily visualise your progress, identifying areas of improvement or success becomes costly.

Specialised goal-tracking software will save you hours at work

Opting for a dedicated goal-tracking platform, such as Tability, will simplify the way businesses approach their goal management strategies. Such platforms offer a structured and organised approach for setting, tracking, and achieving business objectives.

Unlike spreadsheets, a platform like Tability will have a multitude of OKR dashboards ready to-go, each designed to answer very specific questions in a timely manner.

The other advantage of such platform is that they'll often have the ability to connect to other tools, such as your project management platforms, to allow you to map the relevant strategic projects to your objectives.

Get the right balance

Wrapping up, the journey to achieving business success, much like perfecting a beloved recipe, is about mixing the right ingredients with precision, timing, and a bit of patience. Establishing a balanced blend of short- and long-term goals is essential, serving as the roadmap that guides your business forward. While short-term goals keep the engine running day to day, long-term goals ensure you're headed in the right direction, steering towards that bigger picture with confidence and clarity.

The combination of well-defined goals and the right tracking tools, like Tability, becomes the secret ingredient to not just reaching but surpassing your business aspirations.

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Monika Gudova

Content Writer and Editor

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