Long-Term Business Goals: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Business Goals
  • 0:34 Why Set Long-Term…
  • 0:59 Long-Term vs. Short-Term Goals
  • 1:36 SMART Goals
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Naomi McGowan
Learn the difference between short-term and long-term goals. See how to develop long-term goals that are important to your business and key follow-up steps after long-term goals have been established.

Business Goals

Did you ever think about setting up a lemonade stand as a child? A lemonade stand is oftentimes a child's first simple business venture. The child, under an adult's supervision, will make the lemonade, gather a pitcher and cups, set up and decorate a stand to attract customers, and then sell cups of fresh, cold lemonade to customers on a hot summer day. But how does the child know if the lemonade stand has been successful? Does a child measure the number of cups sold, the amount of money collected, or how happy customers are to purchase a refreshing cup?

Why Set Long-Term Business Goals?

Setting business goals helps to establish the vision a business owner sees for the future and lays out a clear plan to achieve that vision. Short-term business goals typically extend 18 months to three years into the future. In contrast, long-term business goals typically extend at least three years into the future. Without setting clear business goals and measuring whether objectives are being achieved, a business owner will have a difficult time growing his or her business.

Long-Term vs. Short-Term Goals

The difference between long-term goals and short-term goals can be simplified to what you want to achieve versus how you want to achieve it. Short-term goals are the building blocks for long-term goals. A long-term goal of setting up the most successful lemonade stand in the neighborhood will be supported by short-term revenue, volume, and customer satisfaction goals. Businesses typically establish many short-term goals, but only a few long-term goals, as long-term goals are much broader in scope. Long-term goals take time to achieve and require patience and adequate planning. Important follow-up steps to establishing long-term goals include prioritizing those goals, and then establishing the short-term goals needed to reach them.


It is also important that long-term business goals are SMART. SMART is an acronym that defines goals as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. A goal that incorporates all of these elements is considered well written.

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