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short and long term planning in business

Short-term vs. long-term business goals: comparison + examples

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 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 business success 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.


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 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

How to set short- and long-term goals with 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.

A goal-setting framework like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) bridges the gap between vision and strategy. It uses short-term targets to support medium- and long-term goals. 

If your long-term vision is to grow revenue, your quarterly OKRs may look like this:

Objective: Improve monthly sales revenue

  • KR1: Increase number of cold calls from 10 to 20 a day
  • KR2: Increase average purchase amount from $300 to $500 per person
  • KR3: Reduce customer churn from 40% to 15%

The process to turn goals into OKRs is simple:

  • Write down your goal
  • Pick up the best metrics and/or KPIs that have a high correlation to success
  • Set a target for improvements

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

short and long term planning in business

Benefits of tracking your 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 goals help you maintain a sense of urgency and motivation while working towards a larger long-term objective. Long-term goals, on the other hand, help you maintain a clear vision and a sense of direction. Tracking both short and long-term goals helps you maintain a healthy balance between the two.

Limitations of spreadsheets for goal-tracking

Using spreadsheets to track progress can be limiting, as they do not provide a comprehensive view of your progress. Spreadsheets are static and require manual updating, making them prone to human error. It can also be difficult to extract meaningful insights from spreadsheets as they don't provide data visualization tools that can help you identify trends and patterns. Spreadsheets also have limited functionality, which makes them unsuitable for complex tracking needs.

Why should use a proper goal-tracking software

A good goal-tracking platform provide a more structured and organized approach to setting and tracking goals. It allows users to define specific objectives and key results, assign ownership, and track progress against each goal. This structured approach ensures that goals are aligned with business priorities and that progress is measured against specific metrics.

A good platform will allows users to track progress against key results, see trends and patterns, and get real-time updates on progress. This level of visibility enables users to make informed decisions and take corrective action when needed. This, in turn, can help organizations improve performance, foster a culture of transparency and accountability, and achieve their business objectives.

Simplify goal setting with Tability

Set, share and track goals without a hitch using user-friendly software like Tability . Tability's easy-to-use tools and check-in emails support team buy-in, making it easy for your business to adopt it. Give it a go with a free trial today.

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Monika Gudova

Content Writer and Editor

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short and long term planning in business

Examples of Effective Short-Term, Mid-Term, and Long-Term Business Goals

By Kate Eby | September 7, 2023

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Setting effective goals is vital to your business’s success. Good goals help organizations move forward and keep employees on track. We’ve talked with experts and gathered examples of solid short-term, mid-term, and long-term business goals.

Included on this page, you’ll find examples of long-term , mid-term , and short-term business goals and how they work together. Plus, check out an easy-to-read chart on which framework is best for setting time-based goals and a free, downloadable goal-setting worksheet that can help your team create your goals.

Common Time Ranges for Different Business Goals

Companies set large overarching goals to achieve in two to five years. To attain long-term goals, set goals with shorter time frames that work toward the long-term objective. Depending on the type of goal, some experts might refer to it as a strategy or an objective . However, there is a difference between a goal, an objective , and a strategy. 

Examples of Long-Term Business Goals

Long-term goals focus on the big-picture vision for the future of the organization, generally covering two years or longer. They typically don’t cover more than five years, since the business and technology environment can change drastically after that time frame.

short and long term planning in business

Long-term goals are more aspirational and might not have the specificity of short-term and mid-term goals. “These goals ought to be aligned with the overall vision of the company,” says Izzy Galicia, President and CEO of global professional services firm the Incito Consulting Group and an expert in Lean enterprise transformation.

The long-term goals also must be realistic. “We know from the literature and practical experience that you want goals that are challenging, but they're also achievable. You don't want to have a goal that people don't buy into at all, or it's just so outrageous that you can't possibly achieve it,” explains Lee Frederiksen, managing partner of Virginia-based Hinge Marketing and former Director for Strategy and Organizational Development at Ernst & Young.

Here are four examples of long-term business goals:

  • Increase Sales: A common long-term goal is to increase sales significantly. A company might establish a long-term goal of increasing total sales by 40 percent in three years.
  • Become Niche Leader: Another company might have its sights on becoming dominant in its industry. It would set a long-term goal of becoming the leader in its market niche in four years.
  • Expand Company Locations: Adding storefronts over the next few years is also a common long-term goal. A company with that aim would set a long-term goal of expanding its one restaurant location to four locations in four years.
  • Create and Develop a Non-Profit Entity: An organization or group of people can also establish a long-term goal of establishing a successful nonprofit organization focused on environmental conservation.

Examples of Mid-Term Business Goals

Mid-term goals help an organization meet a long-term goal. They can take an organization six months to two years or so to reach. 

Here are examples of mid-term goals that will help a company reach a specific long-term goal: 

A company’s long-term goal is to open three more restaurants in the next four years. These examples are some of the mid-term goals they would need to achieve first:

  • Systematize Standard Operating Procedures for Running the Restaurant: The mid-term goal would be to document and systematize its standard operating procedures to efficiently operate its original restaurant within a year.
  • Develop a Hiring Process That Attracts Talented Employees: The company sets a goal of developing and implementing a hiring process to attract committed employees in the next 14 months. 
  • Research and Evaluate the Best Locations to Open the New Restaurants: The company would set a goal of continually scouting and evaluating possible locations for new restaurants over the next two years.

A group of people have the goal of creating a successful nonprofit organization in five years. Here are some examples of mid-term goals they would set and meet first:

  • Establish Partnerships with Local Environmental Organizations: The group of people would like to start a nonprofit focused on environmental conservation. A mid-term goal would be to develop and establish partnerships with key local environmental organizations within the next two years.
  • Develop and Implement a Solid Fundraising Strategy: The nonprofit needs funding to be successful. The organization would set a mid-term goal of developing an effective fundraising strategy within the next 18 months.
  • Build a Dedicated Team of Volunteers: To help it reach its long-term goal of establishing a successful nonprofit focused on environmental conservation, the organization would set a goal of building a system to attract and retain volunteers for the organization within the next year.

Examples of Short-Term Business Goals

Short-term business goals encompass work that helps an organization reach its mid-term goals. These goals are often meant to be reached in a month or a quarter. Some might take six months or so to accomplish. Only one department — or even only one worker — might work on some short-term goals.

Some experts call short-term goals objectives. They might call the shortest short-term goals tactics . (Learn more about the differences between business goals vs. business objectives and strategies vs. tactics.)

Keith Speers

“If one of my goals is to develop a content strategy — so that more people are aware of my company — I can't jump into Year Three and say, ‘I have a content strategy,’” shares Keith Speers, CEO of Consulting Without Limits , which provides business consulting, leadership coaching, fractional leadership, and other consulting services. “Part of that one- to three-year plan is developing my audience, curating them, creating content, and establishing myself as someone who's a thought leader in a specific field. All of that requires establishing short-term goals or objectives.”

The short-term goals or objectives are “more about the measurable steps or actions to take in order to reach that (mid- or long-term) goal,” states Marco Scanu, a business coach and CEO of Miami-based Visa Business Plans , a consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services.

Marco Scanu

Here are examples of short-term goals to build toward achieving the mid-term goals associated with expanding a company’s restaurant count from one to four: 

  • Assemble a Team to Develop a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Document for Current and Future Locations: To help reach the goal of systematizing its SOP for running its original restaurant, the company would set a short-term goal of developing a SOP document for the company’s original and future locations by the end of the next quarter.
  • Work With an HR Consultant to Attract and Retain Qualified Staff: To reach the mid-term goal of developing a hiring process that attracts talented workers who will stay with the company, the business would set a goal of hiring and working with a human resources consultant to find ways to attract and retain employees within the next month.
  • Create an Internal Team to Improve Compensation and Increase Retention: To reach the goal of developing a prosperous hiring process, the company would set a short-term goal of forming an internal team to assess ways to improve employee compensation and retention within the next two months.
  • Research Demographic/Economic Trends in the Metro Area: To achieve the goal of researching and evaluating the best locations for new restaurants, the company would set a short-term goal of researching demographic and economic trends within neighborhoods where they want to add new restaurants.
  • Work With a Real Estate Agency to Find Potential Buildings: To complete the mid-term goal of researching and evaluating the best locations for new restaurants, the company would set a goal of hiring and working with a real estate agency within the next two weeks. The real estate agent would continually search for good locations for possible new restaurants.

Here are examples of short-term goals necessary for a group of people to create a successful environmental conservation nonprofit:

  • Research and Identify Potential Partner Organizations and Establish Connections: To reach the mid-term goal of establishing partnerships with local environmental organizations, the founding group would set a goal of identifying specific organizations that might be good partners and connecting with their representatives in the next six weeks.
  • Research Grant Applications, Methods for Individual Donations, and Fundraising Events: To reach the goal of developing a solid fundraising strategy, the organization would set a short-term goal of researching the elements of  a fundraising plan that includes grant applications, individual donations, and fundraising events.
  • Identify and Collect Contact Details of Potential Volunteers: To build a dedicated team of volunteers, the organization would set a goal of meeting and collecting contact details of potential volunteers over the next four months.

Examples of Short- and Mid-Term Business Goals Contributing to Long-Term Goals

These examples break down how to strategically set short- and mid-term goals to achieve a company’s long-term more visionary goals. “I think of short-term and mid-term goals as stepping stones to your long-term goals, things you have to accomplish to be able to get to the next goal,” Frederiksen explains.

  • Short-Term Goal: Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to gather better information about potential and existing customers.
  • Short-Term Goal: Increase production of website content.
  • Short-Term Goal: Create and implement a new Google ad strategy.
  • Short-Term Goal: Establish an engineering and product team to tweak product features.
  • Short-Term Goal: Hire a new vice president of sales. 
  • Short-Term Goal: Add three new members to the overseas sales team.
  • Short-Term Goal: Hire a rebranding consultant.
  • Short-Term Goal: Hire a contractor to lead the website redesign.
  • Short-Term Goal: Find more opportunities for the new CEO to speak at industry events.
  • Short-Term Goal: Become a key sponsor of an annual industry conference.
  • Short-Term Goal: Empower the marketing vice president to pursue other sponsorship opportunities.

Business Goal-Setting Frameworks

When setting goals, it helps to use an established framework. Experts point out that, in setting business goals, people most often use one of five goal frameworks . Those frameworks are SMART, management by objectives (MBO), objectives and key results (OKR), key results areas (KRA) , or big hairy audacious goals (BHAG). Here are details on each of these business goal-setting frameworks and which goal length they work best for:

Which Business Goal-Setting Framework to Use

Learn more about goal-setting frameworks and use goal-setting and goal-tracking templates to get started working on your goals.

Business Goals Worksheet Template for Excel

Business Goals Worksheet Template

Download the Business Goals Worksheet Template for Excel

Use this free template to guide your team in setting long-, mid-, and short-term business goals. Identify long-term goals, and then the mid-term and short-term goals that serve them. You have room to add any tasks and actions that must be completed to reach those goals. The downloadable worksheet is fully customizable.

Improve Your Goal-Setting With Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

The differences between long-term and short-term planning

Last updated on: October 26, 2022

Sometimes, planning is easy – you know exactly where you want to go for lunch and your plan for the future is crystal clear.

But more often than not, planning is difficult – from lack of resources to lack of vision, from not knowing where and how to start to having difficulties with setting effective goals. The future can be unpredictable and planning can be tricky.

Yet, it’s not impossible. In this article, we’ll go over what long-term and short-term planning mean, what is the difference, as well as how to successfully do both. Of course, with examples included.

Long term plan - cover

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What are long-term and short-term planning?

Let’s start by defining what long-term and short-term planning are.

What is short-term planning?

Short-term planning is usually considered to take 12 months or less. Your daily, weekly, monthly, even quarterly and yearly goals – all can be filed under “short-term goals.” They are stepping stones that will help you to reach your big goal(s).

That type of planning requires you to look at the current situation and fix potential issues as soon as possible. Sometimes “as soon as possible” takes a day, sometimes 6 months, depending on the complexity of the issue.

Here are some examples of short-term goals, divided into five categories: career , education, personal development, finances, and marketing.

  • Career goals : “Apply for a job”, “Make a website for your business.”
  • Academic goals : “Take another marketing course”, “Pass the AP Statistics exam.”
  • Personal development goals : “Start going to bed before midnight”, “ Track your time for a month”, “Join a gym.”
  • Financial goals : “Pay off the debt”, “Get a raise before the end of the year.”
  • Marketing goals : “Increase brand awareness”, “Boost website traffic.”

💡 If you need help with setting short-term goals, these articles can come to the rescue: How to plan your day and stay organized & How to make productivity plan in five easy steps . For easier planning, check out Online planner templates too.

What is long-term planning?

Long-term planning involves goals that take a longer time to reach and require more steps; they usually take a minimum of a year or two to complete. They aim to permanently resolve issues and reach and maintain success over a continued period.

We’ll discuss an exact strategy to set and complete long-term goals later in this article.

Before that, let’s go over a few examples of long-term goals:

  • Career goals : “Build a profitable business”, “Turn your passion into a career.”
  • Academic goals : “Get a Bachelor’s degree”, “Get a Master’s degree abroad.”
  • Personal development goals : “Learn a foreign language”, “Travel on all 7 continents.”
  • Financial goals : “Save for retirement”, “Become a millionaire.”

What is medium-term planning?

That’s not all, folks: there’s also medium-term planning . It entails applying more permanent solutions to short-term problems and implementing policies and procedures to make sure that those short-term problems won’t happen again. If a piece of equipment breaks, a short-term solution would be to fix it, while a medium-term solution would be to invest in a service contract.

Another example of medium-term planning is investing in employees’ training programs rather than organizing a workshop from time to time (which is a short-term solution).

Key differences between long-term and short-term planning

The most obvious difference between long-term and short-term planning is the amount of time each one takes; while short-term planning involves processes that take 12 months or less, long-term planning is, as the name suggests, longer – there’s no upper limit to the longevity of a long-term plan.

There’s an anecdote that Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, told a group of managers that it’s “important to think where we should be in 200 years.” (You don’t have to think that far ahead – a 5-year plan is completely fine.)

Another difference is their complexity: long-term planning is more elaborate, tactical, and involves more steps. As opposed to that, short-term planning is often quite straightforward. Short-term goals usually serve as milestones that get you to your long-term goal.

In business, short-term goals are mostly focused on internal issues, such as customer complaints or inefficient management, while long-term goals cover both external and internal issues. When you’re planning long-term, you need to be aware of external factors, like global trends and changes, political situation, the ways current events may affect the economy, and so on.

The difference between long-term and strategic planning

Another frequently asked question is: Is strategic planning the same as long-term planning? If not, what’s the difference between the two?

Strategic planning consists of statements and goals that determine things such as:

  • Where your company should be in the next couple of years and how to get there;
  • How to successfully respond to changes in the environment;
  • What’s the anticipated financial performance;
  • What’s the most effective business strategy.

Strategic plans are not actionable – that’s where long-term planning comes in.

Long-term planning determines concrete processes and actions needed to achieve strategic goals. It also focuses on setting priorities, aligning resources, forecasting, and handling unexpected changes.

In other words, strategic planning determines what and long-term planning determines how .

How to set long-term goals in 5 steps

As setting good long-term goals is the foundation of every other planning you’re going to do, it’s important to get it right. That can often be hard and overwhelming, especially if you’re making plans for the distant future, e.g. 10 years in advance – which is why we made this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Define your vision

Ask yourself: What is your (or your company’s) vision? What is your purpose? What are your core values? If you’re a company: what problem do you want to solve and how would the world look without that problem?

Ideally, where would you want to be 3, 5, and 10 years from now? What is, right now, stopping you from achieving that? What changes do you need to make? If (or better to say, when ) you manage to achieve your goals, how different would things be, and in what way?

All these questions will help you clarify what do you want to achieve. The next step is – how to get there?

Step 2: Set SMART goals

If you’re sure in the direction you want to take, it’s time to set goals. They should be challenging, yet achievable, and most importantly, they should be SMART.

The examples I’ll provide to explain each letter of this acronym are mostly short-term goals as it’s easier to understand that way, but these criteria can (and should) be applied to any type of goal, including long-term goals.

  • Specific : Once I heard someone say that “goals should have their name and last name”, meaning they need to be as particular and well-defined as possible. “I want to find a job” is not a specific goal, while “I want to land a _____ position in ____ field, preferably in ____ type of company in ____ area” has a name, last name, even a middle name.
  • Measurable : In order to know if you’re making progress, you need to be able to measure it. That’s why setting goals such as “increase brand awareness” is not very good – how do you know if you accomplished it or not? Instead, try something like “get 5K followers on Instagram and 1K likes on our Facebook page.”
  • Attainable : As we mentioned above, the goals you set should be challenging, but possible to achieve. “Earn a million dollars in a week” is measurable and time-bound, but not realistic, at least not for most of us (that being said, if it’s realistic for you, go ahead and set that goal).
  • Relevant : Relevant goal is a goal that fits your vision and has importance to you. If you want to be a lawyer, setting a goal of graduating from medical school doesn’t make a lot of sense for your career path.
  • Time-bound : Give yourself a specific time frame to complete the goal; if it has multiple steps, impose a deadline for each milestone.

Step 3: Break down your goals into smaller ones

After you set your SMART goals, it’s time to break them down into smaller chunks, that will again be divided into series of actionable steps.

Big goals often consist of a few milestones that you need to reach; each one should become its own short-term or medium-term goal. Think of them as checkpoints in a race or levels in a game – you need to pass them all to get to the finish line and win.

Keep dividing it until your big goal becomes a weekly or daily to-do list. The more complicated the goal is, the more times you’ll have to break it down into smaller parts.

Let’s say you just got into university and your goal is to get your Bachelor’s degree.

  • First, you’ll divide it into 3 or 4 goals (depending on how many years it lasts): “finish 1st year”, “finish 2nd year”, and so on.
  • To be able to do that, you need to pass your exams, and each of the exams will become its own goal.
  • To pass each exam, you usually have to take quizzes, write papers, make presentations, etc; again, each of those pre-requirements becomes a subgoal.
  • Then you divide that into concrete steps: doing research, writing the first draft of your paper, editing it…

By making tiny steps like these, you’ll eventually and gradually accomplish your long-term goal.

Step 4: Prioritize

Go through your list of goals and put them in the order of their priority. That will facilitate making short-term goals and organizing your time, energy, and money in the right way. First focus on the goal(s) that will make the most difference and that align with your values the most.

Also, ask yourself: Are there some areas that need immediate assistance? Are any of those goals time-sensitive? What is the likely outcome of (not) making this a priority?

Step 5: Keep updating your list

Goals and priorities may change over time. Because of that, it would be a good idea to occasionally go through your list, make sure it’s up to date and change something if needed.

There are different types of planning: short-term, long-term, and medium-term. Short-term planning focuses on resolving present issues and takes 12 months or less.

Long-term planning is more complex and tactical and takes more time.

Medium-term planning means applying long-term solutions to short-term problems.

What all of them have in common is that all of them require thinking ahead, setting goals effectively, and problem-solving.

✉️ Do you find long-term and short-term planning difficult? What are your long-term and short-term goals? What is, according to you, the best way to plan for the future? Write to us at blogfeed[email protected] for a chance to be featured in future articles.

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Dunja is a content manager passionate about time management and self-improvement. After years of trying out all the productivity techniques she managed to come across, her goal become to share her knowledge and help others to become the best, most successful versions of themselves.

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How to Do Strategic Planning Like a Futurist

short and long term planning in business

You don’t need a time line; you need a time cone.

Chief strategy officers and those responsible for shaping the direction of their organizations are often asked to facilitate “visioning” meetings. This helps teams brainstorm ideas, but it isn’t a substitute for critical thinking about the future. Neither are the one-, three-, or five-year strategic plans that have become a staple within most organizations, though they are useful for addressing short-term operational goals. Futurists think about time differently, and company strategists could learn from their approach. For any given uncertainty about the future — whether that’s risk, opportunity, or growth — we tend to think in the short- and long-term simultaneously. To do this, consider using a framework that doesn’t rely on linear timelines or simply mark the passage of time as quarters or years. Instead, use a time cone that measures certainty and charts actions.

I recently helped a large industrial manufacturing company with its strategic planning process. With so much uncertainty surrounding autonomous vehicles, 5G, robotics, global trade, and the oil markets, the company’s senior leaders needed a set of guiding objectives and strategies linking the company’s future to the present day. Before our work began in earnest, executives had already decided on a title for the initiative: Strategy 2030.

short and long term planning in business

  • Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist, CEO of Future Today Institute, and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business. She is the author of The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream ,  The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity , and The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology .

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short and long term planning in business

Don’t underestimate the outsized impact of short-term goals

If long-term goals are the destination, short-term goals are the roadmap.

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Whether you realize it or not, you probably already set quite a few short-term goals for yourself.

You want to sort your to-do list before your morning meeting. You want to go for a walk over lunch at least three days this week. You want to land five speaking opportunities this quarter. 

Throughout your day, week, month, or year, you set small-in-scope, attainable finish lines that give you a little boost of forward momentum. Those are short-term goals. But what exactly makes these bite-sized objectives so helpful? 

Let’s explore the power behind short-term goal-setting – and how you can hack these goals to boost your own motivation and sense of satisfaction.

What is a short-term goal?

A short-term goal is exactly what it sounds like: it’s something that you want to accomplish in the relatively near future. 

Simple enough, but it’s worth digging a little further into the mechanics of this type of goal. A short-term goal:

  • Can be accomplished in a short timeframe (most experts say within a year or less)
  • Details a specific action to take or target to accomplish
  • Supports a broader vision for your career or life

Here are a few short-term goals – both personal and professional – to get your own wheels turning: 

Short-term career goal examples

  • Complete company’s three-month leadership training program
  • Lead a cross-functional project this quarter
  • Provide praise and positive feedback to at least one employee per week this month

Short-term personal goal examples

  • Stretch every day this week
  • Read two books this month
  • Pay off car loan by the end of the year

Long-term goals vs. short-term goals: What’s the difference? 

So how do short-term goals stack up against long-term counterparts? It’s easy to think about them in terms of duration – short-term goals impact the near future and long-term goals look further out. But to get a more nuanced handle on the difference between short-term and long-term goals, it’s better to think about their intent :

  • Long-term goals reflect your overall values, beliefs, and desires.
  • Short-term goals are the specific actions you take to pursue those broader ambitions.

If your short-term goal is to complete your company’s leadership training program, that might feed your long-term goal of moving into a management position. Or your short-term goal might be to pay off your car loan because your long-term goal is to be debt-free.

Why bother setting short-term goals?

If you have your sights set on a faraway finish line anyway (whether that’s a promotion, financial independence, or something else), what’s the point of making pit stops along the way? Short-term goal setting is beneficial for a few important reasons. 

1. Short-term goals are more motivating

Use motivation theory to inspire your team’s best work

Use motivation theory to inspire your team’s best work

Anybody who’s ever set a New Year’s resolution (and then kissed it goodbye come February) will admit that it’s tough to muster the gumption to actually achieve a goal. Fortunately, short-term ambitions can give your motivation a much-needed boost.

You can thank the neurotransmitter dopamine for that. While it’s typically thought of as the feel-good brain chemical that’s released in response to a reward, research shows that it’s actually closely tied to motivation too. Dopamine is what pushes us to seek the reward in the first place.

Your brain knows that it feels good to accomplish things – it wants to cross that finish line. So, you’ll not only get a dopamine spike when you set the goal, but also when you’re close to achieving it . 

Basically, your brain would much prefer an immediate celebration over delayed gratification, and short-term goals offer a more instant reward. 

2. Short-term goals make the process feel more manageable

What feels easier? Going for a 30-minute walk today or training for an entire marathon? Even elite runners will likely admit that the walk requires a lot less sweat (both literally and figuratively).

Pursuing our goals often requires changing our behavior , whether that’s in big or small ways. And even on a good day, altering our habits, attitudes, and actions is tough. Short-term goals make it all feel a little more doable, not by changing your lofty and intimidating goals, but by dividing them into more attainable guideposts. 

3. Short-term goals give you an action plan

It’s easy to figure out where you want to go – getting there is the hard part. While setting a long-term goal pinpoints the target, it doesn’t actually fuel your journey.

That’s why you need short-term goals too. They detail the smaller behaviors and actions you need to take to move toward your long-term objectives. 

If long-term goals are the destination, short-term goals are the roadmap. 

4. Short-term goals allow for regular reflection and adjustments

Much like your desires and values, your goals will change over time. In addition to short-term goals serving as milestones when you can celebrate your progress, they also provide an opportunity for reflection.

How do you feel accomplishing this goal? Is it as rewarding as you thought it would be? Why or why not? Does it still align with your overarching vision?  

That’s not to say you need to sit yourself down for in-depth self-analysis every time you check something off your list. Sometimes it’s just a gut check that occurs naturally. 

If you finish that leadership program and feel drained rather than energized? That’s an indicator that you should reevaluate if you want to move into a management position at all, or if perhaps your aspirations have shifted somewhere along the way.

Better to change course now than when you’re at the end of the road.

How to set motivating short-term goals

How to write SMART goals

How to write SMART goals

Short-term goals are more action-oriented than your longer-term objectives. But then what separates them from all of the tasks that you frantically scribble on your daily to-do list? Short-term goal setting requires a little more thought and intentionality than jotting down every task you need to check off that day. One of the best ways to ensure you’re investing the right amount of planning is by using the SMART goal framework .

In case you haven’t heard of SMART before, it’s an acronym to help you remember that your goals should be: 

  • Specific: Be clear about what exactly needs to be accomplished. In the case of short-term goals, this should be an explicit action you want to take.
  • Measurable: Include a quantifiable benchmark so you’ll know when you’re successful.
  • Achievable: Especially since your short-term goals don’t stretch on forever, you need to confirm that they’re realistically attainable in a shorter time frame.
  • Relevant: Remember that your short-term goals are intended to support something bigger, so they need to be relevant to your overall vision.
  • Time-bound: Every goal needs a deadline—and that’s especially true for short-term goals. What’s the end date for when you need to take that action?

Most of the short-term goal examples we listed above already incorporate elements of the SMART framework, but we can expand on them further to provide more helpful details. Here’s what that could look like: 

SMART short-term career goal examples

  • Complete company’s three-month leadership training program this May
  • Kick off a cross-functional project involving at least three teams by the end of the quarter
  • Provide praise and positive feedback in-person or in writing to at least one employee per week this month

SMART short-term personal goal examples

  • Stretch for at least 10 minutes every day this week
  • Read two books (one fiction and one non-fiction) by the end of the month
  • Pay off remaining $4,000 balance on car loan by the end of the year

Short-term goals might not look years down the line, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of some careful thought and planning. The SMART goal framework will help you set meaningful targets, rather than hollow or trivial to-dos. 

Short-term goals: So much more than quick wins

Yes, short-term goals are objectives you set for the near future – but they’re so much more than low-hanging fruit you can grab for some instant gratification and a quick hit of dopamine.

Short-term goals give you a detailed action plan to realize your bigger ambitions and values. And they give you plenty of opportunities to reflect on whether the path you’re on is the one you actually want to stay on. 

That’s a pretty big impact for a supposedly small goal.

Advice, stories, and expertise about work life today.

Key Differences: Long-Term vs. Short-Term Planning

Kamil Ciosmak

Not sure about short term or long term planning? Let’s take a closer look at each and see which one aligns best with your business needs.

What is short-term planning?

Typically speaking, short term planning will refer to revenue earned specifically between 3 and 6 months. Because of this, the plans are often tailored to achieving short-term goals, which could be something simple like launching a new product or service, or even looking for opportunities to increase profitability.

Even when using these kinds of strategies to improve an aspect of your business quickly, it’s still a good idea to have a general idea of what your long-term goals are to make sure that they align with each other. It’s ideal for meeting certain requirements or ambitions that are more immediate and when done correctly, could be incredibly beneficial for essentially any company.

When planning short term goals, it’s often vital to consider what is feasibly attainable and how you could potentially reach those aspirations in a short amount of time. If you want a little assistance, you could always use this template to have a simple and clear structure to follow.

What is long-term planning?

When you consider long term planning strategies, it’s usually important to take a different perspective on things. Rather than looking at goals that need to be achieved in the near future, you need to be considerate of what your company is – your ideology, purpose, and identity in the market. All of these can be crucial to devising the best long-term plan.

One aspect that makes long-term planning more challenging is that you won’t always be able to predict what happens in the future. Planning for the next few months is far easier than a plan that spans the next 5 or so years. There are simply so many changes that could happen in that time that your plan will need to be flexible, whilst still holding true to its purpose.

Just like with short term plans, most will find that long term strategy planning can be incredibly beneficial and rewarding, but it all depends on what it is your company needs and how you go about obtaining your goals.

What are the main differences between short-term and long-term planning?

As you can tell from those quick explanations, there are quite a few things that differentiate short and long term planning. This can range from the process itself to the types of goals that you can achieve, so it really is important to understand what each one could offer and what it could mean for your business. With this in mind, here are some of the key differences between the two:

  • Short term is often focused exclusively on smaller goals, whereas long term plans tend to keep the broader scale of a business’ future into consideration
  • A short-term plan can be ideal for solving immediate concerns, whereas long term ones can be focused on preventing more significant issues
  • Usually, businesses will find that a short-term strategy will be far more straightforward than a long term one
  • Short term goals can be used as small checkpoints to reaching a long term objective, but long term plans don’t support short term ones in the same way

How to set long-term planning goals?

A good long-term strategy can be beneficial to a business in many ways. Whether it’s because of the clarity they offer or the fact that you can make a long-term goal to fit a variety of needs. Here are a couple of key points to consider when planning a strategy for the future of your organization:

  • Don’t just settle for a generic plan; give yourself something more specific so you know what it is you’re working towards
  • Set yourself a time frame for when you plan to achieve your goals. Whatever your goals may be, from beating the completion to providing the best quality services you can, having an estimated duration is essential.
  • Make sure that the goal is clear. Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you’ll need to keep it in mind as you go about managing your business for quite a few years, so it’s best to make it clear and memorable.
  • Make choices that can support your strategy. In general, having a good plan that you can use to assist you in making business decisions – or alternatively, the decisions that you make with the end goal in mind should align with your strategy

Three tips on how to set short-term planning goals

Focus on time management #1.

Another great way to ensure that you can not only set but achieve your short term planning goals is to manage your time properly. Fortunately, this can often be done in a variety of ways. Even something as simple as creating a schedule to plan out your project and needs (which you can do with Online Work Schedule Maker ) can make a significant difference to what you’re able to do.

Alongside that, utilizing a tool like Work Time Tracker could also be fantastic if you’re hoping to improve time management and create the ideal short-term plan.

Find the right talent #2

In most cases, your employees will play a major role in your ability to reach your goals, whether short-term or in the long run. Because of this, making sure that you have the right team of dedicated and qualified workers will often be important.

If you need to hire new team members for the task at hand, you’ll be glad to hear that there are plenty of learning resources available to you. This entry providing an introduction to strategic HR , for example, could offer you an excellent opportunity to learn more on this subject.

Consider the benefits of short term goals #3

In most cases, there are going to be a number of good things that come with these kinds of strategies – and it’s best to use these to your advantage. Often, they’re best when they’re somewhat flexible for small adjustments at the very least, but specific and geared towards a set goal. With well-laid plans, you can rest assured that things are more likely to work out as you want.

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short and long term planning in business

Business planning: Short, medium and long-term objectives

short and long term planning in business

When writing a business plan what is meant by 'short-term objective', 'medium-term objective' and 'long-term objective'?

short and long term planning in business

The difference between short, medium, and long-term objectives is the time frame of each, and the implication this has on the nature of the objectives.

Short-term objectives are generally those relating to that financial year, in a time frame from now to the end of the year (ie up to a year away).

An example might be to raise turnover by 8 per cent and profit by 9 per cent by the end of the financial year.

Medium-term objectives are generally those that relate to a period from 18 months to three years or sometimes five years (whichever is appropriate for the organisation and people setting the objectives).

These objectives will therefore be broader, can be reviewed and may need to be amended with time. An example might be to relocate to brand new premises of 20,000 sq ft by March 2021.

Of course, the medium-term will become short-term with the passage of time and should be reviewed and updated with this in mind.

Longer-term objectives are generally more aspirational and so tend to relate to a period of five years plus. Often for owners and/or managers, these can tie closely in with personal goals and work-life balance . An example might be to sell the business for £5 million before the owner/manager turns 60.

Alex Ingham, managing director – MI Supplies

Alex Ingham, managing director of workwear and clothing site MI Supplies, put together a three-year growth plan called Project 2020 to get the company in gear.

Alex Ingham sets out his objectives which help with business planning

Focusing on our website, we are extending the MI brand to overseas markets with sites designed specifically for the German and French territories in 2018.

We already have a very strong website in comparison to our competitors. Where we feel we can stand out, however, is by having multi-lingual sites across the UK and Europe.

Our first one for Germany is launching in just a few weeks’ time. We feel we have a great offer for the German market, where the majority of sites do not have the same breadth of brand and styles as we can provide.

We are working closely with our internal web team, very closely with our supplier base and have a team of people from our web platform company, Visualsoft, all working towards the same goal.

MI Supplies is also currently looking at each courier option for each EU country.

The reason for implementing Project 2020 was to spread our risk; not being dependent on one region, one country or one economy. Very often when one country in Europe has a downturn or recession, there are other countries that have an upturn. This is, we feel, a good plan to ensure we counter any downturns in certain countries.

We are looking at pushing our online turnover to £10 million per annum by the end of 2020 with the goal of hitting four million website visitors for our multi-site offering across Europe.

Simon Freer, owner – SAF Professional Cleaning Services Ltd

Working with a business coach can be the starting point for many business owners when it comes to objective setting. That was the experience of Simon Freer, owner of Surrey-based contract cleaning company, SAF Professional Cleaning Services Ltd .

Simon Freer talks about his objectives which help with business planning

I was operating as a sole trader when I first started a coaching programme with the Engineering Growth Club to set clear and measurable business objectives.

I found it challenging at first because we spent time looking at the business in detail across five dimensions – sales marketing, finance, talent and process – so we could drill down on what the business vision and purpose was: our USPs and what we wanted to achieve in the short, medium and longer term.

This is what I did this for each dimension, setting objectives in every area. These varied from sourcing the right talent, to establishing operational processes, to improving conversion rates for marketing and sales.

Having always been very reactive and basically being busy all the time but in an unstructured, non-goal orientated way, it was painful to be setting measurable goals, but adopting this as a discipline has transformed my business.

In the past 18 months, I’ve gone from being a sole trader on small contracts, to incorporating and then winning some very big contract customers. I now have a team of people working for me in the back office and I’ve doubled my turnover – all as a result of having clear, focused objectives which I reviewed and became accountable for.

Writing a business plan

However, it is imperative when setting business goals, whether they are short-term or long-term, that they follow the principle of SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound, if they are to be truly effective.

A business plan is a great tool to help you methodically plot your business goals and objectives,

Simon Freer followed the ‘strategy on a page’ model rather than writing a chunky business plan,

‘This places everything that’s essential within a business plan on a single page and it’s much more like a living document that you can tweak and change on an ongoing basis,’ he says.

  ‘There’s no point having an extensive business plan that’s out of date by the time it’s finished and never reviewed again. Far better to have a condensed version that’s linked to your objectives. You will refer to it constantly and it always keeps you on track.’

Read the article here on how to write a business proposal

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Table of Contents

The Key Differences Between Short-Term and Long-Term Planning

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In the present business context, business owners strategize their businesses in terms of short-term, long-term, and medium-term. Short and long-term goals are crucial to achieving success. Don’t you believe us? Look at the data because numbers never lie.

The study conducted by BiWorldWide finds that goal-oriented organizations have 6.7 times more employees who are proud of their organization . Also, this other reports of 2020 show that goal-oriented people are ten times more successful than non-goals-oriented people.

Organizations need clear goals to exponentially increase their work performance and success rate. However, they need to be careful while setting up goals since a project significantly depends on both short- and long-term planning. 

That’s why it’s important for organizations to understand the key differences between short-term and long-term planning so they can choose the right approach to handle their business processes. 

Follow this article to learn a brief overview of the two types of planning and explains the key differences between them .

What are short-term, medium-term planning, and long-term planning?

Companies adopt different approaches to execute their business processes. This includes the two most common types of planning: short-term and long-term. Both approaches have different objectives, horizons, and techniques. These two aren’t the only approach in use. Medium-term planning is also quite in use these days.

Overall, these planning methods help to measure and improve the performance of both employees and the organization. Let’s start defining them one by one.

What is short-term planning?

Short-term planning is a process that businesses use to create a roadmap for achieving specific goals within a specific timeframe. This process generally covers a period of time ranging from six months to one year.

The goal of short-term planning is to identify the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the desired objectives. This process typically begins with a review of the current situation and the identification of the desired outcomes. Once the goals have been identified, the steps that need to be taken to achieve them can be mapped out.

The main vision of short-term planning focus on satisfying the investors who want to improve the company’s bottom line. As a final result, your organization can get additional financing to achieve long-term goals.

When planning such a strategy, a company must consider the current situation and issues as soon as possible. An evaluation can take a day, a month, or a year, depending on the problems and their complexity.

Short-term planning requires consideration of the following concepts:

  • Stock investments
  • Organization
  • Savings of capital
  • Networking ability
  • Communication
  • Daily routines
  • Detail-oriented

Further, depending on the organization’s characteristics, short-term plans focus on improving things— for instance , developing a new product. 

However, the company must ensure that the plan facilitates long-term objectives too. The newly launched product must secure the company’s brand name.

Short-term planning includes the solution of short-term issues such as the skills of the employees, product quality, machine condition, employee attitudes, and product complaints. 

However, organizations can set training courses for employees, quality assurance, and equipment servicing as short-term solutions. It will help you to address long-term problems as well.

What is medium-term planning?

Medium-term planning mainly focuses on ensuring that the short-term issues of the organization won’t reoccur again. For that, it requires implementing lasting solutions to short-term problems and applying procedures and policies. 

The medium-term plan focuses on resolving short-term issues permanently. For example , when the equipment fails, the short-term goal is to repair it. In contrast, the medium-term plan or the solution is to sign a service contract. 

As another example of medium-term planning , investing in employees’ training programs is a better option than holding workshops periodically.

It may take up to 3 years to achieve medium-term goals. It’s a long enough time to be thoughtful about your long-term goal. However, it is still not enough for you to project the desired result.

What is long-term planning?

As the name suggests, long-term planning means setting goals that take a long time to achieve. It focuses on eliminating the problem permanently and archive entire goals. 

The long-term strategy analyzes the company’s competitive condition and threats that they face. The threats can be the social, political, and economic environment, possible changes in suppliers, and the development of new products. Based on the analysis , it develops a long-term strategy for adopting its position.

Furthermore, it evaluates the major capital expenditure, such as buying tools/equipment and facilities and implementing rules and procedures that elevate the company’s profile to match top management’s goals.

Long-term planning builds on short-term and medium-term accomplishments , preserving those achievements and ensuring continued progress.

A management team has to reach a consensus when creating long-term goals so they are unlikely to be changed once they are set.

The time frame to achieve the long-term goal is between four to five years . However, the timeframe will vary depending on the type of business and goal.

                           📙Learn about: The complete guide to Organizational Behaviour

Key differences between long-term and short-term planning.

Planning for the short term involves analyzing your current performance and formulating an action plan for enhancing it. In contrast, long-term planning is a complete systematic framework comprising goals the company needs to meet within a specific four-to-five-year timeframe.

Let’s discuss the main differences between long-term and short-term planning.

Typically, short-term planning involves solving short-term or immediate problems . This will enable us to see the results in less than a year. 

In contrast, long-term planning evaluates the company’s stability and long-term goals in the projected future to drive it in a strategic direction. Long-term planning has no upper limit. But normally it’s up to 5 years. Also, it depends on how short-term plans are achieved.

The short-term goal is tied to a long-term goal. But to ensure you’re working properly, daily adjustments are needed. That’s why the scope of short-term planning gets changes often in contrast to the long-term plan.

Unlike long-term planning, which is based on consultation with key employees, short-term planning changes daily.

A short-term plan is executed based on ongoing operations, which can indicate if projects are being completed. It is the determining factor in long-term planning. The long-term goal depends on the short-term goals.

For example , you are going to open new a new office branch. To accomplish this, you need to first research the area, analyze your competitors, and hire employees to attract potential buyers.

Here, your short-term goal can be finding the perfect area and analyzing competitors. And if you don’t have time on researching them, you won’t be able to achieve them. Further, these short-term objectives are not related to each other.

However, without analyzing competitors, and doing research on the area, you can’t open a brand office. So, it is clear that several short-term plans must successfully achieve one long-term plan. 

Normally, short-term planning focus on solving current internal issues such as hiring new employee, the relationship between stakeholders and staff, team leader, leadership teams, and organizational structure.

Further, it includes a lack of training, high rejection rates, customer complaints, etc. To minimize the damage, they devise an action plan that can be implemented in a short period of time.

In contrast, long-term planning in business covers internal and external problems that impact the business. You should consider external factors such as the current political situation, global trends and economic change, etc.

It also includes competition pressure, key supplier, legal issues, and social problems that affect your efforts to fulfill your vision.

Planning for the short term is straightforward and flexible. This is because short-term plans only cover a short period, so they can easily adapt to changing circumstances. They are the stepping stones that help you to achieve the long-term objective.  

Meanwhile, long-term goals are complex and tactical . So, it is difficult to achieve them. They require detailed planning on how to succeed and get there. Your short-term goals naturally take you to your long-term goals. 

Finally, short-term plans are typically more flexible than long-term plans. Long-term plans, on the other hand, are more difficult to change because they cover a more extended time.

Differences Between Short-Term and Long-Term Planning

                    🎁Bonus Article: Tips for boosting productivity for business owners

The difference between long-term and strategic planning

A question that is frequently asked is: Are strategic plans the same as long-term plans? If not, what makes them different?

Many people think they are the same. However, there is a difference between long-term and strategic planning. Let’s find out what it is.

Business plan statistics show that 25% of startups without business plans will fail within two years.

That’s why for any business to get successful, there must have a solid strategy plan. Strategic planning is a structured process that includes making specific business strategies , implementing them, and determining the result.

It helps you determine what strategic initiatives and objectives to focu s on to accomplish your vision and goals.

A strategic plan consists of three fundamental steps:

  • Formulation of plan
  • Implementation and execution of the plan
  • Evaluation.

In contrast, long-term planning determines the actions and processes you need to achieve specific strategic goals. Further, it concentrates on setting priorities, handling unforeseen changes, forecasting, and managing resources.

In a single sentence, a company’s strategic planning dictates what it will do, and long-term planning dictates how it will do it.

How to use SMART goals for short-term planning?

A short-term plan can be interpreted as measurable action taken to execute a strategy agreed to by management and the organization as a whole.

As a result, short-term success depends on assigning and completing a series of objectives. In fact, short-term planning can be handled under the SMART formula. However, if you don’t know how to use the SMART framework for short-term planning, continue reading the blog.

Get familiar with the SMART framework.

Short-term planning can be categorized as SMART planning. Usually, lower-level employees execute the short-term plan specified by their manager. 

SMART stands for

S ➡ Specific, 

M ➡ Measurable, 

A ➡ Achievable/Actionable, 

R ➡ Relevant/Realistic, and

T ➡ Time-bound.

The SMART formula has five components, each of which is broken down here.

1. Specific

The purpose of this component is to determine what you want to achieve in a short period. While drafting your goal, you should focus on five “Wh” questions.

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • Who are involved?
  • Why is the goal important?
  • Where is it situated?
  • Which limits or resources are involved?

You must have a clear and specific goal. Otherwise, you can’t focus on your efforts and feel motivated to accomplish them.

2. Measurable 

The milestones you set will help you to visualize the time required to complete your short-term planning steps. To know whether you’re making progress, you have to measure it. That’s why it is essential to have measurable goals. 

When you track the progress, you can stay focused, meet the deadlines and feel the pleasure and enthusiasm of getting closer to accomplishing your goal.

Measurable goals should answer questions like these:

  • How will I know when it is achieved?

3. Achievable 

Your short-term goal must be realistic and achievable to be successful. In simple terms, it’s okay if the goal stretches your capability, but it should remain possible to attain.

By setting an achievable goal, you may find the previously missed chances or resources that can help you bring closer to the goal.

  • Your attainable goal normally answers queries like
  • How can I achieve this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal, depending on resources like the financial components?

4. Relevant

Now, this component is about ensuring that your target goal matter to you. And they are aligned with other related goals. 

Plan your strategy according to the company’s core values. Creating a process that promotes employee efficiency will benefit your business.

Answering “yes” to the following questions is indicative of a relevant goal:

  • Does the goal seem worthy?
  • Is now the right time?
  • Does the goal match our other efforts?
  • Is it relevant in today’s socioeconomic environment?

5. Time-bound

Management should define the timeframe for the team to plan for and adapt to changes. When they have a deadline, they can focus on them and look toward it.

These SMART goal criteria help you prioritize your long-term goals over everyday tasks.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

In six months, what can I do?

In six weeks, what can I do?

Today, what can I do?

Discuss short-term planning needs with management to ensure the employees’ satisfaction.

It is important to discuss short-term planning needs with management to ensure the employees’ satisfaction. This will help to ensure that the company’s goals are being met and that the employees are happy with their current situation. Doing this will also help to foster a positive working environment and to keep the company’s morale high.

By asking team members what their views are on short-term planning and listening to their idea, they feel heard and valued. 

So, before deciding on a short-term goal, make sure that your team shares the same expectations on how short-term planning should be done. Getting employee feedback is the best solution for any organization to gain success.

Prioritize what your company needs to achieve.

Understanding the SMART framework’s working mechanism helps your company perform daily tasks and determine which areas need immediate attention. 

Many companies make the mistake of trying to achieve too many things at once. This can lead to scattered effort and ultimately, subpar results. If you want your company to be successful, you need to focus on a few key objectives and prioritize them accordingly.

Ask yourself what your company needs to achieve in order to be successful. Once you have your answer, you can develop a short plan to make it happen. By focusing on objectives with higher priorities first, you can ensure that your company is on the right track to success.

How to set short-term goals in 5 steps?

Goals can play an important role in your career development. The purpose of short-term goals is to increase proficiency and develop abilities within a realistic timeframe. A goal that complements your daily priorities can be greatly beneficial for your professional development over the long run.

Using the SMART formula, you can set short-term goals in a quick time. Here are some of the short-term goal-setting tips that you can follow.

Define your vision to the team member

You must start from the end. Imagine your (your organization’s) target goal and take the steps required to achieve them. Your long-term planning holds several short-term goals. So, first, decide what you actually want to achieve. 

What is restricting you from accomplishing them? What are the core values of your company? And what do you need to do to achieve them? Once you have your vision, remind your team member what your company’s short-term goals are.

Provide skills to the team

Identify what skills or tools your team members need to achieve that success. It can be the training and webinars to new technology, more extensive staff, access to the latest technology, or anything required to achieve a short-term goal. You must add them to the goal-creation process.

Review your progress regularly

Keep track of your progress periodically by checking in with yourself. Analyze how far you’ve come by using some kind of metric. You can discuss with the human resource team how to track business goals’ success. It will motivate you to keep going.

Prioritize your goal

Go through the list of your short-term goals and determine which ones are most urgent.  After that, you can move on to other projects as you become more comfortable with them. First, concentrate on the goals that matter to you most and coincide with your values.

Adapt to the change

 The world around us is unpredictable. So, while trying to achieve your goals, problems may arise. But you should always be ready to make changes. You have to change the tactics but not the goal. Don’t hesitate to shift the approach if you need to.

How to set long-term goals in 5 steps?

Creating long-term goals is essential because it helps you to lead your business in the right direction by making strategic plans. But do you know how to set long-term goals?

If not, continue reading the blog.

The following five steps will assist you to set long-term ambitions .

Identify your vision

The first and foremost step while setting a long-term goal is acknowledging the goal that you want to achieve.

Whether you want to open a new branch in another state or list among the best companies, the goals can differ. However, you must identify what you want to accomplish. Further, the goals should be realistic and measurable. You can use a SMART formula to set the goals.

If you have multiple long-term goals, divide your efforts and time to work on them simultaneously. But if you don’t find it flexible, it’s better to prioritize the crucial long-term aims.

Find out how much time it will take to complete

After finding the goal you want to achieve, it’s time to determine the time it may require. Though the ideal time the goals need completion is difficult to find, you can have an estimated time. 

Ensure that you have a realistic timeline to achieve your goal. However, sometimes external factors can affect the time-bound required to complete the goal. So, consider some possible delays when estimating your goal’s duration.

Prepare an action plan

Writing an action plan is an essential part of setting a long-term objective. It is a checklist that gives you the detailed information about all the required steps and tasks to complete prior to achieving a certain goal. 

It usually comprises a description of a particular goal, the steps, the responsible team member for each task , deadlines for each, required resources, and measures to track the progress of each step.

Track your progress

Now, you must measure the progress of your goal. It will allow you to see what positive improvements you are making toward your goal. The progress tracking process differs depending on the number of people involved and the type of goal.

External or internal issues may restrict you from achieving your ultimate goal. They may halt the progress. That’s why you must prepare to adjust if anything interrupts achieving the goal. 

Be consistent and if one approach fails, try to apply the next one. But never give up.

Effects of long-term planning on the organization

Long-term planning is essential to set the organization because they help you maintain focus. When you define practical long-term objectives, explaining the steps necessary to achieve them is easier. Having a long-term goal can also help you gain a sense of purpose and motivation. 

  • Long-term planning ensures that the company stays on track and meets its goals while providing a roadmap for employees to follow.
  • Additionally, long-term planning can help to foster a sense of teamwork and cooperation within the organization, as everyone works towards the same objectives. 
  • Further, long-term goal makes businesses become proactive with their growth rather than reacting to the present conditions.
  • Finally, long-term goals streamline communication between different all levels of the organization, as everyone is aware of the company’s overall objectives.

Many benefits can come from long-term planning within an organization:

  • Less Risk: Taking a risk on an initiative without sufficient testing and tweaking time means rolling the dice. When you commit to a short-term schedule, you may not be able to adjust based on what you see. However, long-term goals help you track results and adjust if necessary.
  • Spread costs: Long-term planning allows you to budget for new initiatives over time. A new product line or division may not be feasible to fund with cash. You add interest to your costs when you take out a loan to create something new. 

You can adequately fund new initiatives by budgeting some of your revenues or profits over a period of several years without compromising current operations.

                           😍Check out: Excellent tips to Manage Difficult Employees

  • Remove distractions: Management, through retreats, can concentrate on a specific task by eliminating interruptions from colleagues, clients, or suppliers. 

The use of email, texts, and phones at work often interrupts employees’ work. During a retreat, focusing on strategic planning will be more effective if outside communication is limited to a few breaks each day.


Success doesn’t come easily. You must set SMART goals in your short-term, long term planning. Each step of your long- and short-term planning contributes to your success and plays a vital role. The common thread among them is setting realistic goals, thinking ahead, and solving problems.

However, the key dissimilarity between short-term VS long-term planning is that short-term planning targets immediate actions while long-term planning concentrates on predicted outcomes.

Now that you know how short-term and long-term planning differ, you can start making plans that are right for you and your business.

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Long-Term Planning versus Short and Medium-Term Planning

  • Leadership & Management
  • Aug 2, 2023
  • By Traqq Team

long-term planning

We live in a world of rapidly changing economic and business environments. To survive in such a highly competitive market economy, you need to think strategically and tactically. That’s where setting goals comes in.

However, you can’t make goals and objectives without a plan. Planning is essential to achieving short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. It enables you to measure performance or progress in the workplace or in your life. So you know where you’re falling short.

The problem is that while most of us can make good plans, we never get to execute them for various reasons. In this post, we discuss the difference between short-term planning and long-term planning. We also talk about the relationship between the two and how to make long-term planning help you realize your full potential.

The Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Planning

What is short-term planning.

Short-term planning involves strategies that focus on the results within a short time, say a year. These are the strategies to be used in achieving specific milestones. Short-term planning aims for an immediate period and helps you fix the challenges you’re dealing with in the present.

Short-term goals facilitate long-term achievement. If not effectively planned and executed, it becomes much harder to attain long-term goals. So, whatever your short-term goals , make sure they align with your long-term vision.

One short-term plan example is saying to yourself, “I’d like to lose 30kgs in six months.” You can further break it down to losing five kgs every month. Another short-term plan example is to raise turnover by 10 percent and profit by 12 percent by the end of the financial year.

What Is Medium-Term Planning?

Medium-term planning entails strategies that focus on permanent solutions to short-term concerns. It’s the implementation of policies and procedures to ensure short-term problems do not recur.

In a business context, employee skills and attitudes or product complaints are short-term problems. Initiating employee training and development courses and revising the company’s quality control program may be medium-term solutions.

Another medium-term goal example is to invest in a service contract instead of repairing a piece of broken equipment every time it does. You want a solution that will prevent the machine failure from affecting the company’s productivity.

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Medium-term planning may cover a period of up to three years. It’s long enough to be meaningful for your long-term objectives and vision, yet short enough for you to project the targeted result.

Here’s another example. You could be planning to open a new branch in another city or introduce a new product to the market. In two or three years, you’ll be able to assess your current situation and determine whether you’re achieving success. You can then decide if the strategy is working or you need to change it.

What Is Long-Term Planning?

Long-term planning, as the name suggests, means setting goals that will take a longer time to come to fruition. These goals might take between four to five years to be met. The timeframe will vary from one business and individual to another, as well as the type of goal.

Long-term planning is strategic since it shapes the overall direction of the company or your career and personal goals. It involves formulating and implementing strategies that will insulate a business from the upheavals that periodically come up.

Long-term goals can tie closely in with personal goals and work-life balance. A good example is planning to become a millionaire before turning 40 or visiting all the continents within five years.

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Planning anything for more than ten years in advance can be tricky. That’s why you should be prepared to continually adapt and adjust your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals to take account of changing circumstances.

Long-Term Planning Vs. Short-Term Planning: The Key Differences

Generally, short-term planning is conducted for current and immediate concerns. The outcomes are usually expected within a year. The main focus of short-term planning is on the prevailing situation, whether in your career, personal, or business goals.

Long-term planning, on the other hand, takes longer to achieve and is based on how effectively short-term goals are accomplished. For example, let’s say you want to open multiple branches within and outside the state.

You will first need to lay a solid foundation that will attract and maintain new clients. To do so, you must research the area, gather marketing collateral such as interactive brochures and other online content, study the competition, and hire consultants to help pinpoint potential customer buying trends.

As you can see, it takes several short-term plans to reach your long-term goal of running several successful retail chains.

Short-term goals are flexible and straightforward. They act as stepping stones that contribute to achieving long-term vision and goals. Short-term goals can be adjusted daily, weekly, or monthly to ensure they work efficiently to fulfill your objectives.

Meanwhile, long-term planning is complex and tactical. It has elaborate steps that not only focus on future success but also how to get there. That’s why you should formulate short-term goals that naturally lead to your long-term goals.

In other words, you need to be flexible, realistic, and reasonable when setting goals. Circumstances change, but most importantly, you change and grow. The goals should align with your career and personal plans, as well as commitments.

Short-term planning pertains mostly to internal issues, like aging and new hires, organizational structure, the relationship between your staff and stakeholders or customers, etc. Long-term planning focuses on external and internal issues, such as the loss of a key supplier or competition pressure.

Long-term planning must consider external factors in which the business operates. These are legal, social, political, economic, cultural, and legal issues that might affect your efforts to achieve your vision.

Important tip : Every step or action you take affects the outcome. Therefore, make sure your short-, medium-, and long-term goals are interlinked and aligned toward your success.

What’s the Relationship Between Short-Term Planning and Long-Term Planning?

Planning ahead is critical – plain and simple.

Planning is the most crucial process for a business or individual with career aspirations. Basically, the short-term plans are what drive sustainable solutions, as well as steer decisions in the right direction.

The truth is, you can’t separate short-term goals from long-term goals. What you need is a way to blend short-term and long-term plans to achieve your career, business, or personal objectives.

The mission and vision start by having a longer-term target. You then break the long-term goals into a series of short- and medium-term goals as milestones along the way toward the final result.

What’s the Difference Between Strategic Planning and Long-Term Planning?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 90 percent of businesses that start without a strategic plan are doomed to fail.

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review , 85 percent of executive leadership teams spend less than an hour every month discussing strategy and 50 percent no time at all. The study also shows that, on average, 95 percent of the workforce doesn’t understand its organization’s strategy. The rate of success in such an organization is close to zero.

However, you may be wondering, “Isn’t strategic planning the same as long-term planning?” Well, not quite.

Strategic planning is a structured process that involves creating specific business strategies, implementing them, and evaluating the outcome.

It is broader and determines what strategic objectives and initiatives you should put effort into achieving your vision and goals. Strategic planning can be performed in three fundamental steps:

  • Formulation
  • Implementation and execution

While long-term planning defines the actions needed to achieve specific goals, strategic planning makes those goals more realistic. From a business perspective, it enables employees to better understand the relationship between their performance, projected outcome, and the potential rewards.

In turn, this fosters better commitment that leads both employees and managers to become more innovative and creative. Consequently, company and individual success become easily attainable.

4 Key Steps to Creating Long-Term Goals

Step 1: clearly define your vision.

The obvious place to start is knowing where it is you want to end up:

  • Is it to increase ROI by 10-15 percent?
  • Is it to increase sales by five percent?
  • Is it to open multiple stores by 2025?
  • Is it to create five million dollars worth of assets before handing over the business by 2030?

The best approach is to write down all your organizational, personal, or professional goals and aspirations for the next ten years. It doesn’t matter how far-fetched or impossible the objectives are at this moment. You’re simply setting up the stage, and once you have it figured out, you can now start to narrow it down by setting S.M.A.R.T goals.

If it’s a business, develop a statement of your vision and make it publicly available to your staff and customers. This is the most critical step in creating a long-term plan. Therefore, it needs to be well thought out and formulated.

Remember, make goals, not wishes. Dreaming of winning the lottery is a wish, not a goal. Wanting to make five million dollars within ten years is a goal, not a wish.

Step 2: Determine the S.M.A.R.T Goals

Now that you’ve painted a clear picture of where you’re headed, the next step is to set goals. Your objectives become much easier to accomplish when they are S.M.A.R.T. Here’s what it means:

  • Specific . What do you want to achieve in the short term? Short-term goals can be defined by several hours, days, months, or up to two years, depending on several factors, like company size. Just make sure they are clearly defined, so there’s no room for ambiguity.
  • Measurable . You can’t know if you’re making progress unless you measure it. A goal, such as, “I want to increase the number of followers in my social media accounts” is not specific, time-bound, or measurable. Instead, change it to something like, “I want to reach 1,000 followers on Instagram and 1,500 on Facebook by December 31.
  • Attainable/Achievable . What are you trying to get out of your short-term goals? Is it achievable? Setting unrealistic goals can kill motivation. Try to focus on goals that are challenging yet not out of reach.
  • Relevant . Your goals should align with your career, mission, and vision. Don’t set goals that are on the opposite path of what you want to achieve. Other alignment criteria include value, feasibility, appropriateness, and cost-benefit.
  • Time-based . An open-ended goal may take too long to achieve due to a lack of urgency. Giving yourself a specific timeframe within which to hit your target is more compelling, and will push you to put your best foot forward.

Step 3: Set Milestones

The next important step is to break down your long-term goals into smaller, attainable goals. So, you want to make five million dollars by 2030? How do you get there? Well, that’s by covering one step at a time.

If you’re already running a business, you’ll start by performing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis to determine its current situation. You’ll be able to answer questions like:

  • What’s holding you back?
  • What weaknesses can your competitors exploit?
  • What resources do you lack?

When you identify what your company does best now, find ways to devise better strategies to increase profits or beat the competition. Getting to the level of success you want is going to be a long journey, that’s why you need to break it into smaller portions.

Step 4: Reevaluate and Adjust

When you make a commitment to achieve, consistency will help you cross the finish line. Don’t lose sight of what you want or where you want to be. Think of the reward that awaits you when you reach your goal, and let that be your motivation.

Problems will always arise, and when they do, we tend to forget the long-term goals. If one approach hits a dead end, devise another approach. As someone once said, “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never change the goal.”

Plan for Success

Remember, the road to success isn’t a straight one. It requires setting S.M.A.R.T goals, as well as strategic planning. Even with enough motivation, failing to plan is planning to fail.

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Short-term planning and long-term planning play an essential part in your future success, and each step contributes toward achieving the results you want. Just be sure to frame your objectives in a way that’s easy to measure. The more specific your goals are, the easier they are to achieve and track their progress.

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Short-Term, Medium-Term & Long-Term Planning in Business

by Devra Gartenstein

Published on 18 Oct 2018

Although short-term, medium-term and long-term planning in businesses address different time frames, they should be cut from the same cloth. The more closely you align your short, medium and long-term goals, the more effectively you will be able to make plans that sync your immediate objectives with your big picture vision.

Short-Term Planning

Short-term planning in business generally focuses on a three-to-six-month time frame, especially in reference to revenue and profitability. Short-term objectives are geared towards short-term needs such as improving cash flow or launching a new product. This short-term perspective is especially useful for satisfying investors who want to see results or improving your company's bottom line so you can secure additional financing for longer-term goals. Whatever your short-term goals, make sure they serve your longer-term vision. Your new product launch should be consistent with your overall brand and with the line of products you're building over time. Your strategies to improve cash flow should bring in additional revenue in ways that don't compromise your values or distract you from your overall mission.

Medium-Term Planning

Medium-term planning is often overlooked in discussions of strategic objectives, but it is important because it brings together the clarity of shorter-term goals with the depth of longer-term planning. A short-term goal may be based on an immediate need and a long-term goal may be so broad that it is difficult to create measurable milestones. But a medium-term goal is close enough for you to project a specific targeted outcome, while also being distant enough to be meaningful for your longer-term vision. Medium-term planning generally covers a period of about three years. It may include plans to open a new store or enter a new market. It is a long enough time frame for you to see if you're achieving real results, yet it's a short enough period for you to pivot and change direction if your initial strategy isn't successful.

Long-Term Planning

Long-term planning is rooted in your company's identity and purpose. It may have elements of specificity such as a goal to open a certain number of new stores over the next ten years. However, it is impossible to predict market conditions and current events over such an extended time frame. Because of this difficulty, even specific long-term plans are mainly concrete ways to express a larger vision such as eventually supplying work shoes to your entire region. Take your long-term planning very seriously, but adjust it over time as your medium-term situation unfolds.

Long-Term Business Planning

  • Small Business
  • Business Planning & Strategy
  • Business Plans
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What Is a Dehydrated Business Plan?

What are the main purposes of a business plan, why is strategic planning important to a business.

  • What Is a Short-Term Marketing Plan?
  • Goals, Priorities & Planning

If you're starting a business you probably plan to stay in business for a long time. In order to accomplish this goal, you probably have at least an inkling of what you want your business to accomplish. You take these goals and attempt to make them come to fruition. If your successful, your business will thrive. Once you've met your original goals, you make new ones. Some of these new goals might be ones you want to meet immediately, while others will take longer. Those are your business' long-term business goals, and they're important.

Why Make a Plan?

If you were going on vacation, you would determine where you're going; how you were getting there; how long you were staying; and what you would do, once there. In other words, you would plan your vacation. So, if traveling to Tahiti requires some set-up and parameters, wouldn't starting and running a business also require these? A business takes time, energy and resources; the wise thing would be to sit down and determine the most effective ways of how to use your time, energy and resources – so that your business has the best chance for success.

Short-term Plan vs. Long-term Planning

You started your business because you wanted to fill a niche, meet a need or provide a service that's desperately needed – with the ultimate objective – to make money. To fulfill all of your business objectives, you have to set goals for your business, and a plan of action to reach each goal.

Most businesses have a combination of short-term plans and long-term plans. A short-term plan could include launching three products during a calendar year, making X-amount in profits in a certain period of time, or gaining 5,000 new social media followers in a month. A long-term plan based on those short-term plans is to expand your business from one facility to two or more within three years.

Short-term plans are more immediate objections, while long-term plans are for a longer period of time: a year is generally the minimum. Thus, your long-term plans can include goals such as five-year income projections, expansion plans, hiring goals or other bigger goals that take more than a month or two to meet. The plans should be kept separate but reviewed on a regular basis so progress can be tracked and adjustments can be made if necessary.

Why You Need a Business Plan

Revisiting the vacation scenario from above, let's say you decide to drive to your vacation destination. You've never been there before so you punch your destination into your GPS tool and use it to navigate to your destination. Once you've arrived, you can also use that same tool to find interesting places to visit and places to eat.

Think of a business plan as a business' GPS. You can use the strategic business plan to guide your business from one objective to the next, find the best course of action for your business and recognize and correct issues as they arise. This is where you'll include the short and long term plans you have for the business, as well as other pertinent information such as key personnel, the business' mission statement, competitor information and market research and development ideas. Financial projects are also a vital part of a business plan.

Benefits of a Long Term Strategy

Having a long term plan for your business shows that you are in it for the long haul. Knowing where you want to be in three, five or even ten years can help you choose the short-term plans of an organization. Long-term business goals don't have to be large goals. The goal to never miss a client deadline could be a long-term goal. Most of a business' short-term plans lead toward long-term plans, so when making immediate business plans, keeping a longer-term objective in mind isn't a bad idea. A long term plan gives you something to aim for as well as a built-in measuring tool to review the progress of your short-term plans.

  • Small Biz Technology: 6 Short-Term Goals for Long-Term Success
  • Forbes: 11 Ways To Establish, And Then Reach, Your Long-Term Goals
  • Entrepreneur: 5 Ways to Think Long-Term in a Short-Term Market
  • The action plans for year one of each of the long-term projects become part of the annual plan for the upcoming year. In that plan, the steps are broken out in more detail and budgets are created for each one, to be included in the total company budget.
  • Although the long-term planning in a small business may not be as formal as that in a large corporation, the process is just as valuable in making sure the owner looks beyond the day-to-day problems he must deal with and thinks about where he wants to take his company in the future.
  • Review and revise the long-term plan each year as the business environment changes. Opportunities may emerge that are potentially more profitable than the ones you selected to pursue in the previous year’s long-term plan.

K.A. Francis has been a freelance and small business owner for 20 years. She has been writing about personal finance and budgeting since 2008. She taught Accounting, Management, Marketing and Business Law at WV Business College and Belmont College and holds a BA and an MAED in Education and Training.

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Short-Term and Long-Term Goals Examples: A Goal-Setting Guide

Discover key goal-setting strategies, get examples of short-term and long-term goals, and actionable tips to set successful goals.

Kinjal Dagli

Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Together

Published on 

November 24, 2023

Updated on 

Time to Read

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Setting goals is the first step to accomplishing anything meaningful.

While most people set goals in their personal and professional lives, few end up achieving them.

In a recent survey, roughly 70% of respondents said that they were likely to set goals for the new year. But only 48% of goal-setters said they’d document their goals, and roughly the same number planned to create an action plan to achieve them.

That means that last year, half of the people ended up with vague goals and no actionable plans to achieve them. While the other half had clearly defined goals and actionable plans.

Which group is more likely to achieve their goals?

Our vote goes to the ones with written down, specific goals.

Clearly defined short-term and long-term goals, which are precise and detailed, eliminate ambiguity and provide a clear roadmap. When these goals also present a level of challenge, they engage and motivate us, leading to enhanced performance. That’s why goal setting is the first and most important step towards achieving your dreams.

What is goal setting?

Goal setting is the process of identifying what you aspire to achieve and outlining a path to reach that destination.

It's a method of deciding what is important for you to accomplish in your life or career and establishing measurable targets and deadlines to make those achievements a reality. It is an effective way of bringing about positive change in our lives.

Goal setting isn't just about achieving business success or personal milestones. It's also about personal growth. With the help of short-term and long-term goals, individuals create a balanced approach to career growth. Short-term goals help them make progress as they work their way towards their long-term goals.

What are short-term and long-term goals?

Short-term goals are the stepping stones to our grander ambitions. They are those objectives we set to be achieved relatively quickly — usually within a few weeks, months, or one year. Short-term goals are specific and are often designed to be highly actionable, guiding us towards immediate progress. 

In contrast, long-term goals are the ones we envision for our future selves, mapping out where we hope to be several years down the line. They are broader, more encompassing, and, by nature, less detailed than short-term goals. These are the kinds of objectives that demand patience, persistence, and a strategic approach. 

Think of the famous long-distance runner, Eliud Kipchoge. Kipchoge is known for setting both short-term and long-term goals in his training and career. In the lead-up to major marathons, he sets short-term goals like improving his time in specific training runs, increasing his weekly mileage, or focusing on recovery techniques. These short-term goals are integral to his larger ambition of winning races and breaking records. Kipchoge's approach exemplifies how short-term goals can effectively contribute to achieving major, long-term objectives in a professional context.

short and long term planning in business

Short-term goals are measured in tangible, quantifiable achievements, while long-term goals are gauged by milestones that mark significant progress towards a broader life or career vision. 

Setting SMART goals

When it comes to achieving your ambitions, not all approaches to goal setting are created equal. One standout method that offers clarity and direction is the SMART goals framework , a technique widely embraced for its effectiveness.

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This criterion transforms vague intentions into clear, actionable plans. 

Let's break down each component:

  • Specific — Your goals should be clear and concise. Instead of saying you want to "improve sales," a specific goal would be "increase sales by 10%."
  • Measurable — You need to be able to track your progress. If your goal is to "increase networking opportunities," make it measurable by aiming to "attend two industry events per month."
  • Achievable — While it's great to dream big, your goals also need to be realistic. Ensure you have the resources and time to achieve the goals you set.
  • Relevant - Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives. If you're aiming to climb the corporate ladder, a relevant goal could be to "take on a leadership role in a major project."
  • Time-bound — Set a deadline. A time-bound goal compels action and helps prioritize tasks. Instead of "learn to code," try "complete a coding course in the next three months."

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Applying SMART principles to short-term and long-term goals

By integrating SMART criteria into your goal-setting strategy, you create a solid foundation for both short-term wins and long-term successes. This method not only clarifies what you're working toward but also enhances motivation as you're able to celebrate each milestone along the way.

For short-term goals, SMART principles help you create a focused pathway to immediate success. 

For example, a project manager might set a goal to "reduce team overtime by 15% in the next quarter." This goal is: 

  • Can be measured by hours tracked
  • Is achievable with the right strategies
  • Is relevant to job performance
  • Has a clear time frame

On the flip side, long-term goals benefit from the SMART framework by offering a long-range vision with milestones. 

Let's say you aim to "become a published author within five years." To make this SMART, you could start with "write a 50,000-word draft in year one." This plays into your broader goal by giving you a specific target to achieve within a set period.

3 examples of short-term goals 

Short-term goals act not only as stepping stones but also as powerful motivators, offering quick wins that keep us driven.

Here are three examples of short-term goals that can make a significant difference in an individual's personal and professional growth.

1. Improve time management

Improving time management is a common short-term goal that many professionals set to enhance their productivity. 

By committing to finishing tasks within the workday and avoiding overtime, individuals can achieve a healthier work-life balance. This could involve using a digital planner to organize and prioritize daily tasks and setting specific time limits for each activity. 

2. Enhance project management skills

Another short-term goal that offers tangible benefits is the enhancement of professional skills . For instance, a professional might aim to complete an online course in project management over the next two months.

By allocating an hour each weekday to engage with the course material and participate in weekly assessments, the individual can incrementally build new expertise. 

3. Grow professional network

Expanding one's professional network can be a vital short-term goal, especially in today's interconnected world.

An individual might set a target to grow their professional network by adding 50 new connections within a month. This could be achieved by actively attending networking events and engaging with industry professionals on platforms like LinkedIn. 

3 examples of long-term goals             

When we set our sights on the horizon, long-term goals guide our journey. They're not just targets but powerful motivators that propel our personal and professional growth. 

Let's explore three such goals and the profound influence they can have on one’s life.

1. Achieving an executive position

Achieving a senior role in a company means making wise career moves, learning consistently, and becoming a strong leader . 

By meeting performance goals and taking opportunities to lead, an individual can steadily climb the corporate ladder, gaining professional recognition and financial rewards along the way.

2. Attaining financial independence

The path to financial freedom is typically charted through disciplined saving, savvy investing, and living within one's means. 

This long-term financial goal can lead to a life less tethered to financial stresses, allowing more freedom to pursue personal interests and passions.

3. Publishing a book

For those with a story to tell, committing to writing and publishing a book can be a dream with years in the making. 

It requires regular writing, maybe taking writing classes, and lots of patience. But the payoff is a work that shares one’s voice with the world, potentially opens doors to new opportunities, and offers a profound sense of personal achievement.

Tips for creating short-term and long-term goals

Embarking on a journey towards achieving your aspirations, whether personal or professional, requires a roadmap. Without a plan, it's easy to get lost or sidetracked. To ensure your goals aren't just wishes, you need a strategic approach to make them a reality. 

Here is a practical guide to long-term and short-term goal setting, along with tips to stay motivated.

1. Define your vision 

A study by Gail Matthews at Dominican University showed that individuals who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who don't. 

Setting a clear vision is more than just daydreaming, it’s a documented way to increase your chances of success. By envisioning your success, you provide yourself with a source of motivation that's both personal and powerful.

Take, for example, Jim Carrey, who wrote himself a check for $10 million for "acting services rendered," post-dating it by five years. By the time those five years had passed, he was indeed commanding such fees for his film roles.

2. Break it down 

Breaking your long-term goals into short-term, actionable steps will help you achieve them faster. This makes your goals more digestible and provides you with a clear path forward.

By establishing monthly or quarterly targets, you create a rhythm of success. Each small goal you meet builds your confidence and propels you towards the next, making the journey towards your long-term aim a series of attainable steps rather than a daunting leap.

3. Set SMART goals 

As we discussed in an earlier section, your goals must be SMART. Incorporating SMART elements into goal setting adds clarity to your objectives. 

Being specific eliminates confusion, measurable metrics offer a clear progress metric, achievability maintains motivation, relevance aligns goals with broader objectives, and time-bound deadlines add urgency and accountability.

4. Track your progress 

The journey towards your goals is a continuous process that benefits greatly from regular review and adjustment. By monitoring your progress, you can celebrate your successes, understand where you might be falling short, and make necessary adjustments. 

For instance, runners and cyclists use apps like Strava to track their training, which not only helps them stick to their training regimen but also improves their performance by providing detailed feedback on their progress.

5. Celebrate small wins 

Celebrating small wins is integral to achieving long-term goals as it involves breaking down larger objectives into manageable milestones and acknowledging achievements along the way. 

By maintaining a focus on these smaller victories, one can cultivate a positive mindset, sustain momentum, and enhance their commitment to the overarching goal. Moreover, celebrating small wins offers opportunities for learning and adaptation, allowing you to refine strategies based on what has contributed to the success.

Empower teams to attain their goals through a mentoring program

Setting clear, actionable goals gives you a clear roadmap to follow, ensuring you're always moving in the right direction, whether in your career or personal life. But achieving these goals doesn't have to be a solo journey. 

This is where mentoring software like Together can make a significant difference. 

Together facilitates meaningful connections with mentors who offer guidance, insights, and support tailored to your specific goals. It provides a structured environment for tracking progress, setting reminders, and reflecting on achievements, making the process of reaching your goals more interactive and engaging.

Whether you are just starting to set goals or are looking to refine your strategy, remember that success lies in clear planning and seeking the right support. A mentoring program can provide that extra layer of guidance and accountability needed to turn your goals into reality.

Together can help you launch a world-class mentoring program. Book a demo to see how.

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10 Examples of Long-Term Business Goals to Set Now

September 29, 2023, identify, set, and achieve long-term business goals for success.

Today I want to share examples of long-term business goals with you. Because thinking long-term about your business is key to its success.

One of my former bosses had a good saying. And I think it applies to long-term goals for a business.

My boss used to tell us this. “In the long run, we are only limited by our thoughts. Don’t hold back. Think big!”

So, let’s dive in and think big about our businesses…

examples of long term business goals

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Examples Of Long-Term Business Goals

First of all, here you will find today’s examples of long-term business goals list for your consideration:

  • Expand into a new geographic market
  • Market through a new channel
  • Penetrate a new demographic
  • Broaden product and service offerings
  • Acquire a competitor
  • Expand personnel and facilities
  • Migrate to a new technology platform
  • Put financing sources in place
  • Increase earnings
  • Improve profit margins

Next, let’s make sure we are completely aligned on today’s topic.  Identifying, setting, and achieving these 10 examples of long-term goals for a business.

Long-Term Business Goals Definition

First of all, a goal is an outcome you want to achieve. That a person envisions, plans for, and commits to achieve.

Furthermore, goals can relate to many aspects of our lives. For example, self-development, career, health, fitness, and personal finance outcomes .

But today, we are talking about goals related to your business.

More specifically, we are talking about long-term goals for a small business . Or, larger businesses too.

Typically, long-term goals take more planning. And more time to achieve. Normally, it takes 5 years or more to accomplish a long-term goal.

Furthermore, long-term goals are more strategic. And they require a vision of what your business will look like in the distant future.

While ensuring its long-term success, growth, and profitability. As you make the journey.

Finally, business goals can be non-financial . Or, they can be tied to a specific financial outcome.

Long-Term Goals For A Business Versus Other Types Of Goals

Businesses also have short-term goals and medium-term goals. Let’s compare and contrast…

Short-Term Business Goals

Short-term business goals are to be accomplished within 1 year.

Their focus is on solving today’s problems. Or, activities in the near term. That creates a foundation for long-term success.

Examples of short-term business goals include:

  • Increase on-time delivery from 95% to 99%
  • Reduce overhead costs by 3%
  • Prepare a business plan

Medium-Term Business Goals

Medium-term goals should be set and completed within a 1-5 year time horizon.

These goals are intended to move your business forward in a meaningful way. But, are too involved to complete within a year.

Examples of good medium-term goals for business include:

  • Increase market share by 5%
  • Develop and bring to market a product line extension
  • Increase shareholder value by $1 million

Next, before we touch on the examples. A little more talk about long-term goals for a business…

The Big Picture View Of Long-Term Business Goals

short and long term planning in business

Today’s examples of long-term business goals are more strategic. Versus short and medium-term goals.

They are not about solving today’s problems. Or, about improving your business on the margins in the next few years.

They are for taking big steps forward. And transforming your business into something bigger and better in the future. Versus what it is today.

These goals take more than 2-3 years to accomplish without causing business instability.

They require careful thought about the direction you wish your business to take. Then planning, resources, and careful execution.

For more on these strategic topics…

consider this excellent course on business strategy and leadership .

But for now, I think about long-term goals for a business in one of three categories:

1. Extending market reach. Specifically, growing business revenue in different and dramatic ways.

2. Ensuring the ability to scale. Having success with growth means being able to handle it. In other words, scaling operations to service the new markets and customers you are reaching.

3 . Balancing growth and profits. Substantial business growth is good. It certainly beats the alternative.

But rapid growth is hard to execute. And it must be done profitably.

Thus, all 10 of today’s examples of long-term business goals fall into one of these categories.

Now, let’s go through each of the 10 goals on our list. All of them can be good investments to make in your business .

list of long-term goals for a business

1. Expand Into A New Geographic Market

Plan for and expand into new geographic markets. For example, if you operate in Utah. Expand into the high business growth state of Colorado .

If your business services the Western portion of the country. Extend it throughout the United States.

Finally, consider foreign expansion. But, understand that these are big steps. Require careful thought and planning.

Up next in the long-term goals examples for business: channel strategy…

2. Go To Market Through A New Channel

Identify all the possible channels through which your products and services can be sold. Then delivered to your customers.

Utilize one or more marketing channels that have not yet been tapped.

For example, consider a targeted social media strategy. That drives traffic to an online store on your website.

3. Penetrate A New Demographic

Your current products and services are likely popular with a certain demographic.

So, evaluate your marketing plan. To tap into demand from a different segment of the population .

4. Broaden Product And Service Offerings

Enhance and broaden your product lines. Innovate and develop new products and services.

But, be sure they fit within your company’s mission. And customer service value proposition.

So, don’t stray too far. From your business’s core strengths.

Okay.  It’s time for the 5th in our series of long-term goals for business examples: mergers and acquisitions…

5. Acquire A Competitor

Acquiring a competitor can be the quickest way to extend your business’s market reach. And this brings us to the “buy or build” dilemma.

You have to decide if it’s more effective to extend your market reach on your own. In other words, building out those capabilities internally.

Or doing so. by buying a competitor. Specifically, a competitor that has accomplished what your business has not. This is the reasoning behind strategic acquisitions.

When it comes to the buy or build decisions. There is no right or wrong answer.

Each situation will be different. And every business will be different. Including yours.

Okay. So the first 5 examples of long-term business goals relate to extending your business’s market reach.

Accomplish any one or more of these goals. And your business will experience revenue growth. Sometimes, rapid revenue growth.

And rapid growth requires the ability to scale. This leads us to the next few long-term goals for business…

6. Expand Personnel And Facilities

Ensure you have the team in place to handle the influx of business. Including the quantity and quality of staff. Also, management personnel.

Develop and put a personnel plan in place. Including an employee professional development and onboarding program.

Then make sure you have the appropriate facilities. That solves for the right locations, footprint, and space.

This includes production, warehouse, distribution, and office space. Depending on your specific business needs.

Also, consider business outsourcing. Another buy or build decision. As part of scaling up to meet demand.

7. Migrate To A New Technology Platform

Don’t forget about technology. Because most successful businesses run on an enterprise-wide system.

If your business does not have the appropriate technology in place. Or, its capacity is limited.

Then make improving your technology infrastructure a long-term business goal.

8. Put Financing Sources In Place

If you have one, your CFO should be in charge of this goal.

Because growth by extending market reach. And putting the people, facilities, and technology in place to service it. Requires one very important thing.

What’s that? It is cash.

Because it takes money to make money. And investing in growth doesn’t come for free.

Where your cash comes from . Be it debt financing, equity financing, or internally generated funds. Don’t let access to capital derail your long-term business plans.

Okay now. Our final 2 examples of long-term business goals fall in the third category.

Specifically, balancing growth versus business profit goals . Since growth without profit, or at the very least, profit potential. Is no fun when operating a business.

short and long term planning in business

9. Increase Earnings

So, set a long-term earnings goal. And first, put it into dollar terms.

For example, increase pre-tax income from $250,000 to $750,000. That’s a big jump in profit. And why it’s a long-term goal for a business.

But, make sure you have accurate financial information. To do so, consider outsourcing your financial management. Assuming you aren’t up to doing it yourself.

Now, it’s time for our last example of long-term goals in business. Then I will wrap up…

10. Maintain or Improve Profit Margins

Then, make sure your business’s profit margin is stable or even increasing. When I say profit margin, I’m talking about pre-tax income divided by revenue.

Continuing the example from above. Let’s say you did $250,000 in pre-tax profit on $1 million in revenue. So, your profit margin is 25%

Your long-term goal should be to at least maintain that margin. Therefore the new income target of $750,000. Should be generated from no more than $3,000,000 in revenue.

Your profit goals should be part of your financial planning . And, included in pro-forma financial statements.

Make sure the financials encompass all of the economics. Of whatever goals you choose to set.

Finally, I always recommend that business owners keep their personal finances. Separate from their business finances.

I use Personal Capital to track all of my spending and investments. And keep them separate from my business.

Best of all, Personal Capital is free to sign up and use. You can learn more about Personal Capital here .

Next, a few words about setting business goals. Here’s the best way to go about it…

How To Set Long-Term Business Goals

Business long-term goals should be set using SMART . A SMART goal includes the following 5 attributes…

Specific. Make your goals as detailed as possible. Outlining exactly what you want to accomplish.

Measurable. Determine how you will measure success. Both the interim steps and the completion of the goal.

Achievable. Stretch yourself and your organization. But don’t waste time with goals that can’t be achieved.

Realistic. A goal may be achievable. But it may not be realistic. Determine this by looking at your constraints.

For example, a goal may be achievable. But if it requires an amount of capital that you are unable to obtain. Then it’s not realistic.

In this case, access to capital is the constraint. Other constraints include the ability to attract employees and overall market conditions.

Time-bound. Set a deadline for when the goal will be accomplished. A long-term business goal should be out at least 4-5 years from now.

Finally, be sure to align your goals from short to long term . As a result, they will complement each other.

Since the complexity of long-term goals leads to long time horizons. Achieving these goals is challenging.

So, set yourself up for success…

How To Achieve Long-Term Business Goals

getting results from business planning

Students of goal-setting use three more steps. After setting goals using the SMART system.

Specifically, businesses that achieve these examples of long-term goals for business do 3 more things.

Specifically, they plan, act, and monitor (PAM) to successfully achieve goals .

Plan. Long-run goals require a plan. Those step-by-step actions, deliverables, and accountability that must be completed on the path to success.

Action. This should speak for itself. But it’s important. Get the planning done. Then, act. Furthermore, involve your employees in goal-setting processes.

Because people tend to delay working on long-term goals in a business. Thus, time management is critical for success.

Monitor. Finally, it’s important to monitor progress against the plan. Every 3-6 months.

Work through the SMART and PAM goal systems. Document as you go. Commit to all your goals and plans in writing.

Research shows that a written goal. Has a much higher success rate. Versus a goal that is not.

Then appoint a person who has the overall task to see the goal through to the end. And give them the resources required to be successful.

Lack of focus and lack of accountability diminishes the chances of success. When pursuing your organization’s goals over a long period.

Okay. Let’s wrap today’s article up with a summary…

Summary: Examples Of Long-Term Business Goals

10 Examples Of Long-Term Business Goals include:

In my opinion, any of these 10 objectives are good examples of long-term goals for a new business. Or, a mature business that has been operating for a while.

They are perfect complements to this…

course I really like about business strategy

…it’s full of great lessons on how to take your business to the next level.

Categories Of Long-Term Business Goals

These business goal examples fall into 1 of the 3 broad categories:

  • Extending market reach
  • Ensuring the ability to scale
  • Balancing growth and profit

In the case of the first two categories. A business owner will be confronted with the options to buy, build, or outsource.

Finally, all goals should be set with an eye on the third category. That is balancing growth and profit.

Setting Long-Term Business Goals

Make SMART goals for your company . They should be:

Achieve Your Long-Term Business Goals

Achieve your goals with PAM:

Document your goals and your plan. By committing to them in writing. Then get to work on your long-term goals for a business.

More Reading About Setting And Achieving Goals

  • Level up your money game with these articles
  • Move your business to this low-tax state
  • Avoid these financial problems

short and long term planning in business

Author Bio : Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

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How Growth Hacking Will Lead to Rapid Business Expansion No longer a buzzword, growth hacking is a vital strategy for business success.

By Ross Kernez • Dec 1, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • The future of growth hacking looks promising, especially as technology continues to evolve.
  • With AI and machine learning advancements, growth hackers will have even more sophisticated tools to analyze data and automate tasks.
  • As companies seek efficient ways to grow in competitive markets, growth hacking will likely remain an essential strategy for many businesses.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Growth hacking has emerged as a buzzword in the world of startups and digital marketing, but it is much more than just a trendy phrase. It represents a fundamental shift in how companies, especially startups, approach growth. In an age where the digital landscape is incredibly competitive and ever-evolving, traditional marketing strategies often fall short of delivering rapid growth. This is where growth hacking comes in, offering a blend of creativity, analytics, and an unorthodox approach to skyrocketing a company's user base and market presence.

At its core, growth hacking is about pushing the boundaries of typical marketing strategies to drive growth. It combines elements from marketing, technology, and data analytics to achieve this goal. Unlike traditional marketing, which often relies on established channels and methods, growth hacking is about finding new, scalable ways to attract and retain customers. It's about understanding the user journey in the digital age and leveraging every tool available – from social media platforms to big data analysis – to catalyze rapid growth.

Growth hackers , the individuals who practice this art, are not just marketers. They are part strategist, part coder, part data scientist, and entirely focused on growth. They look at the product and the market through a unique lens, asking not just "How can we market this product?" but "How can we make this product market itself?"

Related: Work-Life Balance is Possible — And It's Not as Hard to Achieve as You Think

Understanding growth hacking is crucial not just for startup enthusiasts but for anyone interested in the dynamic ways modern businesses are scaling and thriving in digital spaces. Growth hacking is a marketing strategy focused on the rapid growth of a company, particularly startups, using cost-effective and innovative tactics. It differs from traditional marketing in that growth hackers are singularly focused on growth, often using technology, analytics, and social metrics to achieve their goals.

Definition and origins

The term "growth hacking" was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010. Ellis, who helped several internet companies achieve incredible growth, realized that traditional marketing techniques weren't always applicable to startups with limited budgets and resources. He defined a growth hacker as "a person whose true north is growth."

Here are some of its core principles.

  • Data-Driven Approach: Growth hackers rely heavily on data to guide their decisions. They analyze user data to understand behavior and preferences, which helps in tailoring strategies.
  • Product-Market Fit: Essential to growth hacking, this involves modifying the product until it resonates with the target market. The idea is to create a product that markets itself.
  • Rapid Experimentation: Growth hacking involves constant testing and experimentation . Strategies are tested, measured, and either abandoned or scaled based on their performance.
  • Leveraging Technology: Automation and technology play a significant role. Growth hackers use tools for tasks like email marketing, social media management, and analytics.
  • Creative and Innovative Tactics: Out-of-the-box thinking is a hallmark of growth hacking. This could involve unconventional PR campaigns, viral marketing techniques, or leveraging social media in unique ways.

Related: Seven Growth Hacking Tools For Startup Success

Techniques and strategies

  • Viral Acquisition: Encouraging current users to refer new users, often seen in "invite a friend" campaigns.
  • Content Marketing: Creating valuable content to attract and engage an audience, often with the goal of turning them into customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing website content to rank higher in search engine results, thereby increasing visibility and traffic.
  • Email Marketing: Using personalized email campaigns to nurture leads and convert them into customers.
  • Product Tweaks for Growth: Adjusting the product based on user feedback and data to improve retention and attract more users.

Balancing short-term gains with long-term sustainability

A critical aspect of growth hacking is finding the right balance between rapid growth and sustainable business practices. While growth hacking techniques can provide quick wins, they need to be integrated into a broader strategy that considers long-term brand health, customer relationships, and ethical marketing practices. This balance is crucial for businesses looking to grow rapidly and maintain and build upon that growth in the long term.

Growth hacking has become an integral part of the startup ecosystem, offering a lean, data-driven approach to marketing. It's about finding intelligent, low-cost strategies to acquire and retain customers. While it's often associated with startups, its principles can be applied to any business looking for rapid growth. However, balancing growth hacking tactics with long-term brand and customer relationship strategies is essential.

As growth hacking becomes more mainstream, there's a growing need to educate the next generation of marketers and entrepreneurs in these techniques. This education goes beyond mere tactics; it's about cultivating a growth mindset, teaching the importance of data-driven decision-making, ethical considerations, and the agility to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

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Memory Problems, Forgetfulness, and Aging

On this page:

Memory changes with age

Mild cognitive impairment, dementia versus age-related forgetfulness, what else can affect memory.

Older woman talking with her doctor

Older adults may worry about their memory and other thinking abilities, such as taking longer to learn something new. These changes are usually signs of mild forgetfulness — or age-related forgetfulness — and are often a normal part of aging.

However, more serious memory problems could be due to mild cognitive impairment , dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease , or other factors beyond normal aging.

As people grow older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As a result, some people notice that they don’t remember information as well as they once did and aren’t able to recall it as quickly. They may also occasionally misplace things or forget to pay a bill. These usually are signs of mild forgetfulness, not a serious memory problem.

It’s normal to forget things once in a while at any age, but serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things such as driving, using the phone, and finding the way home.

Signs that it might be time to talk with a doctor include:

  • Asking the same questions over and over again
  • Getting lost in places you used to know well
  • Having trouble following recipes or directions
  • Becoming more confused about time, people, and places
  • Not taking care of yourself — eating poorly, not bathing, or behaving unsafely

Talk with a doctor if you are experiencing noticeable changes in your memory. A doctor can perform tests and assessments to help determine the source of memory problems. Your health care provider may also recommend that you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.

You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.

Some older adults have a condition called mild cognitive impairment — MCI — meaning they have more memory or thinking problems than other people their age. People with MCI can usually take care of themselves and are able to carry out their day-to-day tasks. MCI may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease , but not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s.

If you’re experiencing changes in your memory or think you may have MCI, talk with your doctor. Learn more about the symptoms of MCI .

Age-related forgetfulness or signs of dementia infographic. Click to open webpage.

Forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. However, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia includes the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, learning, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to the extent that it interferes with a person’s quality of life and activities. Memory loss, though common, is not the only sign of dementia. People with dementia may also have problems with language skills, visual perception, or paying attention. Some people experience personality changes.

There are different types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease , Lewy body dementia , frontotemporal dementia , and vascular dementia , and symptoms may vary from person to person. The chart below compares some differences between normal aging and the signs of dementia.

It’s possible for memory problems to stem from factors unrelated to dementia or normal aging. For example, medical conditions, such as depression or blood clots, can cause memory problems. These problems usually go away once the condition is successfully treated.

Factors that may cause memory problems include:

  • Head injury, such as a concussion
  • Blood clots, tumors, or infections in the brain
  • Thyroid, kidney, or liver problems
  • Medication side effects
  • Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Low levels of important nutrients , such as vitamin B12
  • Not eating enough healthy foods

Major, traumatic, or stressful life events can also cause memory problems. For example, someone who has recently retired or who is coping with the death of a spouse may feel sad, lonely , worried, or bored. Stress and negative emotions are powerful. Trying to deal with such life changes and emotions leaves some people confused or forgetful.

These memory problems from negative emotions are usually temporary and will improve as the stress and emotions fade. Being active, socially engaged, and experiencing a sense of accomplishment by learning new skills can help with both memory and improving mood. If memory problems persist after a few weeks, talk with your doctor as this may be a sign of something more serious.

Finding the cause of memory problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once the cause is diagnosed, you and your doctor can determine the best treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months.

You may also be interested in

  • Downloading or ordering a free pamphlet on forgetfulness
  • Learning more about how the aging brain affects thinking
  • Finding ways older adults can help take care of their cognitive health

Sign up for email updates on healthy aging

For more information about memory and aging.

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center 800-438-4380 [email protected] The NIA ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources. Explore the website for information and resources on Alzheimer’s and related dementias from across the federal government.

National Institute of Mental Health 866-615-6464 866-415-8051 (TTY) [email protected]

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) 800-352-9424 [email protected]

Eldercare Locator 800-677-1116 [email protected]

McKnight Brain Research Foundation 407-237-4485

This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

Content reviewed: November 22, 2023

An official website of the National Institutes of Health

Best Practices in Education for Readiness & Continuity Planning

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Best Practices in School Readiness & Continuity Planning for Short and Long Term Closures

Discover the best practices to ensure continuity of education implemented by St. Michael’s College School that kept learning on-track and ensured student success

While it is difficult to predict when or if a need will arise for schools to respond to an emergency or disease outbreak, having a plan for continuity of learning is a critical component of school emergency response planning. To be ready for these events, schools can implement various distance learning methods to keep students from falling behind. The IT manager at St. Michael’s College School understands the importance of continuity of learning. When a global pandemic threatened to close the school (again), he went the extra mile to ensure teachers could continue to teach comfortably and effectively from home. 

Adapting to Hybrid Classrooms and Remote Teaching Needs

Daniel Vasile, IT manager at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, Ontario, believes that technology should make teachers’ jobs easier, not harder. When the school closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Michael’s was forced to transition all its classes to online learning. In September, the school implemented a  hybrid learning model whereby half of the students used Zoom to video conference into class while the other half attended in person. Vasile successfully led the effort to install the Logitech Rally Plus solution in  48 classrooms to enable a seamless hybrid learning model for teachers and students alike.

When schools closed again at the end of December, Vasile went into action. He knew that continuity of learning was important, but certain factors needed to be considered to ensure teachers could be effective in remote environments.

Student-Centered Approach

The personal connection between teachers and students was Vasile’s primary focus. To ensure that teachers could make eye contact with students, he equipped teachers with an external webcam and a 24” monitor. The webcam sits on top of a monitor with an adjustable height base, so teachers can position it so that they are naturally making eye contact with students. The extra monitor also enables educators to share content on one screen and see the students on another to gauge the students’ reactions during a lesson.

Ensuring a Safe and Healthy Working Environment

Vasile also took into account the teachers’ physical comfort and safety. He knew that teachers couldn’t be hunched over a small keyboard on their tablets for an extended length of time, so he equipped them with a wireless solar-powered keyboard and wireless mouse. The solar keyboard can charge from the light in a room, eliminating the hassle of replacing batteries. Because the monitor is adjustable in height, educators can move it up and down if they decide to teach standing up, for example. 

“We created these kits to ensure the health and safety of teachers while working from home for long periods of time.”

                                                                  --Daniel Vasile, IT Manager

Teach-from-Home Kit

Identifying the right technology was just one piece of Vasile’s effort to equip educators at St. Michael’s to comfortably and effectively teach from home. Knowing that teachers were already experiencing the stress of another change to their routine, Vasile, with the help of his colleagues, unboxed and prepped all the equipment in a teach-from-home kit, to create a truly plug-and-play experience. The team of volunteers unboxed each monitor, assembled, and then wrapped the components in bubble wrap. The keyboards were also unboxed, and the battery tab removed. The USB receiver from the keyboard kit was plugged into a dock. Vasile even connected the various cables and color-coded them, so the teachers knew exactly which port to connect each cable. Teachers simply had to plug in the equipment at home and power it on.

At the end of the week, the gym was lined with 70 boxes, each containing a Samsung F24T400FHN monitor, a Logitech C930e webcam, Logitech Wireless Solar Combo MK750 (keyboard and mouse set), and a Microsoft Surface Dock 1. Where use cases dictated higher quality video, such as the art class, educators were given a Logitech BRIO camera instead of the C930e. Vasile even included an extra extension cord to ensure teachers had enough power outlets.

Empowering Educators to Drive Student Success

Vasile’s prep work easily saved the school hundreds of educator hours by making it easy for educators to get their home “classroom” set up. Instead of unboxing and putting together technical equipment, educators were able to focus on other aspects of teaching from home, like adjusting the curriculum and ensuring that their personal environment was in order.

As a testament to the effectiveness of Vasile’s efforts to ensure continuity of learning, the students at St. Michael’s are on track to finish the 2020-2021 school year exactly where they would without a pandemic.

To learn more about how St. Michael’s College School implemented hybrid classrooms to ensure student success, read their case study here .

Funding High-Priority Technology Needs in Public Sector

The global pandemic has accelerated the need for educational institutions, healthcare organizations, state and local governments, and nonprofits to turn to technology to support continuity, drive stabilization, and ensure services are accessible to all.

To aid US-based organizations, the Logitech Grants Services Program (GSP) provides complimentary consulting, customized funder research, and grant assistance to customers seeking to solve complex problems with the help of voice and video communication, productivity, and mobility solutions.

Contact our team of education and grant experts today at for help on connecting the dots between your program goals and the technology needed to support those goals. From helping develop project ideas to getting your project funded or expanding existing IT projects–together, we can create a lasting impact.


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