How to Set Long-Term Goals for Success In Business

Your ability to set long-term goals and constantly be thinking about the future of your business has an inordinate impact on the success and profitability of your enterprise.

All top executives are long-term thinkers.

They project forward five years and they think about where they want to be and what they will have to be doing at that time in order to achieve their long-term goals. They are constantly asking themselves how to set goals and better their strategic planning process to further their business success.

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What Is A Long-Term Goal?

Long-term goals are objects of your ambition or effort that will take time to accomplish. They cannot be achieved quickly. Rather, they require careful planning and serious commitment. These goals could be several months away or even several years away.

Although they can be more daunting than short-term goals, the same goal-setting concept of chunking applies. Chunking is simply the process of breaking down everything that is required to achieve your long-term intention into small segments or tasks.

Looking at your tasks in this light allows you to address everything in bite-sized “chunks.” This way you only need to get one small task done at a time, but when all of these undertakings add up, you will accomplish much larger long-term goals.

This approach can be applied to any project.

For instance, if you want to become a published author to expand your business, where should you start?

I recommend setting your long-term goal to reach the bestsellers list and then supporting it with shorter goals along the way. The first goal might simply be to learn how to write a book.

After you find a system that other authors have used successfully, you can set milestones for your timeline. In this case, those milestones – or short-term goals – might include planning, writing, editing, designing, marketing, and publisher-prepping your book.

Ultimately, these short-term goals will support your long-term goal of becoming a best-selling author.

Business Goals vs. Personal Goals

Some long-term goals apply to your business. Others apply to your team. Still, other types of goals, like financial goals or career goals, are intended for your personal life and growth along the way. It’s important to understand the distinction and the overlap between these different types of goals.

Goals for your whole business might pertain to business growth or revenue growth. Team goals could involve communication skills or adding more employees to your roster.

Sometimes these goals might overlap with your own personal goals.

But it’s good to have goals for yourself that are completely separate from your business, too. For example, quantifiable goals for improving your time management, becoming a better parent or saving for retirement. These goals are intended for personal growth.

Why Set Long-Term Goals?

Before we talk about some examples of long-term goals, make sure you understand why these types of goals are so crucial and how they can help.

Stay Focused and Motivated

Long-term goals help you stay focused. You likely work hard every day. But what are you working toward?

By setting specific goals, you can feel confident that you’re working smarter and making progress on the things that matter most.

Long-term goals help you move forward toward a specific outcome—one that will make a difference in the bottom line of your business. You’ll stay motivated as you achieve each short-term goal on the way to the big one.

Maintain Your Vision

When you first started your business, you likely had a broad, overarching vision or dream. But over time, it’s all easy to get bogged down in day-to-day operations and lose sight of that vision.

Long-term goals help you remember why you started.

They make it easy for you to continue moving the needle toward that ultimate dream or goal—the very reason why you launched your business in the first place. Long-term goals provide a clear action plan you need to make that vision a reality.

Improve and Develop Your Business Operations

Your business operations—everything you do day-to-day to keep your business running—need to be refined over time. The more smoothly your operations run, the better overall your business is going to perform.

Long-term goals are a great way to improve and streamline your business operations and see more money come in.

How to Set Your Long-Term Business Goals

There’s a simple five-part formula for developing a sense of direction that you can use for the rest of your career. It’s called the GOSPA Formula.

The letters in the word GOSPA stand for Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Priorities, and Activities.


First, the formula starts with setting your goals. A goal is a specific place where you want to end up, at the end of a specific period of time. For example, your goal could be a certain volume of sales, or a certain level of profitability at the end of a quarter or the end of a year.

Every goal you set should be SMART. A SMART goal is:

  • Specific. A specific goal is not vague–it outlines exactly what you are trying to do.
  • Measurable. Use quantifiable metrics to help you measure when you’ve reached the end goal.
  • Achievable. This might not be the time to shoot for the stars. You don’t want to end up discouraged if you can’t reach your goal. Challenge yourself, but make sure the goal is within the realm of possibility.
  • Relevant. Every goal you set should be relevant to what’s going on in your business.
  • Timely. Finally, a SMART goal will have a deadline. Specify a date by which you need to achieve this goal.

An example of a SMART business goal might be, “Double your monthly revenue within the next three years.”

For a personal goal, you could set a goal such as, “By the end of the year, I want to be able to run five miles.”

Setting SMART goals is helpful because they outline a clear vision with an actionable plan. You’re more likely to reach a goal that adheres to these parameters.


The letter O stands for objectives. These are the sub-goals that you’ll need to accomplish in order to achieve your long-term goal.

Breaking up your big goals into smaller ones is one of the best goal-setting tips I can give you.

Long-term goals are ideal for your big picture, but if you only focus on your major goals, you’re likely not going to reach them as easily. Instead, you want to take that goal and split it into several smaller goals that will ultimately lead you to the big one.

Once you have a long-term goal in place, medium-term goals should come next, and then short-term goals. If your long-term goal will take years to complete, consider using months as a time reference for your medium-term goals and weeks or days for your short-term goals.

Maybe your long-term goal is to launch a new product in the next two years. Within a certain number of months, you may want to create and test a prototype. Short-term goals, like research, testing, or gathering materials, will help you reach the prototype stage and help you get to your bigger goal.


The third letter in GOSPA stands for strategies. Your strategy is the method you use to accomplish the objectives of your goals.

For example, if we look at sales, your strategy could be to build an internal sales force or you could outsource all sales to a professional organization. Within this could have numerous sub-strategies within your overall, single sales strategy.


Next in the GOSPA formula is setting your priorities. Not all goals are alike. You may need to start working on some of your goals right away. But others might be able to simmer on the back burner until you’re ready for them.

The million-dollar question is how can you decide which goal or goals to work toward first?

To help you decide, make a list of all your business goals. Physically write them out with a pen and paper.

Next, figure out how important each goal is to you. Consider creating a value system, such as 1-5, and assigning each goal a number based on importance. You can also rank your goals based on urgency. If you’re getting external pressure from someone else about a certain goal, or if that goal needs to be completed within a certain timeline for any reason, it might be more urgent than the others.

From there, you can decide which goals you want to prioritize the most. But this list doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s okay to come back to your goals–say, once a month–and reevaluate. You can always change your strategy for setting long-term goals in the future.


The final letter in the GOSPA Formula is A, which stands for activities. These are the specific daily functions that are clearly delegated to individuals with standards of performance and set deadlines.

If you’ve thought out this process completely, each activity will be determined by the current priorities. Each achievement of your priorities will lead to the accomplishment of the strategy.

When your strategy is carried out, you’ll achieve your objectives and at the end of the time period, you’ll reach your goals for a specific level of sales or profitability.

One of the primary qualities of executives in high-profit businesses is that they are continuously going through the strategic planning process. They are always playing down the board. They’re always thinking about the future and about the various different things they can do, and how to set goals in order to make their desired future a reality.

Track Progress

Once you’ve performed the GOSPA formula on your goals, all that’s left to maintain your growth is to track your progress. This step is absolutely essential—most successful people regularly check in on their progress, considering the actionable steps they’ve been taking to help them achieve long-term goals.

The method you use to track your progress might vary depending on the nature of a certain goal. At a basic level, however, you want to make a note of everything you do to help reach those long-term goals. Then set a time to regularly sit down and review.

How much time did you spend last week working toward your goal?

What short-term goals did you check off?

Have you run into any obstacles or roadblocks that might alter your overall timeline?

By carefully tracking your progress as you head toward the finish line, you’ll get valuable firsthand insights that you can use to inform your strategy throughout the entire process.

5 Examples of Long-Term Business Goals

Do you feel ready to start setting goals, but unsure of where to start? Take a look at these examples of long-term business goals.

Launch A New Product

Launching a new product or service could make an excellent business goal. Depending on the product specifications, it could take anywhere from a few months to several years to bring the product to the market. This isn’t a process you want to rush–you want any new product or service that you offer to be as high-quality as possible.

Increase Your Sales and Earnings

Increasing your revenue could also serve as a long-term goal for your company. Choose a specific number and a time frame so you’ll know when you’ve reached this goal. For example: “We want to see $XXX in monthly revenue by this month and this year.” Then figure out what smaller goals you need to set in order to see the sales numbers you want to see.

Grow Your Social Media Presence

Numbers aren’t everything on social media. The amount of followers you have is important. But engagement is extremely important, too–and so is your overall company reputation and what people are saying about you online.

If you decide to set a long-term goal that relates to social media, consider which metrics are most relevant to your other business goals (for example, your click-through rate will likely have a big impact on your revenue). Then include those in your goal.

Expand Into A New Market

Another example long term goal is to expand into a new market. This can be a great way to pull ahead of your competition. Smaller goals to help you reach a new market could include conducting market research, getting feedback from your current customers, and figuring out what kind of timeline this goal will require.

Hire A Larger Team

Hiring more employees can help grow your business as you bring new perspectives and new skill sets into the room. But don’t hire just for the sake of hiring–hire strategically, figuring out which positions will be the most helpful. If you’re trying to grow your social media presence, a new social media manager might be in order.

Final Thoughts

Goal setting isn’t always easy. But setting long-term goals is the best way to build your dream company and advance your career plan, taking concrete steps toward whatever success means for you.

Looking for more goal-setting advice to help you get started? Check out my 14-Step Goal-Setting Guide. This free ebook outlines the strategies you need to avoid common mistakes and succeed with your goals.

If you’re ready to invest in your own business and your personal life like never before, this is the resource for you–my best goal-setting tips all in one place. Download the ebook for free!

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How To Set Long-Term Goals
Article Name
How To Set Long-Term Goals
Your ability to set long-term goals and constantly be thinking about the future of your business has a huge impact on the success of your enterprise.
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Brian Tracy International
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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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