The idea of setting your long-term business goals may seem like a waste of effort with so many thoughts running through your head. That being said, it is extremely difficult to achieve business success if you don’t set out where you ultimately want to go.

For example, goals related to the expansion of the company have to be defined to explain how to hire salespeople, customer service staff and even the top management team.

What Are Long-Term Business Goals

Long-term business goals are designed to look three to five years into the future. Any well-run business will have clear and defined long term goals that set the direction of the company and short term objectives that drive those long term goals.

These are important to the entrepreneur as they clarify the purpose of the business and help identify necessary actions. For entrepreneurs, your long-term goals must encompass not only the goals for the business but your personal long-term goals.

According to the Harvard Business Review, most managers will try to

maintain a tricky balance between setting targets high enough to achieve impressive results and setting them low enough to keep the troops happy.

In reality, however, you have to be realistic about where you want to be both professionally and personally. With that being said, here some exaple of long-term business goals.

Examples of Long-Term Business Goals

Long-term business goals generally fall into four categories – growth, profit, service or social mission. But not all long term goals need to fit into these categories. Here are some other examples:

Increase Personal Wealth

A common long-term goal is for the new venture to eventually increase the business owner’s personal wealth. Increasing an entrepreneur’s personal wealth may mean different things to different people.

While the common definition would be an increase in financial resources, other definitions may include a flexible work schedule, creating a company to meet social needs in society or improving the lives of individuals working in the business venture.

These long-term goals help entrepreneurs stay on track when starting a business and creating plans for increasing the entrepreneur’s wealth.

Expand into New Opportunities

Entrepreneurs may start a business with the plan to grow and expand the business into new opportunities or business industries. This long-term goal allows entrepreneurs to focus on making their business the biggest and best in its industry.

Entrepreneurs setting these types of goals often have a bigger plan in mind when starting a business. These plans may require the help of other individuals or economic resources to grow the business. Entrepreneurs may also look to expand the business quickly using whatever means possible.

Go Public

Taking a business public may be a long-term goal of entrepreneurs. This long-term goal may take several years to complete. Small businesses must usually have a strong history of financial performance in specific business operations and ensure future investors about the company’s long-term viability in the business environment. Entrepreneurs may also need to recruit other individuals to work in the business who have extensive experience or expertise in the business industry.

Lasting Legacy

Entrepreneurs may choose to start a business to create a lasting legacy for their family. Starting a business may allow individuals to recruit family members into the company and employ them for running the business. Many of today’s largest companies started as simple family businesses.

Defining Your Long-Term Business Goals

Imagine that the date is five years from now. Where do you want to be? Will you be running a business that hasn’t increased significantly in size? Are you going to command a rapidly growing empire? Will you have already cashed out and be relaxing on a beach somewhere, enjoying your hard-won gains? Answering these questions is an important part of building a successful plan. In fact, without knowing where you’re going, it’s not really possible to plan at all.

For more insights and perspectives, check out our entrepreneur training program.