Every business exists to make profits for its owner. However, a philosophy of profit maximization only in the short term is not a sustainable way to guarantee profits and growth in the long term. As the owner of your small business or small corporation, you must set long-term objectives for your business to achieve long-term prosperity.


Select objectives that fit with your business goals. Your long-term objectives should be acceptable, which means that your internal and external stakeholders should agree to them. The objectives should be flexible. This means, for example, that your expansion plans should include room for adjustments so you are not forced to halt your expansion if unexpected events occur; you also should make provisions for possible earlier expansion.

Long-term objectives should be measurable. Clearly state how many years it should take you to reach a certain percentage of growth in revenue. In line with these qualities, an objective should be relevant to your business and possible to accomplish, and you should be motivated to achieve the objective.

Types of Long-Term Objectives

For your business to succeed, you'll need to pursue certain long-term objectives. For example, your business must earn acceptable long-term levels of profit, and you must achieve optimal relation between the inputs and outputs of your business to increase your company's profitability. After you set profitability and productivity objectives, you'll need to target a dominant market position. For example, you may want your business to achieve the highest sales in your area. You also should focus on retaining and training your employees and on acquiring technological improvements. The best technological resources and skilled, loyal employees are priceless when you focus on the long-term horizon for your business.

Achieving Objectives

You need to plan carefully for long-term objectives. This requires that you perform a strategic analysis of your company’s standing, and it involves studying your weaknesses, strengths and the opportunities and threats to your business. Analyze your business environment, such as the competition or available technologies that your business can use. Similarly, identify your company’s central competencies, including the functions or skills on which your business’s competitive edge relies. You must then measure your company's performance and its resources against past performance or industry competition. Based on these factors, decide how you will pursue your long-term business objectives. Determine if you will follow a cost-effective approach or adopt a strategy of differentiation.

Social Responsibility

As your business grows and satisfactorily achieves its core business objectives, you may want to set socially responsible long-term objectives. You may adopt a well-advocated policy of environmentally friendly production, prioritizing health and safety for employees and society at large. You can set objectives to help improve and enrich your community -- for example by contributing a portion of your total sales for local community college and funding education for underprivileged students. These objectives can in turn help fuel the achievement of your core business objectives.