Differences Between Aims, Goals & Objectives

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Aims, goals and objectives help to make your business successful day in and day out. Although they are interrelated, aims, goals and objectives have important distinctions and their roles in business are often confused. Aims relate to the end results, but goals and objectives help you achieve these results. Goals are abstract ideas, while objectives are more tangible and concrete.

Plan, Articulate and Document Aims, Goals and Objectives

Taking the time to plan, articulate and document in writing your aims, goals and objectives contributes to the success of your business. The three interrelated concepts concern future intentions and all three must be set in motion if your plans are to have a realistic chance of succeeding. You are more likely to reach a goal when you’ve planned and implemented objectives to achieve it. You’ll also see greater success in your business if you share your aims and strategies to achieve them with associates and employees who will be carrying out those objectives. Keep in mind that aims, goals and objectives must be clear and specific as well as realistic.

Aims Are Desired Outcomes

An aim is a purpose or the desired outcome. Aims tend to be more general than goals and objectives because aims refer to the end results. But while they are general in nature, aims are also bigger. They are the vision for your business. Aims are not always accompanied by goals and objectives, but to achieve the desired outcome there must be an action plan in place. For example, a person might state his or her aim is to be a successful entrepreneur, without setting the goals and objectives that would help him or her to achieve this.

Set Specific Goals

Goals are specific statements of intent. For example, a company might have an aim to increase profits so they set a specific goal to increase profits by 25 percent within one year. A goal is usually broad and does not lay out the steps to achieve it. A goal is a target or destination. Goals keep you focused on your aim and on track working to achieve it.

Objectives Are the Action Plan

Goals are destinations and objectives are the actions needed to arrive at that destination. Objectives are measurable and there may be multiple objectives leading to your goals and aims. If your overall goal is to get a more rewarding job, for example, you may have a set of objectives that help you to achieve this. Such objectives might include sending letters to companies you want to work for, brushing up on interview techniques and learning skills or obtaining qualifications that would increase your employment prospects. Objectives are like a road map, giving you direction as to what you what you need to do and when you need to do it in order to achieve your business goals and aims.

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About the Author

Katie Mills Giorgio is a freelance writer and editor living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has been creating content for a variety of websites and publications for the past 15 years.