Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re a seasoned pro, consistently reviewing and maintaining a wish list of long-term business goals is imperative to your continued success. With so many personal and professional aspirations bobbing around your head, it can be a bit intense choosing just a few to focus on. How do you know which will make the most meaningful impact considering your needs right now while also setting yourself up for that long-term success you so desperately crave?
If you’re finding yourself waffling on which long-term goals for your business to zero in on, we’ve outlined the most common (and best!) long-term business goals that have the strongest impact on the success of growing your small business with examples, tips, and resources to help you reach them.
1. Increase sales
Increasing your sales should be on everyone’s list of long-term business goals. After all, you didn’t go into business to break even every year. You want to make some money too! Year over year growth is one of the top variables in being able to determine if you are thriving or flailing.
Choose metrics that can be measured and pick a firm number. If your goal is to increase the number of clients or customers you have by this time next year, set a monthly target giving you something to aim for. Alternatively, you may be more interested in boosting your bottom line, in which case you need to set a revenue target. Simply stating that you want your revenue to be larger than it was last year is not specific enough. Include an actual revenue number in your marketing plan to ensure you reach your goal.
Remember, as you plan your long-term business and marketing goals, you should make every effort to make them SMART–meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
By outlining your long-term business goals, especially when it comes to increasing sales, in this way, you can set yourself up for success in actually reaching (and even exceeding!) your revenue targets.
Here are some resources that can help you get more customers and increase sales:
- How to Increase Sales for Your Business (Without Breaking the Bank)
- 5 Lead Generation Ideas to Get Customers (on a Budget)
- 8 Ways to Get More Customers FAST
- 15 Insanely Effective Sales Promotion Examples To Win More Customers
2. Build brand recognition
Another long-term business goal to throw in your marketing mix is to increase your brand awareness and name recognition. This isn’t something that happens overnight and it’s an ongoing process. But being easily recognizable in your community goes a long way in obtaining new customers and keeping current ones. You work hard for your money and so does the rest of the world. When making a purchase, people are more likely to spend that money somewhere they’re familiar.
In fact, one study found that 80% of people are primarily influenced to click on search results from businesses they’re aware of–either as a customer or because the brand is known and/or trusted.
Doing things like remaining consistent on social media, regularly participating in community activities and events, and having a company logo that stands out will help you to reach that goal of having a recognizable brand for years to come.
It’s also important to invest in brand-building marketing strategies such as:
- Display advertising
- Social advertising (including Facebook advertising)
- Search advertising
3. Create a stellar reputation
Long-term goals for a business aren’t restricted to the financials. Building up street credentials in your industry should be on your radar from day one. Credible sources vouching for your business will help gain customers’ trust and direct new clients your way.
The easiest way to build a great reputation is to deliver amazing service to each and every customer. It also helps to focus on your online reputation management and try to get (and respond to) as many positive reviews as possible.
Get more online review stats like this one.
You can also reach out to industry bloggers or local businesses with services complementary to your own to help build up your reputation. Playing well with others and getting the thumbs up from those already established in your market is a launching pad for establishing your own reputation as a quality organization.
Here are some resources to help you create a great business reputation:
- 5 Ways to Get 5-Star Google Reviews (& Why It’s So Important)
- How to Get Yelp Reviews & Respond Like A Pro
- How to Respond to Google Reviews (with Examples)
- How to Respond to Negative Reviews: Our Fail-Proof Tips
- 21 Essential Customer Feedback Questions to Improve Your Business
- Are You Ignoring These Glaring Customer Pain Points? Here’s What to Do Instead
4. Grow social media following
These days, people get much of their information solely from what pops up in their daily social media feeds. If you don’t have a strong presence on multiple social media platforms, now is the time to change that.
Growing your social media following can take some time but the reach you receive is worth it. Starting out, focus on marketing via outlets you’re familiar with like Facebook or Instagram, for example. We wouldn’t suggest throwing in the added stress of figuring out a new platform when getting this started.
What’s next? Well, this isn’t an “If you build it, they will come” scenario, so you need to promote your pages. Include “Follow” buttons on your website and blog, include links to your social media pages in your email blasts, and cross-promote between your various social media accounts.
You can also try running Facebook contests and Instagram giveaways to build up your audience. Many social media contests are built around users following your business or tagging friends, which helps you get more followers fast.
Here are some more resources to help you build your audience on social media:
- 12 Free & Paid Ways to Promote Your Instagram to Get More Followers (& Customers!)
- How to Promote Your Facebook Business Page for Free
- 13 Social Media Hacks Every Small Business Should Try
- 13 Time-Saving Social Media Tips to Increase Engagement (& Make Your Life Easier)
5. Get on the first page of Google
This has been an elusive goal for many. Considering that on the first page of Google is where we typically see internationally recognized brands popping up, we can sometimes get the impression that it’s not in the cards for small business owners. That’s simply not true.
Turning up on page one of a Google search is like getting a gold star from the internet. Less than 10% of people search any further than the first page, which is why it’s imperative to add this to your long-term business plan. Having a website that is optimized for search engines and effectively using keywords within the site’s content are only a couple of ways to get you top billing.
Here are some resources that can help you achieve this long term business goal:
- 4 Free Ways to Rank Your Business Higher on Google
- 5 Tips for Better SEO Writing Your Audience (& Google!) Will Love
- How to Get Your Business on the Google 3-Pack (+Why It Matters)
- 10+ Tips to Get on the First Page of Google
6. Open a new location
Many business owners see expansion as a worthy long-term business goal to add to their list. It might be your dream to have a business location in all the neighboring cities within a 50-mile radius of your original location, to expand across the state—or even to spread your business across the country.
In order to get there, you need to build a solid customer base, which achieving these other long-term goals can help you with. It’s also important to do your research and develop a go-to-market strategy that can help you expand successfully into a new area with new customers and new competition.
Here are some resources that can help:
- Opening a New Location? 7 Ways to Promote It
- 5 Steps to Make Your Grand Opening a Smashing Success
- 8 Things to Consider Before You Open a Second Location
7. Launch a new product or service
Perhaps as one of your long-term business goals, you want to expand—but not solely your location. You might consider expanding your business by launching a new product or service.
For example, say your spa specializes in facials and you have a number of customers asking if you offer waxing or dermaplaning. A long-term goal could be to offer those services. Expanding your service offering will require extra planning (and potentially new hires) on your part, but it can increase the revenue you make from your business and grow your customer base.
By listening to your existing customers and performing a market gap analysis, you can identify new products or services your business could potentially offer in the long term. (A go-to-market strategy is crucial here, too!)
Here are some resources to help you assess whether or not this should be one of your long-term business goals:
- 17 Steps To Take Before You Launch A Product Or Service
- 7 Tips for a Successful Product or Service Launch
- 12 Ways to Effectively Promote a New Product or Service
8. Host promotional events
Events may seem like they belong on the short-term goal list, but it really depends on what you’re measuring. If you’re looking purely at having executed a successful event, yes that is a short-term goal. But events can have an effect on your long-term business goals.
You could focus on one-off events, or you may consider trying out a series of related events to accomplish several marketing goals including increasing awareness, boosting your revenue, and strengthening your relationship with the customer. Maintaining the interest of the consumer over a long period of time and consistently getting them to show up means that you’re bringing them value.
Here are some resources to help you plan for hosting promotional events:
- 11 Creative, Brand-Building Event Marketing Ideas
- How To Host A Successful Promotional Event
- Event Marketing Guide: Strategies, Ideas & Examples
What are your long-term goals?
Each of these long-term business goals examples will take time to implement. Some, like getting on the first page of Google or growing your social media following, may take a matter of months while other goals like increasing your sales and brand reputation may take a full year or more. The key is to have an effective marketing plan going in, setting realistic but challenging goals, and identifying the baby steps needed to get you there.
Here’s a recap of the top long-term business goals:
- Increasing sales
- Building brand recognition
- Creating a stellar reputation
- Growing social media following
- Getting on the first page of Google
- Opening a new location
- Launching a new product or service
- Hosting promotional events