How To Set Long-Term Business Goals For Your Freelance Business
In this article:
Shape your business for the next few years with broad long-term goals.
Use the SMART goal framework for planning.
Always expect and plan for change for your business.
If you’re looking to achieve success in your business, then setting long-term business goals can give you a roadmap to get there.
If you’re looking to succeed in your setting long-term business goals can give you a roadmap to get there. e long-term goals can give you the clarity you need to determine what strategic steps you should take next. succeed in your business,
Don’t get caught up in the daily grind. You can take time away from your clients or customers to focus on business strategies. However, without a clear, step-by-step plan for growth, you can't know if you're moving in the right direction.
What Are Long-Term Business Goals?
Long-term business goals are goals you want to achieve over years rather than months.
These goals are typically broader and more ambitious than short-term goals, shaping your business activities for the next few years. Whether you want to increase your market share, develop new products, or surpass a set income, setting a long-term goal will help you get there.
Why Is Setting Business Goals Important for Business Owners?
While you may already have a business plan, long-term goals are more specific.
Setting long-term goals is important for any business owner, but it's especially important for freelancers and solopreneurs. Stay focused and motivated with clear business goals. This will give you a sense of accountability.
It's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day activities and challenges associated with running a business. Having a specific goal to work towards can give you the motivation to put in the extra effort you need to stay on track and keep making progress toward your vision.
Business Objectives vs. Goals— What’s the Difference?
The terms "objectives" and "goals" are often used interchangeably, but there are differences.
Your goals are statements about what you want to achieve, while your objectives are the measurable actions you'll take to achieve your goals. When you set your long-term business goals, you'll use a combination of goals and objectives.
Goals will tell you where you're going, and your objectives will tell you how you will get there.
5 Steps for Setting Long-Term Business Goals
Breaking down the goal-setting process will make it more manageable.
If you don't have time for one long strategy session, you can tackle one step at a time and work over several days.
The following steps will walk you through the process and provide action items to work on:
1. Visualize What the Next 10 Years Will Look Like
Before setting goals, think about where you want to be in 10 years. What do you want your business to look like in terms of offices, employees, products, income streams, etc.?
A clear vision of the future you want will help you focus on the goals that matter and not get distracted by popular metrics that may be relevant to others but aren't to you.
If you're planning any significant life changes in the next few years, you'll want to consider how that will affect your goals.
A helpful exercise for this stage is to think about your ideal day in one, two, five, and 10 years. What are you doing and what will it take for you to get there?
2. Use the SMART Goal Framework
Once you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, write out your long-term goals using the SMART goal framework.
SMART goals give you a concrete action plan for achieving goals. SMART stands for:
Specific: Set a clearly defined, narrow goal.
Measurable: Determine a metric so you can set measurable goals.
Achievable: While stretch goals are fine, you want to make sure yours are achievable.
Realistic: Your goals should also be realistic. This isn't the time to set audacious goals.
Time-bound: Your goals should have a time frame.
A good SMART goal might be "Increase email signups by 25% in one year." The benefit of a SMART goal is that you'll know whether you've achieved it or not. You're not endlessly trying to vaguely improve.
You should set company goals, financial goals, strategic goals, and challenging goals. Make a list of your long-term SMART goals and then prioritize them.
3. Set Short-Term Business Objectives Based on Long-Term Goals
When you've established your long-term goals, break them down into short-term objectives that include the steps you need to take to reach your goals.
For each of your long-term goals, write down all of the smaller tasks you need to do to meet the goal. Turn each of these objectives into its own SMART goal.
For instance, if your goal is to increase your email list, your short-term objectives might include the following:
Analyze your current content to see what receives the most interaction this week.
Add a popup to your website to encourage email signups this month.
Create a gated offer such as a white paper or free e-book in exchange for email addresses within the next three months.
Conduct A/B tests of different types of content to see what generates the most signups within six months.
Create a campaign to maximize signups on all of your social media channels within nine months.
4. Keep Track of Goal Progress Regularly
Your short-term objectives will give you the tools you need to measure your progress over a specific time period. Don't just set a goal and then put it aside.
Your goals should be directly tied to your daily work so you can see your progress. Make checking the progress of your goals a regular part of your workday.
5. Expect and Plan for Change
The goal-setting process isn't a one-and-done event. You'll need to adapt and change as your circumstances change.
You might blow through your year-end goals in the first three months. Or you might see that a goal you thought was realistic actually isn't.
While setting long-term goals is the best way for you to know you're moving toward the future you want, you also have to be flexible and realize that market forces change. A long-term goal may need to be adjusted or dropped completely.
What Are Some Examples of Long-Term Business Goals?
Some long-term goals for a business may include:
Increase your revenue by 10%, 20%, 50%, or more
Bring a new product to market
Improve employee satisfaction and retention
Launch a rebrand of your company
Grow your social media following
Establish yourself as an authority in your field
Dominate a micro niche for your industry
Expand your market reach into a new geographical area
Create a new revenue stream
Create Plans for Long-Term Success for Your Small Business
Setting long-term goals is one of the most important things you can do for success.
As a freelancer or solopreneur, you may feel alone and on your own in your business. Finding a supportive community and effective tools to help you on your journey can give you the encouragement you need.
At Noumena, we give you the power to shape the future of your work with resources to make you successful. This includes connecting with like-minded business owners, an innovative platform, resources to help you succeed, and setting you up with mentors.
We're here to advocate for you and help you get the resources you need for professional support and financial solutions.
Whether you're just getting started in your business, need the capital to expand, or are looking for a supportive community, Noumena can help you take your career to the next level.