Business Planning – Short Term, Medium Term and Long Term Goals

As the owner or executive of a business, you have business goals. You have your 5-year goals or your long-term goals, and then there are steps along the way to reach those goals: medium-term goals and short-term goals.

If you were a retailer you might have the following goals:

Short term: sell a certain amount each sunny day, a certain amount each rainy day, a certain amount each holiday, weekend and weekday.

Medium term: Identify your best suppliers. Establish relationships with the most efficient, timely, reliable and innovative suppliers. Attract a higher number of baby boomers than your competition.

Long term: Continue to create innovations in the marketplace that can set you apart from your competition, such as innovative loyalty programs or bleeding edge point-of-purchase technology.

In business planning and business performance management, key performance indicators (KPIs) are fundamental to knowing where you are in your path towards a certain goal.

This is what Wikipedia says about KPIs:


A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a measure of performance. Such measures are commonly used to help an organization define and evaluate how successful it is, typically in terms of making progress towards its long-term organizational goals. KPIs can be specified by answering the question, “What is really important to different stakeholders?”

Wikipedia mentions long-term, but that misses out on important short-term and medium-term goals which I’ll explain shortly. The other key term here is “stakeholders.”

Each goal, whether short-term or long-term, has different stakeholders.

If you have daily retail sales goals, then a store manager has to have access to data that shows him or her in real time what’s going on in the store.

If you have quarterly or yearly goals vis-a-vís your suppliers and different customer segments, then an operations person or sales director needs access to information that shows how you’re doing along these paths.

If you have long-term plans to create innovative solutions and become a market leader, then the CEO or owner needs access to key data to know how you’re doing against these plans.

Different time-frames, different stakeholders, different goals, different KPIs.

What tools are available to help you along the path?

David Abdo wrote a post entitled “Business Intelligence Software: Who Is It Really For?” where he argued for the democratization of business intelligence software across the enterprise.

The existence of a multi-tiered goal structure as illustrated above implies the requirement of a company to implement a business intelligence tool that’s accessible to all people within the company.

What are your thoughts on the matter?