How to set strategic goals (with 73 examples you can steal)

As a project manager, setting strategic goals for your team is an absolute must. By establishing objectives, you can make sure everyone (including yourself) is productive and moving in the right direction. It also means you can track progress and make adjustments in real-time — something that’s incredibly difficult to do without clear metrics. In fact, without measurable goals, it’s near-impossible to determine whether initiatives are working or not.

But what should these goals actually be? Allow us to explain…

What are strategic goals?

A strategic goal is a broad, long-term objective that a company strives to achieve. It can be something as general as becoming the top player in your industry or as specific as increasing market share by 20%.

There are different types of strategic goals (which we’ll explore in a little more detail later on), and each goal will involve metrics — the criteria you’ll use to measure progress.

Why are performance metrics important?

Metrics are important because they provide concrete evidence of whether a goal is being achieved or not. Without metrics, it can be difficult to determine whether things are working and how well. Metrics also help to identify areas of improvement and allow for targeted action.

Here are some common strategic goals metrics:

  1. Revenue growth:  this metric measures how much revenue the company generates over a period of time. You can break it down by product, market, or other factors.
  2. Gross margin: this measures how much profit the company earns on each dollar of revenue. Gross margins are useful for tracking product profitability or comparing performance against competitors.
  3. Customer churn: churn refers to how many customers leave the company over a given period of time. It can identify areas of improvement and indicate which aspects of a service or product are driving away customers.
  4. Employee turnover: the opposite of retention, turnover measures how many employees leave the company over a given period of time. A high turnover rate is often a sign that the company needs to improve its employee retention strategy or benefits package.
  5. Social media followers: this metric measures how many people follow your company on various social media platforms. Follower numbers help you determine the strength of the company’s brand awareness or engagement levels.
  6. Website visits: this metric shows how many people visit your company website over a given period of time. You can use this data to track the company’s online visibility or marketing efforts.
  7. Product launch success: this metric measures the success of a product release. You can use factors such as sales, customer feedback, and market share to gain a clear picture of product launch success.

Strategic goals vs. strategic management: what’s the difference?

While both strategic goals and strategic management are important, they’re not the same thing.

  • Strategic goals are the objectives a company aims to achieve.
  • Strategic management is the process of setting and accomplishing those goals.

Think of strategic goals as the long-term outcome you envision the things you want to achieve in three to five years. In order to achieve your goals, you need a well-defined process for developing and monitoring them. That’s where strategic management comes in.

Strategic goals vs. OKRs: what’s the difference?

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a popular framework for setting strategic goals. But there are some key differences between OKRs and strategic goals.

Firstly, OKRs are typically shorter-term compared to strategic goals. Secondly, OKRs are more specific and quantitative, while strategic goals are more broad and qualitative. Thirdly, OKRs are often used in performance-driven organizations, while strategic goals can be used in any type of organization.

Strategic goals vs. KPIs: what’s the difference?

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a popular framework for measuring performance. Here’s where they differ from strategic goals.

KPIs are usually more narrow in scope than strategic goals. And while KPIs are highly specific and quantitative, strategic goals are more broad and qualitative. Also, KPIs are best suited for measuring operational performance, while strategic goals are better for measuring business performance overall.

Strategic goals vs. business goals:

There are some key similarities between strategic goals and business goals. Both are important for driving organizational success, and they must be measurable and achievable to offer the most value. But here’s where they differ:

  • Strategic goals focus on long-term growth or performance, while business goals are more immediate targets you must hit to achieve bigger objectives. 
  • Business goals tend to be specific and quantitative, while strategic goals have a broader and more aspirational focus.
  • Strategic goals encourage you to take a comprehensive approach to achieving organizational success. Business goals are more modular and focus on improving performance in individual business units or departments.

Which framework is right for your company?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The right goal-setting framework depends on your company’s size, culture, and industry. If you’re not sure which model is right for you, speak with a business advisor or consultant for guidance. They can help you understand which operational factors have the most impact on your organization and choose a framework that will drive progress.

How to set strategic goals

Now that we’ve covered some of the differences between strategic goals and other popular frameworks, let’s take a closer look at how to set effective strategic goals.

1. Start with the big picture

Start by thinking about the overall vision and mission of your company. What are you trying to achieve? Where do you want to be in three to five years? Once you have a general idea of where you want to go, you can start thinking about specific goals that will help you get there.

2. Make them SMART

All goals should be SMART: that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means your goals must be specific enough to be quantified and measured, achievable (not too easy or too difficult), and relevant to the company’s overall vision and mission. They should also have a specific timeframe for completion.

Top tip: use project management software to make measuring your project milestones a breeze.

3. Communicate your goals to all employees

Make sure to communicate your goals to all employees, not just management. Employees need to understand what the company’s trying to accomplish and their role in achieving those objectives.

4. Hold everyone accountable

Holding employees accountable for meeting their goals is an important part of achieving success. Use a system of rewards and penalties to motivate employees to stay on track.

5. Evaluate progress, and make changes as needed

Regularly evaluating progress is essential for managing the pace and success of your goals. If necessary, make changes based on what you learn from one milestone to the next.

Now, let’s get to some real-world examples.

73 strategic goal examples

We’ve split this list by goal type to make it easier to follow. Please note: the examples do not reflect Nulab’s goals; they’re here for educational purposes.

Strategic goals about finance

1) Increase revenue by 20% in the next three years
2) Reduce costs by 15% in the next 12 months
3) Invest in new technology that will improve our overall efficiency
4) Increase our market share by 5% in the next two years
5) Create a new product that will generate $1 million in revenue in the next 12 months
6) Diversify our revenue streams into two new markets
7) Become financially sustainable by 2023
8) Grow shareholder value by 20% in the next two years
9) Reduce marketing costs by 10% over the next year

Strategic goals about marketing

10) Increase website traffic by 25% in the next three months
11) Generate 1,000 leads through our website in the next six months
12) Double our social media following in the next six months
13) Increase customer satisfaction by five points in the next year
14) Increase brand awareness by 25% in the next year
15) Launch a new marketing campaign that generates a 10% ROI
16) Reach 10,000 people through our email list in the next six months
17) Secure two major partnerships in the next 12 months
18) Attend three industry tradeshows in the next year

Strategic goals about R&D

19) Develop a new product that will be in the market in 12 months
20) Patent our new technology by the end of the year
21) Increase our R&D budget by 15% in the next year
22) Hire two new senior scientists in the next six months
23) Double our current market share in the next three years
24) Develop a product that is fives times more efficient than our current products
25) Reduce the time to market for new products by 50% in the next year
26) Increase our customer base by 20% in the next year
27) Collaborate with two other companies in the next year

Strategic goals about employee productivity

28) Increase average billable hours per employee by 20% in the next three months
29) Streamline our billing process so that it takes employees less time to bill clients
30) Reduce customer support inquiries by 20% in the next month
31) Improve team productivity by 10% in the next three months
32) Implement a new CRM system that will make it easier for employees to find customer information
33) Create a training program for new employees that will shorten the learning curve
34) Hire two new customer service representatives in the next month
35) Allow employees to work from home one day a week
36) Give employees a 5% raise in the next three months

Strategic goals for innovation

37) Develop a new product that will be in the market in 12 months
38) Patent our new technology by the end of the year
39) Increase our R&D budget by 15% in the next year
40) Hire two new senior product designers in the next six months
41) Double our current market share in the next three years
42) Develop a product that is five times more efficient than our current products
43) Reduce the time to market for new products by 50% in the next year
44) Increase our customer base by 20% in the next year
45) Collaborate with two other companies in the next year

Customer-focused strategic goals

46) Increase customer satisfaction by five points in the next year
47) Decrease website bounce rate by 25% in the next three months
48) Generate 1,000 customer product reviews in the next six months
49) Secure a rating of 75% five-star reviews on Tripadvisor by the end of the quarter
50) Reduce refund time by one week by the end of next quarter
51) Host two focus groups in December to get feedback about the new product
52) Reduce customer call time wait by an average of three minutes in the next two months
53) Secure two major influencer partnerships in the next 12 months
54) Increase newsletter subscriptions by 20% by the end of 2022

Strategic goals for internal improvement

55) Increase average billable hours per employee by 20% in the next three months
56) Develop and implement new company core values by December 2023
57) Reduce staff turnover by 25% in the next six months
58) Increase employee satisfaction by 10% in the next six months
59) Implement a new training program for new employees
60) Give employees a raise of 5% in the next three months
61) Hire two new customer service representatives in the next month
62) Allow employees to work from home one day a week
63) Reduce the time it takes to process invoices by 50% in the next month
64) Implement new software that will improve team communication

Strategic goals to promote growth

65) Secure a new office space that is twice the size of our current one
66) Implement a new sales strategy that generates a 20% increase in sales in the next six months
67) Increase our customer base by 20% in the next year
68) Double our market share in the next three years
69) Collaborate with two other companies in the next year
70) Launch a new marketing campaign that generates a 10% ROI
71) Reach 10,000 people through our email list in the next six months
72) Secure two major partnerships in the next 12 months
73) Invest in a new advertising campaign

Final thoughts

Developing effective strategic goals is essential for any business, regardless of size or industry. By setting measurable, achievable objectives, you can make sure your company is moving full steam ahead in the right direction and achieving its long-term goals.

As your organization or team grows and changes, choose tools that make collaborating and tracking your goal metrics as convenient as possible. By doing so, you’ll be able to work together as a team towards the success you and your business deserve.

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