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Strategic Goals vs Tactical Goals: Understanding the Difference Between the Two

Becoming your own boss, earning another stream of income, and creating your own work schedule are all reasons you might want to become an entrepreneur. And sometimes, it’s easy to see the outcome you want. But, it’s knowing how to get there that can be the real challenge.

When you’re trying to scale your business up to a higher level, setting the right goals can make all the difference between just having a dream of success, and seeing it come to life. In today’s post, we’ll discuss strategic goals, tactical goals, and the differences between the two.

What Are Strategic Goals?

Strategic goals are one type of long-term goal for a business. These goals must be measurable, and if given a window of time for achievement, they tend to run in the 3-5 year timespan.

Strategic goals are aligned with the vision or mission of your company. They are goals are “big picture” goals for where you want things to be in the future.

Strategic goals come to life when they have data attached to them. They can be easily measured. Strategic goals can determine where money goes, where resources go, and how teams are created, and they can even help define priorities for an organization.

However, strategic goals keep the vision and values of the company at the forefront. So, before you decide on your goals, it’s important to think about what’s in your company’s DNA. What do you want your company to be known for? How do you want people to see your company? What will make your company unique? Staying true to the vision and identity of your organization is key to creating your strategic goals.

Strategic Goals Examples

As you create strategic goals, be sure to keep them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. We’ve covered the SMART goal-setting framework previously, so for a deeper dive into this important topic, check out our resource The Importance of Smart Goals. Making your goals SMART is critical, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish. The SMART goal-setting framework will serve you, whether your goals are personal or professional.

So, for some strategic goals, here are a few examples:

  • Reduce costs
  • Reduce customer turnover
  • Open new locations
  • Reduce a departmental budget
  • Increase customer count
  • Offer new products
  • Increase profit margin
  • Increase revenue
  • Enhance the brand’s reputation on social media

As you can see, these are big goals. However, to get there will require some more precise, specific planning. And, to get towards these bigger goals, tactical planning could become very helpful.

What Are Tactical Goals?

Tactical goals, or tactical planning, deal with the short-term. What do you want your business to accomplish in a short time span? What would success look like for your organization within the next month, quarter, or even a year from now?

Establishing firm answers to this question can help you discover some tactical goals. Tactical goals should be put in writing, and the SMART framework is also helpful here.

Tactical Goals Examples

If strategic goals are the what, then tactical goals are the how. Middle management will formulate and implement these action steps. Here are some common examples:

  • Customer Service: The company would like to improve its customer service. Management decides that every customer who calls will receive the opportunity to provide feedback through an automated customer satisfaction survey. This data will be analyzed to provide feedback to employees and to find out how the company can improve.
  • Social Media: Competition is growing in the area, and the company would like to increase its visibility. The marketing department will increase its daily posting on all its social media platforms to enhance its social media presence. Views, likes, retweets, and follows will then be analyzed after a determined time frame.
  • Employee Turnover: The cost of training new employees is a big expense. Employee turnover is also a problem. To tackle both these issues, management will encourage current employees to explore internal promotion opportunities to help avoid an exodus of talent. A year from today, data will be analyzed to determine if turnover decreased.

Differences Between Strategic Goals and Tactical Goals

It’s easy to think of separating long-term goals from short-term goals. However, thinking ahead to your strategic or long-term goals helps establish the best framework for the future. These big-picture goals can then help you plan for what your short-term goals should be. You can then map “backward” so to speak for how you will get to where you want to go.

So, in this manner, the process of planning strategic goals and tactical goals can work hand-in-hand.

Regardless of the type of goal you’re setting, it’s important to stay focused. Working towards your goals can become tiring, especially if your business isn’t your only job. Along the way, it can become frustrating if you find that you’re not accomplishing your goal

Erin Shelby on TwitterErin Shelby on Wordpress
Erin Shelby
Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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