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Strategic goals

Strategic goals are the specific financial and non-financial objectives and results a company aims to achieve over a specific period of time, usually the next three to five years.

Strategic goals are one of three things a company’s management team must articulate as part of its strategic planning process, with the others being its key success factors (the important elements required to achieve its goals) and its strategic scope (the products and services that will be offered, to whom and where).

Strategic goals are important because they:

  • Drive priority setting, resource allocation, capability requirements and budgeting activities
  • Inform individual and team objectives used to focus and align the efforts of all employees
  • Inform the marketing, operations, IT and human resources plans for the coming years
  • Provide benchmarks for comparing planned and actual results

Companies use the insights from their SWOT analysis to set their goals. They are refreshed annually as part of the strategic planning process.

More about strategic goals

Strategic goals may be either “hard” or “soft”—that is precisely measurable or not. Both types of goals should be defined for a variety of stakeholders, including customers, employees, communities and shareholders. The following chart shows some examples of hard and soft goals for each stakeholder:

Hard goals

  • Grow number of clients by 5% per year
  • Achieve customer loyalty scores of 85% or higher
  • Keep number of employees at current levels
  • Achieve employee engagement scores of 85% or higher
  • 70% of employees are volunteering in the community
  • Grow revenues by 7% and net income by 14% per year
  • Introduce five new products per year

Soft goals

  • Customers tell their friends about the company
  • More new hires are referred to the company by employees
  • Encourage ethical and respectful behaviour
  • Gain reputation as a visible and valued contributor to the community
  • Improve corporate responsibility
  • Become a leader in product innovation