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Difference Between Aims, Goals, And Objectives

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Aims, goals, and objectives are sometimes used simultaneously but often people tend to forget that they are different from each other especially if you are looking from a ‘business motto’ perspective.

So what is the difference between aims, goals, and objectives? In a nutshell, Aims relate to what you want to achieve in the long term, whereas goals relate to the short-term results that you want to achieve and objectives are the means through which you will achieve your goals!

Now that we are aware of the fact that all three terms are interrelated but aren’t the same, let’s have a look at each of the terms in detail.

So without much ado, let’s get started!

What Does The Term ‘Aims’ Mean?

In common parlance, Aim means the desired outcome or the intended result that one wants to achieve. This is something that is very subjective and varies from person to person.

For example, ‘My aim in life is to become a successful mathematician.’

‘Our aim is to achieve peace at a global level.’

Now if you see it from a business perspective,’ Aim’  is what you want to achieve in the long run. Although the aim is a general idea, it is in a specified direction. Aims are generally bigger and that is why a lot of companies have got a vision statement that typically showcases,” Where we are and where we want to reach.” For example,

‘In the longer run, the company wants to create a significant position for itself in the global market!’

Although people believe that the only aim that business tycoons have is to earn more profit over a period, this does not always hold true. For example, a multinational company might have its aim of earning revenues but at the same time, it aims for sustainable development.

Therefore, to get an idea about the aims of a company, one should have a look at theirvision statement.

For example, the aim of  IKEA  as per their vision statement is “To create a better everyday lifestyle for the many people.”

Amazon aims,” To be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

What Does The Term ‘Goals’ Mean?

In layman’s terminology, ‘Goals’ mean the end towards which one has directed all his effort.

At first, it might appear to you that goals and aims are the same but the stark difference here is goals are short-term targets that one needs to achieve in order to fulfill their ultimate aim.

Have a look at the below-mentioned examples where the long-term aim is to be achieved through short-term goals.

‘The ultimate aim of my life is to be a well-known financial advisor and for that I why I want o do my Masters's from a well-reputed college’

‘I want to stay and for that my goal is to lose 10 pounds.’

Goals have to be very specific and are to be achieved in a short span of time.

What Does The Term ‘Objectives’ Mean?

Objectives are targets that you make on a frequent basis to achieve your goals. Objectives are very short-term targets and are mostly made immediately to deal with a sudden change in the circumstances. Therefore, objectives are like a roadmap to help you reach your destination. For example,

‘Collecting data about preferences to improve future sales.’ 

‘Making your resume, so that you can apply for a job.’

Therefore, objectives help you in directing your efforts toward the things that you need to do in order to achieve your goals and aims.

Differences Between ‘Aims’, ’Goals’, and ‘Objectives’


‘Aims’ is usually used to signify the long-term targets that the company or an individual has. For example,

‘The company wants to achieve a turnover of 10 million dollars in the next 5 years.’

‘I want to become a successful surgeon.’

‘Goals’ means the short-term targets that are being set in order to fulfill the long-term target of ‘Aims’.For example,

‘The company is working to improve their products so that the company could increase sales.’

‘Stella was opting for this course as it will help her in the future.’

‘Objectives’ are day-to-day targets that act as a guide to achieve the goals and aims.


In terms of timeline, the first thing that one does is achieve the ‘objectives’, then through these objectives, you achieve the short-term ‘goals’, and after this one achieves the long-term target that is their ‘aim’.

Comparison Chart: Aims Vs Goals Vs Objectives

ScopeThe scope of Aim is the biggest among the three.Goals have a relatively smaller scope.The scope of the objective is very narrow.
Timeit takes the highest amount of time for completion.Achievement of goals takes a lesser amount of time.The time taken for its completion is sometimes negligible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does The Acronym ‘SMART’ Stand For Under Business Studies?

Under business studies, one needs to set a goal that meets the criteria laid down as ‘SMART’:
Specific: One has to be very specific while setting up a goal and needs to avoid any sort of ambiguity that comes in the way.
Measurable: Goals are something that is concrete and can be measured in some way. Therefore, if a company is trying to increase its sales then it should have a target that is expressed in the form of units.
Agreed On: The goal must be agreed upon by all the people who are going to work for its achievement.
Realistic: Often people tend to set targets that are based on the things that they want to achieve without having the required amount of resources. Therefore, while setting a goal, one needs to consider the resources and the limitations that one might come across and set a goal accordingly.
Time-Bound: Make sure that the goals that you want to achieve have a time limit attached to them.

What Is A ‘Mission’ Statement?

Under the studies of strategic management, it has been observed that every company has its own mission statement which provides an answer to three major aspects.

Firstly, what is the current position of the company, what is its objective, and its approach toward achieving those objectives.


To sum it up, it could be said that although people tend to use them interchangeably they are not the same. ‘Aims’, ’Goals’, and ’Objectives’ are aligned towards the same target which could be achieved by the union of all three of them.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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