M - Measurable – the business can put a value to the objective, e.g. A - Agreed by all those concerned in trying to achieve the objective.
R - Realistic – the objective should be challenging, but it should also be able to be achieved by the resources available.
A goal is a specific target, an end result or something to be desired.
It is a major step in achieving the vision of the organisation.
There is often much confusion between goals and objectives.
Whereas as a goal is a description of a destination, an objective is a measure of the progress that is needed to get to the destination.An aim is where the business wants to go in the future, its goals. For instance, we want to achieve sales of €10 million in European markets in 2004.A mission statement sets out the business vision and values that enables employees, managers, customers and even suppliers to understand the underlying basis for the actions of the business. It also enables the business to measure the progress towards to its stated aims.A business may find that some of their objectives conflict with one and other: Growth versus profit: for example, achieving higher sales in the short term (e.g. Short-term versus long-term: for example, a business may decide to accept lower cash flows in the short-term whilst it invests heavily in new products or plant and equipment.Large investors in the Stock Exchange are often accused of looking too much at short-term objectives and company performance rather than investing in a business for the long-term.The following table serves to illustrate the difference between goals and objectives.It is important to understand that a number of goals must be attained before the strategic plan can be achieved.When someone first sets up in business, he/she may have some unstated aims or objectives - for example to survive for the first year.Other businesses may wish to state exactly what they are aiming to do, such as Amazon, the Internet CD and bookseller, who wants to "make history and have fun". Business objectives are the stated, measurable targets of how to achieve business aims.In the strategic planning context a goal is a place where the organisation wants to be, in other words a destination.For example, a goal for a sporting organisation might be to have 50 qualified and active coaches.