Throwing around terms like goals and objectives as if they were interchangeable is relatively harmless in casual conversation, but when constructing a business plan it's crucial that you identify the key differences between the two, and any other seemingly similar terms, because doing so will help you create a stronger, more manageable business plan.
Four terms that are often confused are goals, objectives, strategy and tactics, but they are easy to think about if you place them in a hierarchy. One is often a part of another. For example, your goals are your ultimate desired result. So, if you are starting your company, you should set goals that may not be met in your first year, but perhaps several years down the line. Becoming the top local provider in your industry is a good goal.
Your strategy pertains to how you will achieve that goal. What will you do to become the top local provider in your industry? A strategy might be to engage with audiences online. If you break that down a further step, you will need to consider how you will manage that strategy. That's where you list your objectives. Maybe you will build a stronger presence on social media, which is part of your online engagement strategy, which helps meet your goal of becoming the top local provider in your industry.
Finally, your tactics are the specific tools you use in pursuing the objectives linked to your strategy. Increasing update frequency on Twitter and Facebook is an example of a tactic, which helps meet the objective of developing a stronger social media presence, and so on and so forth.
Learning this and other important information like how to incorporate your business will help guide the success of your company.