Near Term

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 12, 2023

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What Is Near Term?

The concept of the "near term" often varies across contexts, but it generally refers to a relatively short period, typically within the next few months to a year. It's a timeframe that, while immediate, allows for planning, preparation, and proactive decision-making.

The near term bridges the gap between what is happening now and the long-term future, serving as a crucial period for realizing both immediate objectives and setting the stage for more distant goals.

Near-term planning is paramount for both individuals and organizations. It's a pivotal process that steers actions and decisions in the short run while also laying the groundwork for long-term visions.

Near-term planning helps align resources, manage risks, and capitalize on opportunities, thus ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in various facets of life and business.

Components of Near-Term Planning

Time Frame Considerations

The first component of near-term planning involves establishing an appropriate timeframe. While "near term" generally implies a short period, the exact duration can vary depending on the context.

For instance, a business may view the near term as the upcoming fiscal quarter, while an individual may consider it as the next month. Defining the near term ensures everyone involved has a shared understanding of the timeline for planning and action.

Goals and Objectives

Setting clear and specific goals is a crucial aspect of near-term planning. These goals provide a direction for the plan and serve as benchmarks for measuring progress.

Objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They should clearly define what needs to be accomplished within the near term.

Strategy and Tactics

Once goals are established, it's vital to outline the strategies and tactics that will be used to achieve them.

Strategies provide the overall approach, while tactics detail the specific actions required. In near-term planning, strategies and tactics should be practical and executable within the defined timeframe.

Resources and Logistics

Effective near-term planning also involves considering the resources and logistics necessary to carry out the plan. Resources can include finances, personnel, and tools, while logistics involve the coordination and execution of the plan.

Identifying these elements in advance ensures smooth execution and helps anticipate potential challenges.

Components of Near Term Planning

Near Term in Different Contexts

Near Term in Business Planning


Near-term planning in business often starts with forecasting—predicting future sales, market conditions, and financial outcomes based on current data and trends.

Effective forecasting can help a business prepare for the near future, enabling it to allocate resources efficiently and respond to market changes proactively.


Budgeting is another crucial aspect of near-term business planning. It involves allocating financial resources for various business activities in the near term.

Budgeting ensures financial sustainability, promotes efficiency, and allows a business to pursue its near-term goals without overextending its resources.

Operational Planning

Operational planning is the process of planning the day-to-day activities that produce goods or services.

In the near term, operational planning might involve scheduling shifts, organizing workflows, or managing supply chains. Good operational planning can enhance productivity, minimize waste, and ensure the business can meet its near-term objectives.

Near Term in Personal Life

Personal Finance

In personal finance, near-term planning might involve budgeting, saving for an upcoming expenditure, or paying down debt. It's about managing one's finances effectively to meet near-term needs and prepare for future financial health.

Health and Wellness

In the context of health and wellness, near-term planning could include setting fitness goals, planning for a balanced diet, or scheduling regular health check-ups.

Such planning can contribute to improved physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life in the near term.

Career Development

In career development, near-term planning may involve refining skills for a current job, seeking a promotion, or planning a career switch. By setting and achieving near-term goals, individuals can make significant strides toward their ultimate career aspirations.

Near Term in Policy and Governance

Legislation and Policy

In the realm of policy and governance, near-term planning is crucial. Policymakers may use it to draft legislation addressing immediate societal needs or plan reforms for the upcoming legislative session.

Near-term planning helps ensure policies are timely, relevant, and responsive to the needs of the populace.

Program Development

Government entities or non-profits may use near-term planning for program development, such as initiating social programs, health initiatives, or educational projects.

This planning ensures that these programs are well-structured, adequately resourced, and capable of meeting their objectives within a given timeframe.

Emergency and Crisis Management

Near-term planning is particularly important in emergency and crisis management. In anticipation of potential crises, agencies can develop near-term plans that outline immediate response protocols, resource allocation, and communication strategies.

Such preparedness can significantly mitigate the impact of emergencies when they occur.

Near Term in Different Contexts

Benefits of Near-Term Planning

Increased Efficiency

By clearly outlining goals, strategies, and resources, near term planning helps individuals and organizations execute tasks more efficiently. It minimizes confusion, reduces wasted effort, and promotes better use of time and resources.

Improved Decision-Making

Near-term planning enhances decision-making processes by providing a clear framework of goals and strategies. Decisions can be made quickly and confidently, as they are guided by a well-defined plan.

Risk Management

Through near-term planning, potential risks can be identified and mitigated before they become significant issues. It allows for proactive risk management, which can prevent problems and ensure smoother execution of plans.

Better Alignment of Resources

Near-term planning helps ensure resources are well-aligned with objectives. Whether it's personnel, finances, or time, proper planning ensures that resources are used optimally, contributing to the achievement of goals.

Challenges in Near-Term Planning

Uncertainty and Risk

While near-term planning helps manage risks, it also faces the challenge of uncertainty. Unpredictable events can disrupt even the best-laid plans, necessitating quick adaptations.

Resource Limitations

Resource constraints can pose a significant challenge to near-term planning. Limited resources must be allocated judiciously, and it may be difficult to execute plans fully if resources run short.

Changing Priorities

In a rapidly changing world, priorities can shift quickly. Near-term plans may need to be revised or discarded altogether if they no longer align with shifting objectives or circumstances.

Benefits and Challenges of Near Term Planning

Strategies for Effective Near-Term Planning

Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility and adaptability are vital for successful near-term planning. While a plan provides a guide, it's essential to be ready to adjust as circumstances change.

Data-Driven Decisions

Decisions in near-term planning should be grounded in solid data. This approach ensures that plans are realistic, achievable, and responsive to current conditions and trends.

Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging stakeholders in the planning process can enhance the effectiveness of near-term plans. Stakeholders can provide valuable insights, foster buy-in, and contribute to successful plan implementation.

Regular Review and Revision

Lastly, near-term plans should be regularly reviewed and revised as necessary. Regular reviews ensure that plans remain relevant and effective, even as circumstances change. By revisiting and adjusting plans, you can stay on course toward your near-term goals.

Strategies for Effective Near Term Planning

Final Thoughts

Near-term planning plays a crucial role in various contexts, including business, personal life, policy, and governance.

It provides a timeframe for planning, preparation, and proactive decision-making, bridging the gap between the present and long-term future goals.

Near-term planning involves components such as establishing an appropriate timeframe, setting clear goals and objectives, outlining strategies and tactics, and considering necessary resources and logistics.

It offers numerous benefits, including increased efficiency, improved decision-making, risk management, and better alignment of resources.

However, near-term planning also faces challenges such as uncertainty, resource limitations, and changing priorities.

To ensure effective near-term planning, strategies such as flexibility and adaptability, data-driven decisions, stakeholder engagement, and regular review and revision are essential.

By employing these strategies, individuals and organizations can navigate the near term successfully and work towards achieving their objectives.

Near Term FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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