The importance of looking at short term vs long term performance in Business

In the dynamic landscape of retail business, analyzing business performance is paramount.

Dissecting this evaluation into short and long-term perspectives is crucial for sustainable growth and success. While short-term performance provides immediate feedback of customers demand and insights into product sales and retail strategies, long-term analysis offers a holistic view, guiding strategic decisions and fostering resilience against volatility in the retail sector. Let’s delve into why businesses must strike a balance between both and how Datama can efficiently facilitate this process.


Short-Term Performance: Looking into the Present

Short-term performance acts as a barometer for the immediate health of a business. It provides “real-time” insights into the effectiveness of current management strategies, especially in monitoring key retail KPIs like product sales, transaction volumes, and traffic.

Rapid Feedback Loop: Short-term analysis offers swift feedback, allowing businesses to quickly adjust strategies in response to market changes or internal challenges. This is particularly vital in tracking retail metrics such as item sales and store traffic.

Operational Efficiency: Monitoring short-term performance helps businesses optimize processes and allocate resources efficiently, thereby enhancing productivity and reducing costs, a crucial aspect for any retailer.

However, focusing solely on short-term performance can lead to a narrow vision, neglecting broader strategic goals and potential long-term implications.

For instance, a manufacturer analyzing their performance over the past month versus the same month a year ago (all data created for this article):

In this case, we can see that, over one month, the brand is relatively flat in terms of revenue. Indeed the +15,8% average price increase was mitigated by a strong volume decline, driven by the -20,8% decline of the 950ml format, making them lose -3,4M Euros.

Long-Term Performance: Adding perspective

Long-term performance extends the horizon beyond immediate gains or losses, focusing on sustained growth/decline, innovation, and resilience against adversities. It reflects the enduring impact of business strategies, including key metrics like profit and conversion rates.

Revisiting our example, let’s examine the manufacturer’s performance over the past 12 months versus the previous year (MAT).

In the long run, we observe that the manufacturer has experienced a decrease in value sales (-2.1%). This decline is a result of mitigated price growth and a decrease in volume. One might argue that short-term performance seems better than long-term. However, in January, the volume decline of the critical 950ml format nearly doubled compared to the full-year trend, at -20.8% versus -11.5%. A significant decline in demand for a key product format signals trouble.

This is a clear example where putting perspective on the short term trends highlights key issues.

Comparing short-term and long-term performance in Datama

Datama Compare allows for easy comparison of these two sets of periods. There’s no need to have the previous analysis on different pages; you can compare them directly on the platform or in your usual Visualization tool (like Tableau, Power BI, Looker Studio).


Achieving sustainable success requires a delicate balance between short and long-term analysis. Businesses must integrate both perspectives into their evaluations to make informed decisions that drive growth while mitigating risks.

Agile Adaptation: Remain agile in response to short-term performance fluctuations, while staying committed to long-term strategic visions. Continually evaluate and adjust strategies to maintain equilibrium between immediate needs and future aspirations.

Investment in Innovation: Allocate resources towards innovation and research to sustain long-term competitiveness. Balance short-term financial gains with investments that cultivate long-term value creation and market leadership.

In conclusion, the importance of evaluating both short and long-term performance in business, especially in the retail sector, cannot be overstated. While short-term analysis provides immediate feedback and operational insights, long-term analysis guides strategic decisions and ensures sustainable growth. By striking a balance between the two, businesses can navigate uncertainties, seize opportunities, and embark on a trajectory towards enduring success in the ever-evolving business landscape.

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