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5.10 Milestones Analsysis Questionnaire

What are milestones and why do we need to have them in a business plan for Central Plumbing & Heating Inc.?

Milestones as the word implies are key activities that have to be completed in the coming months. The completion of each activity is an important milestone for a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc. and hence the word milestones. When we put this section of the business plan together we tell our small business owners like Felix Gonzalez to make a list of all the significant tasks and activities that need to be executed successfully in the coming six months for the business plan to become a reality. Once an strategic list of action items and tasks has been put together, a short list of the top 9 most important items are selected and then placed into milestone template to be a part of the business plan.

The milestones section of the business plan gives the reader of the business plan as well as the owner of a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc. a very clear idea of what key goals or responsibilities have to be accomplished by the small business in order for it to be successful. Readers of the plan like potential lenders and partners are able to see how their possible investments will be put to use and the timeline during which the small business will be able to execute on its business plan in the days ahead.

What time period should be covered in the milestones analysis for a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc.?

The time period that should be covered in the Milestones analysis for a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc. should be six months. While it is entirely possible that in many instances, a small business owner like Felix Gonzalez may actually like to include a shorter or longer time frame, we feel given our experience that most lenders and partners realize that it is very hard if not impossible to plot out a time line beyond any time frame greater than six months in the operations of a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc.. Even if you were to give a detailed Milestone analysis that covered a period fo 1 year, it would probably not hold any water and have much credibility.

What is the level of importance that a task needs to be at to be able to include it in our milestone analysis for Central Plumbing & Heating Inc.?

In order to determine which 9 tasks should be included in the milestone analysis, we recommend that you quantify each task on a scale of 1 to 10 and rank the tasks on the scale. Take the tasks and achievements that are the most significant and without which the execution of the business plan is not going to be possible and you will find that the final list will typically comprise of tasks that have a importance rating of 5 or more.

Estimation of time: how accurate do we need to be when estimating the time in the milestones analysis?

Estimation of time is important. The reason for this is of course that even while we may be only projecting the future in a business plan, as time passes the lenders who lend business loans to small businesses like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc., or partners who choose to partner up with business owners like Felix Gonzalez will want to see how well the business is executing on its planned deadlines, accomplishments that they put down in their business plan.

While not being able to meet any one particular deadline or milestone may not be negative for a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc. if there is no milestone that is being met, lenders and investors will be justifiably concerned. All this of course reduces the confidence that they have in you as a business owner and your ability to plan and execute. This usually tends to be of very significant importance when the chips are down and a small business like Central Plumbing & Heating Inc. finds itself in a slump. This is when the lenders and partners decide on standing by your side or abandoning you completely and cutting their loses.

So plan carefully and take the dates that you enter into the Milestones seriously because the folks that read your business plan sure will. Also we want to project out realistic milestones that account for a realistic estimate of time to complete scheduled tasks - for example if you are a restaurant owner and are looking to get the entire interior of the restaurant changed - you can't expect to have that done in 2 weeks - it will most certainly take longer and lenders and investors will look to see if you are being realistic with your estimates to get a sense about your understanding of the business.

Quick Links:

  1. Go to the Corresponding Template section for this industry.
  2. Go to the Corresponding Business Plan section for this industry.

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