… in the future we will do this …
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. Milestones are key events or accomplishments that serve as markers of progress in achieving the goals set out in the business plan.
Milestones look forward to tell the investor what to expect from your business in the future and when to expect it. They are significant events that you think your business can achieve which will indicate that it is moving forward according to plan.
Milestones are significant in that they serve to monitor progress, and investors may even link funding to milestones being achieved. For example, funding might be released in stages dependent upon a certain milestone being reached. Alternatively the equity percentage required by the investor for the funding might be reduced if a milestone target is met.
Business Milestones Examples
The milestones chosen will ultimately depend on the current stage of development of your business. For example they might include the date on which any of the following occur:
- Website operational: The date when the website is operational.
- Incentive plan drawn up: The date on which the incentive scheme for senior managers will be introduced.
- Pitch deck produced: The date the pitch deck will be available for distribution.
- Minimum Viable Product/Service Launch: The date when the business’s product or service will be available to the market.
- Hiring Key Personnel: The date when key personnel, such as executives or managers, will be hired.
- Securing Funding: The date when funding, either through investment or a loan, will be secured to support the growth of the business.
- Reaching Target Market: The date when the business will start reaching its target market and generating revenue.
- Breaking Even: The date when the business’s expenses and revenue will be equal, indicating the business is financially sustainable.
- Achieving Profitability: The date when the business’s revenue will exceed its expenses, indicating the business is making a profit.
- Expansion: The date when the business will expand its operations to new markets or launch new products or services.
There is no set style to the milestone section. The example below uses a chart format for a five year period and breaks down the first year into quarters. Each row of the business milestones chart represents a significant event. Presenting each the milestone in this format helps investors to see what the event is and when they can expect it to have been achieved.
Milestones in a business plan provide a road map for the business’s growth and help the management team focus their efforts and resources on the most important goals.
This is part of the financial projections and Contents of a Business Plan Guide.The guide is a series of posts on what each section of a simple business plan should include. The next post in this series is about the size of the market for the business plan idea.
About the Author
Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.