Business Plan Timelines: How Do I Develop a Timeline for a Business Plan?
Did you know more than 65% of businesses don’t make it to 10 years? Oftentimes, this is due to a poor business plan.
With that in mind, it’s incredibly important to make sure you put together a solid business plan before launching your company.
Making a business plan timelines for your business can be a great way to define, visualize, and better achieve your business goals.
Business Plan Timelines
Now that you’ve decided you are going to do a business plan, you may not know where to start. Take a breath. The first thing to do is put together a timeline generator. It’s simple to outline the steps for business plan timelines with the right tool.
What are the parts of a business plan? What should you do first? How long will each part take? Who needs to get involved. This insider information will help you to put together a business plan timeline that is best for your schedule and business.
Business Plan Basics
Business Plan basics include the parts of a plan. To set up your business plan timeline, it’s important to know the parts and how long each one may take.
A typical business plan has the following parts:
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Products and Services
- Target Market
- Strategy and Implementation
- Marketing Plan
- Financial Plan
Now, that you know the parts what is included in each business plan part? You may be wondering which order to do them in as well. This will help you know how much time to set up for your business plan timelines.
Start with your target market first. This will be simple to outline your ideal customer or 1-3 types. This may vary from a business to consumer to business to business type. Then, you want to research what the target market size is.
This helps you know what the potential is for the market. A great idea is to search by NAICS or the North American Industry Classification System.
This should take you <1 hour if you are already clear on customer types. If not, spend some time identifying your ideal customer.
Products and Services
If you are putting together a business plan, you likely already have an idea of what you are offering. List out your services and offerings. Share how you are different from competitors, and what makes you stand out.
What are your price points? Where are your products or services offered? Expect this part to take <3 hours depending on what you are offering.
Now that you know your target market and what you are offering, let’s get into the marketing plan. This is how you are going to let your target market know about your products and services. It’s important to consider the volume and consistency of marketing activities as well.
In today’s online world, it takes 6-8 times before people notice on average.
A great marketing plan will include things like:
- Social Media
- Grand Opening
These are what are called your leading indicators. What that means is if you don’t lead with these efforts, you won’t have sales or lagging indicators. Put a plan in place to set your business up for success.
Expect this part to take <3 hours initially and then revisit it regularly with ideas.
Strategy and Implementation
Strategy and implementation are important to every element of your business plan timelines. What do you need to get done with marketing? With your services? With any in-person operations? How long will everything take?
Ask questions from suppliers, vendors, customers so that you are prepared for the best case and worst case to factor into your timeline. Then, we recommend adding at least 25% to the timing.
For example, if you are setting up an online business with a website and social media and no products, likely you can get it up and running in less than a month. In comparison, if you have a brick and mortar business, there will be more involved like permits, inspections, and furnishings.
Make sure you start listing out the financials as you will need them for the next part of the business plan. Estimate taking anywhere from a day to 2 weeks+ on this.
Now that you have the products and services, marketing, and implementation plan done you are ready for financials. Based on the marketing plan and investments, put together a reasonable estimate of sales. Compare this to benchmarking for your industry when companies started.
Next, include the start-up costs, any fixed assets, and estimated expenses monthly for the first year. Put together a forecast for year 2 and 3 with conservative estimates e.g. 10-30% depending on your industry and actions the team is taking.
Estimate taking anywhere from a day to two+ weeks.
Overview and Summary
Your business plan timelines are almost complete. There is one part left. Now, that you have all the parts, it will be easy to put together the overview and summary.
The company overview highlights the mission, vision, and founders. A short and concise bio for each founder is perfect. The executive summary will include putting together a condensed version of what you already did. Include highlights on the products, market, plan, forecasts, and team.
Estimate taking anywhere from a day to two+ weeks.
Timeline for a Business Plan
This step by step outline for your business plan timelines will help set you up for success from the start. Take it one step at a time, and before you know it your timeline will be done. Better yet, your plan will soon be complete too.
What action will you take next with the business plan timelines?
Check out the rest of our blog to help with building your business.