When you are trying to find financing for your small business idea you need to create a business timeline that details your projection for how your company will grow over the next five to ten years. This projection will be used to show lenders that your company will be able to survive and be able to pay back the loan. However, the business timeline that you create has to be based on more than just your guess; it needs to be supported with facts, figures and hard data.
Step #1 – Set Up the Outline for Your Timeline
The first step is to set up the outline for your business timeline. This will include the highlights of your business’ projected growth and development. For example, you will want to include when the business is to be opened, when your product line will be expanded, when you will add additional locations and when you will incorporate. You may also want to include blips on your timeline that reference when you will be passing the breakeven point and when you will be producing a profit.
Step #2 – Research Your Points
The next step is to back up your predictions with viable research. You will need to conduct a market study to determine what the market can support, what buying trends are like and what your costs will be. You can find other sources of data from your local chamber of commerce, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics and textbooks.
Step #3 – Use Your Data to Refine Your Timeline
Once you have hard data in your hands you will need to use it to refine your predictions. You will want to refine your predictions for when you “should” break even and when expansion will be practical. You may also want to make notes about the historical evolution and growth of similar enterprises in your economy, or note that your company will be filling a void in the local market.
Step #4 – Add References to Your Business Timeline
The next step is to add references to your business timeline. These references will be used to explain how you generated your data and predictions. You can add a caption, a footnote or an endnote to each point on your timeline. Lenders will find this information helpful, and it will help them to take your application seriously.
Step #5 – Clean Up Your Business Timeline
The final step is to clean up your business timeline. This will include reformatting the graphic so that it looks professional and so that it is easy to read. Adjustments that you may need to make include changing the font size and style, making the timeline larger or smaller and utilizing color to highlight special developments in your timeline. Once your timeline has been perfected it can be added to your business plan or proposal.