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Business timelines should be used to manage a particular project or major event, such as start-up of a new business or client. Timelines are essential in managing the tasks that need to occur to reach your goals and determining the feasibility of your target dates and costs. A visual at-a-glance document is helpful in explaining the overall business timeframe. The timeline will help guide you, keep you on track and communicate the goals of your business.
Evaluate the timeframe of your business’s end goals. If your timeline is based on a particular project, such as implementing a new system or opening a retail store, assess a realistic end date for this to occur.
Meet with other business associates, contractors and vendors who will assist you to accomplish your business goals to evaluate how much time they need to accomplish their tasks. For example, if ordering a new phone system, ask the telecommunications person how long it will take for equipment to be ordered, shipped and installed.
Gather all dates and begin to draft a business timeline. Assess how realistic your timeframe appears, the costs associated with the project and the feasibility of your goals. Prepare for a short-term timeline and a long-term forecast.
Document your business timeline in a software application such as Microsoft Excel, Project or PowerPoint. Create a document that is printable, accessible and contains a breakdown of milestones with target dates.
Distribute your business timeline to others involved with your business and ask them to review and provide feedback on your proposed timeline. Based on their suggestions, edit and finalize your timeline as necessary.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.