In the urgency of the day-to-day, it is sometimes difficult to gauge whether we are actually making progress in the growth and development of our business. We ask ourselves what we have actually accomplished. Identifying Vital Milestones is a simple but effective way of encouraging and tracking progress.
What are Vital Milestones?
Identifying and monitoring the achievement of vital milestones is a simple but effective way of gauging progress. Milestones act as markers of achievement in our business plan and action plans. We know we have completed a crucial project or stage and can move onto the next level.
As business owners we spend time on business planning, marketing, sales, finance, administration, and of course on servicing our customer needs. In the day-to-day we can drift off-track and lose sight of implementing those key projects which will really contribute to our business growth. Vital milestones remind of us which key projects or actions should be completed, by when.
The attainment of vital milestones means we have succeeded, completed, accomplished what we set out to do and know we have made progress.
How to Establish Vital Milestones
- Examine the projects and action plans you have in progress or in mind
- Summarise each one in a few words and assign a realistic deadline
- Place in a sequential list or chart (not too many)
- Celebrate or reward yourself when each Vital Milestone is completed
A simple example is shown below.
What do about Milestone Slippage – i.e. Not Achieving Things
What should you do if you have a milestone which keeps slipping: a plan that just never seems to come to fruition?
I would say look carefully at the milestone and answer these questions.
- Will the achievement of this milestone contribute significantly to building your business or resolving a critical issue – is it vital? If the answer is no, then it is probably time to let this one go.
- Have things changed so drastically that this milestone is no longer relevant? Fine, move on to what is most relevant to your business.
- Have you underestimated the time it will take to complete this? If so, move the milestone to a realistic deadline or see if you can complete it more quickly by leaving something out, (“perfect is the enemy of good”.)
- Is there a fear, uncertainty or doubt (FUD) that is preventing you (or your staff) from achieving this milestone? If this is the case, identifying the core reason for non-achievement is crucial. Work out what it will take to address the issue; additional expertise, training, outsourcing, more resources. Apply the remedy or ditch the milestone, just don’t keep deceiving yourself that it will eventually get done, somehow.
The milestone is a humble but effective tool in helping you focus on your priorities and in gauging your business progress when planning your business and implementing actions.
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