What you do in a business plan is basically laying out a vision and more or less, your hopes. Your research may be strong and your past results may show that you have it in you, but at the end of the day, you cannot really know how things will work out. Investors know that but if they see that you have a concrete plan of action and you have the necessary motivation they will most certainly trust you.
The way you business plan really comes to life and the part where investors really pay attention to is the milestones table. This table gets the plan from the land of fairytale to concrete, practical terms. Real budgets, deadlines and taking up management responsibilities talk more to investors than any other part. They are a great help for you too. They help you focus and crystallize the next steps you are going to make.
Setting milestones means setting specific actions that are going to be taken usually within a set timeframe. The activities or results should be measurable so you can come back with some real results and reports. The more milestones the better.
Name each milestone with a different name and define a start date and an end date for that action. Do not forget about the budget and assign a person or department who is responsible for it. Make the fact that you are going to follow your plan and actually track the milestones and the result, very clear to your staff and actually do it. If you do not follow up it is most likely that your plan will remain just a plan.
Keep an eye on the milestones, sort them and be flexible. If you realize that you are not on the budget or the deadline was set without knowing all the variables, adjust. Make corrections whenever they are needed. These tracked actions will help you determine which managers are productive, which need support or extra resources and so on.
The real value of the business plan is how you implement it, same as any idea. For every part of the plan ask yourself how are you going to implement the strategy and how would a concrete plan of action would look like. Don`t just come up with task. Figure out if they will get you closer to your goal and find a way to measure implementation. That is the only way you can show other people that your plan works.
Expect changes. The plan and the actual results will be somewhat different and that is normal. Expect changes and if possible predict them as accurate as you can. In the end, it is all about good old-fashioned hard work.