Writing Winning Business Cases

July 21, 2021
July 21, 2021 Peter Iuvara

Whether you’re just starting out on a new venture, or have an existing brand, strategy and planning is always an important first step. Having good ideas is important for any brand looking to thrive and flourish, but they need to be executed to see results.

It’s not necessary to know something that no one else knows.
It’s necessary to believe something that few people believe.
Be ahead of your time.

Execution usually takes a team to be aligned on a singular vision with buy-in and belief. However, when a solution to a problem or opportunity requires big changes, or your team of stakeholders is large and diverse, building a case for the project is one of the best paths to move forward.

Project managers and entrepreneurs need to communicate their strategic vision effectively and efficiently. This is where a business case can help individuals advocate for their proposed course of action. A business case describes the feasibility and functionality of a proposed solution or the benefits of grabbing an opportunity to expand the business.

We follow a similar approach with every business case we create to ensure we are covering all bases. In this article, we’ll guide you in writing a business case. We’ll also walk you through what to include and how to make a strong business case.
 

Characteristics of a Strong Business Case

  • Clarity of vision: Your business case should describe what your proposed initiative solves or targets, how you will execute your idea, and its potential impact on the company.
  • Keep it brief: Be brief in your presentation—both in person and on paper. Provide only the information your audience needs to make an informed decision.
  • Stick to the facts: Your business case should include input from team members and subject matter experts in all other departments, such as finance, IT, and Marketing. Consult with as many team members as you can to minimize guesswork.‍
  • Clean structure: Your business case is potentially a visual aid to help project sponsors decide on a complex plan. Ensure it’s interesting and attention-grabbing while substantiating your proposal’s value and benefits. Design a memorable presentation, whether as a PowerPoint, PDF, or document. The goal is to create a concise, clear, and compelling proposal. Additionally, learn your material for a smooth-flowing presentation.

 

6 Step Format for Your Business Case

A business case outlines a proposal to help those with decision-making power decide if the benefits of a project are worth its costs and risks. However, a business case doesn’t need to hold all the answers, as details can be added as the project progresses. Here are the essential components to include in a strong business case document. You can rearrange the order of these elements in whatever way works best to clearly present the case.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is a crucial part of your presentation, but you should write this part of the business case last. Here are the five questions that you should aim to answer in this section:

  • What is the problem or opportunity?
  • What are the benefits of solving the problem or pursuing the opportunity?
  • How much will it cost to solve the problem or pursue the opportunity?
  • What are the risks associated with the proposed solution or opportunity?
  • When will stakeholders start seeing results?

 

2. Problem statement

Address the problem or opportunity again in this section with more detail. Include any research or conversations with team members that can expound on how big the problem or opportunity is. Connect how the issue impacts the overall goal of the business.
 

3. Financial plan

The financial plan discusses how much money is needed to move forward with the project. Depending on the project’s scale and cost, you may need to do a cost-benefit analysis and a sensitivity analysis. You might also need to draw up a cash-flow forecast.

A cost-benefit analysis starts with listing costs and benefits associated with the project—anticipated or otherwise. Next, you’ll assign monetary and quantifiable values to the costs and benefits. From then, you calculate your total costs and total benefits and compare whether your benefits outweigh your costs.

A sensitivity analysis, also known as a what-if analysis, is used to predict the outcome of a specific action when performed under certain conditions. So, if your project plan is to pull advertising money and use the funding to reach customers another way, create different scenarios to reflect your plan’s outcomes by changing a different variable in each scenario.

When presenting your idea, it’s important to acknowledge that the numbers are estimates, as actual costs can’t be determined at this stage. However, you want to include numbers nearest to the approximate costs as much as possible.
 

4. Project definition

In this section of the business case, you’ll discuss your project plan in detail. Provide a summary and draw a timeline for the project. Divide the project into stages. For each stage, describe the resources needed, the people and activities involved, and the expected outcomes.

This is also where you’ll review and summarize the financial and non-financial expected benefits of your plan. Your goal here is to show the decision-makers why your project is needed. You may enumerate positive outcomes like reducing cost, generating revenue, increasing market share, improving customer loyalty, or some other benefit(s).

You’ll also want to include any potential risks or limitations of the project in this section. These risks may include pushback from team members when changing a marketing strategy, anticipated delays in deliverables, or incurring large capital expenditures.
 

5. Options

This section is where you’ll discuss the most viable potential solutions to the problem you’ve identified. Present the risks and benefits for each possible solution. Enumerate the requirements needed for the project to be successful, which may include infrastructure, a team, and a system.

A complete business case will also include a “do nothing” option where you’ll discuss the risks and benefits of not going forward with any course of action.
 

6. Recommendation

Specify your recommendation and explain why you think it’s the best course of action. You may also choose to note the next step if the project sponsors decide to go with your recommendation.
 

Contact Us For Strategic Planning or Help With Project Execution

A business case outlines a proposal to help decision-makers decide if the benefits of a new project are worth its costs and risks. It can help you enlist the support of decision-makers and other stakeholders. Utilize RarefiedX to build a team of independent professionals who can contribute to the success of your business case.

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