The Plain English Guide to Writing a Business Case

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The Plain English Guide to Writing a Business Case

Have you ever heard the age-old classic story of a company that started from an idea on the back of the napkin? Or about the startups that started out in a garage?

While all of these stories are naturally inspiring, one big element they leave out is that each business was started because someone felt the project warranted the time and money spent on it.

Because of this, some projects require you to write a business case. Whether you’re starting a business, launching a new product, or just want your company to use a new project management tool. In any case, for a project that requires time and resources, these costs must also be justified in the form of a business case.

Below we’ll look at what a business case is, plus an example and template to inspire your own business case.

What is a business case?

A business case is a document that evaluates whether it makes sense to complete a project or a task. This lists the reasons for taking on a project, e. B. Benefits, costs, risks, etc. Essentially, this document states that a project makes good business sense.

In a business case, you can state the background of a project, the expected benefits, costs, risks, and opportunities. This document justifies the takeover of a specific project. How do you develop a business case? Let’s dive in below.

Business case development

To develop a business case, you need to write several key components including a proposal, strategy, budget, SWOT analysis, and project plan. With these documents you should be able to demonstrate that the project you are setting up is worthwhile.

Let’s dive into the following steps to develop a business case:

1. Research

Before you can write a business case, you need to do your research. First of all, you should have a goal in mind for your project, whether it is to create a new product, generate more traffic / leads, or improve the user experience.

Write down your goal, then do research to prove that your project is the way to achieve your goal.

You can first examine what competitors are doing and look for any gaps that your project solves.

Start by brainstorming the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of this project. Additionally, you want to learn more about your market – whoever the consumer of the project will be, even if that’s your own team.

Finally, consider what a budget would be for your proposed solution.

2. Focus on one component at a time.

A business case usually contains several documents. Focus on one another as you organize your notes.

Start with your proposal and then move on to your SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, project plan, overall strategy and then budget. It can be easy to get lost in just one of these tasks. So focus on one thing at a time to complete the business case for the bigger picture.

3. Write an implementation plan.

Once you’ve gathered your research and worked through each component, it’s time to think about implementing it.

How are you going to implement your project? Once you have the business case that your project will be carried out, stakeholders will wonder how you are going to carry it out.

To do this, write an implementation plan that explains how you will complete the project and what metrics you will use to measure success.

When you’ve finished writing your business case, look at the entire document and ask yourself if it’s comprehensive, measurable, and adaptable.

A business case doesn’t have to be a complete business plan for a new product. Sometimes it is less formal due to the size of the project. Either way, you want to make a strong case for your project, so it should be easy to understand and implement.

Now let’s look at an example of what a business case could look like.

Business case example

Now that you’ve seen how to write a business case and what the process looks like, let’s look at an example to get some inspiration.

In the following example, the project is about getting a new phone system to help the sales force. Since this is a relatively small project, the business case is not several pages long and contains extensive research.

However, it is important to note that for a small project, your business case might look like this, but it will have multiple pages of information as you choose a new product or user interface to improve the user experience.

The point in the business case is that it is customizable to be anything you need. However, the components of the business case are the same regardless of the duration. Each business case should include why a project should be carried out, the benefits, costs, risks and budgets.

A business case example.

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Simple business case template

suggestion

  • Project details
  • Strategic context
  • Vision, goals, goals
  • Services

SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

Competitive analysis

  • See if competitors are doing the same
  • If necessary, look for gaps in their offers

Risk analysis

  • What are the risks involved?
  • Will these risks offer opportunities?

Market assessment

  • Is that what your consumers want?
  • How will this help your stakeholders?

budget

Implementation / project plan

  • Roles / team
  • Duties
  • Interest Groups
  • Specifications and requirements
  • Timeline

If you have a new project idea for your company that requires a budget and resources, it might be a good idea to develop a business case to show your managers that the project is worth taking on.

Business plan template