How to Write a Business Case : A Simple Guide

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Write a Business Case

how to write a business case

Learning how to write a business case is crucial if you want to succeed. It’s important to know what your audience wants to hear, so it helps to organize your thoughts in a logical order. Present your problem before you discuss your proposed solution. Include context early in the document so the reader won’t become confused. The following are some basic tips to follow when writing a business case. Hopefully they will be of help to you.

The first step in learning how to write a business case is to gather data. Depending on your needs, you may have to use data from your customers, competitors, or other sources. You may also want to draw on historical or internal data. You can also refer to case studies for similar projects to give you an idea of what you’ll need. Once you have the right information, you’re ready to start writing your business plan.

In your executive summary, make sure to emphasize the importance of the problem. Be sure to include a link between the problem and your company’s mission. In your analysis supporting the project’s feasibility, list team members. In the financial section, state the amount needed for the project and how it will be used. If it’s a new initiative, describe how it will impact the overall business. A strong business case will convince any investor or business owner to invest in your project.

The executive summary of your business case is the most important part of the document. This is the last part, and should be written last. The executive summary is what decision makers read, so make sure you include all relevant information here. In the first section of the executive summary, you should state the problem. Make sure the problem is related to your organisation’s vision or strategy. This is a key part of your business case, and it will help convince decision makers to invest in your project.

The executive summary is the final section of your business case. It should contain the main points of the whole document. The executive summary should be concise and include relevant information. The problem statement should relate back to the organisation’s vision and strategy. It should also contain the benefits of the project. A good business case will be clear and concise. You should always explain the risks and benefits to the decision makers. The audience will then be able to make a decision.

The executive summary should be the first part of your business case. In this section, you should introduce the problem you’re trying to solve. Moreover, you should mention your project’s benefits and drawbacks. In the conclusion, you should summarize all of the key points in your business case. The c-suite will read the executive summary, and they should also understand the project’s pros and cons.

What are the reasons you should have an enterprise case

Making the business case requires an evaluation of:

  • Opportunity or business problem
  • Benefits
  • Risk
  • Costs that include investment appraisal
  • Solutions to technical problems
  • Timescale
  • Effect on operations
  • The ability to organize the project results

These issues related to projects are an essential part in the case for business. They highlight the issues in the present situation and highlight the advantages of the new business plan.

The business case combines the advantages, disadvantages, costs, and potential risks of the current scenario and the long-term vision so that the management team can decide if the project is worthy to be allowed to proceed.

A lot of projects begin as a stroll in the dark, and that’s great in and of itself, but they rarely do they ever see the light the day, or wander in circles for too long due to the preciseness of the scope timeline, time-frame, cost and the benefits aren’t properly defined during the early phases in the development.

Does the project have enough merit?

Why are you launching your project? It’s likely that you’re doing this because you must solve a challenge.

Most often, the issue is something that stands impeding the achievement of your objectives. It’s clear that the purpose of a project is to achieve targets, but your goals will not be accomplished without addressing the issue (or the opportunity or situation.)

If you’re unsure whether a project is worthy of undertaking, you should answer the following four questions:

  1. What’s your objective?
  2. What is stopping you from achieving your goal?
  3. What is the amount of change required to solve the issue?
  4. Are you confident that this will fix the issue?

Can you answer these questions quickly? Have you got evidence to back or challenge your beliefs?

In the absence of this, then it might not be worth pursuing an initiative.

How to utilize a business case

A business plan is necessary in cases where funds or expenses on the project must be justifiable. The approval is typically sought from the project’s manager as well as other parties interested in the project.

For example finance departments could approve funds, while the IT department may provide the necessary resources.

How do you write a successful business case

The goal that the company case serves is to convey information. Thus, each paragraph should be written in the language of the audience to be addressed.

Furthermore, it should provide enough information to aid make a decision. When you write a business case, be aware of the following:

  • Make it brief and communicate only the most essential information
  • Create something that is interesting as well as concise, clear and simple
  • Eliminate conjecture and reduce the amount of
  • Your vision for the future
  • Highlight the value and advantages this project can bring to the company.
  • Make sure that the style is consistent and easy to read.

The project sponsor is accountable in preparing the business plan.

But, all team members must contribute to the development of the team. Additionally specialists from different functions such as HR, finance IT, service delivery, IT and others are able to provide expert details.

Whoever is writing the business plan should be aware of the purpose of the project and be able to combine the various and possibly complicated plans into one document by using the business case template below.

The template for business cases

Here will be the steps in creating a business plan template for your venture.

It comprises the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Finance
  3. Project Definition
  4. Project Organization
SectionSection HeadingQuestion Answered
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1FINANCEHow much?
1.1Financial AppraisalHow much?
1.2Sensitivity AnalysisHow much?
2PROJECT DEFINITION
2.1Background informationWhy?
2.2Business ObjectiveWhy?
2.3Benefits and LimitationsWhy?
2.4Option Identification & SelectionWhat?
2.5Scope Impact, Scope, and interdependenciesWhat?
2.6Outline PlanWhat? When? Who?
2.7Market AssessmentContext?
2.8Risk AssessmentContext?
2.9Project ApproachHow?
2.10Purchasing StrategyHow?
3PROJECT ORGANIZATION
3.1Project GovernanceHow? Who?
3.2Progress ReportingHow?

1. The Executive Summary

Based what the time frame of your business case , it may be necessary to include a description about the plan.

This is considered to be the main section of the business plan and is the final written. It’s a brief outline of the complete business case. It provides concise details about the project, and relays the whole story to the reader.

First impressions matter. Make sure you are making the right impression!

2. The Finance Section

The finance portion of a business case that is effective is designed focused on those who approve financing. The finance department is likely to be concerned about this, along with the first part of the project’s definition.

Financial appraisal

When you’re preparing your financial appraisal, seek guidance regarding the content and presentation from the finance department. For capital advancements, seek out subject matter experts.

The goal of an appraisal of the financial situation is to:

  • Consider the financial implications of the project. Identify the financial implications for the
  • Allow for comparison of project costs against projected benefits
  • Check that the project is within budget
  • Value in exchange for money
  • Predict cash flow

Analysis of Sensitivity

Sensitivity analysis is concerned with risks associated with projects and considers alternatives to futures, assessing the impact on the project’s outcomes or the assumptions of shifting values, in the case of uncertainty.

In essence sensitivity analysis allows the project accountant test different scenarios.

3. The Project Definition

The business case is the biggest portion of the business plan and is intended for the project’s sponsor as well as the project’s stakeholders and team. It will answer the most common how, why and how concerns about your project.

Background information

The goal in this paragraph is to provide an overview of an understanding of the case for business and the project. It should include a brief description of the main reasons the project or change in business is a result of the issue, opportunity or change in the circumstances.

If you are required, look up relevant studies, projects, programs as well as business strategies.

Business objectives

This section explains why you’re working on this project. The objective of the business will answer to the questions below:

  • What’s your objective?
  • What can be done to address the issue?
  • How will the project contribute to the business plan?

Benefits and restrictions

The section on benefits and limitations discusses each of the non-financial and financial advantages separately. The goal is to clarify the reason why you require the project.

For example it is to:

  • Improve quality
  • Cut costs through efficiency
  • Reduce working capital
  • Create revenues
  • Stay competitive
  • Improve customer service
  • Be consistent with the corporate strategy

The business case must also contain any restrictions as they can pose risks for the project.

Identification of options and selection

Determine the solutions that could be a viable solution to the problem , and then describe the possible solutions in sufficient details for the reader to be able to comprehend.

For example, if the business case or proposed solution involves technology, be sure to describe how the technology is employed and also define the terms in the glossary. Because most issues have several solutions, an option appraisal is typically required. The objective is to explore possible options and then recommend the best solution.

When you write the first business plan, the appraisal is likely to include many alternatives and will include a wide range of options. As the project progresses, there are a variety of options that will be rejected. The final business plan could include three to five options (the short list that also includes a do-nothing and a benchmark choice.

Impact, scope, and interdependencies

This part of the business case template outlines the tasks required to achieve the business’s goal. It also lists the business functions that will be which are affected by the proposed project.

Furthermore in addition, the project’s scope impacts, scope, and interdependencies section must define the project’s boundaries and scope. It defines what is included and what’s not as well as the major dependencies between other projects. It is crucial in an analysis of the case for business to look at the potential failure of other related projects and to show how these dependencies affect the results.

Outline plan

The outline plan is an overview of the primary tasks and the overall timescaleproject schedule to complete the task.

The ideal scenario is for the project to be broken down into stages, with the most important decisions being made prior to each stage. This section will help you respond to the following inquiries:

  • What is the minimum requirement?
  • How do you accomplish it?
  • Who decides what?
  • What will happen when?

The outline plan outlines the main elements of the deliverables and also includes a brief description of the project and the responsibilities for each of the activities.

Market analysis

It is essential that the business case provide its readers with an in-depth analysis of the context for business — the market analysis. That is, you must reveal the primary business goals clear.

Thus, the market analysis must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the market which your company is operating.

An excellent starting point is the inclusion of an PESTLE analysis — – political, economic technological, sociological environmental, and legal analysis.

Risk assessment

The risk assessment outlines the important risks associated with the project and opportunities , and how they are handled. The risks covered should include the risks that may result from the project’s or your company’s capacity to implement change.

This section provides answers to these questions:

  • What are the risks involved?
  • What are the implications of a risk that is triggered?
  • What possibilities could arise?
  • What are the plans in place to address the risk?
  • Every project should have the risk log.

In the case of a business plan be sure that this information is in the case as it describes how risk and opportunities are controlled.

The project approach

The project plan outlines the way in which the project is approached. This is the method that work is performed to complete the project.

A project with a large portion of the work outsourced will likely adopt a different strategy than one that creates an internal solution.

Purchasing strategy

This section will explain how a project should be funded and if it is advisable to buy lease, rent or outsource should be made by the company prior to purchasing.

Additionally, the purchase strategy must describe the buying procedure that is used. A formal process for procurement can help save time and money as well as lower the risk of a project.

4. Project Organization

The final section of the template for business cases is important in project managers, the Project Manager as well as the project team and the managers who are accountable for the delivery of tasks for the team. The section on organization of the project explains what the process is organized.

Governance of projects

The business case template explains to the user how the project is constructed and the different types of levels for decision-making. Most businesses have established a project governance framework to guide the project at every stage.

If your company does not have a well-defined project management process framework , use the following section:

  • Roles and obligations ( RACI Chart)
  • Tolerances of the project
  • Standards for projects
  • Review points
  • What decisions are taken

Progress report

The business plan should specify the method by which progress on the project is recorded and how the project board is kept up-to-date on the project’s performance. The project manager usually does this by creating a brief outline report or progress report regularly.

The management of the business case

The business case that is completed provides the framework for the project as well as project management throughout the project’s life cycle. This is why it should be utilized frequently for reference, and not placed on the shelves.

In this regard, the project’s coordinator and the project board must review and revise the business plan at crucial points to make sure that the project is still feasible and the motives for it are relevant. It is recommended that the review occur prior to starting the next stage in order to avoid unnecessary investment of the time or money.

Arguments to support it

In this article, we taught you how to create a business case. We covered a lot and could create the impression that the business case we created is a huge and heavy document.

It’s not true.

A business plan should be short and clear. For smaller projects, it might be a couple of pages. For larger and complicated business ventures, the document could be quite long.

So, make sure you think about the readership you want to attract while writing each paragraph and include additional information in the appendix.

For instance, the appraisal section might summarize each option, including the information that is that are elsewhere in the document for further reference.

To sum up, the aim of a business plan is to provide the justification for undertaking a project, and also to enable you to constantly evaluate and monitor the progress of the project.