According to the research, one of the top reasons why business projects fail is a poorly composed business case. Such paper is a document created at the first stages of a particular project that gives answers related to how, who, what, and why to continue the project. In general, such a paper should be crafted during an initial investigation, and provide all the necessary details about the business for its sponsor. Also, it may be further developed or changed in the process of work on the project.
Below, we will examine the necessity of business cases and provide some pieces of advice on how to come up with one, along with a template.
What is a business case aimed to do?
Do you still have doubts as to creating such a paper or not? Yes, it if definitely worth writing. The components of a business case help evaluate business problem/opportunity, the strong and weak sides of the project, calculate costs required, find possible technical solutions, the timescale, effects on operations, and organizational capability to manage the outcomes.
Simply put, the business case is vital for deciding whether or not the project is worth investment.
Creating the document step by step
Determine the problem/opportunity. There are two basic goals for writing such a document: solving a specific problem or coming up with an opportunity. So, the first goal should be identifying that specific problem/opportunity, providing a description for it, explaining reasons why it exists, and include an approximate time-frame required for managing it.
Suggest alternative solutions. To prove that your solution can become the right choice, it is crucial to also write about alternative ones. Consider following these steps:
- Present all the potential solutions
- Describe their strengths
- Perceive their weaknesses
- Forecast the costs required for each solution
- Figure out their probability
Offer the preferred solution. The next step is ranking the potential solutions. To do it, you will need some kind of scoring mechanism.
You might like using the strategy below:
- Assess a solution with a score of 0 to 10, basing it on what makes a significance for you
- Add some complexity for covering all bases
No matter which strategy you choose, once you have summed up the scores, the best solution will become obvious.
Describe the implementation process. After determining the problem/opportunity of the business, you should persuade a business owner that you have an idea and enough skills to implement a process to provide them with what they need.
Business case template
Probably, you should read some good business case example to gain a better understanding of how such a document should look like. You can also use one of the numerous templates available today. Here is the one with the standard essential components:
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Product or service
- Marketing strategy
- Competitors analysis
- Operations overview
- Financial plan
Now, let’s look a little closer at each element.
The executive summary has to describe the businesses management team, a review of its products and the market.
The business description is the part where an author shares a little history of the business and tells how this particular product/service fits in.
The next step is including details of the product/service a company is going to implement or develop. This is the part where patents and other trademarks should be provided.
After presenting information about the product/service, it is vital to provide an outline of the marketing strategy that the author is going to utilize. Describe the way in which you are going to take this to the clients.
It is essential to make a detailed analysis of the competitors existing on the market. Describe the way they are performing on the market. Also, explain the strategy you are going to apply to beat the competition.
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is an integral part of any business case. Conduct thorough research to write this part as it is probably the one that deserves the most attention of the stakeholders. Describe your strengths that are unique on the market. Think of the weaknesses and the ways to eliminate or reduce them. Include the information about further opportunities and probable threats that need to be planned for.
The operations overview is the part where you describe the production, human resources, everyday operations of your company, and so on.
The financial plan section must contain a profit statement, profit and loss, financials, collaterals, investments, etc.
To sum up, the key point of how to write a business case is keeping it brief and to the point. The final size of the paper depends on the kind of project. If you are working on a case for small business, it will probably run to a couple of pages. Conversely, for the large projects that require significant changes, the case will also be large. It is essential to think of the readers while working on all the parts of the document.