Every professional, pushing innovations, reaches a point where they have an idea that they think would make an impact on their company. Often, people don’t know where to start when convincing their stakeholders. This is where a business case can become a convenient tool.
The same rules of selling apply to writing this document. Therefore, a strong business case structure is essential. It will allow you to present your pitch clearly: to address your challenges, the stakeholders’ concerns and to highlight the benefits and opportunities of your idea.
Essential Parts of a Business Case Structure and How to Address Them
Your business case structure will depend on how you choose to present your case. Some people prepare extensive analyses of each variable, while others opt to make short and concise presentations of the main points. Whichever approach you choose, keep in mind that you are presenting to a member of senior management, whose time is limited. Whatever the extent of the business, the structure should include the same main elements:
This part introduces the business case and briefly sets out what it’s all about.
It’s the first section of the business case after the intro but it should be written last. It’s a summary of the entire business case and it renders the most important information about the project. First impressions are very important so it’s crucial to make it right.
Description of The Current Situation
This part should include a brief overview of why the project or business change is necessary: what is the problem or inefficiency in your business that needs to be addressed? Here you can make your point more salient by referring to other projects or case studies, that exemplify how ignoring a similar scenario caused issues.
Here you must clearly present the potential solutions for the business problem and describe them in great detail so the reader would understand their benefits. It’s always good to present several ways to solve your business problem – this highlights that you’ve done your research and kept only the best alternatives.
Analysis of Costs and Benefits
By now you’ve shown the necessity of addressing the problem and presented several options of solving it. It’s time to show the resource requirements of your solution and to explain why it’s worth the investment. In this part aim to clearly present your cost/benefit calculations. It’s hard to follow and remember a long rant about numbers, so add pictures and charts that make this information easily digestible.
Depending on your business case, you might hope to change one part of your company – install software or processes for more efficient hiring, change workflow, change operations or any other part of the whole. It’s important to remember that your solution will have an impact on other areas of your business as well. This part of your business case should focus on outlining all effects that this change will have. Think about customer impact, other stakeholders impact, regulatory rules, basically all variables that might have gone under the radar.
Last but not least, to have a successful project, you must present your case honestly. That means not getting carried away by your great idea, and clearly introducing the risks that come with implementing your solution – both to yourself and to your target audience. Be sure to address each potential threat and create ways to mitigate the likelihood of them occurring or plan how to proceed if they do occur.
So there you have it. A very short and high-level guide on how to structure your business case. Always try to address the concerns of each decision-maker and think of the different interests or attitudes they may have. The method of arranging your case shown in this article will allow you to do just that.
You can download the fillable Business Case template here: