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How to write a business case

A business case is a proposal for an internal project. It is a written argument to persuade the decision maker to 'green light' a project.

A business case explains to the reader why the proposal should be supported and implemented. It also provides a framework for implementation on time and on budget.

What makes a good business case?

An effective business case justifies:

  • Why a project should be undertaken
  • Why the business should invest in it
  • Why it represents a worthwhile investment

Structuring a business case

The structure will vary depending on its subject and the nature of your business.

Generally, there are four parts to a business case.

1. The problem or opportunity

Clearly state the current situation and its impact on the business. It could be any issue in the business including missed opportunities, market performance, consumer responsiveness or inefficiencies throughout the business.

2. Possible solutions

Every problem has multiple solutions. Your purpose for this section is to show why your project is the best solution for the problem. Explore each of the options available including the risks, issues and financial effects on the business.

3. Recommendations

To select your recommended solution, define a set of criteria to assess each solution. The criteria should relate to the benefits, costs, feasibility and risk level of each solution.

4. Implementation plan

Describe the details of the project, what resources will be needed, project budget, timeline and measurable goals.

Executive Summary

Finally, including an executive summary will allow the decision maker to quickly see the benefits of your project for the business.

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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