How to Write a Business Case (with Examples & Template to Help)
You have a great idea. Now, you want to gather an expert team and show stakeholders that your project is viable.
But how exactly do you do that?
Before your idea is approved, you need to cover how you will finance and sustain your project. That’s where a business case comes in.
A business case shows key stakeholders exactly how you will execute your idea. It’s important because research shows that ineffective business cases can cause projects to fail.
In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to build a business case that will impress your stakeholders and help your project succeed. We’ll even provide a few examples and give you a template to help.
What is a Business Case?
Business cases often accompany or follow a project proposal and help show why your project is worth the company’s or client’s time, money, and resources.
When writing a business case, always define the scope and include an executive summary, detailed info about finances, and an overview of the project’s structure. Each member of the project team should contribute to the business case.
Overall, the business case should be concise and only include relevant information. It should cover the benefits, costs, potential risks, and an assessment of how the team will handle any setbacks.
The Most Important Components of a Business Case
A business case should convince key stakeholders of the importance and viability of your project. Be sure to include these things to create an effective business case:
- An executive summary, which is a concise overview of your project’s definition and goals. Use this section to briefly explain the problem and how you’ll solve it.
- The problem statement. Although you already addressed it in the executive summary, take some time to dive deeper into the problem. Share any relevant research that helps frame the problem as a story, and make sure you draw a strong connection to the company’s goals or mission.
Share any relevant research that helps frame the problem as a story, and make sure you draw a strong connection to the company’s goals or mission
- An analysis supported by research and data to show the project is necessary. This is also a good place to include information about the team members involved in the project.
- A projection of financial needs. Explain how much money you need and exactly how it will be used. This is one of the most important parts of the business case.
- A strong recommendation. Explain the project you’ve chosen to pursue and why you think this is the best solution. You should also address the risks for this recommendation.
- Discussion of other possible options. Offer multiple solutions to the problem. The key stakeholders will review your data and business case to help decide the best course of action.
Business Case Examples
Before you write your own business case, let’s look at a few examples.
This example from Expert Program Management is a concise and effective business case. It includes an executive summary, financial information, analysis, and risks. It could be used for a business case in any industry. This quick overview is a great option to send to key stakeholders before meeting to discuss the project further.
In some cases, you need a longer document to present your business case. This sustainability business case from the National Environmental Education Foundation offers an in-depth look at the project. It includes detailed research and examples from other sustainability projects.
Making an Effective Business Case
A business case is an important part of a successful project. By creating a business case, you show key stakeholders exactly how you plan to solve a problem.
Download the template above as a guide for a business case for your next project. As you work on your business case, focus on explaining your solutions and how you will work toward the goal throughout the entire project.
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