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Building a Better Business Case

3 Steps To A Better Business Case


Do you use Business Cases to help you and your team make a decision or solve a problem? How do you know if an idea or project will fly in your organization?

You probably have a long list of things you'd rather do than write a business case (cleaning all the gunk out of your keyboard might come to mind), but we have some tips to make it a little easier...Don't let the start stop you from getting your idea out there and being heard!

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Let's say you've got a fantastic idea that will streamline processes, save money, and improve your organization's customer service. Now what? How do you explain it clearly to someone who will listen, and, more importantly, how will you convince them? You know you should probably write a business case, but you're having trouble finding the motivation to git 'er done, and you always get stuck on where to start.

 

Step 1: Figure Out How It Fits

2527896Identify what you're making a case for, and how it fits within the organizational context. Does your idea align with your organization's strategy and goals? Start with what you know, and if you don't know, do some research. You'll want to have a good idea of the problem you're trying to solve, your stakeholders, associated risks of your idea, cost analysis, and some alternative solutions to your problem if applicable.

 

Step 2: Anticipate How "They" Will Feel

7902What's your organization like? Is it predominantly risk tolerant or risk averse? How do people there feel about change, and how long does it take them to prepare for it? Are they slower to incorporate new processes and technology, or do they prefer to do things the way they've always done them? Understanding your organization's culture in terms of change and risk tolerance will help you know what you're up against, and you'll be able to prepare to make your case in a way that resonates with your audience.

 

Step 3: Write It Down

2972Now that you've done your organizational and stakeholder analysis and gotten some facts and data behind your idea, it's time to document it. Find a template that you like, but don't be afraid to make it work for you--don't get stuck on a single component just because that's what comes next or first. For example, your business case should open with the Executive Summary, but that's the last section of your business case you want to write, after you've got the rest of the document fleshed out. Think about your Executive Summary as the blurb on the back of a novel--it should give a high-level look at what you're doing and why, and peak your audience's interest enough to make them want to learn more.

 

Tip 1: Don't Get Fluffy With It

🐏 A document of this nature can get pretty long, pretty quickly. Make sure every sentence matters, and if it doesn't, cut it. Whoever's taking the time to read your business case doesn't want to be rewarded with a bunch of filler words.

 

Tip 2: Get Another Set Of Eyes On It

👀 You're going to get a little sick of your business case--and that's ok. Get some feedback from a coworker who understands the problem, and ask them, "Does this make sense?" They'll be able to see it with fresh eyes and help you make your business case crystal clear.

 

Tip 3: Find a Champion

🏆 No matter how great your influence is in your organization, this is going to be hard to get off the ground all by yourself. Use your influence to get someone in your organization with some clout on your side--someone who believes in what you're doing and who can get other people fired up about your idea.

 

Now you know a few tips to help you write that convincing business case. Let us know how these tips helped you on social media!

 

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About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day.


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