How To Write the Perfect Business Case
Why do too many projects fail to deliver their objectives even though project management best practices appear to be used? Project management is naturally complicated, but it can be disastrous if you don’t have sufficient buy-in from the right parties. Writing a strong and complete business case can make all the difference.
In this how-to guide you will discover,
- What is a business case?
Why you need a business case
- Is the project worth doing?
When to use a business case
How to write a business case, the business case template, a business case example, 1. the executive summary, 2. the finance section, 3. the project definition, 4. project organization, managing the business case, making the case, frequently asked questions, what is a business case.
A business case is developed during the early stages of a project and outlines the why, what, how, and who necessary to decide if it is worthwhile continuing a project. One of the first things you need to know when starting a new project are the benefits of the proposed business change and how to communicate those benefits to the business.
While the project proposal focuses on why you want a project, it will only contain an outline of the project:
- business vision
- business need
- expected benefits
- strategic fit
- products produced
- broad estimates of time and cost
- and impact on the organization
In contrast, the business case, which is first developed during the project initiation phase , contains much more detail. It should be reviewed by the project sponsor and key stakeholders before being accepted, rejected, canceled, deferred, or revised.
Depending on the scale of the business change, the business case may need further development as part of a detailed investigation. Therefore, it should be developed incrementally so that time and resources aren’t unnecessarily wasted on the impractical.
Preparing the business case involves an assessment of:
- Business problem or opportunity
- Costs including investment appraisal
- Technical solutions
- Impact on operations
- Organizational capability to deliver the project outcomes
These project issues are an important part of the business case. They express the problems with the current situation and demonstrate the benefits of the new business vision.
The business case brings together the benefits, disadvantages, costs , and risks of the current situation and future vision so that executive management can decide if the project should go ahead.
Many projects start life as a walk in the fog, which is fine in itself, but never see the light of day or stumble along aimlessly for too long because the clarity of scope , time-scale, cost, and benefits are not defined adequately during the first stages of the project.
Is the project worth doing
Why are you starting a project? Chances are you’re doing it because you need to solve a problem.
Usually, the problem is something that gets in the way of achieving your goals . So, it seems a project is about achieving goals and your goals won’t be realized unless you deal with the problem (or opportunity or circumstance.)
If a project is worth doing you need to answer 4 simple questions:
- What is your goal?
- What’s stopping you from reaching the goal?
- How much change is needed to overcome the problem?
- Are you certain this will solve the problem?
Can you answer these questions quickly? Do you have evidence to support or refute your assumptions?
If not, it may not be worth starting a project.
Ebook: The Complete Guide to Planning Creative Projects Ebook: 3 Strategies to Plan Successful Marketing Projects
The business case is needed when resources or expenditure on a project has to be justified. Approval is usually sought from the project sponsor and other interested parties. For instance, the finance function may authorize funds and the IT department provide resources.
The purpose of the business case is communication. Therefore, each section should be written in the parlance of the intended audience.
Moreover, it should only contain enough information to help decision making. When writing a business case keep the following in mind:
- Be brief and convey only the essentials.
- Make it interesting, clear, and concise.
- Eliminate conjecture and minimize jargon.
- Describe your vision of the future.
- Demonstrate the value and benefits the project brings to the business.
- Ensure consistent style and readability.
The project sponsor is responsible for preparing the business case. However, all appropriate team members should contribute to its development. Likewise, subject matter experts from other functions ― finance, HR, IT, service delivery, and so on ― can provide specialist information.
Those writing the business case should have a thorough understanding of the project’s aims and be able to merge the varied and potentially complex plans into one document using the following business case template.
What follows are the four steps to writing a business case template for your project. It includes the following four sections:
- Executive Summary
- Project Definition
- Project Organization
This example of a business case is a simplified version for a small company with few staff. The bigger the project, the bigger the risk, which means the more detail you will need to provide for your investors and stakeholders.
In 2021, retail e-Commerce revenue reached 768 billion US dollars. People are expecting more digital experiences and want to interact and purchase what they need online.
Our current website is just a static page with no interaction available to possible customers. With a website upgrade to incorporate an e-Commerce store, we can entice users to purchase all their training online, in return increasing productivity and efficiency within the office. An estimated $25,000 could be saved a year through this upgrade.
1.1 Financial Appraisal
The expected cost of the new website is $15,000 with a $500 annual maintenance fee.
The training costs of the staff is estimated at $2,000, but the reduction of administration and manual handling of orders is estimated to save $25,000 annually.
1.2 Sensitivity Analysis
The alternatives include:
- Maintaining the current system, which costs $25,000 annually to maintain and run.
- Upgrading the website, but not including an e-Commerce store. This would cost $6,000, but the cost of processing the orders is still $25,000.
- Outsourcing the training purchases to a third-party site, which would cost between $49.99 - $100 per month. In the long run this would cost more and offer less development scope.
2. PROJECT DEFINITION
2.1 Background information
The World is digitizing and we, as a business, must keep up with consumer demand if we are to remain one of the most sought-after training providers.
Since 2020 and the outbreak of Covid-19, many more people have been working remotely and wish to access their training requirements online. We need to update our systems to provide our customers with a purely online system that can provide them with their required training courses in a virtual environment, from purchase through to attendance. This new e-Commerce website is the first step in this process.
2.2 Business Objective
The goal is to provide an online platform where customers can purchase their training requirements.
The solution is to build an e-Commerce website.
This syncs with the business strategy, as it will increase efficiency and profits.
2.3 Benefits and Limitations
The benefits of this project far out-weigh the negatives. They include:
- Improvement in the quality of customer service and user journey
- Increased conversion rate through streamlined processes
- Cost savings through efficiencies
- Reduced working capital
- Increase in revenue generated
- Remain competitive in a digital world.
The limitations of this project remain with staffing, as we do not have a web designer or developer within our company, meaning this will still have to be outsourced if anything arises at a future date.
2.4 Option Identification & Selection
Options for the e-Commerce site include the following:
- WordPress website with WooCommerce store
- All-in-one website hosted on e-Commerce platform such as Shopify
- Use of third-party payment system, such as Stripe, PayPal, or Worldpay
- Ability to take payments directly through the website and acting as controller and processor of user’s sensitive data
- Inclusion of a blog
- Integration of CRM platform.
2.5 Scope, Impact, and interdependencies
The website will be built independently from the current site, so will not affect any current processes or user experience.
2.6 Outline Plan
The website will be built by an external agency and will take around 6 months to complete and push live.
One month before going live the staff will undertake essential training.
2.7 Market Assessment
Since retail e-Commerce has risen to $768 billion US Dollars, it’s time we also made the move to online sales.
2.8 Risk Assessment
The project will be completed out of house.
2.9 Project Approach
The project will be managed out of house.
2.10 Purchasing Strategy
We will enter a contractual agreement with the creative agency. Attached is a copy of the proposed contract.
3. PROJECT ORGANIZATION
3.1 Project Governance
Project will be managed by the agency and in-house by the Centre Executive.
3.2 Progress Reporting
The agency will report to the Centre Executive.
Depending on the length of the business case you may want to include a high-level summary of the project.
The executive summary is the first section of the business case and the last written. It is a short summary of the entire business case. It succinctly conveys vital information about the project and communicates the entire story to the reader.
First impressions are important. Get this right!
The finance section of an effective business case is primarily for those who approve funding. The finance function will be interested in this plus the first half of the project definition.
When you prepare the financial appraisal seek advice on content and presentation from the finance function. In the case of capital developments, consult subject matter experts.
The purpose of a financial appraisal is to:
- Identify the financial implications for the project
- Compare project costs against the forecast benefits
- Ensure the project is affordable
- Assess value for money
- Predict cash flow.
Sensitivity analysis concerns project risk and looks at alternative futures by measuring the impact on project outcomes or assumptions of changing values in which there is uncertainty.
In effect, sensitivity analysis lets the project accountant experiment with possible scenarios.
This is the largest part of the business case and is for the project sponsor, stakeholders, and project team. It answers most of the why, what, and how questions about your project.
The purpose of this section is to give a clear introduction to the business case and project. It should contain a brief overview of the reasons why the project or business change has come about: the problem, opportunity, or change of circumstances.
If necessary, refer to related programs, projects, studies, or business plans.
This part describes why you are doing the project. The business objective answers the following questions:
- What is needed to overcome the problem?
- How will the project support the business strategy?
Benefits and limitations.
The benefits and limitations section describes the financial and non-financial benefits in turn. The purpose is to explain why you need a project.
For instance, to:
- Improve quality
- Save costs through efficiencies
- Reduce working capital
- Generate revenue
- Remain competitive
- Improve customer service
- Align to corporate strategy
The business case should also include any limitations since these present potential risk to the project.
Option identification and selection.
Identify the potential solutions to the problem and describe them in enough detail for the reader to understand.
For instance, if the business case and proposed solution makes use of technology, make sure to explain how the technology is used and define the terms used in a glossary. Since most problems have multiple solutions an option appraisal is often needed. This will explore the potential solutions and recommend the best option.
When writing the initial business case, the option appraisal is likely to contain a long list of options and will cover many possibilities. As the project continues a few options will be rejected. The final business case may contain three to five options ― the short list ― that includes a do nothing or benchmark option.
Scope, impact, and interdependencies.
This section of the business case template describes the work needed to deliver the business objective and identifies those business functions affected by the project.
Moreover, the project scope, impact, and interdependencies section should state the project’s scope and boundaries. It describes what is included and what is excluded plus the key interdependencies with other projects. It is important for the business case to consider the failure of other interrelated projects and show how such dependencies make impact benefits.
The outline plan provides a summary of the main activities and overall timescale ― project schedule ― for the project.
A project should be divided into stages with the decisions to make preceding each stage. Use this section to answer the following questions:
- What is required?
- How is it done?
- Who does what?
- When will things happen?
This outline plan lists the major deliverables and includes a brief project description plus accountabilities for each activity.
It is important that the business case provides its readers with a thorough assessment of the business context ― the market assessment. In other words, make the underlying business interests explicit.
Therefore, the market assessment should show a complete understanding of the marketplace in which your business operates.
A good starting point is the inclusions of a PESTLE ― political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environmental ― analysis.
The risk assessment summarizes the significant project risks and opportunities and how they are managed. Include any risks that could arise from your project, as well as the organization’s ability to deliver change.
This section answers the following questions:
- What risks are involved?
- What are the consequences of a risk happening?
- What opportunities may emerge?
- What plans are in place to deal with the risks?
- Every project should include a risk log
When writing a business case, make sure this is included as it explains how risk and opportunity are managed.
The project approach describes how the project is tackled. That is, the way in which work is done to deliver the project.
For instance, a project with much of the work contracted out is likely to take a different approach to a project that develops an in-house solution.
This section describes how a project is to be financed and whether a decision to buy, lease, or outsource should be taken by the organization before purchasing.
Moreover, the purchasing strategy should describe the purchasing process used. A formal procurement process may save time and money and reduce project risk.
The last section of the business case template is of most interest to the project manager, project team, and managers responsible for delivering work to the project. This project organization section describes how the project is set up.
This section of the business case template shows the reader how the project is structured and the different levels of decision-making. Usually, a business will already have implemented a project governance framework that will support the project through each stage.
If your organization does not use a structured project management process framework use this section to include:
- Roles and responsibilities (RACI Chart)
- Project tolerances
- Project standards
- Review points
- How decisions are made.
Finally, the business case should define how project progress is recorded and the project board updated on project performance. Usually, the project manager does this by preparing a concise progress report or highlight report at regular intervals.
On-Demand: The Manager's Guide to Avoiding 7 Project Portfolio Pitfalls Ebook: 3 Winning Strategies for IT Project Success
The completed business case provides structure for the project and project organization throughout the project lifecycle . Therefore, it should be used routinely for reference and not consigned to the shelf.
Accordingly, the project sponsor and project board should review and update the business case at key stages to check that the project remains viable and the reasons for doing it are still valid. Ideally, the review should take place before starting a new stage to avoid unnecessary investment in time and money.
In this article we showed you how to write a business case. We covered a lot of ground and may give the impression that the resulting business case is a large and unwieldy document.
This is not the case.
A business case should be concise and to the point. For small projects it may run to a few pages. For larger projects and complex business change endeavors the document will be large.
Therefore, be sure to keep the intended audience in mind when preparing each section and include supporting information in an appendix.
For instance, the option appraisal section may summarize each option with the details contained elsewhere for reference.
To conclude, the purpose of a business case is to outline the business rationale for undertaking a project and to provide a means to continually assess and evaluate project progress.
What is the difference between a business case and a business plan?
The focus of the business case is an action, which is usually the purchase of capital equipment or a service. In comparison, the focus of the business plan is to outline the future of a business proposal, it’s margins, revenue growth over several years and what the business goals and strategies will encompass.
What should be included in a business case?
Writing a business case can seem like a daunting task, which is why we have provided you with a business case template and example to help you make a start.
The four sections include:
What is a business case template?
A business case template provides you with a structure and format to present your case to relevant stakeholders and investors. It’s essential that this document communicate the essence of your project’s goals and benefits, while aligning with the company’s strategies and objectives.
- Project planning |
- The beginner’s guide to writing an effe ...
The beginner’s guide to writing an effective business case
Nearly every project needs to be approved—whether that means getting the simple go-ahead from your team or gaining the support of an executive stakeholder. You may be familiar with using a project plan or project charter to propose a new initiative and get the green light for a project. But if your proposed project represents a significant business investment, you may need to build a business case.
If you’ve never written a business case, we’re here to help. With a few resources and a little planning, you can write a business case that will help you get the resources and support you need to manage a successful project.
What is a business case?
A business case is a document that explains the value or benefits your company will gain if you pursue a significant business investment or initiative. This initiative can be anything from the messaging for a new product or feature launch, a proposal to increase spend on a current initiative, or a significant investment with a new agency or contractor—to name a few. A compelling business case will outline the expected benefits of this significant investment decision. Key stakeholders will use the business case you provide to determine whether or not to move forward with an initiative.
If you’ve never created a business case, it may sound similar to other early project planning documentation. Here’s how it stacks up:
The difference between a business case and business plan
A business case is a proposal for a new strategy or large initiative. It should outline the business needs and benefits your company will receive from pursuing this opportunity.
A business plan , on the other hand, is an outline for a totally new business. Typically, you’d draft a business plan to map out your business strategy, your mission and vision statements, and how you’re planning on getting there. There may be a case where you create a business plan for an already-existing business, but you’d only do so if you’re trying to take your business in a significantly new direction.
Business case vs. executive summary
Business case vs. project charter.
If you need to create an elevator pitch for your project but you don’t quite need the full business case treatment, you might need a project charter. Much like a business case, a project charter outlines key details of an initiative. Specifically, a project charter will cover three main elements of your project: project objectives, project scope, and key project stakeholders. Your management team will then use the project charter to approve further project development.
Do you need a business case?
Not every project needs a business case—or even a project charter. Plan to build a business case only for initiatives or investments that will require significant business resources. If you’re working on a smaller initiative, consider creating a project charter to pitch your project idea to relevant stakeholders.
Even if you don’t need to pitch your project to any stakeholders, you should be ready to answer basic questions about your proposed project, like:
What is this project’s purpose?
Why are we working on this project?
How does this project connect to organizational goals and objectives?
Which metrics will we use to measure the success of the project ?
Who is working on this project?
When is this project going to be completed?
5 steps for creating and pitching a business case
Your business case shouldn’t just include key facts and figures—it should also tell a story of why pursuing a particular investment or initiative is a good idea for your business. When in doubt, avoid jargon and be brief—but always focus on communicating the value of the project. If this is your first time creating a business case, don’t worry. Follow these five steps to create a solid one.
1. Gather input
You don’t have to write a business case on your own. Instead, make sure appropriate team members and stakeholders are contributing to the relevant sections. For example, the IT team should be involved in any tooling and timeline decisions, while the finance team should review any budget and risk management sections. If you’re creating a business case to propose a new initiative, product line, or customer persona, make sure you also consult subject matter experts.
2. Plan to write your business case out of order
Some of the first things that appear in your business case—like your executive summary—should actually be drafted last, when you have all of the resources and information to make an informed suggestion. Your executive summary will present all of your findings and make a recommendation for the business based on a variety of factors. By gathering all of those details first—like project purpose, financial information, and project risk—you can ensure your executive summary has all of the relevant information.
3. Build your business case incrementally
A business case describes a significant investment for your company. Similarly, simply writing a business case is a significant investment of your time. Not every initiative is right for your business—so make sure you’re checking your work with stakeholders as you go. You don’t want to sink hours and weeks into this document only for it to be rejected by executive stakeholders right off the bat.
Consider doing a “soft launch” with an outline of your business case to your project sponsor or an executive stakeholder you have a good relationship with to confirm this initiative is something you should pursue. Then, as you build the different sections of your business case, check back in with your key stakeholders to confirm there are no deal-breakers.
4. Refine the document
As you create sections of your business case, you may need to go back and refine other sections. For example, once you’ve finished doing a cost-benefit analysis with your financial team, make sure you update any budget-related project risks.
Before presenting your business case, do a final read through with key stakeholders to look for any sections that can be further refined. At this stage, you’ll also want to write the executive summary that goes at the top of the document. Depending on the length of your business case, your executive summary should be one to two pages long.
5. Present the business case
The final step is to actually present your business case. Start with a quick elevator pitch that answers the what, why, and how of your proposal. Think of this presentation as your chance to explain the current business need, how your proposal addresses the need, and what the business benefits are. Make sure to address any risks or concerns you think your audience would have.
Don’t go through your business case page by page. Instead, share the document with stakeholders before the presentation so they have a chance to read through it ahead of time. Then, after your presentation, share the document again so stakeholders can dig into details.
A business case checklist
Start with the why.
The first section of the business case is your chance to make a compelling argument about the new project. Make sure you draft an argument that appeals to your audience’s interests and needs. Despite being the first section in your business case, this should be the last section you write. In addition to including the traditional elements of an executive summary , make sure you answer:
What business problem is your project solving? This is your chance to explain why your project is important and why executive stakeholders should consider pursuing this opportunity.
What is your business objective ? What happens at the end of a successful project? How will you measure success—and what does a successful project mean for your business?
How does this business case fit into your overall company business strategy plan? Make sure your proposed business case is connected to important company goals . The initiative proposed in your business case should move the needle towards your company's vision statement .
Outline financials and the return on investment
At this point in your business case, you should outline the project finance fundamentals. Don’t expect to create this section on your own—you should draft this in partnership with your company’s finance team. In particular, this section should answer:
How much will this project cost? Even if the initiative is completely new to your company, do some research to estimate the project costs.
What does each individual component of the project cost? In addition to estimating the total overall cost, break down the different project costs. For example, you might have project costs for new tools and resources, competitive intelligence resourcing, agency costs, etc.
What is the expected return on investment (ROI)? You’ve talked about the costs—now talk about how your company will benefit from this initiative. Make sure to explain how you calculated the ROI, too.
How will this project impact cash flow? Cash flow is the amount of money being transferred into and out of your business. Significant investments are going to cost a lot of money, so they’ll negatively impact cash flow—but you should also expect a high ROI, which will positively impact cash flow.
What is the sensitivity analysis? Sensitivity analysis is a summary of how uncertain your numbers are. There will be a variety of variables that impact your business case. Make sure to explain what those variables are, and how that could impact your projections.
Preview project details
Your business case is proposing a new initiative. In addition to the financial risks, take some time to preview project details. For example, your business case should include:
Your project objectives and key project deliverables . What will happen at the end of the project? What are you expecting to create or deliver once the project is over?
Your project plan . A project plan is a blueprint of the key elements your team needs to accomplish in order to successfully achieve your project goals.
The project scope . What are the boundaries of your project? What exact goals, deliverables, and deadlines will you be working towards?
A list of relevant project stakeholders . Who are the important project stakeholders and key decision makers for this work? This can include the members of the project team that would be working on this initiative, executive stakeholders who would sponsor the project, and any external stakeholders who might be involved.
A general project roadmap in a Gantt-chart like view. At this stage in the process, you don’t need to provide a detailed project timeline, but you should outline a general sense of when each project stage will happen in relation to the others. To do this, create a project roadmap in Gantt-chart like software . Make sure to include any important project milestones in your roadmap as well.
Any important project dependencies. Is there anything that would get in the way of this project getting started? Does this work rely on any other work that’s currently in flight?
Discuss project risks
Once you’ve outlined the financial impact and important project details, make sure you include any potential project risks. If you haven’t already, create a project risk management plan for your business case. Project risk management isn’t the process of eliminating risk—instead, it’s about identifying, analyzing, and proactively responding to any potential project risks. Clearly defining each project risk and how that risk might impact your project can best equip you and the project team to manage and avoid those risks.
In the risk section of your business case, include:
A risk analysis of any potential project risks. What is the risk? How likely is it to happen? What is the priority level of this risk?
What, if any, assumptions you are making. In project risk management, assumptions are anything you think will be true about the project, without those details being guaranteed facts. Basing project decisions around an assumption can open your project up to risk. Make sure you ratify every project assumption to avoid jeopardizing project success.
Any comparable alternatives in the market. If you’re writing a business case to pitch a new product or angle in the market, evaluate anything that already exists. Could the alternative impact your financial assessment or project success?
Develop an action plan
In the final section of your business case, outline how you will turn this business case into an actionable project. This section should answer questions like:
How will decisions be made? Who is responsible for the project? Who is the project sponsor? If you haven’t already, consider creating a RACI chart to outline project responsibilities.
How will progress be measured and reported? Not every project stakeholder needs to be notified of every project change. Outline key parts of your project communication plan , as well as how you’ll communicate project status updates .
What is the next course of action? If the management team ratifies this business case, what next steps will you take to put this into action?
Bring your business case to life
You’ve built a solid business case and it’s been ratified—congratulations! The next step is to bring your business case to life. It can be intimidating to initiate large-scale change , and implementing your business case is no exception.
If you haven’t already, make sure you have a project management tool in place to manage and organize your new initiative. With a central source of truth to track who’s doing what by when, share status updates, and keep project stakeholders in the loop, you can turn a great business case into a successful project.
How to Write a Business Case: Examples, Templates, and Checklists
By Joe Weller | April 24, 2019 (updated February 26, 2023)
This article presents expert tips on how to write a business case. We also provide a checklist to prepare for, write, and present a business case, along with free, easy-to-use Word and PowerPoint business case templates.
Included on this page, you'll find details on how to write a business case , sections to include in your business case , a business case checklist , and business case presentation examples .
What Is a Business Case?
A business case is a formal, structured document; an informal, short document; or a verbal exchange that defines the benefits of an initiative or project.
In addition, a business case forecasts the costs, benefits, and risks of an initiative, so decision makers — and even the project initiators — can decide whether a project is worthwhile and why to choose one approach over similar strategies.
Jim Maholic has over 20 years of experience with IT strategy and business case development, including two stints as a CIO, two management positions with the Big Four consulting firms, and leadership positions at several technology companies.
He describes a business case in this way: “A business case is the full story that explains the ROI for a capital project. It begins with a statement of a business problem, then explores how we can solve it or what the value of solving it is. For example, ‘Our revenues aren’t rising as fast as they should,’ or ‘Inventory isn't turning over as fast as it should,’ or ‘Costs are too high.’ That's where the business case starts.
“Then, we find out how big this problem is. We talk to people in the company and find out what they think the value of solving the problem is. All this information is packaged into a story that says, ‘Here's the problem. Here's the value of solving the problem. Here's what it costs in hardware, software, or whatever. Here are the benefits. And here’s the whole story.’”
Business Cases Explain Why You Should Invest
A business case explains why stakeholders should invest in a project. The purpose of a business case contrasts with that of a project proposal , which provides a high-level outline of what you want to initiate and its benefits to the company, or that of a project plan , which explains how you execute a project. You should create your business case during the earliest stages of project planning .
A business case can also become a key document for a project manager when planning, creating milestones, and evaluating progress.
Other names and uses for business cases are financial justification, cost-benefit analysis (CBA) , total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis , and return on investment (ROI) analysis . Nonprofits and government entities sometimes refer to business cases as case statements .
What Is Business Case Analysis (BCA)?
A business case analysis (BCA) looks not only at lowest costs, but also at technical value and other nonquantitative factors in what is known as a best-value analysis . The BCA addresses the triple constraints of time, money, and scope, and it can include measures such as performance, reliability, viability, and supportability.
Although business case analysis is used interchangeably with business case , some experts consider the analysis to be part of the business case as a whole.
What Is a Business Case Used For?
A business case helps a company or an organization prepare for new ventures or changes. This document is a crucial building block of project success and underpins the foundations of senior-level involvement and strong planning. Business cases summarize the benefits of an endeavor, clarifying a project’s business value to help stakeholders make decisions.
A good business case should focus less on the technology, domain knowledge, or specific deliverables and more on the users of a product and the goals of a project. In the same vein, a project manager should focus not only on creating output, but also on delivering value. An initiative can offer many types of value, including contributing to strategic aims, increasing efficiency, and supporting compliance. Insufficient attention to the details of a business case and the accompanying research can lead to poor project results.
Business cases usually describe these items:
- A business problem or opportunity
- Possible solutions and their benefits and disadvantages (sometimes known as disbenefits )
- Risks associated with the main solution
- Implementation timeline
- Consequences for implementing a solution and for retaining the status quo
- Resources required for the initiative or project
Advantages of a Business Case
A business case may seem like just another document destined for the shelf or the shredder, but it can offer real advantages:
- All stakeholders have similar expectations concerning the value and benefits of an initiative to an organization.
- You can convert a business case into a project plan with milestones. You increase the chances of a project’s success with planning.
- A business case becomes a gauge for determining whether an endeavor continues to offer value during execution and after a team produces a deliverable.
- Project planners can more easily establish objectives and goals.
- You can more easily discern success.
- Teams apply the right resources more efficiently.
Who Prepares a Business Case?
You might think that business cases are the purview of financial officers and accountants. In fact, people who have direct knowledge of processes and teams should be responsible for creating these documents.
Some pundits say that the individual who advocates change must enact the change, so anyone in any role could assume the responsibilities for producing a business case. This includes consultants, line managers, or IT managers. In some organizations, the project sponsor or project manager may guide the preparation of the business case and include input from relevant departments and SMEs.
When Do You Need a Business Case?
It’s no longer enough to complete a project and present a deliverable. In an economy that often seems as unstable as it was in 2008, stakeholders want to see that a deliverable creates value and benefits for an organization. This is particularly true for complex projects or those that require justification for enlisting external resources. Public sector projects frequently need business cases.
What's in a Business Case?
A business case outlines for a decision maker the benefits and business value of a proposed initiative. The term business case frequently refers to a written document that is submitted for review or presented at a meeting, but can also apply to an informal, spoken proposal.
What Should Be in a Business Case?
A well-written business case flows logically from presenting a problem or opportunity through the advantages and disadvantages of solutions to describing the recommended solution. When you require great detail, you can chunk text into sub-sections so that the content is easier to scan, as well as faster and less overwhelming to read. Following are the common sections of a business case in sequential order:
- Executive summary
- Problem statement
- Analysis and financial details
Many organizations have pre-established templates for writing business cases. If your organization doesn’t, search online for free, easy-to-use business case templates for construction business cases, one-page business cases, and more. Depending on the narrative needs of the business case, it can contain many possible sections:
- Preface: A preface may indicate the intended audience and any related documents.
- Table of Contents: If your document is delivered as a PDF file, consider hyperlinking your table of contents to the appropriate sections.
- What is the problem?
- What do you believe is the value of solving the problem?
- How much are you asking for?
- When will we start seeing benefits?
“I’ve had some presentations that don't get beyond that first page,” Maholic muses.
- Description of the Product or Service: When proposing a new object or concept, detail what the deliverable is and how it works.
- A Problem Statement or Mission Statement: By describing the problem or the mission of the organization, you can contextualize the proposed initiative.
- Business Drivers for the Initiative: Indicate what benefits will contribute to the strategic aims of the organization.
- Finance Section: Explain how much the project will cost and whether it is affordable. Detail the cash flow. Describe the expenses to execute (or not execute) the project in a cost comparison against forecasted benefits. Conduct a sensitivity analysis , a technique for determining how the different values of an independent variable affect a dependent variable.
- Financial and nonfinancial benefits
- Quality improvements
- Cost savings through efficiencies
- Added revenue
- Improved customer services
- Options: What are the possible solutions to the problem? Usually, you narrow this list to 3 to 5 viable choices. Frequently, you include a “do nothing” option and a benchmark option. Some organizations require the do-nothing option; others require it only if the do-nothing option is a legitimate possibility. Quantify the benefits of each potential solution. Also, outline the risks, issues, and interdependencies for each solution.
- What is required?
- How is it done?
- Who does what?
- When will things happen?
- Assessments or Analysis: Your analysis should list assumptions and consider cash flow and costs. Describe the risks of the project and the plans to deal with them. Also, discuss how you will leverage opportunities. Describe the context of your undertaking using PESTLE (political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environmental) analysis.
- Project Approach: Detail the organization of the project, including governance and accountability, roles and responsibilities, and the schedule of progress reporting. Describe the purchasing strategy for completing the endeavor. Will you lease equipment? Rent office space? Hire contractors or employees?
- Recommendation and Next Steps: Note the recommended solution and immediate required action.
- Appendix: Add supporting documentation here, such as spreadsheets, charts, or drawings.
Considerations for Executive Presentations
The sections that comprise a business case may vary depending on your house style and the type of initiative. Jim Maholic says, “I package my business cases this way: I set up a one-hour meeting, so I have maybe 20 slides, but 10 to 15 slides are plenty. In reality, I might have 100 slides, but I add those in an appendix.” You may have credible supporting information, but you don’t want to bore your audience of decision makers by slogging through each slide.
“They might allocate an hour, but honestly, you're going to get their attention for 10 to 15 minutes, and then they'll start checking email and stuff,” Maholic adds. “You really have to be crisp in how you do this and know where you're going.
“Start with, ‘We have this problem,’ followed by, ‘Here are the people that we talked to who validated that this is a problem. They offered ideas about solving this problem, so we could see this substantial benefit,’” he notes.
“What matters in an executive meeting is that I answer the main questions: What is the problem? What is the cost of not solving it? What are the benefits of solving it? And when do we see the benefits? You may address additional questions later in the meeting or after the meeting, on an individual, offline basis,” Maholic says.
Business Case Templates
Using templates, you can more easily create business cases because you can focus on your research and fill in the blanks. The following free, downloadable templates are customizable for your organization’s needs.
Business Case Presentation Template
You can lengthen this short PowerPoint presentation template to accommodate more detail. The business case presentation template includes spaces for describing the following elements: the project name, the executive summary, the project description, the financials, the recommended solution, the assumptions and dependencies, the options, and the benefits.
Download Business Case Presentation Template - PowerPoint
Simple Business Case Template
A simple business case template serves a small project or a small organization. It can cover extensive details if necessary. It includes spaces for describing the following elements of the case: the title, the executive summary, the business objective, the target users, the financials and costs, the assumptions and dependencies, the implementation strategy, the required resources, and the project governance and reporting.
Download Simple Business Case Template
Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Healthcare Business Case Template
A healthcare business case template helps you explain the current setup and how the proposed solution can create improvements. It provides space for a one-page executive summary, context for the problem or opportunity, a description of the current situation, an explanation of the proposed changes, and details of how the changes can affect your organization and any other entities.
Download Healthcare Business Case Template
Word | Google Docs
New Product Business Case Template
A new product business case template explores the business landscape for a new product or service. In addition to the meta information, such as the title, the author, and the executive summary, the template includes space to describe the current mission statement, the proposed product or service, the marketing strategy, an analysis of competitors, SWOT analysis , an overview of the implementation plan, and financial details.
Download New Product Business Case Template
Preparing to Write the Business Case
You can expedite your business process by understanding business case structure and using a template. In addition, having the correct perspective and following best practices can contribute to your success.
Why Are You Doing the Project?
Before you start researching and writing, understand why you want to initiate a project. The goal of a project is to solve problems. What is a problem? A problem prevents your organization from achieving its full potential. To begin, determine what problem the project is trying to solve.
Projects have deliverables, whether tangible or intangible. Think of an outcome as the result created by the deliverables. Benefits represent quantifiable improvements derived from an outcome. When a customer or team member can leverage these benefits, they become advantages.
Do Your Business Case Research
To start, review the mission statement(s) for the organization or the project. Identify the sources of data for your business case. One way to encourage the acceptance of your proposal is to discuss your rough estimates of the costs and resources with a project sponsor or customer before you embark on the business case. This helps you and the sponsor understand each other’s expectations and lessens the chance of sticker shock during the executive presentation. Then interview the people who conduct the day-to-day work and get their perspective on problems and possible solutions.
Do the Business Case Math
You must consider whether the returns justify the request. “If we're asking for $3 million, we've got to show that the project benefits far exceed that amount,” asserts Maholic. “With returns of $10, $15, or $20 million, you're going to get their attention. If you say the benefits are $300 million, they're going to think you've fallen off the truck somewhere, because that's not realistic. On the other hand, if you show benefits of $3.5 million for a cost of $3 million, that's probably not going to beat the projected return of any other project that comes across their desk.”
Consider Who the Business Case Is For
Whether the business case comes in document form or as a presentation, the project sponsor and key stakeholders will study it. Consider the key audience for each section of your document and write with that audience in mind.
The most convincing arguments for projects are those that your team can initiate and wrap up within six months, as well as produce considerable quantifiable results. Especially when big money is on the table, your proposal will compete with others from different departments. “No company has all the money it wants to invest in everything — it has to prioritize. The business case helps evaluate what the return will be for each of the projects that comes across the board's desk for approval,” explains Maholic.
Furthermore, a business case presents estimates. A business case should be built on sound research, but no one has a lock on certitude. “I think first-time business case writers in particular get caught up in building some great story. But seasoned executives get requests all the time, and they're not buffaloed by clever-sounding words or fancy spreadsheets,” Maholic cautions.
“Your ideas have to be rooted in something sensible, not just, ‘I bet we can raise revenues by 15 percent,’” he explains. Grand plans may be possible, but the key, according to Maholic, is to help decision makers understand how it is possible.
How Do You Write a Business Case?
When you have the main questions in mind and a sense of the required sections and format, you can begin to write. Consider limiting the number of authors to ensure an effective writing effort that’s consistent in style and voice. Then follow these tips:
- Concisely cover the core content with enough detail, so stakeholders can make an informed decision.
- Compare options, so decision makers understand the landscape.
- Be clear, concise, and captivating.
- Avoid jargon as much as possible.
- Demonstrate the value of the project to the business by creating a credible and accurate argument.
- Clearly describe the landscape for the initiative, including its dependencies. Enumerating these dependencies is crucial because contextual changes can alter the project parameters or eliminate the need for the project altogether.
- Focus on the business and the business value rather than the knowledge domain covered by the intended project deliverable.
How Do You Know You Have Enough Detail?
You determine the length of your business cases according to the scope and complexity of your proposed endeavour. A complex project means a long business case; a small, short project means a short business case.
However, Maholic cautions against adding too much detail — conciseness can be a challenge. “You may take 4 to 6 weeks to create a business. You might talk to 50 or 100 people. There's this gnawing urge in some people to show everything they've collected in the executive presentation. Look how hard we worked. Look how smart I am . That's just awful.
“You have enough data and slides when you can answer those 4 or 5 basic questions. There may be 100 other slides, but those are supporting detail,” he says.
Common Mistakes in Writing Business Cases
You can strengthen your business case by avoiding common mistakes:
- Forget What Your White Papers Say: Maholic finds that when salespeople create cases for customers, they frequently rely on the benefits outlined in a product’s white papers. He notes, “Saying your product cuts costs by Y percent is a great place to start, but it has to be balanced by what's in front of you regarding a particular customer.” He continues, “As a salesperson, you may say that your product can increase revenue by 5 percent. That may be true for past customers, but this particular customer may have three straight years of declining revenues. It's silly to say that a product is going to both arrest a decline and bump up revenue by 5 percent. You have to think things through. That’s the analysis part. You can't just mouth off.”
- Spreadsheets Are not the Main Show: "Too often, I think, people hear business case , and they jump right to building a spreadsheet,” Maholic says. “They're eager to build the mother of all spreadsheets and show how smart they are by demonstrating the mother of all spreadsheets. While certainly spreadsheets are necessary to show the math, the spreadsheet is only a small part of the solution. Spreadsheets don't really articulate the problem or indicate who you talked to or what you analyzed to get to that solution,” he adds.
- Arguments Do not Equal More Money: Sometimes, people believe that a strong case justifies a more generous price tag. Not so, says Maholic: “As a decision maker, having a better business case doesn't mean I'm going to roll over and say, ‘Sure, you can charge me an extra million dollars.’ A good business case means the project has the value to go forward. Now, we're going to start negotiating and I'm still going to work to get the best price I can. People who've done business cases before know that. But people who are new to them don't completely understand that.”
- Remember That It’s About Value, Not About Toys: For startups, the coolness factor of the technology or product may carry some weight, but for most organizations, a business case must focus on the business value without getting lost in the domain knowledge and technical details. Maholic explains: “Nobody at the executive level cares what the throughput ratio is of this process or that stack. What they want to know is, ‘Do I get revenue more quickly? Do I cut costs more deeply? Tell me what the value of doing X is, and then you can go off and buy whatever toys you want to in order to do X.’”
Steps to Produce a Business Case
Your organization may have a tribal understanding of the best process for creating a business case. Some employees may advocate for following the Ds , which refer to the steps to produce a business case. The Ds can include as many as six steps, but generally focus on these four:
- Discover your problem or opportunity.
- Design your solutions and alternatives.
- Develop the details that describe the pros and cons of each potential solution.
- Deploy the business case.
Some advocates add the Define step to the beginning of the process and the Deliver step to the end. For best results, create your business case in the following order:
- Determine your problem or opportunity.
- Research the context for your proposal as appropriate: When developing a new product, your research may focus on the market; when acquiring new training or software, you may review current internal processes; and when making a new purchase, you may interview dozens of team members who use current tools and procedures.
- Compare alternative approaches and recommend the most appropriate strategy.
- Gather supporting data and evidence for the recommended approach.
- Write the business case.
- Write the executive summary.
- Edit your business case draft.
- Present your business case to either the final authority or the personnel who will be instrumental in implementing the case plan.
Download Business Case Process Checklist
The Business Case in Project Development
Contrary to what you might imagine, the business case can be a living document. Starting with the review process, stakeholders may reject, cancel, postpone, accept, or adjust the business case. To some extent, the business case becomes the guidebook for your initiative. Stakeholders and the project manager should refer to the business case throughout the lifecycle of the project to ensure that efforts (and intentions) remain on track.
What Are the Features of a Project Business Case?
A well-considered business case offers the following characteristics: an easy-to-understand description of the business value of the initiative and the immediate benefits of the project, including details of the positive impact on organizational strategy.
How Do You Analyze a Business Case?
In university-level business schools, business case studies (or case studies) function as teaching tools to help students use their analytic skills. Case studies describe a company and how it employs a solution. Following is the suggested approach for students analyzing a case:
- Review the case in detail. Identify the key issues.
- Determine 2 to 5 essential problems.
- Look for solutions to those problems.
- Describe your recommended solution.
What Is a Full Business Case?
A business case is a structured, detailed document that presents the justification for the commitment of financial and other resources to an endeavor. Business cases help you gain the support of management and other stakeholders, as well as approval for projects and programs.
What Is a Business Case in Project Management?
An approved business case can have a long life. Although the project sponsor ultimately owns the business case, it is the project manager who uses the business case as the guidebook for expectations and dependencies. In addition, the business case becomes an important document in an organization’s project portfolio management process. During this process, a company balances its resources with its strategic objectives to determine the livelihood of all the projects it undertakes.
History and Origins of Business Cases
The formal business case has its roots in 19th-century Europe, particularly with the work of French-Italian engineer-economist Jules Dupuit. His contribution included statistical tools to identify, measure, and value the benefits beyond merely determining the lowest bidder. Specifically, Dupuit is credited with inventing what he called the benefit-cost analysis . Today, professionals recognize the value of business cases outside of public works and government. Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations regularly use business cases.
Resources and Examples for Creating Your Business Case
If you’re new to business cases, you don’t have to start empty-handed. We offer resources to help you begin writing. Please see the following examples and templates:
- Here’s an example of a business case in a classic document format . This particular business case argues against a capital investment.
- This example presents three business cases for one higher education department . The presentation comes in a slide format.
- In this article, Jim Maholic offers a template for creating your business case .
Improve Your Business Cases with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet
Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change.
The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.
Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.
- Contact sales
Start free trial
Get your free
Business Case Template
Use this free Business Case Template for Word to manage your projects better.
A business case template is a document that helps sell your project. It collects the main points of a project and delivers them in a clear and concise manner. Our free business case template for Word is a great tool to help you gather that important data during the project initiation phase and show the project stakeholders the value and validity of the project.
What Is a Business Case?
The business case is a document used in project management to show that the costs related to the project are worthwhile and there will be a strong return on investment. These documents summarize various aspects of the project including its objective in addition to the costs and benefits that the project will deliver to its stakeholders.
You can think of a business case as the pitch you make to win over the client, customer or stakeholder. It justifies the project by evaluating the benefits, costs and risks while showing why this project’s path is the preferred solution to whatever problem the project is solving or the need it’s addressing. This buy-in is essential for any project to meet its objectives.
A business case provides details that are only outlined in the project proposal of the project. Unlike a project charter , which is a high-level description of the project and its deliverables, the business case is more focused on return on investment and future opportunities. The project charter details the actual project more than the business case, which is about justifying a company’s decision on taking on the project.
Why You Need a Business Case Template
The main reason why a business case template is so important is that it does the due diligence for stakeholders and proves that the expense is worth the return on their investment. There are many projects that might be in a company’s pipeline with only so many resources to deliver them. It’s crucial to know which project is going to be worthwhile from a financial viewpoint.
A business case acts as a number of different cases. For one, it’s the strategic case, looking to see if the project aligns with the overall company strategy. The economic case explores if the project offers the best value. A commercial case looks at the project through the lens of the market. A financial case sees if the investment is affordable for the company. A management case looks at those who will be involved in the project and whether they can deliver it.
No matter the project, big or small, the business case is a must if only to define the business needs and objectives of the project. Whether you have a long document or capture it all in the span of a single page, the business case template is a great way to align the project team and stakeholders, one of the most important reasons why you need a business case.
How to Use Our Business Case Template for Word
In order to fill in the blanks in our free business case template for Word, you need to start with research. That research will include the market you intend to introduce your project or service to the competitors that are already in that space and any alternatives.
Next, you’re going to compare business and project management approaches, looking for the best fit. The best approaches will be included in your business case template. Then you’ll compile all the data you have and present those strategies, goals and options.
Don’t forget to document everything . Your business case should be to the point but at the same time not skip important details that will sway your stakeholders. In order to do that, you’ll want to have an outline and then fill in each section. That’s where the free business case template for Word comes in—it does it for you.
Elements of Our Business Case Template
Our free business case template lays out all of the areas you’ll need to paint a full picture of the project, its objective, benefits and risks. This picture should be realistic while simultaneously proving the feasibility of the project from the point of view of investment. Our free business case template for Word is broken up into the following categories.
This is at the top of our template. It’s the elevator pitch, in a sense, as it is a short roundup of all the sections that follow in the free business case template. This will provide your stakeholders with a way to get the gist of the whole document at a glance.
It doesn’t hurt to have a mission statement , which is different from the above summary. It is a place to define the project’s objectives, purpose and goals. The mission statement is like the North Star in that it will help lead the team as well as help stakeholders understand the project more fully. If the project moves forward, there will be changes along the way and the mission statement will make sure that as you adjust your project plan you always keep the reason for the project in the crosshairs.
Product or Service
In this section, you’ll describe the product or service that is the final deliverable of the project. More than just a description, however, it should explain how it will be competitive, what niche it’s filling, the problem it’s addressing or the need it’s filling.
Here, you’re going to discuss the project itself, such as what its business objectives are and how you’ll achieve them with the project plan outline . This includes the project scope, such as the tasks and deliverables of the project that will allow you to reach your business objectives.
With this section, you’ll get into the style of coordination, communication and management you’ll use in the project. There are four basic project organizations: functional, which is a traditional structure with departments and managers who report to an executive; project, with divisions that focus on a specific project; organic, where the project follows a natural progression that is more flexible; and matrix, which is part function and part project-based.
This is the dollar and cents part, so it’s extra-important as most businesses focus on the bottom line. You’ll need to show the costs of the project, which is the budget estimation , including how much all of the tasks and resources will be, and why that cost is less than the benefits that the project will deliver to the business. This comparison can be done with a sensitivity analysis and cost-benefit analysis.
Whatever your product or service and however successful you say it will be, you must back up those claims with market research. This means looking at the market you plan to deliver your product or service, defining it, showing the competition and its percentage of that market, plus how you can reach an unserved segment of the market or answer a need that hasn’t yet been served. Not only the opportunities that you see in the market, but you need to also outline any threats to your product or service.
Once you have done your market research it’s time to develop a strategy to take advantage of the opportunities you see there and avoid the threats. Describe what your distribution channel will be and what you think is a competitive price point for the product or service. Profile your target audience and how you’ll reach these customers and other aspects of your marketing plan.
No project is without risk. The best way to prepare for this unknown inevitable is by making a risk assessment of the project. Where are the weak points? Identify potential issues that might arise over the life cycle of the project and develop plans to mitigate or take advantage of these risks, as there are both negative and positive risks in a project.
How ProjectManager Helps Turn a Business Case Into a Project
ProjectManager is project management software that helps you turn a business case into a project. We have the tools you need to plan better and monitor your execution so you deliver your project on time and within budget. A business case is what convinces your stakeholders that the project is worthwhile.
Create Detailed Plans on Robust Gantt
The project plan is how you’re going to get from the idea to the reality. Now that you’ve outlined that path in your business case, use our interactive Gantt chart to stay organized. You can organize tasks, link dependencies to avoid bottlenecks and set milestones to track progress. Our tool goes even further by allowing you to filter for the critical path without time-consuming calculations. Once you set the baseline, you can then generate variance reports to see if your actual progress is aligned with your planned progress.
Monitor Progress and Performance With Real-Time Dashboards
In order to meet the expectations set by your business case and keep your stakeholders updated, you need to have an eye on your project to see things as they happen. Our real-time dashboard automatically collects and calculates six project metrics and displays them in colorful graphs that are easy to digest. Unlike lightweight tools, there’s no setup required. We also have real-time reports that dive deeper into the data, which can be filtered to show only what you want to see and shared with stakeholders to manage their expectations.
Other Templates to Help Build a Business Case
The business case template is a powerful tool to win over your stakeholders. ProjectManager is not the software that will make the business case a reality. But we’re also an online hub for all things project management, including dozens of free project management templates you can download as you’re building your business case. Here are a few.
Executive Summary Template
Part of any business case is the executive summary. If you need help composing this overview, our free executive summary template for Word is what you should download. It’s all here, everything you’ll need to collect the main points and write a powerful and direct executive summary to sway your stakeholders.
SWOT Analysis Template
When developing a strategic plan for your business case, our free SWOT analysis template for Word helps you map the internal and external factors of influence. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This free template download can help you see your project in a bigger context.
Another important part of a business case is the financial appraisal. What you need is to make an accurate forecast of your project’s costs. Our free estimate template for Excel helps you identify all the project costs related to labor, materials and more to show your stakeholders why their investment is going to give them a greater return.
ProjectManager is also a great place to read about project management. We publish multiple blogs a week and have hundreds of tutorial videos, guidebooks, white papers and much more. These assets cover every aspect of managing a project, from initiation to close. Here are some related to making a business case.
- 15 Free Word & Excel Templates for Business
- How to Write a Business Case
- Cost-Benefit Analysis for Projects: A Step-by-Step Guide
- What Is a Project Plan? The Ultimate Guide to Project Planning
ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes work, monitors progress and reports on performance to keep you productive. Whether you’re managing one project or a program or a portfolio of projects, we have the tools that connect teams across departments or the country. Real-time data helps you make more insightful decisions. Join teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who use our tool to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
Start your free 30-day trial
Deliver faster, collaborate better, innovate more effectively — without the high prices and months-long implementation and extensive training required by other products.
The Plain English Guide to Writing a Business Case
Published: April 01, 2021
Have you ever heard the age-old classic story of a company that got its start from a back-of-the-napkin idea? Or about the start-ups that started in someone's garage?
While all those stories are, of course, inspirational, a huge element that they leave out is that every business started because someone felt the project justified spending time and money on it.
That's why some projects require you to write a business case. Whether you want to start a company, pitch a new product, or perhaps you just want your business to use a new project management tool. Either way, a project that requires time and resources will also require justifying those expenses in the form of a business case.
Below, let's review what a business case is, plus an example and template to inspire your own business case.
What is a business case?
A business case is a document that evaluates whether a project or task makes sense to complete. It will present the reasoning for taking on a project, such as benefits, cost, risk, etc. Essentially, this document makes a case that a project makes business sense to do.
In a business case, you might include the background on a project, expected benefits, costs, risks, and opportunities. This document will justify taking on a certain project. So, how do you develop a business case? Let's dive in below.
Business Case Development
To develop a business case, you'll need to write several key components, including a proposal, strategy, budget, SWOT analysis, and project plan. With these documents, you should be able to prove that the project you're pitching is worth doing.
Let's dive into the steps for how you'll develop a business case below:
Before you can write a business case, you need to do your research. First, you should have a goal in mind for your project, whether it's to create a new product, help drive more traffic/leads, or improve user experience.
Write down your goal and then conduct research to prove that your project is the way to achieve your goal.
You can begin by researching what competitors are doing and look for gaps that your project solves.
Start to brainstorm what this project's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are. Additionally, you'll want to learn about your market -- whoever will be the consumer of the project, even if that's your own team.
Finally, you should start to look into what a budget would look like for your proposed solution.
2. Focus on one component at a time.
A business case will usually include several documents. Focus on one at a time, while keeping your notes organized.
Start with your proposal, then move on to your SWOT analysis, the competitive analysis, the project plan, overall strategy, and then the budget. It can be easy to get lost in just one of these tasks, so focus on one thing at a time to complete the bigger picture business case.
3. Write an implementation plan.
Once you've gathered your research and you're working through each component, it's time to start thinking about implementation.
How will you implement your project? Once you've made the business case that your project should be done, stakeholders will wonder how you'll execute it.
To do this, write an implementation plan that discusses how you'd complete the project and metrics that you'd track to measure success.
Once you're done writing your business case, look at the whole document and ask yourself whether it's comprehensive, measurable, and adaptable.
A business case doesn't need to be an entire business plan for a new product. Sometimes it will be less formal due to the size of the project. Either way, you want to make a strong case for your project, so it should be easy to understand and implement.
Now, let's look at an example of what a business case might look like.
Business Case Example
Now that you've seen what it takes to write a business case and what the process looks like, let's look at an example for inspiration.
In the example below, the project is about getting a new phone system to help the sales staff. Because this is a fairly small project, the business case isn't several pages long with exhaustive research.
However, it's important to keep in mind that while your business case might look something like this for a small scale project, it might include several pages of information if you're pitching something like a new product or a new UI to improve user experience.
The point in the business case is that it's adaptable to be whatever you need. However, the components of the business case will be the same regardless of how long it is. Every business case should include why a project should be done, the benefits, costs, risks, and budget.
Don't forget to share this post!
2 Essential Templates For Starting Your Business
Business Case Template
Impress stakeholders and get buy-in with this complete Business Case Template. Cover all key elements of a business case and ensure your pitch is successful.
Trusted by 65M+ users and leading companies
About the Business Case Template
Steve Lydford , director at Codurance, developed this business case template to enable teams to visualize all the key components of a business case. When advocating for a project or getting stakeholder buy-in, developing a business case that is well articulated and compelling will increase your chances of getting funding and sponsorship.
This business case template is similar to the Business Model Canvas , except it focuses on the business problem and the tactics to solve it. It also shows how to implement your business plan, covering nine key areas.
How to use the business case template
Select the business case template and add it to your board. Once you have the template in place, fulfill each section of the frame, answering the questions for each. The structure of your business case canvas will look like this:
Problem: Identify the core issue your business aims to solve. Be specific and use data to back your claims. This section is your starting point and sets the context for your business case.
Solution: Describe your proposed solution to the identified problem. Ensure it is clear, feasible, and directly addresses the problem you've outlined.
Benefits: Outline the advantages your solution offers. Include both quantitative and qualitative benefits, such as cost savings, efficiency improvements, or customer satisfaction.
Scope: Define the boundaries of your business case. Specify what is included and, importantly, what is not. This clarity will help manage expectations and focus your plan.
Stakeholders: List key people or groups involved or affected by your business case. Understand their interests and how your plan impacts them.
Resources: Detail the resources required for your business case, including human, financial, and technical resources. Be realistic about what's needed to achieve your goals.
Risks: Identify potential challenges and risks associated with your business case. This foresight helps in developing mitigation strategies.
Costs: Provide a clear breakdown of the costs involved in your business case. Transparency here is crucial for gaining trust and approval.
Metrics: Establish metrics to measure the success of your business case. These could be financial metrics, customer satisfaction scores, or other relevant KPIs.
Lead a workshop with your team to map out all these aspects of your business plan. If needed, make more than one business case canvas.
Color-code stickies with common topics that are connected.
If needed, leave comments and other stickies to clarify topics.
Why should you use a business case template?
Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey requires you to pitch your ideas to investors and gain support from others. The business case template provides a detailed analysis of your business and presents the core of your product or service in a clear and concise manner. This format is easy to read and helps stakeholders make informed decisions.
In addition, this template can serve as a visual aid in any presentation or pitch deck you create. It clarifies your business's main objectives and the strategies to achieve them. The business case analysis template can also serve as documentation for your team to refer to once things are up and running.
The purpose of the business case analysis template is to ensure that you have everything in place to establish your business. It also serves as a guide for managers and stakeholders to navigate through the entire business idea. Unlike the traditional business model canvas, which focuses on the strategic and tactical side of the business, the business case canvas is more about the core of the business and the benefits it will bring to the market and customers.
Do I need to make any changes to the template for each individual business case, or can I use it as it is?
While the template can be used as a starting point, it is important to customize it for each business case to ensure that it addresses the unique aspects of the proposed initiative.
Is it possible to add additional sections or information to the template if required?
Yes, you can add sections or information as necessary to meet the specific requirements of your business case. The template is a flexible tool that can be adapted to fit your needs.
Who is the intended audience for the business case template?
The primary audience includes senior management, decision-makers, and stakeholders who need to evaluate, approve, or reject the proposed initiative.
Get started with this template right now.
SWOT Analysis Template
Works best for:.
Decision Making, Strategic Planning, Prioritization
When you’re developing a business strategy, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on. A SWOT analysis helps you hone in on key factors. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, like your employees, intellectual property, marketing strategy, and location. Opportunities and threats are usually external factors, like market fluctuations, competition, prices of raw materials, and consumer trends. Conduct a SWOT analysis whenever you want to explore opportunities for new businesses and products, decide the best way to launch a product, unlock your company’s potential, or use your strengths to develop opportunities.
App Development Canvas Template
Market Research, Product Management, User Experience
Ever noticed that building a successful app requires lots of players and moving parts? If you’re a project manager, you definitely have. Lucky for you, an app development canvas will let you own and optimize the entire process. It features 18 boxes, each one focusing on a key aspect of app development, giving you a big-picture view. That way you can fine-tune processes and get ahead of potential problems along the way—resulting in a smoother path and a better, tighter product.
SOAR Analysis Template
Leadership, Decision Making, Strategic Planning
The SOAR Analysis template prompts you to consider your organization’s strengths and potential to create a shared vision of the future. The SOAR Analysis is unique in that it encourages you to focus on the positive rather than solely identifying areas for growth. SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results. To use the template, examine each category through a positive lens. Perform a SOAR Analysis whenever you want to bring people together and encourage action.
Blue Ocean 4 Actions Framework Template
For entrepreneurs, so much comes down to new users—how to attract them, impress them, and convert them to loyal customers. This template, designed by the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, will help you maximize value for you and your customers alike. Using the template’s four steps (divided into easy columns), you’ll easily evaluate your products in more innovative ways and make sure money is being spent in areas that really matter.
Supply and Demand Diagram
Market Research, Mapping, Diagrams
How do you price your product so that you make a profit while keeping customers and manufacturers happy? By finding a fair price. A supply and demand diagram is a graph that visualizes how much demand there is for your product and how many products you need. This, in turn, helps you with product pricing.
DMAIC Analysis Template
Agile Methodology, Design Thinking, Operations
Processes might not seem like the funnest thing to dive into and examine, but wow can it pay off—a more efficient process can lead to serious cost savings and a better product. That’s what DMAIC analysis does. Developed as part of the Six Sigma initiative, DMAIC is a data-driven quality strategy for streamlining processes and resolving issues. The technique is broken into five fundamental steps that are followed in order: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.
Advisory boards aren’t only for executives. Join the LogRocket Content Advisory Board today →
- Product Management
- Solve User-Reported Issues
- Find Issues Faster
- Optimize Conversion and Adoption
What is a business case and how to write one (with template)
In this guide, we’ll define what a business case is, help you determine when you need one (and when you don’t), and walk you through a four-step process for creating a business case.
We’ll also outline what you should include in a business case and provide a free template you can use when writing a business case to secure stakeholder support for your next big project.
Table of contents
What is a business case, align with strategy, gain stakeholder support, prioritize projects, track outcomes, when you don’t need a business case, business case vs. business plan.
- Identify the business need
- Explore all possible solutions
- Propose the best approach
- Outline the implementation process
What is included in a business case?
- Download our free business case template
Every project needs the support and approval of key stakeholders before it can launch. Many project and product leaders use a project plan or charter to communicate pertinent details to those involved.
Similarly, for large initiatives that require significant resources, potential investors are presented a business case outlining the costs, benefits, business need, and risks involved.
A business case is a document that defines the value it will deliver if executed and benefits the company over the costs involved. With a thorough understanding of the components to be included and necessary resources, it is possible to create a compelling business plan.
Why do you need a business case?
If a project is green-lit without a business case, it can lead to serious issues down the road. A project without clearly articulated expectations and goals can go on endlessly and aimlessly. This leads to wasted resources, money, and time with no outcome in the end.
A business case enables you to:
A business case helps to showcase how a project is aligned with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. It clearly defines the problem or opportunity that the project is intended to address.
A business case also enables you to determine expected benefits and outcomes before you start a project or initiatives, thus projecting how the project contribute to achieving the organization’s goals.
A business case is a useful tool to provide a clear rationale for pursuing the project. A thorough business case can help key stakeholders decide whether to invest in the project by evaluating the feasibility, costs, risks and potential returns. A business case presentation gives stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions and address concerns.
A business case defines the value that the project is expected to deliver. Based on the value delivered by each project, business and product leaders can prioritize projects for budget cuts or further investments. Proper prioritization helps the organization achieve the goals aligned with the business strategy.
A business case provides a roadmap for the project, including the goals, milestones, and key deliverables. Once the project starts, a roadmap helps you keep track of your progress toward project goals, including what has already been achieved and what will be delivered at the end. Providing a timely update on the project to the key stakeholders is critical for setting expectations.
A business case is certainly helpful for large initiatives requiring support from key stakeholders, but there are some situations where creating a business case might be a waste of time.
Over 200k developers and product managers use LogRocket to create better digital experiences
For instance, small or low-risk projects that would not impact the organization in any negative way do not require a business case because it would not make sense to spend that much effort on a low-scale project.
A business case might also be considered superfluous for a project that is already ongoing. It can be tempting to create a business case post-launch for the sole purpose of documenting decisions made and milestones achieved. However, it’s typically not worth the time investment because such a business case rarely adds any value or insights.
Before you take on the task of creating a business case, it’s important to carefully consider the need and to ensure that doing so would produce valuable insights to the decision-making process. It is in the best interest of everyone to forgo the business case creation process in situations where it does not provide any additional value and to focus instead on other activities that directly impact the project.
A business plan is not the same thing as a business case.
A business case outlines a proposed project and its potential benefits to convince key stakeholders to invest. It typically includes analysis of costs, value to be delivered, and associated risks, along with ROI.
A business plan, on the other hand, outlines the overall strategy and goals for an entire organization. It defines the what, why, and who for the business, covering the products and services offered, target segment, marketing and sales strategy, and operational and financial projections over a period of time. A business plan is designed to help potential outside investors make informed decisions about whether the business is worth investing in.
The table below breaks down the differences between a business plan and a business case:
How to write a business case
Before we dive into steps to create a business case, let’s review what we’ve learned so far:
- A business case is a document created during the initiation of the project but is referred throughout the project lifecycle
- A strong business case helps in building confidence and gaining support of key stakeholders
- A business case also helps you track a project’s progress over time
- A weak business case that is not aligned with strategy can lead to project failure
To write a business case, follow this four-step process:
1. Identify the business need
Projects are initiated to solve a business need and achieve a value or a benefit aligned to the goals of the organization.
The first step to create a business case is to identify the business problem and define it clearly. Market research and any available data to justify the business need is helpful to include in the business case.
2. Explore all possible solutions
Once the business problem has been identified, the next step is to explore all the possible solutions for that problem. You can do this systematically by listing out all the possible solutions along with other parameters, such as:
- The benefits of each approach
- Time period
A detailed analysis of each option predicting the cash flows, ROI, and value delivered would help key stakeholders understand each solution and cross-question the assumptions, feasibility, and other parameters.
3. Propose the best approach
Set a criteria to showcase how you evaluate each solution and then come up with the best out of the list.
To set the criteria, identify attributes that closely align to the organization’s strategy. For example, if the organization’s goal is to increase revenue in the next year, then an important criterion might be the solution with maximum revenue projection.
List the top three-to-five attributes to evaluate alternative solutions against and rank each solution 1–5. Once you rank all of them, total the ranks for all the attributes to indicate a clear winner.
Document this process and present it to stakeholders to ensure they are on the same page with the selection process of the best solution.
4. Outline the implementation process
Once the best solution has been proposed, the next step is to think about how it will be implemented.
When it comes to planning the implementation process, you need to define:
- Resources needed
- Timeline from initiation till the end
- Risks and how to mitigate
- Milestones and when they will be achieved
- Total cost involved and how much will be used by when
These four steps, when captured in detail, can help you win the support of key stakeholders and kick off your project with a solid foundation and a clear objective.
Now that we’ve walked through the steps of how to create a business case, let us also take a look at what to include in the business case document to support the four steps outlined above.
Here’s what to include in a business case:
- Executive summary — A quick overview of the project and the topics being covered in the business case
- Business problem — A description of the business problem and why it is important to solve it
- Possible solutions — A list of possible solutions and how the best possible solution is identified
- Project definition — Define the business objectives to be achieved along with general information about the project
- Project plan — Create the project plan with key elements your team needs to accomplish to successfully achieve your project goals
- Project scope — Clearly define what would be covered as a part of the project and what is out of scope to avoid any confusion
- Project budget — Estimated cost involved to complete the project needs to be captured with a detailed breakdown
- Project roadmap — Projection of the estimated timeline for each stage of the project to be done. Be sure to include any important project milestones
- Project financials — Financial metrics depicting the cash flow, such as NPV, IRR, ROI, and payback period to help stakeholders understand the financial value the project can bring in over a period of time
- Risk assessment — Capture the risks involved and the steps planned to mitigate the risks
- Project stakeholders — A list of key stakeholders involved can help anyone looking at the document to reach out to them when needed. The list can include the project team, sponsoring executives, and any external stakeholders who might be involved
Business case template
To help you get started writing a business case for your next big project or initiative, we created a business case template that you can download and customize for free.
You can access this simple business case template by clicking here (be sure to select File > Make a copy from the main menu bar before editing the template).
Preparing the business case is only half the journey of initiating a project. The next step is to present the business plan to key stakeholders , answer their queries, and compel them to support the project.
Lastly, be sure to follow up with the attendees to make sure all the stakeholders are on the same page and aligned to support the project.
LogRocket generates product insights that lead to meaningful action
Get your teams on the same page — try LogRocket today.
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- #collaboration and communication
- #project management
Stop guessing about your digital experience with LogRocket
A guide to product marketing
Product marketing helps you determine the goals and go-to-market strategy of your product and helps you better adapt to market shifts.
Leader Spotlight: Meshing product- and sales-led cultures, with Carlos Jimenez
Carlos Jimenez, VP of Product at KingMakers, dispels the “dangerous” misconception that product- and sales-led cultures can’t coexist and thrive together.
A guide to crafting a compelling marketing plan (with template)
A marketing plan is a structured guide for a company’s marketing activities across a specific period.
Leader Spotlight: Leaning into opportunity through change, with Alan Fliegelman
Alan Fliegelman shares how his work at DHI is transforming the job search process and the various transitions he’s seen in his time there.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Free Project Management Templates
Business Case Template
A Good Business Case captures and documents the reasoning for starting a new project. Our free Business Case Template provides a sound foundation for developing the business case for your next project.
A Business Case helps to determine whether or not a project justifies an organizations investment into a project. The Business Case defines the problem and its impact and performs a Cost Benefit Analysis for the proposed solution. It also looks at possible alternative solutions. Often overlooked, the Business Case checks to see that the project aligns with the organization’s strategic plans.
1. executive summary.
This Business Case Template provides you with a good starting point for which to develop your project/organization specific Business Case. You can download the MS Word version of this template by clicking on the Word icon above.
This section should provide general information on the issues surrounding the business problem and the proposed project or initiative created to address it. Usually, this section is completed last after all other sections of the business case have been written. This is because the executive summary is exactly that, a summary of the detail that is provided in subsequent sections of the document.
This business case outlines how the Web Platform (WP) Project will address current business concerns, the benefits of the project, and recommendations and justification of the project. The business case also discusses detailed project goals, performance measures, assumptions, constraints, and alternative options.
This section of the business case should briefly describe the business problem that the proposed project will address. This section should not describe how the problem will be addressed, only what the problem is.
Because of an expanding client base, Smith Consulting has moved to a de-centralized business model over the last 2 years. As we continue to support more clients in more locations, the administration of our workforce has become more difficult. Until now, many of our internal requirements such as reporting, payroll activities, and resource management have been done via legacy mainframe systems. As our workforce expands in numbers and area, these legacy mainframe systems have become inadequate to effectively manage these administrative activities. This inadequacy is manifested in higher costs and increased employee turnover which we have seen over the last 12 months. In order to more effectively manage our administration, reduce costs, and improve employee turnover, Smith Consulting must move to a web-based application as outlined in this business case for the WP Project. By doing so, employees will assume a greater role in managing their administrative issues, have access to timesheets securely online, and the company can manage its administration from one central and common platform.
1.2 Anticipated Outcomes
This section should describe the anticipated outcome if the proposed project or initiative is implemented. It should include how the project will benefit the business and describe what the end state of the project should be.
Moving to a centralized web-based administrative platform will enable Smith Consulting to manage its employee payroll systems and administrative functions in a seamless and consolidated manner. This technology migration will reduce overhead costs associated with the large workforce currently required to manage these tasks. De-centralized employees will have more autonomy to manage their payroll elections, training, reporting, and various other administrative tasks. The company will also benefit from more timely and accurate financial reporting as a result of our regional managers’ ability to enter and continuously update their financial metrics. This real time access reduces errors, improves cycle time, and is readily available to any authorized user.
This section of our business case template summarizes the approach for how the project will address the business problem. This section should also describe how desirable results will be achieved by moving forward with the project.
Various options and alternatives were analyzed to determine the best way to leverage technology to improve the business processes and reduce the overhead costs within Smith Consulting. The approach described herein allows us to meet our corporate objectives of continuously improving efficiency, reducing costs, and capitalizing on technology. The recommended WP Project will methodically migrate the data and functions of our current mainframe system to our new web-based platform in order to preserve data integrity and allow adequate time to train all employees and managers on their responsibilities and respective administrative functions. The web-based platform is compatible with all other current IT systems and will improve the efficiency and accuracy of reporting throughout the company. Some of the ways that this technology will achieve its desired results are:
- Employees will be able to enter and edit their timesheet data at any time from any location instead of phoning their data to their regional manager for entry into the mainframe system
- Timesheet and payroll data will be immediately accessible for quality control and reporting purposes which will reduce the need for staff in non-billable positions to gather, analyze and compile data
- Employees will have the ability to register for training which reduces the burden on managers and training staff
This section justifies why the recommended project should be implemented and why it was selected over other alternatives. Where applicable, quantitative support should be provided and the impact of not implementing the project should also be stated.
The migration of payroll and other administrative functions from the legacy mainframe system to the web-based platform will result in greater efficiency with regards to company resources and business processes. The WP Project is also aligned with corporate strategy and objectives since it uses technology to improve the way we do business. While other alternatives and the status quo were analyzed, the WP Project was selected for proposal in this business case because it provides the best opportunity to realize benefits in an expedited manner while also allowing for the greatest improvement in efficiency and cost reduction. Other alternatives assumed greater risk, provided less benefits, were too difficult to define, or were not suitably aligned with current corporate strategy and/or objectives.
Initial estimates for the WP Project are:
- 15% reduction in overhead costs in the first 12 months
- 10% decrease in employee turnover in the first 12 months
- 50% immediate decrease in time to generate weekly and monthly financial reports
- 25% immediate decrease in the amount of time it takes to resolve payroll issues
2. Business Case Analysis Team
This section of the business case template describes the roles of the team members who developed the business case. It is imperative that participants and roles are clearly defined for the business case as well as throughout the life of the project.
The following individuals comprise the business case analysis team. They are responsible for the analysis and creation of the WP Project business case.
3. Problem Definition
3.1 problem statement.
This section describes the business problem that this project was created to address. The problem may be process, technology, or product/service oriented. This section should not include any discussion related to the solution.
Since its inception, Smith Consulting has relied upon a mainframe system to manage payroll and other administrative employee functions. As the number of employees grows, so does the burden placed upon headquarters to effectively manage the company’s administration at acceptable levels. In the last two years Smith Consulting has hired 5 employees into overhead positions to help manage and run the day to day administration operations. These positions provide little or no return on investment as they are not billable positions and only maintain the status quo; they do nothing to improve the management of the company’s administration. Additionally, employees must currently call their regional managers to enter their work hours and raise any concerns regarding payroll and administrative tasks. This places a large burden on managers who much balance these requirements with their day to day billable tasks.
Reporting is another problem area associated with the legacy mainframe system. All weekly and monthly financial reports must be generated manually which allows for a high probability of error and require significant amounts of time. These manual tasks further add to the burden and expense of the company.
3.2 Organizational Impact
This section of our template describes how the proposed project will modify or affect the organizational processes, tools, hardware, and/or software. It should also explain any new roles which would be created or how existing roles may change as a result of the project.
The WP Project will impact Smith Consulting in several ways. The following provides a high-level explanation of how the organization, tools, processes, and roles and responsibilities will be affected as a result of the WP Project implementation:
Tools: the existing legacy administration platform will be phased out completely as the WP Project is stood up and becomes operational. This will require training employees on the WP tools and their use in support of other organizational tools.
Processes: with the WP Project comes more efficient and streamlined administrative and payroll processes. This improved efficiency will lessen the burden on managers and provide autonomy to employees in managing their administrative and payroll tasks and actions.
Roles and Responsibilities: in addition to the WP Project allowing greater autonomy to employees and less burden on managers, the manpower required to appropriately staff human resources and payroll departments will be reduced. While we greatly value our employees, the reduction of non-billable overhead positions will directly reflect in our bottom line and provide an immediate return on our investment. The new platform will be managed by the IT group and we do not anticipate any changes to IT staffing requirements.
Hardware/Software: in addition to the software and licensing for the project, Smith Consulting will be required to purchase additional servers to accommodate the platform and its anticipated growth for the next 10 years.
3.3 Technology Migration
This section of the Business Case Template provides a high-level overview of how the new technology will be implemented and how data from the legacy technology will be migrated. This section should also explain any outstanding technical requirements and obstacles which need to be addressed.
In order to effectively migrate existing data from our legacy platform to the new Web-based platform, a phased approach has been developed which will result in minimal/no disruption to day to day operations, administration, and payroll activities. The following is a high-level overview of the phased approach:
Phase I: Hardware/Software will be purchased and the WP system will be created in the web-based environment and tested by the IT development group.
Phase II: IT group will stand up a temporary legacy platform in the technology lab to be used for day to day operations for payroll and administration activities. This will be used as a backup system and also to archive all data from the company mainframe.
Phase III: The web-based platform will be populated with all current payroll and administrative data. This must be done in conjunction with the end of a pay cycle.
Phase IV: All employees will receive training on the new web-based platform.
Phase V: The web-based platform will go live and the legacy mainframe system will be archived and stood down.
4. Project Overview
This section describes high-level information about the project to include a description, goals and objectives, performance criteria, assumptions, constraints, and milestones. This section of the Business Case consolidates all project-specific information into one chapter and allows for an easy understanding of the project since the baseline business problem, impacts, and recommendations have already been established.
The WP Project overview provides detail for how this project will address Smith Consulting’s business problem. The overview consists of a project description, goals and objectives for the WP Project, project performance criteria, project assumptions, constraints, and major milestones. As the project is approved and moves forward, each of these components will be expanded to include a greater level of detail in working toward the project plan.
4.1 Project Description
This section describes the approach the project will use to address the business problem(s). This includes what the project will consist of, a general description of how it will be executed, and the purpose of it.
The WP Project will review and analyze several potential products to replace Smith Consulting’s legacy payroll and administration mainframe system with a web-based platform. This will be done by determining and selecting a product which adequately replaces our existing system and still allows for growth for the next 10 years. Once selected, the project will replace our existing system in a phased implementation approach and be completed once the new system is operational and the legacy system is archived and no longer in use.
This project will result in greater efficiency of day to day payroll and administrative operations and reporting, significantly lower overhead costs, and reduced turnover as a result of providing employees with greater autonomy and flexibility. Additionally, managers will once again be focused on billable tasks instead of utilizing a significant portion of their time on non-billable administrative tasks.
Smith Consulting will issue a Request for Information in order to determine which products are immediately available to meet our business needs. Once the product is acquired, all implementation and data population will be conducted with internal resources.
4.2 Goals and Objectives
This part of the template lists the business goals and objectives which are supported by the project and how the project will address them.
The WP Project directly supports several of the corporate goals and objectives established by Smith Consulting. The following table lists the business goals and objectives that the WP Project supports and how it supports them:
4.3 Project Performance
This section describes the measures that will be used to gauge the project’s performance and outcomes as they relate to key resources, processes, or services.
The following table lists the key resources, processes, or services and their anticipated business outcomes in measuring the performance of the project. These performance measures will be quantified and further defined in the detailed project plan.
4.4 Project Assumptions
This section lists the preliminary assumptions for the proposed project. As the project is selected and moves into detailed project planning, the list of assumptions will most likely grow as the project plan is developed. However, for the business case there should be at least a preliminary list from which to build.
The following assumptions apply to the WP Project. As project planning begins and more assumptions are identified, they will be added accordingly.
- All staff and employees will be trained accordingly in their respective data entry, timesheet, and reporting tasks on the new web-based system
- Funding is available for training
- Funding is available for purchasing hardware/software for web-based system
- All department heads will provide necessary support for successful project completion
- Project has executive-level support and backing
4.5 Project Constraints
This section of the business case template lists the preliminary constraints for the proposed project. As the project is selected and moves into detailed project planning, the list of constraints will most likely grow as the project plan is developed. However, for the business case there should be at least a preliminary list from which to build.
The following constraints apply to the WP Project. As project planning begins and more constraints are identified, they will be added accordingly.
- There are limited IT resources available to support the WP Project and other, ongoing, IT initiatives.
- There are a limited number of commercial off the shelf (COTS) products to support both payroll and administrative activities.
- As implementation will be done internally and not by the product developers or vendors, there will be limited support from the hardware/software providers.
4.6 Major Project Milestones
This section of our template lists the major project milestones and their target completion dates. Since this is the business case, these milestones and target dates are general and in no way final. It is important to note that as the project planning moves forward, a base-lined schedule including all milestones will be completed.
The following are the major project milestones identified at this time. As the project planning moves forward and the schedule is developed, the milestones and their target completion dates will be modified, adjusted, and finalized as necessary to establish the baseline schedule.
5. Strategic Alignment
All projects should support the organization’s strategy and strategic plans in order to add value and maintain executive and organizational support. This section of the business case template provides an overview of the organizational strategic plans that are related to the project. This includes the strategic plan, what the plan calls for, and how the project supports the strategic plan.
The WP Project is in direct support of several of Smith Consulting’s Strategic Plans. By directly supporting these strategic plans, this project will improve our business and help move the company forward to the next level of maturity.
6. Cost Benefit Analysis
Many consider this one of the most important parts of a business case as it is often the costs or savings a project yields which win final approval to go forward. It is important to quantify the financial benefits of the project as much as possible in the business case. This is usually done in the form of a cost benefit analysis. The purpose of this is to illustrate the costs of the project and compare them with the benefits and savings to determine if the project is worth pursuing.
The following table captures the cost and savings actions associated with the WP Project, descriptions of these actions, and the costs or savings associated with them through the first year. At the bottom of the chart is the net savings for the first year of the project.
Based on the cost benefit analysis above we see that by authorizing the WP Project, Smith Consulting will save $247,239.00 in the first year alone. This represents a significant improvement in our operating costs and is a clear indicator of the benefit this project will have on the company.
7. Alternative Analysis
All business problems may be addressed by any number of alternative projects. While the business case is the result of having selected one such option, a brief summary of considered alternatives should also be included—one of which should be the status quo, or doing nothing. The reasons for not selecting the alternatives should also be included.
The following alternative options have been considered to address the business problem. These alternatives were not selected for a number of reasons which are also explained below.
The business case is a document with which approval is granted or denied to move forward with the creation of a project. Therefore, the document should receive approval or disapproval from its executive review board
The signatures of the people below indicate an understanding in the purpose and content of this Business Case by those signing it. By signing this document you indicate that you approve of the proposed project outlined in this business case and that the next steps may be taken to create a formal project in accordance with the details outlined herein.
To download this business case template in MS Word format, click the Download Template link at the top of this page.
- Professional Services
- Creative & Design
- See all teams
- Project Management
- Workflow Management
- Task Management
- Resource Management
- See all use cases
Apps & Integrations
- Microsoft Teams
- See all integrations
- Book a Demo
- Take a Product Tour
- Start With Templates
- Customer Stories
- ROI Calculator
- Find a Reseller
- Mobile & Desktop Apps
- Kanban Boards
- Project Resource Planning
- Gantt Charts
- Custom Item Types
- Dynamic Request Forms
- See all features
Learn and connect
- Resource Hub
- Educational Guides
Become Wrike Pro
- Submit A Ticket
- Help Center
- Premium Support
- Community Topics
- Training Courses
- Facilitated Services
How to Write a Business Case (With Example & Template)
By Kat Boogaard , May 19, 2022 - 10 min read
A business plan is a straightforward document. In it, you’ll include market research, your overall goals for the business , and your strategies for achieving those goals.
But what is a business case and why do you need one if a business plan outlines everything else?
A business case takes a closer look at a specific problem and how you can solve it. Think of a business case as the reason you create a project you’re going to manage in the first place.
The article provides a step-by-step guide on how to write a successful business case, including a checklist for identifying problems, researching solutions, and presenting to stakeholders. As a bonus, we’ll show you how to use Wrike to manage your product business cases with a requirements management template or implement them with a project scheduling template .
What is a business case?
A business case is a project you’ll assemble for identifying, addressing, and solving a specific business problem.
The key to a business case is the change it creates in your business. Developing a business case starts with identifying a problem that needs a permanent solution. Without that lasting change, a business case is only an observation about what’s going wrong. A complete business case addresses how a company can alter its strategy to fix that problem.
Front-to-back, a business case is a complete story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It typically looks like this:
- Beginning: Someone identifies a problem within the business and presents the business case to the key decision-makers.
- Middle: With the project go-ahead, the company launches an internal team to address the business case and deliver results.
- End: The team delivers a presentation on the changes made and their long-term effects.
In short, a business case is the story of a problem that needs solving.
Examples of business cases
The problem for many companies is that they can turn a blind eye to challenges that are right in front of their faces. This is even the case when the company has a compelling product to sell.
Consider the example of Febreze . In the mid-1990s, a researcher at Procter & Gamble was working with hydroxypropyl beta-cyclodextrin. His wife noticed that his clothes no longer smelled like cigarettes, which was a frequent complaint.
P&G had something of a miracle product on its hands. However, their approach was wrong. They initially marketed Febreze as a way to eliminate embarrassing smells. Predictably, the product flopped.
But P&G stuck at it. They had a potential business case on their hands: a highly marketable product proved difficult to market. What was going wrong? Working on the business case from beginning to end provided the answer.
After some focus group testing, P&G found out that few consumers recognized the nasty odors they were used to. Instead, they learned to use a different business case for Febreze: it was a cleaning product now, a way to make the house smell nice when the floors are vacuumed and the counters are wiped clean. They gave it its own pleasant smell and fashioned it into a cleaning product. And because it worked so well, so did the campaign.
That’s an example of a business case overall. But let’s get specific: developing a business case is easier when you have a template to look at. Let’s build an example using a made-up company, ABC Widgets, and a hypothetical business case. Let’s call our business case example “Operation Super Widgets”:
Business Case: ABC Widgets
Section 1: summary.
Briefly describe the problem and the opportunities.
ABC Widgets’ latest widget, the Super Widget, is suffering from supply issues, requiring higher shipping costs to procure the necessary resources, and eating into profits. We need to switch to a new supplier to restore the viability of the Super Widget.
Section 2: Project Scope
This section should include the following:
- Financial appraisal of the situation. Super Widgets are now 20% more expensive to produce than in the year prior, resulting in -1% profits with each Super Widget sold.
- Business objectives. To get revenues back up, we need to restore profit margins on Cost Per Unit Sold for every Super Widget back to 2020 levels. Benefits/limitations. Restoring Cost Per Unit Sold will restore 5% of sagging revenues. However, we are limited to three choices for new Super Widget suppliers.
- Scope and impact. We will need to involve supply chain managers and Super Widget project management teams, which may temporarily reduce the number of widgets we’re able to produce, potentially resulting in $25,000 in lost revenue.
- Plan . Project Management Teams A and B will take the next two weeks to get quotes from suppliers and select one while integrating an immediate plan to bring in new Super Widget parts for manufacturing within four weeks.
- Organization. Team Member Sarah will take the lead on Operation Super Widget Profit. Both teams will report to Sarah.
This is a bare-bones example of what a business case might look like, but it does hit on the key points: what’s the problem, how can you fix it, what’s the plan to fix it, and what will happen if you succeed?
How do you write and develop a business case?
When writing your own business case, the above example is a good guide to follow as you get started with the basics.
But, once you’re more familiar with the nuts and bolts, it’s also worth being prepared for some potential roadblocks you could face along the way.
Challenges of writing a good business case
Why don’t more companies create a business case? It might come down to a lack of good communication. Many people don’t even know how to write a business case, let alone present one.
“The idea may be great, but if it’s not communicated well, it won’t get any traction,” said Nancy Duarte , communication and author who wrote The HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.
The key challenge, notes Duarte, is taking abstract business concepts (like lagging numbers) and turning them into an immediately recognizable problem. After all, if a company already had perfect awareness that it was making a mistake, it likely would find a way to stop the error in its tracks.
A business case is challenging because it usually means you’ll have to persuade someone that change is needed. And change can be difficult. In a thriving business, it’s especially problematic because it’s easy to point to the bottom line and say that whatever the company is doing is already working.
How do you present a business case?
The tips and examples above give you some nice remedies for creating a business case without the typical problems. But you’ll still want to present a business case with the straightforward proposals and numbers you’d associate with any new project.
Essentially, it all comes down to how well your business case can persuade the decision-makers. That’s why you shouldn’t just build a case off of raw numbers. The bottom line might be a compelling argument, but it’s not always what “clicks.”
If you’re presenting a business case, you’re a salesperson. And not every sale is a matter of precise logic. It’s also about emotion—the story of why something’s gone wrong and what needs doing if you’re going to overcome it.
The art of a good business case is the art of persuasion. Keep these specific points in mind as you craft one of your own:
- Point to an example of a bad business case and liken it to the present case . No one likes the idea of watching themselves walk into a mistake. Presenting an example of a business that made the same mistake your company is making and then translating it into the present moment is a compelling way to craft a business case that makes ears perk up.
- Build a narrative. Nancy Duarte pointed out that in one business case, a client convinced a CEO to follow through with a project by using simple illustrations. It’s not that the idea of adding illustrations to the business case was so great. It’s that the illustrations were able to tell a compelling story about why the case needed to go through.
- Distill the idea into an elevator pitch. Try this exercise: get your business case down to one sentence. If you can’t explain it any more simply than that, your business case might not be as memorable as it needs to be to sway decision-makers.
- Use analogies to drive the point home. Let’s say you discovered a problem in a growing business. Overall, revenues are good — but you’ve noticed an associated cost that has the potential to explode in the future and tank the business. But it’s not compelling to use dollars and cents when the business is doing so well. Instead, consider introducing the business case with a simple analogy: “Without repair, every leaky boat eventually sinks.” You now have their attention. Use the numbers to drive the point home, but not to make the point.
If you’re presenting a business case to decision-makers, remember that it’s not only the logic of your argument that will convince people — it’s how persuasive you can be.
Business case checklist
Before you can check “learn how to write a business case” off your list, you have to know the essentials. Make sure you include the following elements in your business case checklist (and, of course, your business case itself):
- Reasons. This should be the most compelling part of your business case. You can tell a story here. And the most compelling stories start with a loss or a complication of some sort. What is the threat to the business that needs remedy? What are the reasons for moving forward?
- Potential courses of action. It’s not a complete story until we know the next chapter. A business case isn’t just about the problem — it’s about rectifying a problem through the solution. Recommend a few specific courses of action to help spur discussion about what to do next.
- Risks and benefits. Not every solution is going to be perfectly clean. There are going to be solutions with downsides. There are going to be costs along with the benefits. Make sure to include each of these to give a clear and complete picture. This is the time to manage expectations — but also the time to inspire action.
- Cost. What’s it going to cost to complete the project? The people making the decisions need to know the bottom line figure to assess which business cases to prioritize.
- Timeline. A good project isn’t only measured in dollars but in days, weeks, and months. What is the expected timeline for the business case? How quickly can the problem meet its solution?
With every business case, specificity is key. A vague timeline won’t help — a timeline with specific weekly milestones looks more achievable. To make your business case more compelling, always look for the specific details that tie your story together.
Business case template
A business case template is a document that outlines the key elements of a business case in a structured format. By using a standardized template, companies can ensure that all relevant information is captured and shared in a clear and consistent manner.
Depending on the size of your business and the scope of your project, your business case template can be as detailed or as simple as you like. For a smaller project, you can use a one-pager to get started, detailing the main points of your project, which include:
- Executive summary: An overview of your project, its goals, and the benefits of completing it for your business
- Team and stakeholders: A list of the relevant people involved in your project, and their contact information
- SWOT analysis : An analysis of how your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats weigh up against your competitors
- Risk analysis: An overview of the kind of risks that are involved with your project and how you may avoid them
- Budget and financial plan: Details of your budget and where you may secure financing for your project
- Project plan: A schedule of how you plan to implement your project and what tasks are involved
Let's see what that might look like.
How to write a business case with Wrike
Wrike’s project management software can step in and turn a business case from the seedling of an idea to a full-fledged initiative.
The requirements management pre-built template can help you document and track project requirements in a structured manner. The template includes sections for capturing stakeholder requirements and business cases, as well as any constraints that may affect the project’s success. By using this template, you can ensure that all necessary requirements are identified and that potential issues are addressed early in the project planning process.
If you want to move from the business case description to the actual implementation faster, consider using the project scheduling template . This template can help you create a detailed project timeline with milestones, identify task dependencies, and assign resources. By utilizing this template, you can ensure that the project is realistically achievable and meets all business needs, giving stakeholders confidence in the project’s success.
What Is a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?
A requirements traceability matrix is an integral part of an embedded system's life
Best Project Management Software for a Small Business: Ultimate Guide
What is the best project management software for small teams? Learn everything about
What Is Cost Overrun? How to Prevent It
Struggling with project cost overrun? Find out how to prevent cost overrun in project
Get weekly updates in your inbox!
You are now subscribed to wrike news and updates.
Let us know what marketing emails you are interested in by updating your email preferences here .
Sorry, this content is unavailable due to your privacy settings. To view this content, click the “Cookie Preferences” button and accept Advertising Cookies there.
Filter by Keywords
10 Free Business Case Templates in PowerPoint & ClickUp
October 13, 2023
Every great project kicks off with a solid plan. But before diving into that plan, you need a clear and concise business case to back it up.
Here’s some good news—we’ve got you covered with top-tier business case templates you can use in ClickUp and Word.
What is a Business Case Template?
What makes a good business case template, 1. clickup business case analysis template, 2. clickup business plan template, 3. clickup business plan document template, 4. clickup lean business plan template, 5. clickup case study template, 6. clickup case study design template, 7. clickup business analysis project plan template, 8. clickup business development plan template, 9. powerpoint business case template by slidemodel, 10. business case presentation template by 24slides.
Think of a business case template as your project’s passport. A business case template details the “why’s” and “how’s” of a project or proposed business change—its benefits, cost, risks, objectives, and more.
Whether pitching an idea or seeking approval, a business case template provides the structure you need.
A compelling business case template isn’t just about numbers; it paints a clear picture. It showcases benefits, draws attention to potential risks, and defines clear objectives.
Moreover, a solid business case template is versatile, user-friendly, and adaptable to various business needs. In fact, several business case templates use a similar structure to answer or address these areas:
- Executive Summary : It gives a brief overview of the project, the overall objectives, and expected outcomes
- Problem Statement : Clearly defines the problem you’re facing and what needs to be solved
- Proposed Solution : This outlines your proposed solution in detail and includes how it will solve the problem
- Cost Benefit Analysis : This provides a detailed breakdown of the associated costs with the solution and the potential financial benefits
- Project Timeline : Outline the timeline for implementing the solution, including key milestones—basically anything that will help the project manager keep things on track
- Risk Analysis : Identify potential risks and how they will be mitigated
- Conclusion : Summarize why the proposed solution is the best choice for the business
10 Business Case Templates to Use in 2023:
Below are our favorite business case templates on the market today.
Diving into a new project demands a solid foundation. And what better way to lay it than with a well-structured business case? But crafting such a document can be challenging. Enter ClickUp’s Business Case Analysis Template : your ultimate solution!
This business case template is your assistant to visualizing and comparing different approaches to a business problem swiftly, determining the viability of your project with a cost-benefit analysis, and pinpointing key factors to the success of your business case.
Use our business case template’s custom statuses to monitor the progress of your business case analysis, and create custom fields so you can approach that business case analysis systematically. You can view different facets of the business case analysis as a Doc View, a Gantt chart, a Calendar View, or simply a list of tasks.
Bring ClickUp’s full suite of project management tools to bear as you map task dependencies to feasible due dates, then track business case progress automatically using AI-powered automations. These features are part of what makes ClickUp some of the best operations management software available.
This business case template allows you to identify your business problem and outline your business objective in ClickUp Tasks. Then, brainstorm together in ClickUp Docs to identify potential solutions for your business case.
Finally, design your roadmap and assign tasks to the team. You can automatically monitor the progress on your business case with your custom statuses and set up regular check-ins on the project calendar.
Are you embarking on a new business case? Navigate seamlessly with ClickUp’s Business Case Analysis Template.
Every flourishing venture begins with a robust business plan. It’s not just about having an idea but charting a clear course to bring it to fruition. ClickUp’s Business Plan Template simplifies this journey, providing you an efficient route to outline:
- Crystal clear goals and mission
- Comprehensive strategy, along with an execution timeline
- Performance checkpoints, risk alerts, and success metrics
Envision it, and ClickUp’s template will guide you to actualize it!
Why is a Business Plan Template essential? With ClickUp’s Business Plan Template, you can:
- Zero in on your precise objectives and aspirations
- Profile your target audience and their sectors
- Highlight your edge over competitors
- Craft a strategy aimed at exponential growth
- Write an executive summary to give investors a high-level overview of all your research
This meticulously designed business case document uses custom statuses so you can navigate from in progress through the revisions stage and finally mark each task as “complete!”
Organize your tasks with custom fields, and switch between views to emphasize different information based on your priorities.
ClickUp’s robust project management package lets you tag multiple teammates, nest subtasks in larger tasks, and set priority indicators.
This business plan template is set up so you can brainstorm your objectives with your team in ClickUp Docs and then itemize your product’s unique selling point in ClickUp Tasks. Execute your objectives on time and budget with the help of ClickUp’s Gantt charts. At the end of your proposed project, revisit your accomplishments with ClickUp Goals to see where you hit the target and where you may need to revise your approach.
If business success is your destination, ClickUp’s Business Plan Template is your map.
Crafting an impeccable business plan can be an intricate journey, given its importance in rallying investors and stakeholders. But what if there was a tool to simplify and enrich this journey?
Meet ClickUp’s Business Plan Document Template , your ally in:
- Unifying your team towards a shared vision
- Amassing all critical data for an in-depth blueprint
- Centralizing materials for seamless accessibility
Embark on fresh undertakings or rejuvenate current ones; this free business case template molds your aspirations into executable steps. Begin your ascent towards achievement today!
This ClickUp template equips you with:
- Your project scope and a charted path laden with quantifiable goals
- Resource management tools to accomplish tasks for task accomplishment
- Proactive risk anticipation and mitigation strategies
- Instant, precise data retrieval and modification
Naturally, this template includes a Doc View, but as a project manager, you have options like Gantt charts, Workload Views, and Calendar Views to help you see at a glance the information that matters most to you.
Keep a tight grip on your project with advanced comment tracking and AI automations that make your workflow run smoothly in the background while you get more work done.
To get the most out of this template, start by gathering your business objectives, audience research, product offerings, and financial picture. You can use research management software to help with this stage. Then, you can use ClickUp’s Table View to lay out a clean, easy-to-read executive summary and your market assessment and financial appraisal for investors.
Aspiring to propel your business idea into reality but are hindered by the extensive demands of traditional planning? ClickUp’s Lean Business Plan Template is your savior.
Forge an efficient, succinct business strategy, offering:
- A bird’s-eye view of your enterprise
- Intuitive blueprints for devising a cogent business plan
- Incremental assistance for fleshing out each plan segment
Elevate your business cases quickly and affordably with ClickUp’s streamlined approach.
The template allows you to define your business, describe your target market, set budgets, and create goals.
Once that’s done, use custom statuses to monitor your progress toward achieving your goals. You can set reminders to check in on different areas of your business and use different views to check on your priorities, brainstorm additions to your business plan, or see a timeline of the tasks to be completed.
With ClickUp, turning your vision into a viable venture has never been more accessible. Simplify, strategize, and succeed.
Crafting an influential case study is an art of strategic organization and detailed execution. Enter ClickUp’s Case Study Template , your ultimate companion to orchestrate, frame, and present your research seamlessly.
Use this simple business case template to gather and consolidate data to support your case study and extract meaningful conclusions and takeaways from that information.
This approach to case studies gives you space to weave a real-world, impactful narrative that resonates with your audience. These stories are an important way to validate your sales propositions with concrete results. Telling others about your clients’ successes also builds trust with prospects.
You can brainstorm potential stories with ClickUp Whiteboards, then put your plan to paper with ClickUp Docs. After that, organize your writing process with an actionable task list.
The ClickUp AI writing assistant can help you turn your ideas into a cohesive story. Then, use ClickUp’s integrated email and collaborative editing tools to get final approval from the client.
A great case study stands tall in the realm of effective enterprise marketing tools . Let ClickUp be the wind beneath its wings.
Harness the power of compelling narratives with ClickUp’s Case Study Design Template , tailored for businesses keen on weaving success tales—a well-crafted case study not only shares successes but bolsters your brand credibility.
With this template, you can:
- Demonstrate problems your customer encountered and how your offerings emerged as the proposed solution
- Showcase tangible results, affirming the prowess of your product/service to potential clients
- Ensure an organized, standardized business process , ensuring brand-consistent design and presentation across all case studies
- Save precious time with streamlined research, design, and publication processes
Use this template to track the progress of your case study, seamlessly manage and visualize the data that will inform the case study, and incorporate ClickUp’s project management features like nested subtasks, multiple assignees, and priority labeling to make case study creation a breeze.
This template has space for you to define the goal for the case study, choose and describe your subject, collect all your data in a Table View, draft the narrative in ClickUp Docs, and then create a task list for marketing and promoting your case study. A communication plan template can also be a helpful tool for this stage.
With ClickUp’s innovative design template, crafting impactful case studies becomes an organized, efficient endeavor, enhancing your brand’s narrative prowess.
Embarking on a business analysis project requires meticulous planning, resource utilization , and clear objectives. ClickUp’s Business Analysis Project Plan Template is a tailored solution to navigate these complexities seamlessly.
This template is for you if you need to:
- Craft a bespoke business analysis plan aligning with your organizational goals
- Perform a risk assessment and create mitigation strategies
- Effortlessly adapt to changing scenarios and ensure timely project delivery
- Equip your project team to dive deep into business nuances, ensuring a holistic understanding of products, clientele, and operational facets
The ClickUp Business Analysis Project Plan Template lets you lay out the scope and objectives of your plan, identify key personnel and their roles, build an action plan, and then assign the necessary resources to achieve your goals on time and on budget.
Use ClickUp to assemble your team and assign them roles. You can document deliverables in ClickUp Docs along the way and tag significant milestones with ClickUp Tasks.
With ClickUp’s template, business analysis project planning is simplified and supercharged for optimal outcomes.
Crafting a robust business plan is the cornerstone of entrepreneurial achievement. With myriad tasks to manage and objectives to meet, a streamlined tool becomes imperative. That tool is ClickUp’s Business Development Plan Template —your ultimate companion in carving out a successful business trajectory.
With this template, you can set precise, achievable targets and track your progress toward achieving them. Document clear blueprints to meet your business aspirations, but use ClickUp’s collaborative tools to edit and iterate on those plans along the way.
The beauty of this template is it ensures all stakeholders are synchronized and aligned because you have defined actionable steps to use your resources effectively.
With ClickUp’s Business Development Plan Template, chart a course toward unparalleled entrepreneurial success!
Elevate your business presentations with SlideModel’s Free Business Case PowerPoint Template . Tailored for modern professionals, this dynamic template facilitates a comprehensive discourse on new business initiatives, elucidating their relevance, objectives, and potential returns.
This template is ideal for consultants, budding entrepreneurs, and SMEs aiming to pitch their project description or corporate strategy to stakeholders or investors.
It includes an engaging title slide, slides for introduction, problem statement, solution proposal, benefits, implementation, and key takeaways. You’ll enjoy the eye-catching human character vector graphics for sharp visuals, versatile infographic icons, and a wavy timeline chart to illustrate milestones.
The template has full editability across color palettes, backgrounds, and fonts. The template’s adaptability ensures its seamless integration into diverse presentations.
Although optimized for PowerPoint, you can also download versions that cater to Google Slides and Keynote.
In search of an impressive medium to present your business case? SlideModel’s template is a click away. For alternative designs, explore their featured Business Case PowerPoint Template collection. Secure your copy today!
Introducing the Business Case Presentation Template by 24Slides —a comprehensive toolkit for innovators and visionaries ready to revolutionize their organization. Every groundbreaking idea warrants a robust presentation that encapsulates its essence, both financially and technically.
Crafted with precision, this template offers an array of instrumental slides tailored to articulate your idea seamlessly:
- Clearly define your vision and the strategic goals you aim to achieve
- Delve deep into potential challenges, ensuring stakeholders are well informed and prepared
- Offer a lucid timeline, pinpointing milestones and mapping out your project’s trajectory
Every slide has been meticulously designed to foster clarity, conviction, and comprehensibility. With the 24Slides template, you are empowered to present a holistic overview of your idea, bolstering its feasibility and implementation potential.
For those committed to driving value and championing transformative ideas, this Business Case Presentation Template serves as the ultimate companion. Express, elucidate, and execute your vision with unparalleled finesse.
Why ClickUp Stands Out in the Business Tool Realm
Templates are great, but when combined with an intuitive platform offering robust project management features? It’s a game-changer.
ClickUp isn’t just a library of versatile business templates. It’s a comprehensive tool designed to streamline your projects, optimize communication, and enhance productivity.
From setting up workflows to collaborating with your team in real-time, ClickUp seamlessly integrates every aspect of project management.
So whether you’re drafting a business case, planning a project, or managing day-to-day tasks, ClickUp is your one-stop hub, combining utility with unparalleled efficiency. Dive into ClickUp today and experience the future of business management.
Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.
Receive the latest WriteClick Newsletter updates.
Thanks for subscribing to our blog!
Please enter a valid email
- Free training & 24-hour support
- Serious about security & privacy
- 99.99% uptime the last 12 months
How to Write a Business Case (+Free Template)
Table of contents.
Does crafting a compelling business case make your palms sweaty? You’re not alone.
Creating a business case — a project management document enlisting the benefits vs. costs of executing a project — can feel daunting.
What should you include? What makes the document boring? How can you make your case convincing? Argh. It’s jaw-clenching. 😬
And yet, knowing how to present your argument well is critical to get buy-in from stakeholders. Instead of looking at it like a nuisance you don’t want to deal with, treat it like a holy grail that decides whether or not your project gets translated into action.
In this article, I’ll tell you exactly what a business case is and offer a step-by-step process to write one that gets the green light instantly.
Download our FREE business case template >
What is a business case?
A business case is a document you put together to highlight, address, and resolve a business problem.
Example : Let’s say you want to outsource your company’s marketing to an agency because they have more expertise, a larger team, and a freelance network.
A persuasive business case will highlight why the benefits outweigh the costs of this investment.
- Maybe you mention the problem — your marketing team is short-staffed, and you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time lead.
- Then, you highlight the proposed solutions — like hiring a freelance consultant, an agency, or an entry-level marketer.
- Lastly, you present your preferred option — working with an agency — and why it’s the most lucrative choice for the company.
Key stakeholders use this business case to decide whether or not to move forward with your initiative.
The crucial bit, especially for established enterprise companies, is shedding a spotlight on why the company should deviate from business-as-usual (BAU) and create a change instead. After all, if what the company is doing is already working, why disturb the harmony?
To continue our above example:
- When making a business case for hiring a marketing agency, call attention to why your current understaffed marketing department is unable to get results.
- Outsourcing to an agency will ensure you have the right-fit content marketing strategy that gets desired outcomes and takes some load off of your in-house team.
Your business case can take an advocacy slant — where you side with one preferred solution. Or you can also present all potential options and let the stakeholders decide for themselves based on your presentation — a more impartial approach.
A business case might sound just like creating a business plan or a project plan, but those three are different things.
AI Business case generator > AI Business case generator >
How is a business case different from a business plan and a project plan?
Business case vs. business plan :
- Specific VS broad - A business case zooms in and shows why the company should pursue a specific project. On the other hand, a business plan highlights why the company should go for a completely new business.
- Level of detail - A business plan includes overall market research, goals from the business as a whole, and how you plan to achieve those aims. You might prepare a business plan for an existing business if you’re aspiring to take a significantly new direction for the company.
Business case vs. project plan :
- The Why VS the How - A business case argues why a company should proceed with a project. A project plan, on the other hand, gets into the nitty-gritty of exactly how a company will tackle an approved project.
- Path to results - While a business case does include high-level steps on how you plan to achieve your desired results, it does so on a surface level without deep diving into the specifics of each step.
Every project needs a project plan. Every new business needs a business plan. But does every single project need a business case? No.
When would you need a business case?
If you are part of a multi-million dollar company, you may not need to present a well-crafted argument for buying a $5/month tool. But there are three conditions under which you definitely do need a business case:
- When you need to get a buy-in for significant investment from stakeholders.
- When you aim to provide all possible solutions for a problem.
- When you want to outline your vision for a project.
Having a business case in place ensures you’re taking a well-thought-out, strategic approach to implementing your project.
Your proposed solution might be a no-brainer inside your head. But how do you make stakeholders see eye to eye with you? It’s all about doing your homework right.
Preliminary checks: How to write a business case that gets the green light?
Here’s a five-step process you should follow before documenting your business case to ensure you get yeses all over.
Step 1: Engage the stakeholders
Ask the people what they want.
Before you even begin crafting your pitch, you should know the problems your target audience (AKA your stakeholders) are facing. Are they looking to cut costs? Is the business’ goal to boost employee retention this financial year? Do stakeholders want to increase profits?
- If your stakeholder is external investors, speak to several C-suite executives about what issues are causing the investors the most friction.
- If the stakeholders are your team members, schedule 1:1 catch-ups and chat about what’s a time-suck activity they want to eliminate.
- If it’s your manager, ask them what’s the biggest problem they’re looking to solve.
How much time should you devote to this step? It depends on your project. If it’s a high-stakes ask, demanding a wad of money, you must spend more time reading the room. Your aim is to sniff opportunities and get super specific about the problem you’re aiming to solve.
Andy Raskin, who helps CEOs align their leadership teams around a strategic narrative, showcased a deck by Uberflip that first highlighted the status quo with all the pain points of the target audience — followed by a teaser of the results stakeholders would get if they acted on their project.
Create something similar that shows the promise of your business case. You can also use a graph and data to show your proposition is profitable — especially if your stakeholders get numbers more than stories.
Dr. Mike Clayton , the founder of Online PM Courses , says this stakeholder pulse-check is a crucial no-brainer step for multifold reasons:
Think like a journalist on the ground. The more you understand your stakeholders, the better you can craft a business case that addresses their concerns.
Step 2: Research the market
You don’t want to lead a business case and have a stakeholder point out a better alternative you missed.
Don’t go into the research with assumptions. Have an open mind and study all possible solutions for your business problem.
Why? It’s simpler to course-correct now than find a better replacement during self-editing your business case — after you’ve already spent weeks preparing it.
For example, if your business case is about investing in an expensive software to hire better staff, dive deep and know about all possible other hiring tools out there. Hunt G2 , Capterra , TrustRadius , Reddit , and speak to other folks in the industry who might use these tools.
Airbnb’s pitch deck from 2008 is a good example of showing you’ve done your homework by highlighting why the rivals aren’t as big of a hit and then sharing your competitive advantage.
Marissa, Founder & President at M. Taffer Consulting , says not asking enough questions is the number one mistake you can make during research:
Step 3: Compare and shortlist various approaches you could take
Eliminate all the possible solutions that don’t fit your company. If you look at our last example, you can eliminate any tools that provide exclusively US-based folks if you’re looking to hire talent offshore. Once you have a list of solutions that make sense for you to consider, shortlist all of them and enlist their pros and cons. For each method, think:
- a) Why would this work well for the business?
- b) Does the cost of this method justify its benefits?
- c) What could go wrong if we moved ahead with this method?
Steve from Dreamit Ventures shares a “ Power Grid ” you can take inspiration from to make your own competition chart and why your preferred solution is better than the alternatives.
After running this fine-toothed comb, you’ll be able to cross off even more potential solutions. Now, only a handful of options worth considering remain.
Step 4: Compile data and finalize your preferred solution
The last step is pinpointing your preferred solution. If you’ve done step three right, the choice should be easy, or there’d be a tie between a couple options. The stakeholders should know you’ve done this homework. Compile all the data you’ve collected about the potential solutions to the business problem and convert it into a digestible form.
This could be as simple as converting your pros and cons list into a table or more complex, like presenting your data visually through graphs and pie charts.
For example, in the presentation Buffer used to raise half a million dollars , they presented a Business Model slide showing numbers with projected revenue, freemium model details, and user acquisition costs.
A business model is different from a business case, but you can use these same principles to highlight why stakeholders should move ahead with your preferred solution.
How much work you should crunch in this step depends on the specific business case, the problem you’re solving, and the size of your project.
- If it’s a small investment — like imbibing a no-meeting days policy in your company — don’t squander your hours making an aesthetic statistical representation.
- But if it’s a huge qualitative business case — such as hiring a high-ticket, successful freelance writer — schedule time in your calendar to present your case well.
You can also add a ranking criterion in your business case where you give a score between one to 10 to all possible solutions. Make the ranking system as nuanced as you wish, depending on your project.
Step 5: Document
With all the data in place and a preferred solution at hand, you’re ready to dive in and create your business case.
Is there a specific structure you should follow? Not really. Many organizations have a business case format that you can use for your project.
If there’s no such template at your company, and it’s your first rodeo at creating a business case, don’t worry. We have a handy template you can easily use and tweak to build your project business case.
What should you include in your business case? [Free template]
No two project business cases are made the same. You don’t need to provide a 50-page presentation for funding of $2,000 if your yearly revenue is in billions. The reverse is also true: You can’t write three slides if you’re trying to revamp the whole sales strategy.
Regardless, some things should be present in every business case — like an executive summary of the project, a predicted return on investment (ROI), and resources needed from the company.
I’ve listed these essentials below, along with a brief description of what you should include in each section. You can also tweak and create a personalized structure for each project. For example, if you think your risk assessment should precede the calculated ROI, feel free to make that change. There is no one ‘right’ way to make a business case.
At the end of this section, you can find a template you can copy and fill out for your own project.
An executive summary is the first section of your business case, but it’s the last thing you write. Why? Because it’s your written elevator pitch — it decides whether you pique your stakeholders’ interest or send them on a snooze fest.
If you think like a writer, this section is as important as writing a compelling introduction. In a short and snappy way, you have to present the summary of your project, its goals, and the benefits the business will derive from executing this project. Write it like an engaging hook that perks up the ears of your stakeholders.
Questions to answer :
- What is this project about?
- What are the goals for this project?
- What’s the business problem you’re tackling with this project?
Write a short section about the problem you’re trying to solve by implementing this project. The key thing to highlight here is how your project aligns with the overall business mission and fits into the company’s overarching goals.
- How does this business case fit into the company’s overall business goals?
- What specific problem are you trying to solve through this business case?
- What is the end goal of this project?
Remember when you talked to stakeholders, researched solutions, compiled all the data, and finalized your proposed solution? This is the place to demonstrate all the work you’ve done and show you have a clear understanding of the problem at hand.
- Why is this an important problem for the business to address now?
- What are the competitors doing to fix this problem?
- What other solutions are present in the market?
In this section, showcase why you recommend your preferred solution and how it's better than the alternatives in the market. The ‘solution description’ is also where you show exactly how you will bring your solution into execution and the operational resources needed for its implementation.
- What is your recommended solution?
- How is your preferred solution better than the alternatives?
- How will this solution be implemented operationally in the company?
SWOT and risk analysis of your preferred solution
Even your preferred method might have its weaknesses. Instead of curtailing them, bring them out in the open and show what you’ll do to eradicate the weaknesses and mitigate the risks. There’s also the option to split this section into two — SWOT analysis and risk assessment — if it’s a high-stakes business case.
Stephanie Walls , an NYC metro area-based project manager with almost ten years of experience, says omitting or underplaying the risks involved with a project is the biggest mistake you can make:
Questions to answer :
- What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with your proposed solution?
- How are you planning to double down on the strengths and opportunities?
- What’s the game plan for mitigating the risks, threats, and weaknesses?
Cost and benefits
Write the details of all the resources you need, whether funding or workforce, along with outlining how you plan to secure the necessary resources. Ask for help from an accountant if the balance sheet isn’t your forte. Next, deep dive into the benefits of implementing this solution and what ROI the business can hope to make from putting it into action.
- What are the resources you need to execute your solution?
- What is the expected return on investment if this project runs successfully?
- How do you plan on getting the financial and non-financial assets you need?
Overarching project plan and timelines
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, write the tasks involved with this project and how you plan on implementing them. Also include a timeline for when you'll be able to complete this project and when you can reach certain promised milestones.
- What are the tasks involved with implementing this project?
- How are the items to do divided and plan to be executed?
- When can the benefits of this project be realized?
Download your business case template
[Go to File > Make a copy > Fill in your project details].
These barebones formats will help provide a basic structure to your business case. But persuasion is more of an art than a math problem — and you don’t want to ramble and talk phooey while presenting your business case live with stakeholders staring down at you.
How can you inject some soul into a boring business case?
Best practices for creating a business case
Getting a lukewarm response to a business case you spent weeks (or even months) preparing, refining, and tightening is discouraging. Here are some handy best practices to add a little oomph to your argument:
#1: Craft a story around your business case
Data and figures are great. They prove your point is logical, well-thought, and supported by the math Gods. But they don’t “click” with people the same way stories do. Research has repeatedly proven stories to be more persuasive than statistics.
Change can be uncomfortable and fearful for stakeholders. A story tugs to the heart before it fancies the brain — helping people overcome their resistance to change.
The best part? When you become a great storyteller , you don’t just make your business case more convincing and engaging, but you also make your points more memorable. Only 5% of people remember statistics, while 63% of people remember stories, according to an experiment in Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Ideas for imbibing a story into your business case :
- Create a narrative around the problem your business case aims to solve.
- Show testimonials, dialogues, and feedback from real people.
- Use illustrations in your slide presentation to craft a story.
#2: Scrutinize each sentence
If you want to hold the attention of your stakeholders from the beginning to the end of your presentation, ensure each sentence you have adds value to your argument. Be ruthless in deleting fluff and presenting your case in as simple words as possible.
When you’ve spent so much sweat doing market research and collecting data, it can be hard to identify what’s relevant and what’s needless overwhelming information.
Even worse: Sentences that make sense to you might go over the head of your stakeholders. Use Wordtune to make your writing clearer, concise, and clean — no matter whether you want a casual tone, a business tone, or simply shorten your sentences. It’s your magic wand to translate hard-to-read sentences into legible ones with a single click.
Learn more : How To Write Better Sentences (And Develop Your Writing Skills)
Ideas for refining your business case so each sentence adds value :
- Ask an unbiased eye — your friend, spouse, or coworker — to point out what makes sense and what doesn’t.
- Develop some self-editing chops to ensure clarity and logic become your BFFs.
- Use tools like Wordtune to fine-tune your writing to be more accessible.
#3: Answer your audience’s questions in advance
A surefire way to get the stakeholders on your side is by predicting their questions and addressing their concerns before they get a chance to voice them.
For example, if the CFO might be worried about the finances, dig your hands into the accounting department and check your basics. Discuss expenses proactively and emphasize the benefits of betting on your business case.
If you have done your homework and spoken to stakeholders, this best practice is easy-peasy. You already know what’s on your audience’s mind and the issues they’re struggling with. But they aren’t the only ones who hold the reins.
While stakeholders are the primary decision-makers, there are also decision influencers — who have a high effect on what the stakeholders think of your business case. Similarly, the people who will do the day-to-day of the project — the implementers — might also raise some problems you might have missed.
Rhona Aylward , Deputy Everything Officer with a Project Management Office at Psoda , suggests dividing stakeholders into four camps depending on their relative importance to the project:
“A simple chart with influence on one axis and interest on the other works well. You then plot each stakeholder’s relative position and that shows you the level of engagement each one should get.
You then use this map to work out your engagement plan. Things to think about when planning are:
a) Are the stakeholders positive, negative, or neutral about your project?
b) Who are the biggest champions and who are the biggest detractors
c) Who is likely to be emotionally invested in the project’s outcome (positive or negative)?
d) Who is connected to who and how are they connected?”
Addressing your audience’s questions means predicting the problems of all these groups and tailoring your message for each. If your colleagues are the implementers, take their feedback on the first draft of your business case. If your manager is a decision influencer, run your business case idea by them before you start preparing it.
Ideas for addressing your audience’s concerns ahead of time :
- Interview stakeholders before you begin drafting your business case.
- Highlight how you’ll be resolving your stakeholder’s concern proactively in your presentation.
- Ask for insights into your business case from a few audience members ahead of time and include their recommendations while editing.
#4: Add visuals to splash some color to your business case
Facts and figures alone can be dry and tedious. But graphs and pie charts and video testimonials? They splash some much-needed color into your business case.
Data backs this up: When people hear or see information presented out loud, they remember 10% of it. But when the same info is armed with relevant images, people retain 65% of the data .
Ideas for adding visuals to your business case :
- Convert statistics into visual data formats — like tables and pie charts.
- Find elements where you can employ images and videos instead of text.
- Add a unique slant to your business case by taking an entertaining and/or casual approach.
#5: Treat your business case like a live document
As the project gets put into action, new information arises, or fresh roadblocks occur that weren’t accounted for in the business case. The competitive landscape might shift, leading to changes in your business strategy. The predicted finances become actual costs, which might be more or less than your estimates.
The business case should be up to date on all the changes happening during execution because it’s constantly referenced during a project.
Ideas for keeping your business case updated :
- Block time in your calendar every other week to update the business case.
- Assign responsibility among the team members to upgrade the business case.
- Reference the business case in every stage of the project and add any missing info as you move along.
Business case: The stepping stone to a project’s success
A business case isn’t just a theoretical document — it’s a breathing file that lays the groundwork for your action plan and helps you get tangible results.
Building a solid business case doesn’t just get stakeholders' buy-in, but also gives you a crystal clear vision for your project and makes execution less daunting.
Download the business case template to make your own easily and use Wordtune to make it tight as a drum. I hope you receive an overwhelming “yes” to your proposal!
Share This Article:
Looking for fresh contact, thank you your submission has been received, related articles.
Social Media 2023 Round Up
SEO Copywriting Success: 10 Tips For High-Ranking Content
12 Examples of Powerful Influencer Marketing Campaigns (and How to Create Them Yourself)
Free business case template and guide (with examples)
17 min read
August 24, 2023
Every organization has finite resources at its disposal, particularly when it comes to finances.
Even the most financially lucrative businesses can’t afford to simply bankroll every proposed project that comes their way – that’s where business cases come in.
Business cases help managers decide if company resources should be spent on a project or not. This way, they ensure that the limited funds they have are only awarded to the most lucrative projects. To this end, it’s the job of the project proposer to put forward their case in the best possible light. They need to convince the decision-makers that their project is one worth the investment of time, money, and resources.
Supercharge your content reviews
Share, review, and approve all your content in one place with Filestage.
What is a business case?
A business case is an instrument used to justify a proposed project that requires some type of capital expenditure. It details the allocation of capital and resources to execute the project plan , as well as the benefits of initiating the project or task. Once the business case receives management approval, it’s maintained as a working document that will be used during and after the project management process.
A well-crafted business case identifies multiple options to address the needs or opportunities of an organization and provides critical data to enable informed decisions by executives.
Business cases can be a comprehensive analysis or a simple, informal presentation. In the following section, we’ll detail the elements of a more highly structured document.
Why you need a business case
Every organization has goals, needs, problems, and opportunities. You may need to solve specific problems, address certain needs, and exploit different opportunities. The solution may require a new initiative, the expansion of an existing operation, or the correction of poor execution. And as previously mentioned, every organization has finite resources, including a budget.
A business case identifies the reason for initiating a project or initiative, including its value, benefit, and the business problem it’s designed to solve. It’s designed to ensure that resources are prioritized for the operations and projects that most directly impact the corporation’s greatest priorities.
During this prioritization process, the key element is recognizing the projects that deliver the agreed-upon benefits.
PRINCE2™ is an internationally recognized project management methodology that supports the delivery of benefits. It identifies these key elements of a project:
- The output, which is any of the project’s technical deliverables (both tangible or intangible)
- The outcome, which is the result of the change derived from using the project’s deliverables
- The benefit, which is a measurable improvement resulting from an outcome that’s perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders
The purpose of a business case is to both outline the benefits of proposed projects and provide a means for continually assessing and evaluating the progress of the initiative. Therefore, it will become a living document to use before, during, and after the project.
Initially, the business case establishes the rationale for the project and details its benefits.
Throughout the execution, the business case measures the progress and overall environment of the initiative, in order to determine if course corrections are required. At the conclusion of the project, a post-mortem provides valuable feedback about future executions. This is an essential component of strong business process management .
Specifically, a post-mortem will determine if the project has met these envisaged benefits:
- Revenue growth
- Productivity gains
- Cost containment
- New users / improved user experience
It will also identify these slippages:
- Failure to meet time frames
- Cost overruns
Whenever resources are going to be expended, they should support a well-defined business need, with projected benefits that’ll deliver value to the enterprise. The supporting business case may take the form of a comprehensive document, a presentation, or a verbal agreement.
Download a free business case template
Fill out the form below to get instant access to our business case template.
To save an editable copy, follow these simple steps:
- Click “File” in the top-left corner
- Click “Make a copy”
- Choose your destination folder
Three business case examples
Business case templates can cover a wide range of project types, including everything from creative projects to HR initiatives.
To learn more about the cases that your business should be seeing, here are three of the most commonly used business case examples, alongside detailed business case templates.
This Customer Relationship Management (CRM) business case template comes from Demand Metrics . It’s designed to help managers decide whether or not to invest in a client management solution. Its key sections include an executive summary, an opportunity overview, key success factors, risks, contingency plans, and a business impact analysis.
This human resources business case outline, created by sage , is designed to create the most convincing argument in favor of a human resources initiative. To achieve this aim, it covers key points including defining the business’s needs, outlining how the HR vision fits in with the business strategy, and identifying the key benefits of the investment (from a wellbeing and employee retention perspective).
This simple marketing business plan from TemplateLAB offers a template that covers all bases. It’s designed to help users create the most convincing business case for their proposed marketing projects, by ensuring that they create a carefully constructed argument, clearly aligning the campaign with the overall business objective.
The four key elements a business case should contain
Whatever project or idea your business case is for, it should always cover these four key elements. From the perspective of a manager, these factors are a fundamental part of the decision-making process.
So, you want to be one step ahead, and provide a convincing argument that covers these points before the manager even has to ask the questions.
The executive summary is a condensed version of the business case, which is succinctly summarized in a couple of paragraphs. It typically comes at the start of the business case document. It should cover the problem, need, or opportunity that this initiative is reacting to, the proposed solution, the resources required, the planned action, plus a risk assessment, a brief outline of the expected benefits, and the predicted ROI.
This section will break down all of the finances of the proposed project. It should clearly outline the project costs, what financial funding is required, and where it will be spent. Remember, it’s designed to convince the managers that this is a project worth investing in, so it should also include a strong cost-benefit analysis, building on a risk assessment. The more detailed and accurate this section is, the better.
At this stage in the business case, you will need to provide more detail about the project scope, including the nature of the project, what it will look like, the elements that it includes, and the solutions that it will provide. It should be clear what gap the project intends to fill and the benefits that it will bring to the organization. In short, how will this project contribute to your overall business objective?
In this section, you will need to outline how, if approved, you intend to organize the project development. This should include a timescale, key deadlines, naming the project manager and the project team members who will be involved in this project, and what roles they will be assigned. For the manager reviewing the business case, it should be clear what steps will be taken immediately following their approval.
How to write a simple business case
Now that you know all of the key things to include, and how to present your case in the most convincing way possible, it’s time to get started. In this section, we’ll be outlining how to write a simple business case, which covers all of the key points, without forcing you to spend weeks putting it together.
But, before you jump straight into writing it, there are some important steps that you need to take first.
Before you start writing your business case, a good starting point is to think about how to frame your case and identify some key points that will lay the foundation for your convincing argument.
The best way to do this is by:
Researching market competitors
Find out who else is currently offering a similar concept, and identify any strengths or weaknesses in their version of it.
Find out what alternative solutions, products, or strategies currently exist, then weigh your suggestion against these.
Analyzing your findings
Evaluate the current field for this idea, and identify where your version of it stands in the marketplace. Does it do more than your competitors? Or, does it fulfill a particular niche that the others don’t? Or better yet, is there no one else that currently offers this useful initiative?
Compile your data
Set it up in a convincing plan outline.
Based on this research, what would be the best direction in which to take your idea?
Once you have completed these steps, you can start writing your business case. We would recommend that you follow the structure below, in order to create a logically structured and well-thought-out case.
1. Executive summary
As we mentioned above, this section is the introduction to your business case. It’s designed to open the case with a strong, succinct summary of what your project is, how you intend to undertake it, and the benefits that it will bring. That way, the reader can continue evaluating the rest of the case with a clear knowledge of your proposition.
This high-level, condensed version of the business case includes:
- The problem, need, or opportunity
- The options that were considered
- The required resources
- The benefits and values to be derived
- A risk analysis
- The project scope and predicted project outcome
- The recommended action
- An investment appraisal, including the predicted return on investment (Although this section leads the business case, it also needs to be reviewed after all the data has been interpreted.)
2. Financial component
This section outlines all of the finances of the project, including the predicted cost of the project, plus a more detailed breakdown of how exactly the budget will be spent.
In essence, a financial appraisal is designed to evaluate a proposed investment, in terms of its financial viability. It assesses the return of investment that it will bring to the investor. Typically, this details the project costs, then covers data like profitability index, a risk analysis, and a ratio analysis, while detailing the scope for financial rewards that the project offers.
This can be done in a number of ways, depending on the nature of the project. For instance, if it’s a marketing project, then this section of the business case should outline how the investment will be returned, and, possibly, even returned with interest. This new marketing strategy may tap into a new market, increase traffic to the website, or create a higher rate of customer retention, for example.
This section specifically targets the decision-makers that will approve the funding. It includes a comparison of projected costs (including associated costs) against the benefits that it will bring.
The analysis will need to include an objective evaluation of the following:
- The cost of installation
- The cost of operator training
- Incremental energy costs, as opposed to the projected benefits
- Increased capacity, efficiencies, additional revenue, margin improvement, and cost avoidance.
In addition to this, a sensitivity analysis will cover potential risks when implementing the plan, and allows the project accountant to look at alternative outcomes, if there is uncertainty.
3. Project definition
The project definition represents the largest section in the business case document. At this point, you should cover the majority of the details about your project proposal, answering all of the questions that the investor is likely to ask.
Open with an introduction of the project, which explains how the idea was first devised. You should briefly outline the circumstances, opportunity, or problem identified, which made you begin to create a solution (i.e. the project).
For example, you may have noticed that your business Instagram page has a significant number of followers, but has a very small level of post engagement, or click-through rate. As a result, you identified that the company is not sufficiently utilizing this potential marketing channel. So, you have devised a project that will increase these key metrics and so open up a new opportunity for B2C marketing.
In this section, you will need to explain why you think that the project is worth doing. In short, explain the objective in a way that can highlight its benefits as much as possible.
To do this, answer these key questions in the section:
- What do you intend to achieve by initiating your solution, both quantitatively and qualitatively?
- What are the project’s goals? Be specific about this, break down the benefits, goals, targets, and objectives in as much objective detail as possible.
- What will you need in order to achieve this goal?
- How can the proposed project advance the business as a whole?
- Will your course of action support the corporate strategy, goals, and culture?
Benefits and constraints
As with any project, there will be both benefits and constraints that may be brought about. So, in order to decide whether it’s worth investing in the idea, these will need to be weighed against each other.
Rather than waiting for the manager to identify the risks for themselves, it’s far better to identify them here — that way, you get the chance to explain why they are outweighed by the benefits.
The benefits that you list in this section should cover both financial and non-financial points. These could include (depending on the nature of the project):
- Saving costs
- Increasing revenue
- Improving customer service
- Achieving a higher quality service
- Improving your position in the marketplace
- Matching (or beating) the service of your competitors
- Achieving better communication with your target market
As we mentioned earlier, there will have been a number of alternative options that you could have potentially taken to meet these objectives. So, in this section, you will need to identify, analyze, and evaluate those alternatives.
State the alternative options that you identified, detail what they would have included, then evaluate how successful they would be in your particular business context. Specify their strengths and weaknesses, then conclude by explaining why the project you have chosen is the one that promises the best results.
This list will, most likely, include a long list of options, some of which were quickly rejected. Then, it should end on a handful of strong options, which require a more detailed explanation of their rejection.
Note: these concepts may be complex and difficult to understand. If this is the case (for example, if you’re proposing the introduction of a new piece of technology) then it may be worth including a glossary, to ensure the reader understands all of the terminologies that you use here.
In a similar fashion to the section above, you will then need to explain how your project would position your business amongst your competitors.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do any of your competitors offer this? If so, how is your version of the project better than what they offer?
- What advantages will this project provide to your company that your competitors do not have?
- How will this project make your business stand out in the marketplace?
- Will the project make your customers more likely to choose you over a competitor?
- Will it make your services unique?
- Does it tap into key consumer requirements, or provide a better customer experience?
This outline summarizes the plan that you will follow if the business case is successfully accepted.
As such, it will need to list a number of key actionable details, to show the manager that you have thought the whole project through, and are ready to get things moving.
This section should include details surrounding the following:
- The planned activities
- Detailed timelines
- A breakdown of the work that’s required
- The departments that will be involved
- The individuals that will perform each task
- A timescale of the entire project
- The key stages that the project will go through
- The project’s main deliverables
This section provides a thorough assessment of the environment that your business operates. It should evidence your business’s current place within the market, detail any significant shifts within the market, and outline how the work of this proposal will unlock a better market position for your company.
To achieve this, ask yourself these questions:
- How is the market trending?
- Is your market share expanding or contracting?
- Have there been any major market disruptions?
- How has the competition changed?
- Is there new technology being introduced to the market?
- Are there new competitors?
- Do you anticipate any drastic changes to operating margins, due to increases in the costs of materials or transportation?
In short, include all of the factors that are currently influencing your business today, and any new factors that you predict will impact your company over the period covered by your proposed projects.
This section summarizes the risks and opportunities that are inherent to the action.
There will, inevitably, be risks involved with the project. The goal here is not to minimize or deny them (because the reviewer will certainly be aware of them), but to outline either how you will overcome them, or how the rewards make the risks worth taking.
In this section, you will need to thoughtfully answer key risk management questions:
- What risks or potential consequences are involved?
- What opportunities does the project promise? How do these outweigh the risks?
- How will the risks be managed?
Then, to close the section, quantify the impact of the risks as much as possible.
In this section, you will need to outline how you intend to complete the project.
Detail the methods that you will use to complete the work, adhere to the project’s timeframe, consistently meet the key deliverables, and deliver the project to the highest possible standard.
For example, is your project going to be completed entirely in-house? If so, what team members will be involved at which step?
Or, if you’re enlisting the help of any external contractors or freelancers, detail the stages at which they will be involved, and how you intend to ensure a successful collaborative effort.
A great point to include in this section would be, for example, how you propose to use an online collaboration software like Filestage to help all collaborators seamlessly work together.
In a business case, it’s vital that you cover every single detail about its finances.
So, an important point to cover is how exactly the work will be financed. This section will need to outline whether the company will be buying a new tool, whether it will need to fund the leasing of the tool (and if so, how long for), or if the organization will be outsourcing parts of the project to another company.
If any of the above applies, then details will need to be provided regarding the costs of these. Furthermore, if you intend to use a procurement process for these elements, outline the steps that this will involve.
4. Project organization
This is the final section of the business case document. In it, the proposer of the project provides a highly detailed breakdown of how the project will be organized within the company’s specific context.
As with any good project, you will need to enlist project managers and governors to oversee its progress, ensure everything is running on time, and provide reviews at key stages.
In this section, you will outline the specifics of the project governance, including:
- What the decision-making process will look like
- Who the reviewers will be
- Who will be given the authority to request changes or grant approval
- When reviews will be undertaken
- The frequency of check-ins
- The roles and responsibilities of your creative team
This section will clearly specify which of the company’s senior managers will be involved in the project development process, and what exactly is required of them.
Tip: Filestage streamlines the review and approval process of any file type. Just upload your files, invite your reviewers, and get clear feedback to ensure all your content meets compliance regulations.
Building on the details provided above, this section sets up formal progress updates at regular intervals.
To ensure that these progress updates achieve the best possible benefits for the project, you will need to specify the points that each review will need to cover.
These could be asking, for example:
- Did you meet the agreed-upon benefits?
- Did the benefits deliver the promised value to the organization?
- If these values have not been achieved yet, why not?
- Moving forward, what can be done to ensure better project execution?
These learnings inform future projects and provide for continuous improvements while executing strategies.
Furthermore, reporting also encompasses a retrospective post mortem to determine the project’s effectiveness. This way, you can minimize the likelihood of repeating any mistakes later on.
Examples of a business case template
Now, this may all sound like an awful lot of work, but don’t fret! With the help of a business case template, you can massively cut down the time spent on this task, while ensuring your proposition hits all the right notes.
Find our picks for the best project management tools to assist with business case development below.
Business case template by Filestage
Do you want to write your own business case but aren’t sure about the business case format? You don’t need to start from scratch. We’ve created the following simple business case template for you. If you want to use the Google Doc or Word version, all you need to do is fill out this form:
Get the free business case template
Business case workbook – pdf.
This handy business case workbook, created by CFDG, is available for download through the Academia website . The free business case template PDF provides a breakdown of each step in the business case creation process, for users to work their way through. It’s a great resource for anyone that’s new to the process.
Financial analysis templates – Excel
This financial analysis template comes in Microsoft Excel format, and it’s available for download via the Engineering Management website . The business case template provides all of the entry points that you need to input key data and create a clear financial summary to support your business case document.
Business case planning templates – Excel
Vertex42 has created a detailed business case planning template , which is available to download as either a Microsoft Word or Excel document, providing a good starting point to write a business case. The business case template has a number of features, including editable sample questions, tables to present data, and a customizable table of contents. With this easily editable template, users can create a comprehensive business case plan, which achieves complete clarity and a high level of professionalism.
Risk management templates – Excel
The Engineering Management website has also created a risk management template document. This simple business case template is available to download in an Excel format, making it easy to use for business case writers of any experience level. It contains spaces for risk identification, a qualitative analysis, and the chance to include a risk-response strategy, plus monitoring and control strategies, in your business case.
Four important tips to create a convincing business case
The secret to a successful business case all lies in how convincing it is. Remember, the purpose of this document is not only to detail the required information in a clear way but also to present it in a flattering light, which emphasizes all the remarkable benefits that it can unlock for the company.
To write a business case that gets your business case projects noticed, make sure you follow these four tips for compelling case writing.
Be brief and include only essential information
Although detail is important, there’s no need to go overboard. If your business case is too long, then it’s highly unlikely that your manager will have the time to read it all. In fact, if anything, they’ll probably be deterred from reading it at all. So, make sure that everything that you include is relevant and has a clear purpose — that way, every single sentence will give extra weight to your case.
Outline data clearly and concisely
If you have strong data to back up your case, don’t be afraid to let it do the talking.
Make sure that your data is clearly laid out and that it’s easy to follow, as this will play a huge role in convincing the reader to support your proposal. Using tables, bullet points, or even graphs are all great ways to emphasize the trends shown in the data.
Highlight values and benefits
When you write a business case, highlighting the values and benefits is the best way to convince the manager to grant their support to the new project.
These could be project yields, an improvement to the customer service, financial benefits, or personal benefits that are unlocked for the team — either way, make sure that they don’t go unnoticed!
Align the project with organizational goals
Show the reader that you have considered how the project fits within the goals of the organization as a whole. For instance, if one of your business objectives is to reach a new target audience aged between 18-25, then clearly state how your project will help this business objective to be met. This is a great way to convince the reader of your project’s value.
Business case FAQs
Do you still have some questions? Don’t worry, they will most likely be answered in our business case FAQ section.
Who needs a business case?
Business cases are used by companies across a huge variety of sectors. They can be used in a wide variety of ways, and so, they are valued by people across all areas of your company.
These include the project manager, sponsors, stakeholders, and even members of the public. In essence, anyone who would be affected by a business change or new project may ask for a business case before they would be happy to approve the change.
Who is responsible for creating a business case?
Typically, the project manager, project executive, or business analyst would be responsible for writing a business case. This is because they would be the ones most heavily involved in the project’s development, but do not have the authority to grant its funding.
What is a standard business case template?
Standard business case templates are fantastic project management tools that allow users to write a business case without having to start from scratch. They can use different business case templates and then fill in the details for their specific project, to put forward a proposed business change quickly and yet thoroughly.
How long is a good business case?
This depends on the nature of the new project. It will need to be long enough to answer all of the key fields, but the creator shouldn’t be padding out the document with unnecessary descriptions that make the document longer than it needs to be.
Who approves a business case?
A business case is approved by either an investor or a sponsor. Who this is, depends on the nature of the company. In some cases, a business case will be approved by a senior member of the company, such as the CEO or CFO.
What makes a good business case?
To write a business case effectively, you will need to:
- Use a business case template
- Include a detailed project plan
- Clearly list the expected benefits
- Write a detailed and clear project description
- Make the project schedule realistic and context-specific
- Thoroughly complete relevant research
- Specify any major risks
- Realize benefits, including project yields and financial benefits
- Effectively manage any of the risks, and write this alongside a cost-benefit analysis
- Ensure the project aligns with company objectives
The development of a business case is both a process and a skill. Keeping these components in mind, you can create a compelling case for almost any business initiative. You can practice by developing business cases for smaller issues, so you can gain expertise and hone your creative skills.
The above templates and examples are designed to inspire business cases for your projects. You always need to consider the specific informational requirements of your decision-makers. Use this template, adapt the elements as necessary, and make it yours.
Remember that the keys to project success are setting deadlines, staying within the budget, and producing the projected benefits. Focus on the value your benefits deliver to the organization. Ensure that the expended time and resources are warranted by the value creation.
Get marketing tips, trends, and inspiration in your inbox.
Everything you need to create your best work, delivered from our brains to yours every other Wednesday.
Upmetrics AI Assistant: Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights. Learn How
- 400+ Sample Business Plans
Business Plan Course
Strategic canvas templates, e-books, guides & more.
- WHY UPMETRICS?
Customers Success Stories
Business planning, financial forecasting, ai assistance, see how upmetrics works →, stratrgic planning, business consultants, entrepreneurs and small business, accelerators and incubators, educators & business schools, students & scholars.
- Sample Plans
How to Write a Business Case | A Step-by-Step Guide with Examples
Free Business Plan Template
Analysis before making a decision or undertaking a new project is vital for effective execution. Weighing the benefits and risks of your decision will prepare you for the unforeseen obstacles or consequences that might come your way.
A business case serves this purpose.
A business case is the first document that is made before a project begins. In other words, it is a compact document that includes all aspects of the investments put into the project and analyses the risks and returns to help you make a rational decision.
As the name suggests, a business case is mostly used by businesses. However, its utility stretches beyond that as it can benefit you in your personal life too. It is a great way to assess whether or not the returns from an investment are worth enough to justify the risks involved.
Why Write a Business Case?
A business case shields you from bad decisions. Before initiating a project it is vital to assess the pros and cons of the situation and measure the alternatives. A business needs to be conscious while investing capital and resources in its projects to reduce potential risks and avoid failure.
It can be intimidating to ensure that you have chosen the right project. However, with an effective business case, you can rest assured that you have done your research and analysis before going ahead with the project.
How to Write a Business Case
The goal of a business case is to convey the objectives and execution of a project. These are four major steps involved in creating a concise and accurate business case:
Define and identify the business problem
Identify the alternative solutions.
- Recommend a preferred solution
- Describe the project organizations
A business case should be drafted in the presence of people who are experts in various fields. This will assure that the information mentioned is thoroughly researched. It is important to note that the document should be reader-friendly.
Now that you are familiar with what a business case is and its significance, let’s take a look at the steps of creating a business case.
Every problem has multiple solutions and each solution has its benefits and limitations. To ensure the optimum use of resources, examining all the possible solutions is essential.
In this step, you need to list down all the possible solutions to the problem you have previously defined. Identification of the alternative solutions includes the following elements:
The purpose of a project is to solve a problem or achieve a certain objective, hence the foremost thing to do is to define the project and study the problem that needs to be solved. These are the sections that need to be included in this part of your business case:
Project objective, research your market, problem analysis, description, benefits and limitations, costs and feasibility, risks and returns, recommend a preferred solution.
A problem may have a myriad of solutions. The hard part isn’t listing all the possible solutions, but selecting the best one is. It can be tempting to explore all the paths, but most times, neither do you have the resources nor the time to do it. So the ideal way to go about this situation is to put your solutions to the test. In this step, you should include the following:
Rank your options
Selection of a solution, describe the project organization.
Now that you have identified the problem, and selected the ideal solution, it is time to describe how you will implement the solution. This step will include all the operations of the project, financial aspects, allocation of resources, and more.
Everything you mention in this step will help you to convince the readers that this is the best way. These are the key aspects to be included in this step:
Planning and scheduling, role and responsibilities, allocation of resources, project management, business case examples.
A business case is a versatile document that can be used by anyone for any decision-making process. To get a better idea of what we are talking about, you can take a look at these business case examples.
But just to get you started, here are two simple examples that can help you understand how a business case can be used in different scenarios.
Example 1: Hiring an employee (Professional Use)
A requirement for a new employee has emerged with the undertaking of the new project. Two alternatives were considered and the best option would be to delegate the extra work to the existing employees.
Complete the project efficiently Increase ROI on this project
Hire new employees to work on the new project Delegate the project to the current employees and increase their salary
Delegating extra work to the current employees and paying overtime wages.
Benefits of the preferred solution:
Paying overtime is cheaper than paying new salaries It is easier to predict pre-existing employees’ performance Pre-existing employees don’t need additional training and orientation
Risks/Limitations of the preferred solution:
High stress Low morale Decrease in productivity over time
The project will last for 3 months Hiring new employees will take 2-3 months
25% added overtime pay to the current salaries 15% added electricity and maintenance costs
Delegating extra work to current employees is a better decision than hiring new employees. It gives a better ROI.
Example 2: Buying a car (Personal Use)
William needs a vehicle to commute to his new job which is far from home. William’s son needs a safer way to get to school due to his fractured leg.
Buy a new car Buy a second-hand car Use public transport
Buying a second-hand car
Alex can get to work quick William’s son has a safer way to get to school A second-hand car is cheaper
A second-hand car has a lower lifespan and durability A second-hand would not come with a free 1-year warranty Daily use of the car would generate a high carbon footprint
2 months to find a good car deal 1 year of paying insurance
Car cost – $10,000 to $15,000 Gas – $100 per month Maintenance – $1000 per year
Is it worth investing $15,000 for conveyance? – Yes Is a second-hand car affordable? –Yes
Make the Right Decisions with a Business Case
Trying to make a business decision invites a lot of possibilities—ones that you have to study and analyze thoroughly before forming a conclusion. The same is better done using a business case as it provides you with a well-structured and procedural way to pick and execute a business decision.
Build your Business Plan Faster
with step-by-step Guidance & AI Assistance.
About the Author
Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.
How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary: Tips & Example
4 Proven Techniques For Effective Business Problem Solving
How to Conduct a PESTLE Analysis Explained with Example
Reach Your Goals with Accurate Planning
No Risk – Cancel at Any Time – 15 Day Money Back Guarantee
How to write a business case (+ free template and example)
Table of Contents
Let’s say you are a project manager — and you notice the communication tool your team is using is outdated and difficult to use.
It frequently causes issues in communication — team members don’t always receive meeting invites, messages get lost, you can’t save important information without writing it down somewhere separately, etc.
You discovered a new communication tool that you think would be great to switch to, but that would require the whole company to transition from one to the other. You can’t just suggest this to your superiors, without offering concrete evidence as to why the switch is necessary.
This is where a business case comes into play. It outlines why and how an endeavor or a project is worth undertaking. In this text, we will talk about:
- What a business case is,
- How it differs from similar documents,
- How to write and present a business case,
- The Five Case Model for preparing a business case, and
- The key elements of a business case.
We will also provide you with a business case template you can use, and an example you can reference.
What is a business case?
As per the PMBOK 7th Edition , “ a business case is a value proposition for a proposed project that may include financial and nonfinancial benefits. ”
On top of this, “ a business case can contain information about strategic alignment, assessment of risk exposure, economic feasibility study, return on investments, expected key performance measures, evaluations, and alternative approaches. ”
Basically, a business case is a document that acts as the summary of your project idea, providing the reasons it should be executed and focusing on the benefits it brings.
Writing one should be among the first steps to starting your project — as you will use it to gain the attention of the stakeholders and convince them to support your project.
We’ll get into detail on writing it, but first — let’s clear up the difference between a business case and some terms it’s often confused with.
Business case vs. business plan
A business case and business plan seem similar at first glance — they both outline a project and can be used for stakeholder propositions.
In reality, though, they are used for different things.
The main difference between the two is what they focus on.
Business cases are created for endeavors within a business — projects, acquisitions, events — while business plans are typically used when starting a new business.
A business plan will contain broader aspects of a business — like a mission statement or target market. Business cases are more specific, and they deal with an aspect of a business — be it an issue or an opportunity.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
You can find examples of how to write a business plan in our guides on starting a business in different US states:
- How to start a business in Connecticut
- How to start a business in Arizona
- How to start a business in Alabama
- How to start a business in Arkansas
Business case vs. project plan
A business case can also be confused with a project plan . However, a business case should justify why a project should exist. Only after a project is approved, post business case review, a project plan is created.
Where a business case will speak on how a project should look, a project plan will determine how it will look. Meaning, business cases are broader and more theoretical. Project plans need to be exact, as they will serve as guidelines for all project team members .
Business case vs project charter
The main difference between a business case and a project charter lies in their similarities — a business case is used to justify a project’s existence, while a project charter is used to authorize its execution. Again, a business case is created before the project charter.
The second difference between the two is in how concrete they are. A business case suggests project managers, while the project charter authorizes them. Essentially, the project charter makes the final calls on how things should be done.
The same goes for the project scope — while a business case can suggest the schedule and budget of a project, the project charter will make the final decision.
Free project management software
Streamline your business — Improve planning, align teams, finish tasks with Plaky.
How to complete a business case in 3 steps
The business case is one of the most important documents to create for your project. Therefore, you should approach the process of making one with utmost care and attention.
For ease of reference, this process can be separated into the following steps:
- Do your research,
- Write incrementally, and
- Present your business case.
Step #1: Do your research
Rushing into things blindly will practically always result in failure. So, before you begin writing a business case, you must gather as much information as possible regarding the desired project.
It’s good to seek out information on matters you know little about. Consult experts in the fields required for your project.
For example, if you are creating an app to help tourists experience lesser-known landmarks, you want to consult both with IT experts and tourism experts for the appropriate locations.
Now, instead of relying on data you’re unsure of, you have concrete, confirmed information that you can create your project around.
Basically — you’re taking the guesswork out of the equation.
Step #2: Write incrementally
Now that you have all the information necessary for your project, it’s time to start writing your business case.
This is where you’ll determine where certain pieces of information you’ve gathered will fit — which piece of your project they are necessary for.
Knowing how to utilize what you’ve learned is essential for this step. For example, if you’ve gathered information on what it would take to create your app, you should know the:
- Employee skill sets required, and
- The number of employees needed for your project.
Once you have all the information, try to present it in a concise but compelling manner.
It’s good to check in with your project stakeholders for updated information and change the business case incrementally with their input. After all, the stakeholders have your project’s best interest at heart, so their advice is to the project’s benefit.
You want to save the executive summary for last since it will be a recap of all you’ve written in your business case.
Step #3: Present your business case
Now that you’ve completed your business case, it’s time to convince your stakeholders that it’s an endeavor worth pursuing.
Whether it’s external financiers or company seniors, you need to have important stakeholders on your side for the project to take off.
Your business case might be incredible, but if you cannot sell the idea you’re pushing, it will be difficult to get any backing. So, organize a presentation for your stakeholders or try an elevator pitch — a quick way of presenting your key points.
If you’re inexperienced with presenting your ideas, practicing an elevator pitch is a great way to realize what the main selling points of your project are.
An elevator pitch should last around 30 seconds — about as much as an elevator ride lasts — and include the main reasons someone should invest (be it their time, funds, or effort) into your project.
The Five Case Model for developing a business case
When writing your business case, you should not only be concerned with what the contents of your business case will look like but who will be reading that content as well.
There are many different kinds of stakeholders, and all of them will be looking for different appeals in your business case. To help you write one that can get positive remarks from all of them, you can use the Five Case model .
It suggests that a business case should be written from five different points of view, named:
- The strategic case,
- The economic case,
- The commercial case,
- The financial case, and
- The management case.
POV #1: The strategic case
The strategic case is written from the perspective of the business itself. It aims to show how a project will keep in line with the business objectives, goals, and vision — and benefit them.
The goal is to show how this project will positively impact the business — whether directly, through perhaps a product, or indirectly, through something like a PR stunt.
POV #2: The economic case
The economic case is written to show how the project brings social value, including environmental effects. The most important part of the economic case is the options analysis, which we will touch on in the next segment.
Not surprisingly, you want to focus on the economic case if you are making a project that will interact with the public.
POV #3: The commercial case
The commercial case is written to show the commercial strategy and cost-effective procurement of project resources . It shows that you have a good understanding of the marketplace by assessing supply options.
You’ll need to keep updated on costs, the resources you’ll need, as well as any risks that might come when acquiring them.
POV #4: The financial case
The financial case, in essence, wants to answer the question — can we afford it? It speaks on the funding of the project and the support of stakeholders and customers.
For the financial case, you need a thorough understanding of the capital, revenue, and whole-life costs of your project. You also need to address any possible gaps in funding that might arise during the course of the project.
POV #5: The management case
The management case is written to show the delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of the project. You need to assure your stakeholders that your project will be managed with the best practices and that all timelines are set with appropriate goals assigned to them.
It mostly covers the project governance and risk management elements of the business case, which we will talk about soon.
7 Key elements of a business case
A business case can have many elements — there can be over 50 elements in a detailed document.
However, we can divide and combine them into 7 key elements that should exist in every business case, namely:
- Executive summary
- Financial assessment
- Business objectives
- Project options analysis
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Project governance
- Risk management
Let’s dive further into them and see what you should look into when writing each of these elements in your business case.
Element #1: Executive summary
You could view the executive summary as a retelling of the essence of the business case. It gathers all the most important information from the rest of the document in one place.
An executive summary should start with an introduction and answer the following questions:
- What issue does the project solve or what opportunity does it take advantage of?
- What options exist to tackle this issue/opportunity?
- What option is the preferred solution?
Next, you want to present the research you went through to create this business case. Then, go through your recommended actions — the conclusion of your research. This is essentially where the bulk of your project expectancies go.
By the end, the reader of your executive summary should understand what they’re getting into for the rest of the document.
Element #2: Financial assessment
In the financial assessment, you want to predict the cash flows of your project. The first thing you want to show in this section is detailed cost estimates and risks.
You should produce cost estimates for different aspects of the project — for the app example, think UI design or marketing — and determine them at both the P50 and P90 levels of confidence.
P50 means a cost estimate with a 50% probability of not exceeding it, and P90 means a 90% chance of the same.
For example, you’re 50% sure that the UI design costs will not exceed $50k, but you’re 90% sure they won’t be over $70k.
Next, you want to present the following:
- Project funding analysis,
- Development analysis (the cost of scoping a project),
- Staffing impact summary, and
- Summary of costs for each project phase.
Element #3: Business objectives
The business objective answers a simple question — why are you doing the project?
Think back on what we described first in the executive summary. What opportunities or issues arose that require this project to exist?
How does this project relate to the current business strategy? You need to convince everyone reading that your project needs to happen.
What are your project goals? Once you determine project goals, you can determine:
- Project scope,
- Project constraints , and
- Project deliverables .
Element #4: Project options analysis
Now that you’ve justified the reason your project should exist, it’s time to take on different options for its execution.
This element is dedicated to analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each option — basically, doing a SWOT analysis for each of them.
Then you want to shortlist the options by discarding the ones that don’t lead to the desired outcome. Finally, do a reassessment of the shortlisted options and discard options accordingly.
Take a look at the external stakeholder impact of each option. More specifically, you want to look at the nature and level of impacts, specify the negative ones, and propose how they should be managed and mitigated.
While this boils down to a risk analysis for each option, it’s broader and used to determine the overall risk of each option. A more detailed risk analysis, determining the weight of specific risks and building contingency plans, comes later.
The project that comes out of this will be the preferred option for tackling the issue or opportunity described, which will be used as a reference when the actual project is executed. Finally, determine target outcomes for the reference project, measured with project KPIs . The targets must be realistic and measurable, yet challenging.
Element #5: Cost-benefit analysis
A cost-benefit analysis is used to prove that your project is worth doing from a business point of view. It proves that the benefits of doing a project are greater than the costs, thus justifying the project.
The cost-benefit analysis is done in 4 steps:
- Establish a framework — in this step, ask yourself what the measurement of your project’s success is (hint — take a look at the KPIs you’ve determined) and make sure both costs and benefits are measurable.
- Analyze costs and benefits — measure the costs and benefits of your project separately. Some are obvious — material or employee costs — but some are more elusive. If you are using an owned facility to house the project in, you are not spending any money for rent, per se — but that facility’s worth is being directed towards your project, so it’s an indirect cost.
- Establish a value for the costs and benefits — to compare the costs and benefits, they must share an equal “value unit”. Traditionally, monetary currencies are used, but you can be more creative if the situation calls for it. Intangible costs and benefits can be difficult to place a specific value on, but not impossible to achieve still.
- Compare the value of the costs and benefits — compare the sums of both the costs and benefits of your project. If the benefits outweigh your costs, your business case is good to go. If it’s the opposite, maybe you should revise the option you chose in the previous element.
Element #6: Project governance
Who will do what in your project? This is the question you want to answer in the project governance element of your business case. A typical hierarchy is set as:
- Responsible minister,
- The project control group,
- Project sponsor, and lastly,
- Project team.
Next, you want to analyze communications. In essence, how and how frequently will you communicate with certain stakeholders?
You can use:
- Progress reports for superiors,
- Team meetings for team members as internal stakeholders, or
- Even social media for communication with customers as external stakeholders.
If you want to know more about the importance of communication in a project, check out this article:
- Why is communication important in project management?
Element #7: Risk management
Lastly, an element you mustn’t underestimate is risk management . Risk assessment is so vital to every project that it’s done while writing a business case, so even before the project is approved.
Risks are analyzed through 2 criteria — likelihood, and impact.
By likelihood, they can be:
- Almost certain,
- Possible, and
By impact, they can be:
- Major, and
These criteria are used to create a risk matrix, determine the categories of risks, and make us aware of how urgent action is. Safe to say, if a risk is both catastrophic in impact and almost certain in likelihood, action on it is prioritized over any other.
You can vary these parameters of likelihood and severity to keep your analysis flexible, as seen here:
After all the risks have been identified, you want to construct a risk management plan , outlining all risks and their categories, as well as figuring out contingency plans for all of them.
If you want to learn more about managing risk in your projects, check out this guide:
- What is risk in project management?
Business case template + example
Knowing the steps to make a business case, however, does not properly explain what a business case looks like.
A business case can be very detailed — the sheer number of points in it could be as long as an academic paper.
But, we’ve created a business case template with 7 of the most important points it should have:
- Executive summary
- Cost benefit analysis
🔽 Get the free business case template here
A filled-out business plan template can be extensive, spanning many pages of documentation. So, to give you an idea of what you should be writing about in a specific situation — we have filled in a business case template with the thought process that will come into writing each element:
Project title: Poetry Night event
Start date: 10/5/2023
Project manager: William Cambridge
Contact info: [email protected]
Executive summary: Reasoning for a poetry night might come from doing a poll, showing that the local area has no such events, yet the populace shows a good number of aspiring writers and poets.
Financial assessment: Cost estimates for this project may vary — renting space may be mandatory, and you might want catering for the event. Both of these may vary in cost depending on the number of attendees, so for your P90 analysis you should take a look at the poll results to estimate the maximum number of guests.
Business objectives: This project is done for public benefit, but can also serve to boost the PR of an organization. The project goals might be viewed through the attendees’ satisfaction, a boost in your organization’s online presence, or a rise in the popularity of a poet you were trying to promote with the event.
Project options analysis: This section would be dedicated to analyzing the different kinds of executions of the poetry night. Should it be in public, or in a closed rented space? Should there be light music in the background, and would it be beneficial to the event if the music was live? If you’re unsure of the answer — consult with stakeholders. In this case, you could do another poll.
Cost benefit analysis: The benefits of this project will largely be intangible — the rise in your organization’s popularity or the satisfaction of attendees would be difficult to quantify with dollar signs. However, there might be tangible benefits to find — if your organization offers a product or service, is there an expected rise in procurement after the project’s completion?
Project governance: Who will be in charge of the organization of the project? Who will be the sponsor? Who will tend to the catering? Who will be the presenter, and whose poetry will be presented? Answering these questions gives us project governance in this example.
Risk management: Is there a possibility that very few people will show up? Is there a possibility that the vendor of the rented space or the catering cancels last minute? In that case, is there a backup you can use and how can you notify all attendees of the change effectively?
And below, you can see how our example looks when we add it to our business template:
Conclusion: Use a business case to pitch your ideas correctly
By now, you should be aware that just having an idea usually isn’t enough to make someone want to support it. Analyzing it, justifying it, and creating a detailed business case around it are the essence of selling an idea to superiors or potential investors.
Always start with the idea itself — the best way to bring someone closer to it is to explain how you came up with it in the first place. Be sure to compare with alternatives, and show why your case is the one to go with.
A business case is a great tool to facilitate growth, whether it be small or large in scale.
✉️ Do you have experience with writing business cases and have additional advice on the subject? If yes, write to us at [email protected] and we may include your advice in this or future articles.
Luka Bogavac is a project management author and researcher who focuses on making project management topics both approachable and informative. With experience in entrepreneurial projects, education, and writing, he aims to make articles that his younger self would appreciate. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors hiking, or staying indoors with a good film or video game.
What's on your to-do?
START MANAGING TASKS
Weighted shortest job first (wsjf): overview with calculation.
Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a technique for prioritizing work items to ensure the biggest profit for the business….
What Is Resource Allocation: The Ultimate Guide for Project Managers
Resource allocation entails identifying all finite resources in your project and distributing them to increase efficiency….
RICE Framework: How to Prioritize Your Ideas (+ Template)
The RICE framework is a prioritization model that helps evaluate various ideas and initiatives based on 4 factors: Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effo…
Ad Hoc Projects and Ad Hoc Requests: How to Manage Them? (Examples & Expert Tips)
How to manage ad hoc projects and ad hoc requests: 1. Keep calm and evaluate the ad hoc project · 2. Communicate the ad hoc project with your team…
The ultimate guide to project collaboration
Project collaboration is the process of encouraging team members to communicate and work together toward shared goals….
The ultimate guide to project prioritization
Project prioritization has 3 steps: 1. Make a list of projects 2. Define your project prioritization criteria 3. Analyze and score projects…
Need a good project tracker?
Plaky is task management software for visual project planning. Manage tasks, collaborate, and get status reports. Unlimited projects, free forever.
Business Case Template - Excel
Present your business plan to stakeholders and investors through a detailed yet simple document that showcases your plan, how it will benefit the company, and whether it's possible or not.
- The template keeps a strict separation between input and output data.
- Forecast values can be replaced by actuals without the need to overwrite any cells.
- The model is built bottom-up, allowing you (and your colleagues) to reconcile the values of every single item in the P&L.
We've seen hundreds of startup business cases or financial models over the past few years and worked intensively with some of them. Even though every company is different and has specific requirements for its case or model, there are known good and bad practices to consider.
Almost every startup faces the following challenges:
- What is the right level of detail, and where do I get the relevant data?
- How can I keep my model up-to-date with as little effort as possible?
- What is the best way to keep input data (assumptions or actuals) and output data separately?
- How to ensure that my model does not break and thus cause (potentially unidentified) errors?
- This is intended as a starting point for your financial planning. It is based on a SaaS model, but we tried to keep it as generic and simple as possible. It should, therefore, have broad applicability.
What Is a Business Case?
A Business Case is a document used to justify a proposed business venture or investment. It is typically used by organizations to determine whether or not a particular project or initiative is worth pursuing.
Which Information Is Included in a Business Case?
The Business Case usually contains a cost-benefit analysis, which looks at the expected costs and benefits of the proposed venture to determine whether it is viable. Other elements that may be included in a Business Case are an executive summary, market analysis, risk assessment, and return on investment (ROI) calculation.
Organizations will often use different types of Business Cases for different purposes. For example, a strategic Business Case may be used to justify a long-term investment, while an operational Business Case may be used to justify a smaller, more specific project.
Why Is a Business Case Important?
The Business Case is an essential tool for decision-makers, as it allows them to weigh the costs and benefits of a proposed venture before making a commitment. It is also a valuable communication tool, as it can help to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page concerning the goals and objectives of the project.
If you are involved in a business venture or investment that requires a Business Case, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- First, make sure that your document is clear and concise.
- Second, focus on the key elements most important to decision-makers, such as the cost-benefit analysis and ROI calculation.
- Finally, remember that the Business Case is just one tool that can be used to make a decision – it is important to consider all the factors involved before making a final decision.
How to Write a Business Case?
In a nutshell, the process of writing a business case is as follows:
- 1. Understand the purpose of the business case.
- 2. Define the problem or opportunity.
- 3. Outline the proposed solution.
- 4. Describe the expected benefits of the solution.
- 5. List the costs of implementing the solution.
- 6. Assess the risks associated with the project.
- 7. Calculate the return on investment (ROI).
- 8. Write an executive summary.
- 9. Prepare a detailed document.
What Is a Business Case Template?
A Business Case Template is a pre-formatted document that can be used to create a Business Case. It typically includes placeholder text and formatting that can be customized to suit the user's needs.
Why Use a Business Case Template?
A template can be a valuable tool for creating a Business Case, as it can help ensure that all necessary information is included. It can also save time by providing a starting point for the document, and it can help ensure that the final document is consistent and professional.
If you are considering using a template to create your Business Case, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- First, make sure that the template you choose is relevant to your particular industry and project.
- Second, customize the template to fit your specific needs – don't hesitate to add or remove sections as necessary.
- Finally, remember that a template is only a starting point – you will still need to put in the time and effort to create a well-written and persuasive document.
Yes! This is absolutely free for you to download and use.
We will always keep your personal information safe.
How to create a goal-crushing project plan (+ 13 templates)
These project plan templates will prepare you for a smooth project..
If I learned anything from my borderline unhealthy obsession with "The Price is Right," it's that you can't underestimate the power of a good plan. Convinced I was just a hop, skip, and a "Come on down!" away from Showcase Showdown glory, I drafted a meticulous battle plan for how I would crush all the people who think a toaster oven costs the same as a Camry.
Even if the most meticulously laid plans are at the mercy of a capricious host with a skinny microphone, starting with a project plan template lays a foundation of order and direction in a world where the rules are made up and the points don't matter. (Wait, wrong show.)
In this post, I'll show you how the right project plan template can bring that same level of preparedness to your professional projects.
Table of contents:
What is a project plan template?
13 free project plan templates, who uses the project plan template, how to create a project plan in 7 steps, automate your project plan, what is a project plan.
A project plan is a formal document that details how a project will be executed by outlining the purpose, resources, scope, timeline, and deliverables required to complete said project. It guides teams on what the project is supposed to achieve, helps them communicate, keeps track of goals, decisions, and changes, and monitors progress.
The project plan isn't just a roadmap for how to proceed; it's also a vital tool for managing risk, ensuring clarity and transparency, and serving as a communication medium between all stakeholders. It provides a foundation for subsequent detailed planning, such as resource allocation and scheduling, and is essential for maintaining control over the project's progression.
Put simply: imagine trying to whip up a soufflé for the first time without a recipe. You might end up with a deflated mess and egg on your face (possibly literally). A project plan ensures you won't need a towel.
What does a project plan look like?
A project plan can take various forms, depending on the project's needs and complexity. It might be a comprehensive multi-page document detailing every phase, milestone, and activity or a succinct one-pager for smaller projects. Visual representations like a Gantt chart are often used to depict task sequences and dependencies, highlighting how different tasks interlink and the project's overall workflow.
Who crafts a project plan?
The project manager or a dedicated project planning team is responsible for crafting a project plan. This team must deeply understand the project's objectives, constraints, and the steps required to complete it successfully. Creating a project plan involves a series of strategic decisions, such as defining project phases and milestones, setting up timelines, and breaking the project into bite-size pieces, so the team doesn't choke on ambition.
A project plan template is a pre-formatted document that serves as a starting point for outlining the approach to a project. It typically includes sections for the project scope, objectives, timelines, resource allocation, risk assessment, and communication strategies (unless telepathy is in the budget).
These templates are vital, as they offer a structured framework ensuring consistency and thorough planning. They help avoid overlooking critical elements, streamline the planning process, and increase productivity, all while facilitating clear communication, aligning stakeholders, and setting a clear path to project completion. By using one, you're basically copying off the smart kid in class—you'll hit all the marks without having to think too hard.
Why reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the heavy lifting for you? In a gracious act of charity, I present to you not one, not two, but 13 free project management templates. (Don't thank me too much—my design team made them.) Feel free to use them as is or, if you're feeling fancy, jazz them up with your own branding and visual elements.
1. Project proposal template
A project proposal template provides a standardized format for outlining a project's objectives, scope, methodology, and resources. Aimed at persuading stakeholders or clients to approve and fund the project, think of this project management plan template as your first date outfit—designed to impress, communicate your best attributes, and get a "yes" to that second date or, in this case, the green light on your project.
2. Project kickoff meeting template
A project kickoff meeting agenda is a guide that outlines the important topics to tackle during an initial meeting with project stakeholders to align goals, expectations, roles, and timelines for a new project. It's your project's pilot episode, where you introduce the cast of characters, set the scene, and tease the drama that'll unfold as your plan comes to life.
3. Project brief template
A project brief template is your project's elevator pitch on paper—a short, snappy document that tells everyone on the elevator (team members and stakeholders) why they should care about what you're doing before they reach their floor.
4. Gantt chart project plan template
A Gantt chart project plan template is a visual tool that outlines a project schedule, showing the start and finish dates of elements within the project and how they relate to each other over time. It's like a time-travel map for your project, visually plotting out your tasks in a way Doc Brown would appreciate.
5. Project communications plan template
A project communications plan template outlines the strategies, methods, frequency, and responsibilities for all communications within a project, ensuring no wires get crossed.
6. Business case template
A business case template is a bit like your project's resume. It highlights the skills (benefits), experience (costs), and special zing (risks and rewards) to convince the big bosses to hire (approve) your project.
7. Risk management project plan template
A risk management project plan template is designed to identify potential risks in a project, analyze their impact, and outline mitigation strategies to ensure project continuity. It's your project's horror movie survival guide, except instead of avoiding chainsaw-wielding maniacs, you're sidestepping budget blowouts and timeline traps.
8. Project activity template
A project activity template is like a chore chart for grown-ups, detailing who's doing what, where, and when—hopefully without the bribery of gold stars and ice cream.
9. Project budget allocation template
A project budget allocation template provides a structured approach to estimate the costs associated with various aspects of a project, helping to manage and distribute financial resources appropriately.
10. Project status report template
A project status report template summarizes a project's progress, risks, and issues, keeping stakeholders informed about its current state. It's basically your project's report card.
11. Resource management project plan template
A resource management project plan template helps plan, allocate, and schedule the resources needed to complete a project.
12. Project monthly monitoring template
A project monthly monitoring template is used to track the project's progression, financial status, and performance metrics systematically every month. It's like a monthly diary entry for your project but with fewer feelings.
13. Project change request template
A project change request template is a formal document that outlines a request for a change in the project, detailing the nature of the change, its impacts, and justification. This is the polite way of saying, "Hey, I know what we agreed on, but I've had a better (or more terrifying) idea, and here's a form filled out in triplicate about why we should do it."
A project planning template and the resulting project plan are used by a bunch of folks involved in the project's lifespan.
Project managers: Armed with a template and a dream, project managers are responsible for creating a clear and comprehensive project plan. They're constantly checking the plan like it's a newborn baby to make sure everything's on track and no one has accidentally dropped the project on its head.
Project team: These are the folks in the trenches who use the plan throughout the project execution phase. It helps them understand their roles, responsibilities, and timelines, providing a clear path to follow.
Subject matter experts: These are the brainiacs you call when you can't figure out how to fit that last puzzle piece. Their expertise helps in creating an accurate and feasible plan.
Stakeholders: These are the people, like clients and executives, who rely on the project plan for progress updates and a glimpse into the future of the project. It's as if they're trying to read tea leaves, discerning the fate of the project from the swirling patterns of tasks and deadlines.
Other departments: Depending on the nature of the project, departments like Finance, Marketing, or HR might also use the project plan template to align their activities with the project's scope and timeline.
The more these groups are involved in the plan creation and execution, the more collaborative and inclusive the project environment is. This effort also increases the likelihood of catching and rectifying any potential issues early in the project lifecycle, like a safety net made of collective brainpower and teamwork.
If you're the sort who likes to prep for a zombie apocalypse with a well-stocked pantry and a blunt object near every door, then you probably know the power of a good project plan. But drafting your own is a different story. These seven steps to banging out a project plan will make you feel like the boss of everything, including the undead.
1. Define the project scope and objectives
The project scope outlines the boundaries and limitations of the project, serving as a guideline to ensure the project doesn't deviate from its intended path. It helps in preventing scope creep, the sneaky goblin that eats your budget and poops out deadline delays.
Well-defined objectives offer a clear vision of what the project aims to achieve. They serve as a motivating factor for the project team, encouraging them to work toward a common goal. It's like gathering a group of first-graders and challenging them to build the world's tallest LEGO tower. Suddenly, their chaotic energy transforms into focused determination.
Additionally, objectives provide a benchmark against which you can measure the project's success. Making objectives as clear as my grandma's moonshine ensures that every decision and action taken aligns with the project's ultimate goals.
2. Identify key stakeholders and team members
Identifying key stakeholders and team members during project initiation is about as crucial as remembering to put on pants before leaving the house. Sure, you could wing it, but you'll likely encounter some uncomfortable situations and potential embarrassment along the way.
Stakeholders, like senior management and investors, have a vested interest in the project, and their input can be invaluable in shaping the project's direction. They provide resources, unique perspectives, and the uncanny ability to spot potential disasters from a mile away.
Team members are the fine folks who will bring your project plan to life, so make sure you know who's who and what they're responsible for. By doing this, you'll foster a sense of ownership and promote a collaborative work environment where everyone understands how their role contributes to the project's success.
3. Develop a work breakdown structure
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a visual tool that breaks down all the work a project needs into smaller, more manageable parts. It's like that weird quote about eating an elephant. You wouldn't just shove the whole thing in your mouth, right? You'd start with small bites. The WBS is your fork and knife in this elephant-sized project feast.
Starting with the top level representing the overall project goal, each step down the hierarchy gets more detailed. The last level of the WBS is where you'll find measurable, actionable tasks.
4. Create a project timeline
Once all tasks have been created and organized in the WBS, you'll have to start estimating how long each task is going to take. It's a bit like guessing how many jelly beans are in the jar at a carnival, but with more spreadsheets. Assign a time frame to the project and create a schedule, making sure to include a buffer to account for any potential delays and prevent the plan from falling apart.
It's always wise to use a Gantt chart or another form of a project flow chart for time planning. That way, you can spot task dependencies quickly, track progress like a pro, and shuffle things around when the project gremlins inevitably throw a wrench in your plans.
5. Allocate resources and set a budget
Proper allocation of resources—be it human or material—is of the utmost importance in any project. Identifying these resources for each task helps ensure the project runs smoothly and efficiently.
When it comes to human resources, it's about assigning the right people to the right tasks based on their skills and expertise. Think of it as a less romantic, more productivity-focused version of Tinder: swipe right if their skills match the task at hand, swipe left if they think Excel is a brand of gum. Material resources involve physical supplies or equipment required to complete each task. Basically, if it's tangible and you need it to get the job done, put it on the list.
You've got to make sure your financial ducks are in a row, so you're not left scraping the bottom of the piggy bank. This means predicting all the expenses likely to be incurred—from salaries and equipment to software licenses and those pesky overheads. Just imagine a crystal ball, but instead of mysterious smoke, it's filled with receipts, invoices, and the occasional moth flying out of your wallet.
6. Identify risks and communication strategy
In order to effectively manage the project, it's important to identify potential risks and develop a communication strategy. Some challenges or threats that could arise include budget constraints, resource limitations, and unforeseen technical issues. Conducting a risk assessment is like planning a picnic and assuming it'll rain, there will be ants, and at least one seagull attack. Once you've got your list of potential project-ruining catastrophes, come up with a contingency plan to either stop them from happening or deal with them if they do.
You should also determine your communication strategy, whether through emails, seances, yelling across the room, or other means. Decide how often you'll check in and who needs to be in the loop.
7. Review, approve, and monitor
At this stage, all aspects of the project plan are reviewed and scrutinized to ensure that every detail has been considered, including whether Mercury is in retrograde. The approval process involves sign-offs from key stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Once your project is up and running, keep those plates spinning with regular check-ins because if one crashes, everyone's going to hear it. If something isn't going according to plan, be ready to whip out your duct tape and make some adjustments.
While the seven steps outlined can set you on the path to a well-structured project plan, leveraging existing software can streamline the process. If Google Docs and Sheets aren't your jam, check to see if an existing app you use (like Notion or Coda ) has a template that might work for you, either built-in or from the community surrounding the app.
And once you've built out your project plan, you can use Zapier to automate workflows and connect your favorite apps. Learn more about how to automate project management , or take a spin at the Big Wheel with one of these pre-built workflows to automate the project plan templates above.
Create Trello cards from new or updated Google Sheets rows
Create Asana tasks from updated Google Sheets rows
Copy data from new Google Sheets rows to a Google Doc template
Create Google Docs from a template for new Airtable records
Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works .
How to automatically create documents from a template
Workflow management: Definition and best practices
The best project management software for small businesses
What is business process management (BPM)?
Get productivity tips delivered straight to your inbox
We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your information.
Based in New England, Allisa is a content marketer and small business owner who hopes to make the internet a more interesting place than she found it. When she’s not working, you can find her lying very still not doing anything.
- Project management
12 free invoice templates—and how to make your own
12 free invoice templates—and how to make...
How to implement proactive customer service (with real examples)
How to implement proactive customer service...
Net Promoter Score: A guide to NPS
11 actually great elevator pitch examples and how to make yours
11 actually great elevator pitch examples...
Improve your productivity automatically. Use Zapier to get your apps working together.
Small Business Trends
How to write a business plan step-by-step in 2024 (+ examples and free template).
This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan for your new venture. In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.
This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.
Table of Contents
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.
Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.
A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.
Small Business Deals
Why you should write a business plan.
Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan in 2024:
- Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
- Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
- Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
- Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
- Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.
What are the Different Types of Business Plans?
In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:
- Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
- Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
- Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
- Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
- Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
- Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
- Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
- One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
- Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
- Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.
How to Write a Business Plan
Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.
The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.
It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.
Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.
Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.
Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.
Overview and Business Objectives
In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.
It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.
This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.
Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:
- Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
- Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
- Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.
The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.
Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.
Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.
Example: Founded in 2023, EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.
Define Your Target Market
Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).
Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.
Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.
The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.
This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.
Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.
Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.
A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.
Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.
Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.
Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.
- Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
- Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
- Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.
- Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
- Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.
- Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
- Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
- Expansion into international markets.
- Intense competition from established technology companies.
- Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.
In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.
By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Example: Key competitors include:
GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.
EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.
By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.
Organization and Management Team
Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.
Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.
Products and Services Offered
Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.
This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.
Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Marketing and Sales Strategy
In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.
Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.
Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.
This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.
Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.
Logistics and Operations Plan
The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.
Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.
Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.
Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.
Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.
We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.
Financial Projections Plan
In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.
Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.
This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.
By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.
This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.
Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:
- Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
- Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
- Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.
These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.
The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.
Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.
Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:
- Revenue: $1,500,000
- Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
- Gross Profit: $700,000
- Operating Expenses: $450,000
- Net Income: $250,000
This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.
Cash Flow Statement
A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.
By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.
Example: The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:
- Depreciation: $10,000
- Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
- Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000
- Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
- Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000
- Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
- Loan Repayments: -$50,000
- Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
- Net Increase in Cash: $210,000
This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.
Tips on Writing a Business Plan
1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.
2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.
3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.
4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.
5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.
6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.
7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.
FREE Business Plan Template
To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.
The template is divided into the following sections:
- Mission statement
- Business Overview
- Key products or services
- Target market
- Financial highlights
- Company goals
- Strategies to achieve goals
- Measurable, time-bound objectives
- Company History
- Mission and vision
- Unique selling proposition
- Pain points
- Industry trends
- Customer needs
- Competitor strengths and weaknesses
- Competitor products and services
- Market positioning
- Pricing strategies
- Organizational structure
- Key roles and responsibilities
- Management team backgrounds
- Product or service features
- Competitive advantages
- Marketing channels
- Advertising campaigns
- Promotional activities
- Sales strategies
- Supply chain management
- Inventory control
- Production processes
- Quality control measures
- Projected revenue
- Cash inflows
- Cash outflows
- Net cash flow
Using Business Plan Software
Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.
LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.
Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.
Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.
Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.
5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz
Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.
Business Plan FAQs
What is a good business plan.
A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.
What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?
The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:
- It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
- It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
- It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
- It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
- It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
- It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
- It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
- It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
- It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
- It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
- It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
- It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
- It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
- It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.
Can I write a business plan by myself?
Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.
We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .
Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?
Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.
How long should a business plan be?
A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.
What is a business plan outline?
A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.
What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?
The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.
What questions should be asked in a business plan?
A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?
What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?
A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.
How is business planning for a nonprofit different?
Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.
Image: Envato Elements
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
© Copyright 2003 - 2023, Small Business Trends LLC. All rights reserved. "Small Business Trends" is a registered trademark.