A Guide to Crafting an Approval-worthy Business Case  

Steps to a Business Case

Ever wonder why some business proposals sail through to approval while others seem to hit a brick wall? Often, the invisible hand at work is the humble business case. When done right, a compelling business case paints a clear picture of ‘why’ and ‘how’ a proposed initiative can propel an organization towards its strategic goals. Creating a compelling business case is about using key components that resonate with the decision maker and align to the larger corporate strategy. This can be ROI metrics, revenue-growth potential, or time to market.  

These key components are often the missing pieces of the pie that can make or break your business case! But more on this later. 

Why a business case is key to getting executives and investors on board 

A business case is paramount because it enhances the chance of getting funding while also increasing the success rate of a project, and most, if not all, key decision-makers rely on business cases to assess and make decisions. Especially investors and executives.  

A business case serves as a communication tool. It presents the value proposition of a project, making it easier for stakeholders to understand the project’s purpose, goals, and expected outcomes. Granted that the PR Newswire mention “70% of business leader would prefer a robot to make their decisions” clearly articulating the benefits and addressing potential concerns, helps negate this and make it that much easier for them. 

But how do you ensure your business case is not just ‘another document’? The magic lies in alignment with strategic objectives. Your business case should mirror your organization’s vision and long-term goals. It should weave a persuasive narrative, highlighting ‘why’ and ‘how’ your proposal can serve as a steppingstone towards the organization’s strategic objectives. 

What is a business case? 

A business case is a comprehensive document or argument that provides a justification for a proposed business change or plan. It is designed to convince key stakeholders and decision-makers of the viability of the proposed project or initiative. 

The business case serves as a tool for outlining the cost-effectiveness of a project, presenting potential risks and opportunities, and demonstrating alignment with strategic business objectives. It is a critical component in the decision-making process, as it provides a structured overview of the benefits, costs, and impact of a proposed initiative.  

The key components of an effective business case 

There are two things most business cases are missing… the key attributes to a standout business case if you want to increase the chances of resonating with a decision-maker and their success measures. 

  1. Align your business case to your company’s strategic objectives  
  1. Offer multiple solution options 

In short, a great business case ties directly into the company’s long-term vision or corporate strategy. It shows why the business case is the best decision to achieve what executives care about most – the company’s long-term objective. Executives want to ensure you’ve thoroughly thought out your business case and have come to the table with multiple options. Therefore, your case should offer multiple solution options. For example, if the cost of the initiative may be an issue you can present small, medium, and large project options to show you’ve given though to how to do more with less. 

Now, with those in mind let’s jump into how to create an effective business case end-to-end! 

7-Steps to create a compelling business case 

if you are trying to get that “yes” from an executive, investor, or key decision-maker, here are 7 tips to guide you on your journey. 

  1. Outline a Compelling Problem Statement: Creating a great business use case begins with identifying a clear, compelling problem statement that is tied to strategic objectives. This problem statement should not only define the issue at hand but also articulate its impact on the business. This sets the stage for the need for a solution and provides a context for the proposed initiative. 
  1. Perform Market Research: Next, a thorough analysis should be conducted. This includes market research to understand the industry landscape and competitive dynamics, financial analysis to estimate the costs and potential returns of the proposed initiative, and risk assessment to identify potential challenges and mitigation strategies. This analysis provides a solid data-backed foundation for the business case and demonstrates due diligence in the planning process. 
  1. Articulate the Solution: Once the problem and analysis have been established, it’s time to articulate the solution and its benefits. This involves clearly defining how the proposed initiative will address the identified problem and the direct benefits it will bring to the business. This could be in terms of increased revenue, cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, or other key business metrics. 
  1. Align with Strategic Goals: This process involves demonstrating how the proposed initiative supports the company’s broader strategic objectives.  The analysis should be heavily backed by data, making it non-debatable. For instance, if you were to look at the SaptaAllocation-Teams product, you can leverage a weighted scorecard to not only highlight the importance but also show how each potential initiative aligns with key business drivers. 
  1. Present Multiple Solution Options: Presenting solution options is another key element. This involves showcasing different ways the problem could be addressed, emphasizing flexibility and thoroughness in planning. This can be facilitated by tools like the SaptaAllocation-Teams product, which allows for the submission of up to three solution options per business case for consideration and approval. 
  1. Draft a Persuasive Narrative: This involves combining all the elements of the business case into a compelling story that highlights the value proposition of the proposed initiative. This narrative should be clear, concise, and compelling, making a strong case for why the initiative should be approved. 
  1. Review and Refine: Finally, it’s important to review and refine the business case based on feedback and new insights. This involves revisiting the problem statement, analysis, solution, and other elements of the business case to ensure they are as robust and persuasive as possible. This iterative process can help to strengthen the business case and increase its chances of approval. 

How can I guarantee my business case is of quality? 

If you are crafting a business case for the first time or after reading this you want to adjust your approach, you may want to consider using a template or tool to package your business case into a narrative that clearly communicates the details needed for leaders to make informed decisions. 

SaptaAllocation-Teams is an effective tool for creating and submitting business cases. It guides you through the process, offers space to present multiple solution scenarios, and includes a weighted scorecard based on pre-set company priorities. This allows you to use data to demonstrate how your initiative aligns with company strategies, empowering you to present your best business case  

Once a case is submitted, getting that approval is the next essential step before you can begin work on your initiative. SaptaAllocation-CxO streamlines that process by summarizing the business case and making a recommendation to the approvers based on the scores from the weighted scorecard. Built in collaboration allows decision-makers to ask questions, provide suggestions, and approve or reject business cases in the app reducing the need for time consuming steering committee meetings. A view across all business cases and related scores enables leaders to prioritize what case will have the biggest impact on their business strategy. 

The Wrap-up 

You started this journey curious, and possibly frustrated, about how to create effective and standout business cases. By now, you should understand the importance of business cases in securing funding and buy-in from executives and investors. You’ve explored the pitfalls to avoid, the underlying principles for effective case building, the role of strategic alignment, and an end-to-end guide to create one. You even got introduced to the SaptaAllocation products, tools designed to help you create persuasive and robust business plans and get that approval. 

With that in mind, use this as a guide to create a compelling business case, boost project success rates, and ultimately move your business forward faster. 

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