How to Write a Business Case Report
Preparing a business case report is part of the strategic planning and financing of significant business projects. The more complex a business project, the more crucial the business case report. The report helps establish the rationale supporting a potential undertaking, while setting forth the arguments and managerial functions needed to undertake the project.
A business case report assists leaders and management to "think through" the potential project in a strategic manner. Key factors include accurately articulating the reasoning and assumptions of the project to investors, administrators, key executives and the public, while establishing the economic value. In addition, the business case report provides the necessary framework for completing the project in a timely manner and on budget.
Create the title page. The first page reviewed by potential investors and administrators is the title page and how you construct the title page will set the tone for the business case report. Present the title page in an organized fashion, using simple and easy-to-follow language. Include the title of the business case report, the designation of the project (location, assigned number or any other designator) the name of your organization and anticipated approval date for the project.
Write a mission statement. Attempt to complete the statement in one sentence, articulating what you plan to achieve with the project.
Detail the objectives of the project in your next section. Make each objective specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Divide your objectives into two sections: one for short-term objectives and one for long-term objectives. After each objective, write a short statement stating the rationale behind the objective and include the analysis used to determine all metrics.
Write a section discussing the performance measures to gauge the project success. List the objectives and explain how you will measure the success of each objective. Also state the evaluation process and name the participants.
Write a "needs assessment," detailing the problem the project addresses and demonstrate why the problem requires correction. This assists everyone involved in determining the real value of the project. The needs assessment defines the problem; explains why the problem exists; mentions all parties affected; explains the extent of the problem; details the consequences of neglecting to take action; and articulates the gains anticipated by correcting the problem.
Write a technical analysis of the project. The technical analysis will outline all data used to decide to implement the project. It explains why the project represents the best, most cost-effective solution to the problem. Detail all technical challenges arising from the problem; discuss alternatives considered in addition to the recommended project; detail why this project represents the best course of action; and describe recommended innovations for implementation or results from the project.
Create a project work plan that outlines all milestones for the project. Create timelines to accomplish objectives and include all terms for completing the project. You will need to specify all contracts required for the project; name all managers and departments responsible for carrying out the project; and identify all risks to completing the project on time and contingencies for addressing those risks. Also list all project staff, managers and vendors, if known.
Establish a financial plan as the next section, detailing the project financing and the returns on the investment. Start with an introductory paragraph explaining why financing is needed. Then detail the use of all funds for the project by showing a detailed budget; all sources of finance; revenue generated from the project once implemented; and administrative and operations costs associated with the project. Finish the financial plan with a detailed cash flow statement.
Write a capital asset management plan to demonstrate the management and monitoring of all assets arising from the project. Include a statement on how the ongoing operations will secure funding resulting from the continued operation, maintenance, and replacement of assets derived from the project.
Write a partner profile that details all strategic partners included in the project implementation and ongoing management. This includes all contact information for partners; their interests in the project; their contributions in time, money, and resources, as well as their experience and capabilities for contribution.
Create an appendix for the business case report. The appendix shows all resources that support the validity of the project. This includes all documents detailing financial positions related to the project; notes from all meetings to discuss the problem and project implementation; all evaluations of the problem and project implementation; all permits and approvals for project implementation; and copies of all financial statements for partners involved.
Build a table of contents. Construct the table of contents to list all major headings with the corresponding page number. Place the table of contents directly after the title page.
Write an executive or project summary to summarize the project and purpose. Include expected returns on the investment of time, money, and resources. Be concise and remember that this is your first opportunity to make an impression and to "sell" the project to others who may have an interest in or be impacted by the project. Describe the project; articulate the project merits and why it is the best solution; outline the financial investment required and discuss any potential disadvantages; and include a summary of the reasons you are recommending the project. Limit the summary to two pages at most. Place the executive summary directly after the table of contents.
- If you do not write each section of the business case report as described, potential investors and administrators may conclude that you have neglected to think the project through adequately. The purpose of the report is to demonstrate that the organization has thoroughly analyzed and documented why this project is the best solution to the problem.
- When writing a business case report, refrain from using jargon and phrases those outside your organization might not fully understand. Remember, the objective is to provide readers with a clear picture of the project impact and demonstrate its value for your organization, your clients and profitability.
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