We know time, effort and money are limited resources- thank you Captain Obvious – but there can be a disconnect between knowing this and the way we exercise these resources. Thinking with a ‘business case’ in mind is a sure way of maximise this- here’s our top 5 reasons why we encourage client to think this way.
Before we dive into this though, let’s explore this disconnect a little further. At Elm, we’ve seen clients:
- Spend thousand’s on Advertising without knowing their target market
- Impulsively stop trading to wait until a systems or rebranding rollout is completed at risk to their top-line and reputation; or
- Introduce new products that either cannibalise their existing range or blurs and confuses the brand message
It’s these types of negative outcomes we’re looking to avoid by thinking with a business case in mind.
Reason 1- Thoroughness: Using a business case to capture and analyse key aspects of a decision allows for issues to be identified early, alternative options to be considered, and a solid business logic to be formulated. This saves money as it prevents ineffective projects being started or additional funds having to be being invested later down the track
Reason 2- Prevent wasted time/effort/money: Businesses can waste valuable resources on projects that don’t help the business achieve it’s objectives- considering the cost/benefits, ROI or breakeven points as part of the business case will help minimise this
Reason 3- Focus on what’s important: You may have “pet” projects or experienced the squeaky-wheel syndrome where the loudest voice gets all the attention. In the overall context of the business however, this may not be what’s truly important to success- a business cases will help cut through this noise and focus effort on what’s important
Reason 4- Defining a target and outcome: This is a two-fold benefit- firstly as mentioned above, having clearly defined benefits and outcomes can prevent investing in decisions that have a less then ideal return. Secondly, it’s all to common to make a decision and manage the change, but fail to follow-up and realise the benefits the decisions was supposed to achieve. Using a business case will help define the benefits upfront AND tracking progress to achieving them
Reason 5- Ensures alignment: In most businesses, budget and people are a scarce commodity. Consequently, it is important that projects are aligned to the strategy or goals so actions and effort are purposeful and lead closer to these targets.
Take out your diary or business plan and consider an imminent strategic decision you need to make- do you have a clear idea on the following (if not, download our business case template here):
- The Problem
- Why it needs solving
- The Options (each should have the cost or effort involved, the benefit, and the risks/issues and how you plan to mitigate them)
- The Recommendation and Next Steps/Plan