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.

Takeaway activity:

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

Further reading