Developing a Business Case

Expert Solutions to Everyday Challenges

June Paradise Maul

Publisher: Harvard Business School, 2011, 102 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4221-2976-0

Keywords: Business Plan

Last modified: Dec. 21, 2023, 9:56 a.m.

To decide the best course of action for your company to take advantage of new opportunities, you must first develop a business case to explore multiple alternatives, then make a recommendation to support a particular option. In this book, you'll learn to:

  • Clearly define the opportunity
  • Identify and analyze a range of alternatives
  • Recommend one option and assess its risks
  • Create a high-level implementation plan
  • Communicate your case to key stakeholders
  • Mentor's Message: The Advantages of a Solid Business Case
  • Developing a Business Case: The Basics
    • What is a Business Case?
      A preview of key facts about business cases
      • Business case versus business plan
      • When you should create a business plan
      • A complex document
      • Seven steps to a business case
    • Step 1: Define the Opportunity
      Tips for articulating the opportunity you want to pursue
      • Identifying a problem or opportunity
      • Developing an opportunity statement
      • Identifying your business objectives
      • Prioritizing your objectives
      • Assigning metrics to your objectives
    • Step 2: Identify the Alternatives
      Ideas for making sure you have many options to choose from
      • Generate a list of options
      • Gathering input
      • Narrowing your choices
    • Step 3: Gather Data and Estimate Time Frame
      Suggestions for obtaining crucial information about your opportunity
      • Identifying the information you need
      • Collecting the data
      • Setting a time frame
      • Documenting your estimates and assumptions
    • Step 4: Analyze the Alternatives
      Recommendations for comparing all your alternatives
      • Evaluating alternatives against your metrics
      • Understanding common financial metrics
      • Creating a framework for comparing alternatives
    • Step 5: Make a Choice and Assess the Risk
      Advice for selecting a course of action and weighing its pros and cons
      • Selecting the best solution
      • Weighing the risks
      • Deciding how to mitigate the risks
      • Determining whether to modify your recommended course of action
    • Step 6: Craft a Plan for Implementing Your Idea
      Tips for ensuring that your proposed alternatives can be put into action
      • Understanding the purpose of an implementation plan
      • Listing your milestones
      • Communicating with decision makers
      • Identifying the resources you'll need
      • Clarifying responsibilities
      • Indicating expected payoff
      • Tracking your results
    • Step 7: Communicate Your Case
      Techniques for presenting your case to decision makers
      • Understanding your audience
      • Using visuals to present your case
  • Tips and Tools
    • Tools for Developing a Business Case
      Worksheets for identifying alternatives, tracking implementation of your idea, ensuring that you've taken all the right steps for creating a business case, and documenting an actual business case
    • Test Yourself
      A Helpful review of concepts presented in this guide. Take it before and after you've read the guide, to see how much you've learned.
      • Answers to test questions
    • To Learn More
      Further titles of articles and books if you want to go more deeply into the topic
    • Sources for Developing a Business Case


Developing a Business Case

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: Jan. 24, 2024, 12:42 a.m.

A bare bones instruction on how to create a basic business case.

Not bad reading.


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