Business Plan Outline (Free Template)

A business case is a project management document that explains why a project's benefits outweigh its costs and why it should be carried out. Business cases are created during the project initiation phase to include all of the project's objectives, costs, and benefits in order to persuade stakeholders of its worth.

A business case is an essential project document that demonstrates to your client, customer, or stakeholder that the project you're pitching is a good investment. We show you how to write one that will persuade them in the steps below.

A business case is necessary because it compiles the financial evaluation, proposal, strategy, and marketing plan into one document and provides a comprehensive view of how the project will benefit the organization. When the project stakeholders have approved your business case, you can begin the project planning phase.

What Is a Business Case?

Projects fail when they lack a solid business case to stand on, as this document is required to begin the project and serves as the foundation for the project charter and project plan. However, if a project business case is not grounded in reality and does not address a need that aligns with the organization's larger business objectives, it is meaningless.

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Business Case Template

Use this free Business Case Template for Word to help you better manage your projects.

The research you'll need to create a strong business case is the project's why, what, how, and who. This must be communicated clearly. The components of your business case will go into greater detail about why. Consider the business case to be a document created during the project's initiation phase but used as a reference throughout the project's life cycle.

Whether you're starting a new project or are in the middle of one, take the time to create a business case to justify project spending by identifying the business benefits your project will deliver and that your stakeholders are most interested in reaping from the work. The four steps below will show you how to create a business case.

Step 1: Determine the Business Issue

Projects are not created for the sake of project creation. They have a goal in mind. They are usually started to solve a specific business problem or to create a business opportunity.

"Lead with the need," you should say. "Your first task is to identify the problem or opportunity, describe it, determine its source, and then address the time frame required to address it."

This can be a simple statement, but it is best expressed with some research into the economic climate and competitive landscape to justify the project's timing.

Step 2: Look for Alternative Solutions

How do you know if the project you're working on is the best solution to the problem described above? Naturally, selecting the best solution is difficult, and the road to success is not paved with unfounded assumptions.

Following these six steps (after conducting relevant research, of course) is one way to narrow the focus and make the right solution clear:

  1. Take note of the alternative solutions.
  2. Determine the value of each solution.
  3. Also, estimate the costs associated with each solution.
  4. Then determine its viability.
  5. Determine the risks and drawbacks of each solution.
  6. Finally, include all of this information in your business case.

Step 3: Propose a Preferred Solution

You'll then need to rank the solutions, but first set up criteria and possibly a scoring mechanism to help you prioritize the solutions so you can choose the best one.

Among the methodologies you can use are:

  • Give the solution a score of 1-10 based on its cost and benefit.
  • Determine your score based on what is important to you.
  • To cover all bases, make your ranking more complex.

Whatever approach you take, once you've crunched the numbers, the best solution to your problem will become clear. Again, this process should be documented in your business case.

Step 4: Explain the Implementation Strategy

So, now that you've identified your business problem or opportunity and how to solve it, you must persuade your stakeholders that you're correct and have the best way to implement a process to achieve your objectives. That is why documentation is critical; it provides a practical path to resolving the core problem you identified.

It's no longer just a charade to appease senior management. Who knows what you might discover during your research into the underlying problem and alternative solutions? You could save the organization millions of dollars by proposing an alternative solution to the one that was originally proposed. When you work hard on a strong business case, you can get your sponsors or organizational leadership on board with you and have a clear vision of how to deliver the business benefits they expect.

Template for a Business Case

Our business case template for Word is an excellent starting point for developing a business case. It includes nine key business case areas that you can customize as needed. Download the template for free and proceed with the steps below to create an excellent business case for all of your projects.

Free business case template from ProjectManager Now available for download

The Essential Elements of a Business Case

A business case checklist is one of the most important steps in starting a business case. The following is a detailed outline for creating your business case. You can select which of these elements are most important to your project stakeholders and incorporate them into our business case template. After your business case has been approved, begin managing your projects with a powerful project management software such as ProjectManager.

1. Executive Synopsis

Each section of your business case is condensed into the executive summary. It is used to provide stakeholders with a high-level overview of your project.

2. Project Defined

This section is intended to provide general information about your projects, such as the business objectives that will be met and an outline of the project plan.

3. Mission, Vision, and Goals

First, you must determine what you are attempting to accomplish and the problem that you wish to solve. You must define your project's vision, goals, and objectives. This will assist you in developing your project scope and identifying project deliverables.

4. Project Goals

The project scope defines all of the tasks and deliverables that will be completed in order to meet your business objectives.

5. Historical Background

You can explain the problem that your project is meant to solve and how it aligns with your organization's vision and strategic plan in this section.

6. Success Criteria and Stakeholder Expectations

The quality requirements will vary depending on the type of project, but they are critical to the project's success. Collect them all, figure out what determines whether you've met them successfully, and report on the results.

7. Project Schedule

It is now time to develop the project plan. Determine the tasks that must be completed in order to complete the project. You can use a work breakdown structure template to ensure that you are finished. Once you've gathered all of the tasks, estimate how long it will take to complete each one.

Project management software significantly simplifies the process of developing a project plan. ProjectManager can upload your work breakdown structure template, and our tool will populate all of your tasks. You can use our kanban board view to organize them according to your production cycle, or our Gantt chart view to create a project schedule.

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Budget for the Project

Your budget is an estimate of everything in your project plan and how much it will cost to complete the project in the time allotted.

9. Project Timeline

Create a project timeline by estimating how long each task will take to complete. Use a tool to create a Gantt chart and print it out for a more impactful project schedule. This adds a flourish of data visualization and skill that Excel sheets lack.

ten. project management

All of the project management rules and procedures that apply to your project are referred to as project governance. For example, it specifies the roles and responsibilities of project team members as well as the framework for decision-making.

11. Communication Strategy

Establish check-in and status update milestones, as well as how stakeholders will be kept informed of project progress throughout the project life cycle.

Reports on Progress

Make a plan to monitor and track your progress throughout the project so that you can compare planned to actual progress. There are task tracking tools available to assist you in monitoring progress and performance.

Using a project management tool, once again, improves your ability to see what's going on in your project. Dashboards and status reports in ProjectManager provide you with a high-level view and more detail, respectively. Unlike lightweight apps that require you to create a dashboard, ours is built into the tool. Even better, our cloud-based software provides real-time data for more informed decision-making. Also, get reports on timesheets, workload, portfolio status, and much more with a single click, in addition to status updates. The reports are then filtered and shared with stakeholders to keep them up to date.

The live dashboard of ProjectManager allows you to monitor in real time. Try It For Free!

13. Financial Evaluation

This is a critical section of your business case because it explains how the financial benefits outweigh the costs. Compare your project's financial costs and benefits. You can accomplish this by conducting sensitivity and cost-benefit analyses.

14 Market Analysis

Investigate your market, competitors, and industry to identify opportunities and threats.

15. Analysis of Competitors

Determine direct and indirect competitors and evaluate their products, strengths, competitive advantages, and business strategy.

SWOT Analysis 16

A SWOT analysis identifies your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Internal strengths and weaknesses, while external opportunities and threats

Marketing Strategy 17

Describe your product, distribution channels, pricing, and target customers, as well as other aspects of your marketing strategy or plan.

18. Risk Evaluation

There are numerous risk categories that can have an impact on your project. The first step toward mitigating them is identifying and assessing the risks associated with your project's activities.

How ProjectManager Can Assist You With Your Business Case

ProjectManager, an award-winning project management software, can collect and organize all of the data you'll be gathering and then easily share it with your team and project sponsors.

You can import a spreadsheet containing all of your tasks into our software once you have completed them. The information is then instantly populated into a Gantt chart. Simply specify the duration for each task, as well as any dependencies, and your project will be spread across a timeline. You can set goals, but there is a lot more you can do.

ProjectManager has a Gantt chart that can do more than just filter the critical path and set baselines.

You now have a project plan, and you can assign team members to tasks using the online Gantt chart. Then they can directly comment on the tasks they're working on, attaching as many documents and images as they need to foster a collaborative environment. By dragging and dropping the start and end dates, you can track their progress and change task durations as needed.

However, this is only a taste of what ProjectManager has to offer. For the most accurate view of your project, we have kanban boards that visualize your workflow and a real-time dashboard that tracks six project metrics.

With this 30-day free trial, you can try ProjectManager and see for yourself.

Check out our Business Case Training Video.

If you want more business case advice, watch Jennifer Bridges, PMP, in this brief training video. She walks you through the steps necessary to create an effective business case.

For your convenience, here is a screenshot.


Today's topic is how to write a business case. So, in recent years, we've seen the market, or perhaps organizations, companies, or even projects, shift away from doing business cases. However, these days, businesses, organizations, and projects are scrutinizing their investments and looking for a rate of return.

Consider the business case to be your opportunity to package your project, idea, or opportunity and demonstrate what it means, what the benefits are, and how others can benefit.

Today, we'd like to look at what's in a business case and how to write one. I want to be clear that when looking for information on a business case, you are not looking for a briefcase.

They were perplexed because they were looking for something and kept pulling up briefcases when they called the other day. That is not what we are discussing today. Business cases are what we're talking about, and they include information about your strategies and goals. It is your company's business proposal. It includes your business outline, business strategy, and marketing plan.

What Is the Purpose of a Business Case?

So, why is that so significant today? Again, companies want not only their project managers but also their team members to have a better understanding of business and more business acumen. As a result, this business case justifies the proposed business change or plan. It outlines the capital allocation you may be looking for as well as the resources needed to put it into action. Then it can be a strategy. It could simply serve as a unified vision. Then it provides various options to the decision-makers.

So, let's take a closer look at the steps involved in putting these business cases together. There are four primary steps. For starters, you should conduct market research. Examine what's available, where the needs are, and where the gaps can be filled. Consider your competition. How are they approaching this, and how can you possibly provide some other options?

You want to compare and finalize different approaches to market entry. Then you compile that information and present strategies, goals, and other options for consideration.

After that, you literally document it.

So, how does the document appear? Today, there are templates available. The components differ, but these are the most common. Then there's what I consider essential. So there you have it, the executive summary. This is simply a summary of your company, what your management team might look like, a summary of your product and service, and a summary of your market.

The business description provides more information about your company's history, mission statement, and what your company is all about, as well as how this product or service fits in.

Then you outline the specifics of the product or service that you want to expand, roll out, or implement. You may even include in their patents any pending or other trademarks that you have.

Then you must identify and plan your marketing strategy. How are you going to present this to your customers, for example? Are you planning to open a physical store? Are you going to do it online? And, how do you intend to market it?

You should also include specific information about your competitor analysis. What steps are they taking? And, I suppose, how do you intend to beat your competitors?

You should also consider and identify your SWOT analysis. And the SWOT analysis is your advantage. What are your competitive advantages in the market? And where are the flaws? Perhaps some of your gaps Furthermore, where are your opportunities and potential threats that you must plan for?
The overview of the operation then includes operational information such as your production, even human resources, as well as information about your company's day-to-day operations.

Then, your financial plan includes your profit statement, profit and loss statement, any financials you may have, any collateral you may have, and any investments you may be looking for.

These are the elements of your business case. This is why it is critical. And if you need a tool to help you manage and track this process, sign up for ProjectManager right now.

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