If your organisation relies on funding, such as grants, to turn projects into a reality, then most likely you will need to become proficient at producing a business case.

So just what is a business case?

Business cases are generally required for large scale projects that are seeking high
levels of financial investment, as well as projects that may have government
policy implications.

A business case is a document that communicates the reasons for undertaking a
project, with an objective of convincing decision-makers to approve action that
will allow for the project to progress. Typically, these decisions are around
funding approvals – either government or commercial investment.

Why do you need a business case? And what should be included?

It’s important that any business case clearly explains the value of the project and gives information that the decision-makers need to feel confident in authorising actions to allow to project proceed.

Business cases include detailed descriptions of the project objectives and planned
activities. They also delve into alignment with policy and strategy, look at
the economic, financial and social implications of the project, along with
development of a recommended funding strategy.

They are also useful for providing a tool to communicate with stakeholders about your project and to secure political buy-in. They also offer the background work generally required for seeking government planning endorsements and approvals.

Often business cases will include a cost-benefit analysis and the projection of whole of life costs for any infrastructure. This last bit is important! What it means is you’ll look at more than just what will it cost to do this but also what the long-term implications are for managing the program or asset.  So you’ll know up front whether you can afford to go ahead – yes, it would be great to secure $2.5m for your new facility, but if modelling shows you’ll need to find $100k a year to operate, maintain and eventually upgrade it, you might need to re-think your plans.

A strong business case will position your organisation well as you approach key funders for support.