As a learning leader, there will continue to be plenty of opportunities for you to present a business case. Perhaps you have new product launch learning needs, new hire training overhauls or simply need to add headcount to the training team to support a field team expansion. While the examples of when you need to present a business case are vast, knowing how to present your case is critical.
When to consider preparing a business case?
There are a number of times when you should consider preparing a business case. Having a business case will help you hear the magic words “It’s approved!”. Here are several situations to consider a business case:
- You don’t have any resources
- You need more resources
- You identify a key organizational or performance need that would drive business outcomes if addressed
- The stakeholder expects it
- Presenting to senior leadership
Elements of a business case
Business cases can get pretty detailed and elaborate. The size and scope of the business case will depend on how large your learning initiative or project will be.
There are three key elements of a great business case.
- Background and Business Need - This is a really important element as it conveys the challenge or performance problem that your initiative will address. This may be the most difficult section to write, since it isn’t always easy to capture and articulate the need. However, this element is critical as it sets the stage for your solution. If your request gets shared with others in the organization, it should be clear for anyone reading it, why you want to implement your initiative.
- Project Overview - As it states, this should include key elements:
- Deliverables and Objectives
- Timeline and Key Dates
- Project Team
- Estimated Cost
- The Impact and The Ask - This element outlines the importance of developing the proposed solution and highlights your ask(s) of the audience. To help demonstrate the importance of developing the proposed solution, it can be helpful to illustrate the consequences of not acting. When you do make your ask, be specific! What will you need from each stakeholder to make this successful?
In summary, knowing how and when to make a business case will help you get your new learning initiative approved. In addition to following this structure, be sure to use supporting data to make your case bulletproof and it always helps to know your stakeholder(s). Being able to adjust to their personality and communication style will help your business case be better received.