Use this page for advice when writing a business case. By following these simple suggestions, you have a greater chance of writing professionally and getting your business case approved.
A business case can be a daunting and time-consuming project. With many components and people involved, the simple aspect of good old-fashioned writing can be overlooked. However, with these suggestions you can avoid rejection based solely on rushed or forced writing.
Make your writing clear, concise, and relevant
- Clearly define a problem or opportunity and how the business case solves that problem.
- Write, rewrite, review, and rewrite again and again until you nail it. It’s of the utmost importance that your writing clicks with your audience.
- Keep your main tagline short – No more than a sentence or two so it can easily be shared by word of mouth.
- Make sure your readers can grasp what you want to achieve on a single read-through. Anytime someone needs to go back and re-read, there’s a chance you’ll lose them.
Cater your writing to your audience
While all the details in your business case are important, your business case must be written in a way that grabs the attention of your specific reader.
- Know your audience. Avoid insider jargon, technical details, or overly complex wording. It won’t get approved if it doesn’t make sense.
- Use snappy, on-brand writing to keep it relevant to your business and leadership.
- Don’t be generic. Use unique keywords that appeal to your reader and are relevant to your company.
- Include details that directly impact your reader/approver. This includes repercussions, how the project addresses it, timelines, money saved & gained, and resources required.
Set aside time for writing
Set aside time that is specifically allocated to focus on the writing, language, and grammar.
- You will spend countless hours gathering details, data, and feedback on your business case. In all of that chaos, you must remember to re-write everything you’ve gathered so it meets the needs of your audience.
- Do not just copy/paste information provided from others. This leads to inconsistency in your writing.
- Research how your marketing department uses language to stay on-brand. Use this language in your business case to align with your company’s overall vision.
- Read your text aloud. This will help ensure there are no hang-ups when trying to explain complex situations or problems.
- Do not trust spellchecker to catch all your mistakes or grammar inconsistencies. While Microsoft Word and other programs are a great starting point, they do not catch every mistake.
- There’s no faster way to get a business case rejected than poor use of grammar or misspellings as it makes your work look rushed and unprofessional.
Get peer reviews
- While your business case may make sense and read clearly to you, never send it off to your final audience without getting a few extra eyes on it.
- Peers can provide additional insight or share info from areas outside of your expertise.
- You can read a line a hundred times and it may sound great, but there’s a chance you’re missing a simple error, such as ‘the the,’ because your eyes skipped right over it.
- Speaking of reading, a sentence might make sense to you but not to someone unfamiliar with your topic. Co-workers can let you know if you are writing with clarity.
- Peers can also catch glaring mistakes or assumptions. Maybe a recent project launched that you were not aware of. You can get context to adjust your plan.
- If you plan on presenting your business case, do a few test presentations with your peers.
Things to avoid
- Wandering focus – Stay on your topic
- Poor grammar, language, and spelling
- Inconsistent formatting and punctuation
- See Formatting tips for more
- Bouncing back and forth between grammar usage, POV, and voice
- See Grammar tips for more
For tips on how to layout and format your business case, check out our Layout article.