Business case writing advice

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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.

Intro

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
  • Bouncing back and forth between grammar usage, POV, and voice

Layout

For tips on how to layout and format your business case, check out our Layout article.

BUSINESS CASE FORMATTING TIPS

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