How to Write a Business Case Template (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 5, 2022

Published November 24, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're in a leadership position, you may make decisions that benefit the company, such as whether to go ahead with a project. To help you and your team make these decisions, creating a business case can be beneficial. Knowing more about what a business case is and how to create one can help you make informed decisions. In this article, we define a business case template, review how to write one with easy-to-follow steps and tips, and provide a business case template and example to guide your writing.

What is a business case template?

A business case is a document that outlines potential projects to help teams and stakeholders decide whether completing it is worth the investment, and a business case template is a version of this document that you can fill in with your own information. It discusses the project in detail, including who participates, their roles and tasks, the deadlines, and the pros and cons of the project. Business cases are typically for sponsors or stakeholders to read and decide whether they want to accept, reject, or change the project.

Related: 22 Essential Project Management Skills

How to write a business case

Business cases consist of four sections. Here are steps you can follow to write these sections:

1. Develop your executive summary

The executive summary is the first section of the business case. It's important to be concise and limit yourself to two to three sentences. The summary explains to the reader what you plan to cover throughout the document.

Related: What Is an Executive Summary in a Business Plan? (How-To)

2. Assess the finances

In the next section, you can discuss the finances you need for the project, including an explanation of funding from investors and how you plan to use it. Try to make the project as affordable as possible to increase the likelihood of it being approved. You can also discuss the financial implications the project may have on the company. For example, the company may spend $10,000 on a marketing campaign with the potential to increase sales by $50,000. Highlight the value the company is getting for their investment in this section.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning? (With Benefits)

3. Define the project

The next section outlines the project, and it is typically the largest section of the business case. Here, you can discuss the details your team and stakeholders may want to know. Here's a list of details you can consider including:

  • Background information: This section introduces the document and the project you plan to discuss. It informs readers why you want to implement the project and what it can do for the company.

  • Business objective: The business objective goes into further detail about why you want to do the project by discussing the problem you want to solve, the goals you plan to achieve, and how the project can improve the company.

  • Benefits and limitations: This section discusses any financial or non-financial benefits and limitations of the project. It's important to discuss both the pros and cons so stakeholders can make an informed decision.

  • Project scope: The project scope discusses everything you plan to deliver with the project. You can include specific tasks you plan to execute.

  • Project plan: Your project plan is a summary of all the tasks for each team member and their deadlines.

  • Market assessment: Before planning your project, review what the company's competitors are doing. This gives you a better idea of the current marketplace so you can help ensure your project is relevant, increasing the chances of its success.

  • Risk assessment: This section discusses any risks your project may have and the consequences if they occur. It also discusses potential solutions to each risk to show stakeholders how you plan can counteract any problems.

Related: How to Write a Competitive Analysis in 5 Easy Steps

4. Organize the project

Finally, in the last section, you structure the project. This section is more helpful for your team than for the stakeholders as it discusses specific roles and responsibilities. You can also use this section to discuss how you plan to track your team's progress throughout the project. For example, you can have weekly progress meetings or start an online chat with everyone involved to send progress updates.

Related: 6 Steps for Making Timelines (With Tips and Benefits)

Tips for writing a business case

To create an effective business case and increase your chances of receiving positive feedback, consider these tips:

  • Proofread your document: Before showing anyone the business case, ensure you proofread it. Fix any grammar or spelling mistakes and any awkward sentences so the business case is as professional as possible.

  • Be detailed: To convince management, stakeholders, or your team to agree to the project, include as much detail as you can. This shows everyone you're prepared and have thoroughly considered every aspect of the project.

  • Use past examples: Include past examples of similar, successful projects to help build confidence in your team.

Business case template

To help you write your own business case, use the following template:

Executive Summary

[Discuss what the business case is going to be about in a few short sentences to give stakeholders an overview of the project.]

Finances

  • Financial appraisal: [Discuss the financial impact the project can have on the company.]

  • Sensitivity analysis: [Analyze the potential financial risks of the project.]

Project Definition

  • Background information: [Introduce the business case.]

  • Business objective: [Describe why the company needs the project.]

  • Benefits and limitations: [Discuss the pros and cons of the project.]

  • Project scope: [Mention the tasks and deliverables you plan to execute with this project.]

  • Project plan: [Outline the stages of the project.]

  • Market assessment: [Assess the market to look for opportunities or potential threats from competitors.]

  • Risk assessment: [Identify the potential risks of the project and how you can manage them.]

  • Timeline: [Create a detailed schedule for each stage and task in the project.]

Project Organization

  • Project governance: [Discuss everyone's roles and responsibilities for the project.]

  • Progress reporting: [Discuss how you want to assess project performance.]

Business case example

Here's an example of what a business case can look like to help you write your own:

Executive Summary

This document presents research findings, analysis, and recommendations regarding our marketing campaign for the new spring makeup line.

Finances

  • Financial appraisal: The marketing team wants to launch the campaign on all social media platforms. They believe having a well-known influencer advertise the line can increase sales. They estimate a cost of $90,000 for the entire campaign.

  • Sensitivity analysis: The influencer the marketing team chose has a following of 1.5 million people and we only have a following of 250,000 people, so we may reach a much larger audience with this investment. The campaign also aims to increase brand awareness and revenue.

Project Definition

  • Background information: With our new spring makeup line coming out, we want it to be as successful as possible. Our previous fall and winter lines did well, but we want to double sales and increase brand awareness.

  • Business objective: Our sales and social media interaction have been low, but having a well-known influencer and a targeted marketing campaign can help solve this problem.

  • Benefits and limitations: The campaign aims to increase our social media following so we can reach a larger audience with future posts. Partnering with an influencer helps us build credibility and brand awareness. By only working with one influencer, we're limited to their audience.

  • Project scope: The marketing team wants to create a short series of photos and videos to tease the upcoming makeup line. The media can feature the influencer and other models to highlight each product.

  • Project plan: We aim to complete this campaign within a month. We have models from our last campaign that agreed to work with us again. Our plan is to spend the first week filming with the models and the second week filming with the influencer. We plan to spend the third week editing and preparing the content. The fourth week, which is the week before we launch the line, is when we can post the content on all our social media channels.

  • Market assessment: Our competitors are planning to release their spring line later in the season, so we have the opportunity to make a big impact first.

Project Organization

  • Project governance: Julie has assigned roles to everyone in her marketing team in anticipation of this project being approved.

  • Progress reporting: We can meet with Julie and members of her team at the end of each week to discuss their progress.

Now that we've reviewed a business case template and the steps to write one, you'll be in a better position to write your own should the need arise at your workplace.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

Explore more articles