Writing Style – A Business Case in the Real World
In today’s workplace, it is a wonderful skill to be able to write a business case.
In fact, many business schools spend weeks training their students how to write a comprehensive proposal that covers all angles: Situational Assessment, Problem Statement, Project Description and Objectives, Solution Description, Cost and Benefit Analysis, Financial Assessment, Implementation Timetable, Critical Assumptions and Risk Assessment and Recommendations.
Yet in reality, few managers have time to read such detailed documents. Therefore, the reports are often ignored, placed on the back burner or referred to someone else or to a committee to explore. The best business cases are those that can be read and understood quickly by the recipient. The preferred length is one page.
This does not mean that all the information mentioned earlier is not considered and researched. In fact, a one-page proposal normally takes longer to prepare, because the writer has to fully understand the idea being proposed and all of its ramifications. Then she has to focus on the reader, his needs and his “fear factor.”
Remember it is always easier for a reader to say “no” when it comes to a proposal. Saying “no” often means no complications, nothing to go wrong, and no financial downside. Therefore, to persuade a busy reader every detail must present a strong argument for him to say “yes.”
A good business case includes all the details that will sell the idea to the specific reader, and it can be done in one page!