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The Power of the Business Case

We all want to get stuff done, right?

But how do we get stuff done?

We can small-picture, zoom-in on our todo list or do you really want to make an impact?

If you’re a techie you might think – oh ho boring – Business Case has Business in it – why would we need that?

Well, as a creator you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s an underrated tool in clarification of thinking.

A business person (i.e. the CEO or CFO) wants to know the financial and strategic justification for doing something. If you want to do something badly enough, then think about creating a business case for it and then pitching it to someone.

Marketeers are doing this every day. They come up with an idea that will generate revenue for your business – perhaps a campaign, perhaps they will come up with an idea for a new feature, perhaps they will inspire you to come up with a new feature?

And then what? You could try and create that feature by yourself or with a few others on the down-low. You could fold it into some other work and come up with a prototype or MVP. This might work as a Business Case in itself. Perhaps though, you could also think hard about it and present it as something that would benefit the whole company?

A Business Case doesn’t need to be a formal document. It’s not formatted in a particular way, it’s not of a certain length, but it does need to have a persuasive argument that says there is something potentially worth pursuing.

Structure it how you like. Take inspiration from those who’ve done it before. One that is particularly famous is the Amazon Six Pager. This document is an unstructured business case in no more than six pages. It forces the writer to think about what they want to say. This is no pitch, no presentation. It’s a carefully worded and thought out piece of persuasion, intended to bring about a business change and attract investment.

I’m not saying you need to write six pages of carefully worded prose every time you have a great idea – but for the big ones it might be worth considering. And who knows, if your current company says no, perhaps you can take it somewhere else?

Ideas are easy, it’s the implementation details that we get caught up in. But also we need to know where our idea is taking us. Use the Business Case as a thought-experiment that can take you through that journey.