How to Write a Business Justification

by Mackenzie Maxwell

Published on 21 Nov 2018

Any time a business goes through major changes, a business justification can help the leaders set the appropriate course of action. You may need this document, which is also called a business case, if you are just starting a business, expanding into new territory or changing your company structure. Furthermore, you will often need these any time your business applies for funding from investors or lenders. To make this document as useful as possible, make sure to learn to write it correctly.

Call Out the Problem You Solve

The most successful businesses solve a problem for customers. It can be a global problem, like companies that create alternative energy or make allergen-free foods. However, solving local or relatively small problems can be just as convincing for this purpose. For example, a rural grocery store may realize that the community has no coffee shop. If such a store wanted to get a loan to install a cafe in the store, the leaders may say that they will solve this issue in the town.

Depending on what you will use your business case for and how obvious the issue is, the length of this section will vary. If you need this document for your own decision-making process and the need you solve is exceedingly obvious, you may just start with a paragraph on the need you fill. However, if you need plenty of funding or the issue is complicated, you should consider adding research and charts.

List the Alternatives

Once you have convinced the reader that there's a problem to solve, you can show that you have considered all the possible ways of solving it. In some business justifications, it's appropriate to show that you are open to the options on this list.

Consider a local restaurant with owners who want to expand into a franchise. They may list alternative locations throughout the surrounding cities. To help shareholders, lenders or themselves make the decision, the writer may also list advantages, problems, research and notes on each possible new site.

List the Positive Possible Outcomes

In the next section of the business case, identify as many advantages to your plan as you can. These positives should include any monetary gain or savings. However, you do not have to limit yourself to the numbers. Think about a business that wants to expand their marketing strategy. The first advantage may be increased brand awareness. The writer may then also include an estimate of increased revenue from new customers.

If you can find facts or conduct research to back up your claims, these can be helpful. However, you do not usually need to spend more than a paragraph on each positive outcome. Be as specific as you can in those three or four sentences.

Weigh the Risks

No business decision is completely without risk. As uncomfortable as it can be to consider the possible downsides of expanding or starting a company, it's important to give this portion of the case as much attention as the advantages. Like in the previous section, these points can be qualitative or quantitative.

Some of the risks may be unavoidable. For example, if you decide to expand into one town, you may have an opportunity cost for not investing in the alternatives. If you find a risk that is completely avoidable while you solve the problem, the justification has done part of its job. Think through ways to mitigate or eliminate this potential downside.

Assess Scope and Impact

Finally, you should outline how far you want to take this project for the time being and how it will affect day-to-day operations. Clearly explain the scope of the project or business. Although you may have big goals in your mind, keep the scope here relative to your audience.

For example, if you're only trying to gain funding to expand to one more location, limit the scope to this for the time being. You can always add more when you're ready to make your brand a global phenomenon. For this situation, the impact on your business may include the number of employees you will bring on. This may have additional impacts on your company. For example, if the expansion brings your total full-time employee number above 50, you may have to provide health insurance.

Be as specific as possible about each point and follow them to their logical conclusions. You may find that there is a different way to structure the project that has more favorable impacts. Remember that this means the business justification is working well.


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Brain scans are showing us in new detail exactly what entices readers. Scientists can see a group of midbrain neurons—the “reward circuit”—light up as people respond to everything from a simple metaphor to an unexpected story twist. The big takeaway? Whether you’re crafting an email to a colleague or an important report for the board, you can write in a way that delights readers on a primal level, releasing pleasure chemicals in their brains.

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Strong writing skills are essential for anyone in business. You need them to effectively communicate with colleagues, employees, and bosses and to sell any ideas, products, or services you’re offering.

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Business justification (also: business case , business rationale ) prepared for the project is one of the foundations for its implementation. It allows to assess the desirability, reasonableness and purposefulness of future activities and to assess the probability of success of implementation in the short and long-term perspective. The business case of the project is also a document allowing the entities and institutions supervising the project ( stakeholders ) to take and justify decisions having an impact on the course of the project. This is one of the essential parts of the basic document initiating the project: Project Charter . To a minimum extent, business justification defines the expected results of the project and gives direction to the project team

  • 1 The role of business justification
  • 2 Example structure of business justification
  • 3 Example business justification for a project
  • 4 Benefits of business justification
  • 5 Limitations of business justification
  • 6 Other documents necessary in early project stage
  • 7 References

The role of business justification

The role of a business justification in a project is to provide a comprehensive and persuasive argument for why the project should be undertaken and to demonstrate that it is a worthwhile investment for the organization . It helps to ensure that the project is aligned with the organization's overall goals and objectives , and that the proposed solution is the most efficient and effective way to address the problem or opportunity.

A business justification serves as a guide for the project team, outlining the scope, objectives, deliverables, and key stakeholders for the project. It also helps to identify potential risks and contingencies, and outlines a plan for mitigating them.

It also helps to secure the necessary resources, including funding and personnel, for the project. By providing a clear and compelling argument for the project, stakeholders such as upper management and investors are more likely to approve and allocate resources for the project.

In addition, a business justification helps to ensure that the project is well-planned and executed, by providing a clear and measurable set of objectives and benefits, as well as a detailed plan for implementation and governance.

The business justification serves as a roadmap for the project, outlining the steps necessary to achieve success and demonstrating the potential benefits to the organization.

Example structure of business justification

A business justification typically includes the following sections:

  • Executive Summary : A brief overview of the key points of the business case, including the problem or opportunity, proposed solution, projected costs and benefits, and recommended course of action .
  • Problem or Opportunity : A detailed description of the problem or opportunity that the project is meant to address, including the impact it has on the organization and the reasons why a solution is needed.
  • Proposed Solution : A description of the proposed solution, including the project scope , objectives, and deliverables.
  • Project Costs : A detailed breakdown of the projected costs of the project, including expenses for materials, labor, and any other necessary resources.
  • Project Benefits : A detailed analysis of the projected benefits of the project , including financial and operational benefits, and how they align with the organization's overall goals and objectives.
  • Risk and Contingency : A description of the potential risks and contingencies associated with the project and the plan for mitigating them
  • Implementation and Governance : A description of the plan for implementing the project, including timelines, milestones, and key stakeholders.
  • Conclusion : A summary of the key points of the business case, including the problem or opportunity, proposed solution, projected costs and benefits, and recommended course of action.
  • Appendices : Additional information and supporting documents, such as financial projections, market research, and regulatory analysis.

It should be noted that the structure of the business justification can vary depending on the organization, project, and audience, but the above-mentioned sections are the common elements that most business justification should have.

Example business justification for a project

Here's an example of a business justification for a project to implement a new customer relationship management (CRM) system :

  • Executive Summary : The current customer relationship management system is outdated and not able to keep up with the demands of the business. A new CRM system is needed to improve customer satisfaction , increase sales, and streamline internal processes. The proposed solution is to implement a new CRM system at a cost of $500,000, with projected benefits of $1 million in increased sales and cost savings of $250,000 per year. The recommended course of action is to proceed with the implementation of the new CRM system.
  • Problem or Opportunity : The current CRM system is outdated and has limited capabilities , resulting in poor customer satisfaction and lost sales opportunities. In order to stay competitive and meet the demands of the business, a new CRM system is needed.
  • Proposed Solution : The proposed solution is to implement a new CRM system that includes features such as automation of sales and marketing processes, improved data analysis and reporting, and enhanced customer tracking and communication capabilities. The project scope includes the purchase and implementation of the new CRM system, as well as training for all employees on its use.
  • Project Costs : The projected costs for the project include the purchase of the new CRM system at $400,000, implementation and customization costs at $50,000, and employee training at $50,000. The total projected cost of the project is $500,000.
  • Project Benefits : The new CRM system is expected to generate $1 million in increased sales through improved lead generation and tracking capabilities. Additionally, the automation of internal processes is expected to result in cost savings of $250,000 per year.
  • Risk and Contingency : There is a risk that the new CRM system may not be fully adopted by employees, resulting in limited benefits. To mitigate this risk, a plan for training and support will be put in place. Additionally, the project will include a pilot phase to test the system before fully implementing it.
  • Implementation and Governance : The project will be overseen by a steering committee , including representatives from sales, marketing, and IT departments. The project will be broken down into phases, including requirements gathering, selection of vendor, customization and testing, deployment, and post-implementation support and monitoring.
  • Conclusion : A new CRM system is needed to improve customer satisfaction, increase sales, and streamline internal processes. The proposed solution is to implement a new CRM system at a cost of $500,000, with projected benefits of $1 million in increased sales and cost savings of $250,000 per year. The recommended course of action is to proceed with the implementation of the new CRM system.
  • Financial projections for the new CRM system
  • Vendor comparison and selection report
  • Project timeline and milestones

This is an example of a business justification, but it should be noted that the contents, format, and details of the justification should be tailored to the specific project and organization.

Benefits of business justification

There are several benefits of creating a business justification for a project, including:

  • Alignment with organizational goals and objectives : By clearly outlining the problem or opportunity the project addresses and the projected benefits, a business justification helps to ensure that the project is aligned with the organization's overall goals and objectives.
  • Securing resources : A well-written business justification can help to secure the necessary resources, such as funding and personnel, for the project by providing a clear and compelling argument for the project.
  • Identifying potential risks and contingencies : A business justification helps to identify potential risks and contingencies associated with the project and outlines a plan for mitigating them.
  • Improving project planning and execution : By providing a clear and measurable set of objectives and benefits, as well as a detailed plan for implementation and governance, a business justification helps to ensure that the project is well-planned and executed.
  • Demonstrating the value of the project : A business justification demonstrates the value of the project to the organization by outlining the projected costs and benefits and showing the potential return on investment (ROI) for the organization.
  • Communicating with stakeholders : A business justification serves as a communication tool between the project team and stakeholders, providing them with a clear understanding of the project's goals, objectives, and expected outcomes.
  • Evaluating project's performance : A business justification serves as a benchmark for evaluating the performance of the project and determining whether it met its objectives and delivered the expected outcomes.
  • Improving decision making : A business justification provides a clear and comprehensive analysis of the problem or opportunity, proposed solution, projected costs and benefits, and risks and contingencies, which helps to improve decision making.

Limitations of business justification

There are several limitations of creating a business justification for a project, including:

  • Uncertainty : Business justifications rely on assumptions and predictions about the future. These assumptions and predictions may turn out to be inaccurate due to changes in the market, economy, or other external factors, which can affect the project's outcome.
  • Limited perspective : Business justifications are typically created by the project team, which can lead to a limited perspective and potential biases. This can result in an incomplete or inaccurate assessment of the problem or opportunity, proposed solution, projected costs and benefits, and risks and contingencies.
  • Lack of flexibility : Once a project is approved and resources are committed, it can be difficult to change the scope, objectives, or deliverables of the project. This can lead to a lack of flexibility in addressing unforeseen issues or taking advantage of new opportunities.
  • Time-consuming : Business justification process is time-consuming and requires a significant investment of resources, including the time and expertise of the project team and other stakeholders.
  • Limited focus on implementation : Business justification process focuses more on the upfront planning, and may not have enough focus on the implementation and execution of the project . This can lead to a lack of attention to the details that are required to make the project a success.
  • Limited consideration of social and environmental factors : Business justification may not consider the broader social and environmental impact of a project. This can lead to negative consequences for the

Other documents necessary in early project stage

In addition to a business justification, there are several other documents that are typically necessary in the early stages of a project, including:

  • Project charter : A project charter is a document that formally begins a project and outlines the project's scope, objectives, deliverables, and key stakeholders. It also includes information on the project's budget, schedule, and governance structure.
  • Statement of work : a document that outlines the specific tasks, deliverables, and expectations for a project or a specific phase of a project. It serves as a guide for the project team and stakeholders, outlining the work that needs to be done and how it will be accomplished.
  • Stakeholder analysis : A stakeholder analysis document identifies and analyzes the key stakeholders of the project, including their roles, responsibilities, and interests. It helps to identify potential conflicts or areas of concern and outlines a plan for communication and engagement with stakeholders.
  • Project plan : A project plan outlines the tasks, milestones, and deliverables for the project, as well as the resources and schedule required to complete them. It also includes information on project management , risk management , and quality control.
  • Resource plan : A resource plan outlines the resources, including personnel, equipment, and materials, needed to complete the project. It also includes information on resource allocation, scheduling, and costs.
  • Risk management plan : A risk management plan identifies potential risks and hazards associated with the project and outlines a plan for mitigating or avoiding them. It also includes information on risk monitoring and reporting.
  • Communication plan : A communication plan outlines the communication channels and frequency for project updates, progress reports, and other communication with stakeholders .
  • Change management plan : A change management plan outlines the process for managing and controlling changes to the project scope, objectives, and deliverables.
  • Clark, K. B. (2003). Project Scope and Project Performance . Operations Management : Critical Perspectives on Business and Management , 3(10), 446.
  • Khan, A. (2006). Project scope management . Cost engineering, 48(6), 12-16.
  • Kraus, W. E., & Cressman, K. R. (1992). Project Scope Definition-A Practical Approach , COST ENGINEERING-ANN ARBOR THEN MORGANTOWN-, 34, 15-15.
  • Meredith, J. R., & Mantel Jr, S. J. (2011). Project management: a managerial approach . John Wiley & Sons.
  • PMI (2001). Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE) . In Project Management Institute.
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How Do You Write A Business Justification?

writing business justification

Writing a business justification or argument is one of the most important tasks an employee in your organization can do, especially if they are trying to get a significant increase in pay or a higher position.

As a manager, you will be doing this for many things; sometimes it’s for raising your own salary, sometimes it’s for giving someone else a raise, and occasionally it’s just because you want something like a new computer or office supplies.

It doesn’t matter what the reason is, however, writing a business justification or argument is always the same thing: you are arguing why your option is best.

You will probably be given limited time to write yours, so you need to make sure that yours is strong and clearly stated.

Create the topic

how do you write a business justification

Writing a business justification or argument typically starts with creating a new topic. Yours can be to find a new job, increase your pay, get additional benefits, start or improve a career, or all of the above!

Your potential reader will know what they want to read next once you’ve established that initial topic. Make sure to use appropriate vocabulary and emphasize the importance of the topic as you develop it.

Keep it natural and simple — no need to dive into complex jargon unless you have proofread your content several times.

And remember, even if this is an internal memo to yourself, your audience may not agree! Keep things civil and professional; sometimes people have very different opinions.

General tips for writing effective arguments

The word “argument” implies two opposing points of view so make sure your message has solid supporting evidence.

Avoid using anecdotal stories or experiences unless they are backed up by data. Use statistics and examples instead to prove your point.

Using too many negatives can weaken your argument. If necessary, include the opposite side of the equation but focus more on why your proposal makes sense rather than why it won’t work.

Don’t assume anything about your opponents – try to think like them and consider their angles as well. Being aware of the other person’s position will help clarify the best approach in negating theirs.

Take time to review your draft before submitting.

Develop your topic

how do you write a business justification

Writing a business justification is very different from writing an introduction or a paragraph that does not have a bullet point. When writing a business justification, you need to make sure your argument is logical and clear.

You do not simply state your goal, followed by why it is important and then check the box saying “necessary” because that sounds fake. A good business justification must be logically persuasive – it must use logic to prove its case.

So how do you write a business justification? By developing your topic first!

The more prepared you are, the better! Before starting to draft, you should know what arguments you will use to support your goal. This gives you some basic framework for organizing your thoughts.

Once you have this frame, you can start forming ideas and concepts about your topic. Start with something simple like “ why we should launch our product today�” and work backwards towards creating a longer explanation.

This way you will connect each idea to the next and form a coherent narrative flow. Make sure to include examples and information to back up these reasons.

After all, no one wants to read through pages of jargon and assumptions! So, be careful to include enough details to convince others of your points.

Brainstorm a list of topics

Writing a business justification is one of the most important tasks an employee in your organization can do. If you’re ever asked to produce one, you need to be familiar with it!

Writing a business justification is like writing any other type of essay. A good business justification uses arguments and examples to prove its point. It may also include questions that explore potential outcomes of making or not making the recommendation.

The difference is that a business justification makes a claim about something (or someone) within your department or company. This could be recommending an internal process be changed, proposing new people be hired, or asking for a pay increase.

Narrow down your topic

Writing a business justification or argument typically starts with defining your topic, which is how you start writing your paragraph. Yours will likely be related to either an asking question or providing information to someone.

Your audience should know what you are talking about before you talk about it. Make sure your introduction sets up the topic clearly!

Avoid using jargon in your introductions unless you really mean it and believe in it strongly. This way your audience knows what you are talking about and can get the rest of the info from other sources if they want it.

If there’s something you're particularly passionate about, include that in your intro. It'll help boost reader engagement and interest.

Write your initial draft

how do you write a business justification

Even if you have a solid business idea that has been working for you, writing a business justification is still an exercise in creativity and restructuring of ideas.

This article will help you take all of those good parts of your current business model and rebrand them as what your new business should be!

Your old business can become the foundation of your new one. Only then should you start thinking about what angle you want to bring into the new company.

What are we talking about? We’re talking about taking what you currently do well and developing it into a more advanced version of itself!

That’s what entrepreneurs do. They develop their current businesses into something bigger and better.

It’s why companies go through several transitions before finding their perfect fit.

Business justifications are a way to validate your need for change by comparing yourself to others doing similar things.

There are many ways to write a business justification, so pick one that works best for you and keep revising it until you feel it sounds believable.

Disclaimer: This article may contain links to sites where he/she receives compensation or commissions. These links will not affect our content, judgment, or recommendations. Clicking on these links will only serve to provide you further information regarding topics set forth here.

Edit your writing

Even though you may have spent time developing your career, including through additional education or training, there is always something new to learn. With technology moving at such a lightning speed, there are constantly updated tools and techniques professionals use to produce their work.

By adding some editing to your repertoire, you will ensure your business justifications are strong and effective.

Editorialists spend lots of time proofreading other people’s work so that they can find any mistakes and fix them. By doing the same for yourself, you will save yourself a lot of wasted effort later !

There are several ways to edit your own writing. You can do it as you put together your presentation, in advance, or you can do it while creating it. Either way, make sure you aren’t trying to cover up poor quality material with fancy decorations!

The first step towards great editorializing is to recognize when you have made an error. When you stumble upon one , take a moment to think about what you could have done better and then implement those changes into next time.

Create your website

Running a business means doing things! Starting your own business includes creating or updating your online presence to include a website, social media pages , and advertisements.

Having a website is a pretty important part of running a business these days. Websites are how most people find out about you and what you offer before they do business with you.

It’s also a way to keep in touch with customers who may want to return or purchase more products or services from you.

By having this web presence, you will be giving them a chance to read reviews, see pictures of what you produce, and learn some information about you as an entrepreneur.

It creates an opportunity for conversations that can help grow your business. If someone wants to buy something, they can go onto your site and look around until they find it.

Running a business doesn’t always mean being hands-on, but having this web presence makes it possible to stay in control without taking over everything. It helps maintain separation between you and your audience.

Promote your blog

Writing a business justification or argument is also known as writing an explanation. It’s usually to justify why something is necessary for success. For instance, if my company needs money to stay in business, then explaining how to earn money through blogging is a great way to advertise.

A good business justification makes the reader feel confident in the importance of what you are proposing.

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  • The beginner’s guide to writing an effe ...

The beginner’s guide to writing an effective business case

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Nearly every project needs to be approved—whether that means getting the simple go-ahead from your team or gaining the support of an executive stakeholder. You may be familiar with using a project plan or project charter to propose a new initiative and get the green light for a project. But if your proposed project represents a significant business investment, you may need to build a business case.

If you’ve never written a business case, we’re here to help. With a few resources and a little planning, you can write a business case that will help you get the resources and support you need to manage a successful project.

What is a business case?

A business case is a document that explains the value or benefits your company will gain if you pursue a significant business investment or initiative. This initiative can be anything from the messaging for a new product or feature launch, a proposal to increase spend on a current initiative, or a significant investment with a new agency or contractor—to name a few. A compelling business case will outline the expected benefits of this significant investment decision. Key stakeholders will use the business case you provide to determine whether or not to move forward with an initiative.

If you’ve never created a business case, it may sound similar to other early project planning documentation. Here’s how it stacks up:

The difference between a business case and business plan

A  business case  is a proposal for a new strategy or large initiative. It should outline the business needs and benefits your company will receive from pursuing this opportunity.

A  business plan , on the other hand, is an outline for a totally new business. Typically, you’d draft a business plan to map out your business strategy, your mission and vision statements, and how you’re planning on getting there. There may be a case where you create a business plan for an already-existing business, but you’d only do so if you’re trying to take your business in a significantly new direction.

Business case vs. executive summary

Business case vs. project charter.

If you need to create an elevator pitch for your project but you don’t quite need the full business case treatment, you might need a project charter. Much like a business case, a project charter outlines key details of an initiative. Specifically, a project charter will cover three main elements of your project: project objectives, project scope, and key project stakeholders. Your management team will then use the project charter to approve further project development.

Do you need a business case?

Not every project needs a business case—or even a project charter. Plan to build a business case only for initiatives or investments that will require significant business resources. If you’re working on a smaller initiative, consider creating a project charter to pitch your project idea to relevant stakeholders.

Even if you don’t need to pitch your project to any stakeholders, you should be ready to answer basic questions about your proposed project, like:

What is this project’s purpose?

Why are we working on this project?

How does this project connect to organizational goals and objectives?

Which metrics will we use to measure the success of the project ?

Who is working on this project?

When is this project going to be completed?

5 steps for creating and pitching a business case

Your business case shouldn’t just include key facts and figures—it should also tell a story of why pursuing a particular investment or initiative is a good idea for your business. When in doubt, avoid jargon and be brief—but always focus on communicating the value of the project. If this is your first time creating a business case, don’t worry. Follow these five steps to create a solid one.

1. Gather input

You don’t have to write a business case on your own. Instead, make sure appropriate team members and stakeholders are contributing to the relevant sections. For example, the IT team should be involved in any tooling and timeline decisions, while the finance team should review any budget and risk management sections. If you’re creating a business case to propose a new initiative, product line, or customer persona, make sure you also consult subject matter experts.

2. Plan to write your business case out of order

Some of the first things that appear in your business case—like your executive summary—should actually be drafted last, when you have all of the resources and information to make an informed suggestion. Your executive summary will present all of your findings and make a recommendation for the business based on a variety of factors. By gathering all of those details first—like project purpose, financial information, and project risk—you can ensure your executive summary has all of the relevant information.

3. Build your business case incrementally

A business case describes a significant investment for your company. Similarly, simply writing a business case is a significant investment of your time. Not every initiative is right for your business—so make sure you’re checking your work with stakeholders as you go. You don’t want to sink hours and weeks into this document only for it to be rejected by executive stakeholders right off the bat.

Consider doing a “soft launch” with an outline of your business case to your project sponsor or an executive stakeholder you have a good relationship with to confirm this initiative is something you should pursue. Then, as you build the different sections of your business case, check back in with your key stakeholders to confirm there are no deal-breakers.

4. Refine the document

As you create sections of your business case, you may need to go back and refine other sections. For example, once you’ve finished doing a cost-benefit analysis with your financial team, make sure you update any budget-related project risks.

Before presenting your business case, do a final read through with key stakeholders to look for any sections that can be further refined. At this stage, you’ll also want to write the executive summary that goes at the top of the document. Depending on the length of your business case, your executive summary should be one to two pages long.

5. Present the business case

The final step is to actually present your business case. Start with a quick elevator pitch that answers the what, why, and how of your proposal. Think of this presentation as your chance to explain the current business need, how your proposal addresses the need, and what the business benefits are. Make sure to address any risks or concerns you think your audience would have.

Don’t go through your business case page by page. Instead, share the document with stakeholders before the presentation so they have a chance to read through it ahead of time. Then, after your presentation, share the document again so stakeholders can dig into details.

A business case checklist

Start with the why.

The first section of the business case is your chance to make a compelling argument about the new project. Make sure you draft an argument that appeals to your audience’s interests and needs. Despite being the first section in your business case, this should be the last section you write. In addition to including the  traditional elements of an executive summary , make sure you answer:

What business problem is your project solving?  This is your chance to explain why your project is important and why executive stakeholders should consider pursuing this opportunity.

What is your business objective ?  What happens at the end of a successful project? How will you measure success—and what does a successful project mean for your business?

How does this business case fit into your overall company business strategy plan?  Make sure your proposed business case is connected to important  company goals . The initiative proposed in your business case should move the needle towards your company's  vision statement .

Outline financials and the return on investment

At this point in your business case, you should outline the project finance fundamentals. Don’t expect to create this section on your own—you should draft this in partnership with your company’s finance team. In particular, this section should answer:

How much will this project cost?  Even if the initiative is completely new to your company, do some research to estimate the project costs.

What does each individual component of the project cost?  In addition to estimating the total overall cost, break down the different project costs. For example, you might have project costs for new tools and resources, competitive intelligence resourcing, agency costs, etc.

What is the expected return on investment (ROI)?  You’ve talked about the costs—now talk about how your company will benefit from this initiative. Make sure to explain how you calculated the ROI, too.

How will this project impact cash flow?  Cash flow is the amount of money being transferred into and out of your business. Significant investments are going to cost a lot of money, so they’ll negatively impact cash flow—but you should also expect a high ROI, which will positively impact cash flow.

What is the sensitivity analysis?  Sensitivity analysis is a summary of how uncertain your numbers are. There will be a variety of variables that impact your business case. Make sure to explain what those variables are, and how that could impact your projections.

Preview project details

Your business case is proposing a new initiative. In addition to the financial risks, take some time to preview project details. For example, your business case should include:

Your  project objectives  and  key project deliverables .  What will happen at the end of the project? What are you expecting to create or deliver once the project is over?

Your  project plan .  A project plan is a blueprint of the key elements your team needs to accomplish in order to successfully achieve your project goals.

The  project scope .  What are the boundaries of your project? What exact goals, deliverables, and deadlines will you be working towards?

A list of relevant  project stakeholders .  Who are the important project stakeholders and key decision makers for this work? This can include the members of the project team that would be working on this initiative, executive stakeholders who would sponsor the project, and any external stakeholders who might be involved.

A general  project roadmap  in a Gantt-chart like view.  At this stage in the process, you don’t need to provide a detailed project timeline, but you should outline a general sense of when each project stage will happen in relation to the others. To do this, create a project roadmap in  Gantt-chart like software . Make sure to include any important  project milestones  in your roadmap as well.

Any important project dependencies.  Is there anything that would get in the way of this project getting started? Does this work rely on any other work that’s currently in flight?

Discuss project risks

Once you’ve outlined the financial impact and important project details, make sure you include any potential project risks. If you haven’t already, create a  project risk management plan  for your business case. Project risk management isn’t the process of eliminating risk—instead, it’s about identifying, analyzing, and proactively responding to any potential project risks. Clearly defining each project risk and how that risk might impact your project can best equip you and the project team to manage and avoid those risks.

In the risk section of your business case, include:

A risk analysis of any potential project risks.  What is the risk? How likely is it to happen? What is the priority level of this risk?

What, if any, assumptions you are making.  In project risk management, assumptions are anything you think will be true about the project, without those details being guaranteed facts. Basing project decisions around an assumption can open your project up to risk. Make sure you ratify every project assumption to avoid jeopardizing project success.

Any comparable alternatives in the market.  If you’re writing a business case to pitch a new product or angle in the market, evaluate anything that already exists. Could the alternative impact your financial assessment or project success?

Develop an action plan

In the final section of your business case, outline how you will turn this business case into an actionable project. This section should answer questions like:

How will decisions be made?  Who is responsible for the project? Who is the project sponsor? If you haven’t already, consider creating a  RACI chart  to outline project responsibilities.

How will progress be measured and reported?  Not every project stakeholder needs to be notified of every project change. Outline key parts of your project communication plan , as well as how you’ll communicate  project status updates .

What is the next course of action?  If the management team ratifies this business case, what next steps will you take to put this into action?

Bring your business case to life

You’ve built a solid business case and it’s been ratified—congratulations! The next step is to bring your business case to life. It can be intimidating to  initiate large-scale change , and implementing your business case is no exception.

If you haven’t already, make sure you have a  project management tool  in place to manage and organize your new initiative. With a central source of truth to track who’s doing what by when, share status updates, and keep project stakeholders in the loop, you can turn a great business case into a successful project.

How to Write a Business Case: Examples, Templates, and Checklists

By Joe Weller | April 24, 2019 (updated February 26, 2023)

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This article presents expert tips on how to write a business case. We also provide a checklist to prepare for, write, and present a business case, along with free, easy-to-use Word and PowerPoint business case templates.

Included on this page, you'll find details on how to write a business case , sections to include in your business case , a business case checklist , and business case presentation examples .

What Is a Business Case?

A business case is a formal, structured document; an informal, short document; or a verbal exchange that defines the benefits of an initiative or project.

In addition, a business case forecasts the costs, benefits, and risks of an initiative, so decision makers — and even the project initiators — can decide whether a project is worthwhile and why to choose one approach over similar strategies.

Jim Maholic has over 20 years of experience with IT strategy and business case development, including two stints as a CIO, two management positions with the Big Four consulting firms, and leadership positions at several technology companies.

He describes a business case in this way: “A business case is the full story that explains the ROI for a capital project. It begins with a statement of a business problem, then explores how we can solve it or what the value of solving it is. For example, ‘Our revenues aren’t rising as fast as they should,’ or ‘Inventory isn't turning over as fast as it should,’ or ‘Costs are too high.’ That's where the business case starts.

Jim Maholic

“Then, we find out how big this problem is. We talk to people in the company and find out what they think the value of solving the problem is. All this information is packaged into a story that says, ‘Here's the problem. Here's the value of solving the problem. Here's what it costs in hardware, software, or whatever. Here are the benefits. And here’s the whole story.’”

Business Cases Explain Why You Should Invest

A business case explains why stakeholders should invest in a project. The purpose of a business case contrasts with that of a project proposal , which provides a high-level outline of what you want to initiate and its benefits to the company, or that of a project plan , which explains how you execute a project. You should create your business case during the earliest stages of project planning .

A business case can also become a key document for a project manager when planning, creating milestones, and evaluating progress.

Other names and uses for business cases are financial justification, cost-benefit analysis (CBA) , total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis , and return on investment (ROI) analysis . Nonprofits and government entities sometimes refer to business cases as case statements .

What Is Business Case Analysis (BCA)?

A business case analysis (BCA) looks not only at lowest costs, but also at technical value and other nonquantitative factors in what is known as a best-value analysis . The BCA addresses the triple constraints of time, money, and scope, and it can include measures such as performance, reliability, viability, and supportability.

Although business case analysis is used interchangeably with business case , some experts consider the analysis to be part of the business case as a whole.

What Is a Business Case Used For?

A business case helps a company or an organization prepare for new ventures or changes. This document is a crucial building block of project success and underpins the foundations of  senior-level involvement and strong planning. Business cases summarize the benefits of an endeavor, clarifying a project’s business value to help stakeholders make decisions.

A good business case should focus less on the technology, domain knowledge, or specific deliverables and more on the users of a product and the goals of a project. In the same vein, a project manager should focus not only on creating output, but also on delivering value. An initiative can offer many types of value, including contributing to strategic aims, increasing efficiency, and supporting compliance. Insufficient attention to the details of a business case and the accompanying research can lead to poor project results.

Business cases usually describe these items:

  • A business problem or opportunity
  • Possible solutions and their benefits and disadvantages (sometimes known as disbenefits )
  • Risks associated with the main solution
  • Implementation timeline
  • Consequences for implementing a solution and for retaining the status quo
  • Resources required for the initiative or project

Advantages of a Business Case

A business case may seem like just another document destined for the shelf or the shredder, but it can offer real advantages:

  • All stakeholders have similar expectations concerning the value and benefits of an initiative to an organization.
  • You can convert a business case into a project plan with milestones. You increase the chances of a project’s success with planning.
  • A business case becomes a gauge for determining whether an endeavor continues to offer value during execution and after a team produces a deliverable.
  • Project planners can more easily establish objectives and goals.
  • You can more easily discern success.
  • Teams apply the right resources more efficiently.

Who Prepares a Business Case?

You might think that business cases are the purview of financial officers and accountants. In fact, people who have direct knowledge of processes and teams should be responsible for creating these documents.

Some pundits say that the individual who advocates change must enact the change, so anyone in any role could assume the responsibilities for producing a business case. This includes consultants, line managers, or IT managers. In some organizations, the project sponsor or project manager may guide the preparation of the business case and include input from relevant departments and SMEs.

When Do You Need a Business Case?

It’s no longer enough to complete a project and present a deliverable. In an economy that often seems as unstable as it was in 2008, stakeholders want to see that a deliverable creates value and benefits for an organization. This is particularly true for complex projects or those that  require justification for enlisting external resources. Public sector projects frequently need business cases.

What's in a Business Case?

A business case outlines for a decision maker the benefits and business value of a proposed initiative. The term business case frequently refers to a written document that is submitted for review or presented at a meeting, but can also apply to an informal, spoken proposal.

What Should Be in a Business Case?

A well-written business case flows logically from presenting a problem or opportunity through the advantages and disadvantages of solutions to describing the recommended solution. When you require great detail, you can chunk text into sub-sections so that the content is easier to scan, as well as faster and less overwhelming to read. Following are the common sections of a business case in sequential order:

  • Executive summary
  • Problem statement
  • Analysis and financial details
  • Recommendation

Many organizations have pre-established templates for writing business cases. If your organization doesn’t, search online for free, easy-to-use business case templates for construction business cases, one-page business cases, and more. Depending on the narrative needs of the business case, it can contain many possible sections:

  • Preface: A preface may indicate the intended audience and any related documents.
  • Table of Contents: If your document is delivered as a PDF file, consider hyperlinking your table of contents to the appropriate sections.
  • What is the problem?
  • What do you believe is the value of solving the problem?
  • How much are you asking for?
  • When will we start seeing benefits?

     “I’ve had some presentations that don't get beyond that first page,” Maholic muses.

  • Description of the Product or Service: When proposing a new object or concept, detail what the deliverable is and how it works.
  • A Problem Statement or Mission Statement: By describing the problem or the mission of the organization, you can contextualize the proposed initiative.
  • Business Drivers for the Initiative: Indicate what benefits will contribute to the strategic aims of the organization.
  • Finance Section: Explain how much the project will cost and whether it is affordable. Detail the cash flow. Describe the expenses to execute (or not execute) the project in a cost comparison against forecasted benefits. Conduct a sensitivity analysis , a technique for determining how the different values of an independent variable affect a dependent variable.
  • Financial and nonfinancial benefits
  • Quality improvements
  • Cost savings through efficiencies
  • Added revenue
  • Competitiveness
  • Improved customer services
  • Options: What are the possible solutions to the problem? Usually, you narrow this list to 3 to 5 viable choices. Frequently, you include a “do nothing” option and a benchmark option. Some organizations require the do-nothing option; others require it only if the do-nothing option is a legitimate possibility. Quantify the benefits of each potential solution. Also, outline the risks, issues, and interdependencies for each solution.
  • What is required?
  • How is it done?
  • Who does what?
  • When will things happen?
  • Assessments or Analysis: Your analysis should list assumptions and consider cash flow and costs. Describe the risks of the project and the plans to deal with them. Also, discuss how you will leverage opportunities. Describe the context of your undertaking using PESTLE (political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environmental) analysis.
  • Project Approach: Detail the organization of the project, including governance and accountability, roles and responsibilities, and the schedule of progress reporting. Describe the purchasing strategy for completing the endeavor. Will you lease equipment? Rent office space? Hire contractors or employees?
  • Recommendation and Next Steps: Note the recommended solution and immediate required action.
  • Appendix: Add supporting documentation here, such as spreadsheets, charts, or drawings.

Considerations for Executive Presentations

The sections that comprise a business case may vary depending on your house style and the type of initiative. Jim Maholic says, “I package my business cases this way: I set up a one-hour meeting, so I have maybe 20 slides, but 10 to 15 slides are plenty. In reality, I might have 100 slides, but I add those in an appendix.” You may have credible supporting information, but you don’t want to bore your audience of decision makers by slogging through each slide.

“They might allocate an hour, but honestly, you're going to get their attention for 10 to 15 minutes, and then they'll start checking email and stuff,” Maholic adds. “You really have to be crisp in how you do this and know where you're going.

“Start with, ‘We have this problem,’ followed by, ‘Here are the people that we talked to who validated that this is a problem. They offered ideas about solving this problem, so we could see this substantial benefit,’” he notes.

“What matters in an executive meeting is that I answer the main questions: What is the problem? What is the cost of not solving it? What are the benefits of solving it? And when do we see the benefits? You may address additional questions later in the meeting or after the meeting, on an individual, offline basis,” Maholic says.

Business Case Templates

Using templates, you can more easily create business cases because you can focus on your research and fill in the blanks. The following free, downloadable templates are customizable for your organization’s needs.

Business Case Presentation Template

Business Case Presentation Template

You can lengthen this short PowerPoint presentation template to accommodate more detail. The business case presentation template includes spaces for describing the following elements: the project name, the executive summary, the project description, the financials, the recommended solution, the assumptions and dependencies, the options, and the benefits.

‌ Download Business Case Presentation Template - PowerPoint

Simple Business Case Template

Simple Business Case Template

A simple business case template serves a small project or a small organization. It can cover extensive details if necessary. It includes spaces for describing the following elements of the case: the title, the executive summary, the business objective, the target users, the financials and costs, the assumptions and dependencies, the implementation strategy, the required resources, and the project governance and reporting.

Download Simple Business Case Template

Word | PDF  | Smartsheet

Healthcare Business Case Template

Healthcare Business Case Template

A healthcare business case template helps you explain the current setup and how the proposed solution can create improvements. It provides space for a one-page executive summary, context for the problem or opportunity, a description of the current situation, an explanation of the proposed changes, and details of how the changes can affect your organization and any other entities.

Download Healthcare Business Case Template

Word | Google Docs

New Product Business Case Template

New Product Business Case Template

A new product business case template explores the business landscape for a new product or service. In addition to the meta information, such as the title, the author, and the executive summary, the template includes space to describe the current mission statement, the proposed product or service, the marketing strategy, an analysis of competitors, SWOT analysis , an overview of the implementation plan, and financial details.

Download New Product Business Case Template

Preparing to Write the Business Case

You can expedite your business process by understanding business case structure and using a template. In addition, having the correct perspective and following best practices can contribute to your success.

Why Are You Doing the Project?

Before you start researching and writing, understand why you want to initiate a project. The goal of a project is to solve problems. What is a problem? A problem prevents your organization from achieving its full potential. To begin, determine what problem the project is trying to solve.

Projects have deliverables, whether tangible or intangible. Think of an outcome as the result created by the deliverables. Benefits represent quantifiable improvements derived from an outcome. When a customer or team member can leverage these benefits, they become advantages.

Do Your Business Case Research

To start, review the mission statement(s) for the organization or the project. Identify the sources of data for your business case. One way to encourage the acceptance of your proposal is to discuss your rough estimates of the costs and resources with a project sponsor or customer before you embark on the business case. This helps you and the sponsor understand each other’s expectations and lessens the chance of sticker shock during the executive presentation. Then interview the people who conduct the day-to-day work and get their perspective on problems and possible solutions.

Do the Business Case Math

You must consider whether the returns justify the request. “If we're asking for $3 million, we've got to show that the project benefits far exceed that amount,” asserts Maholic. “With returns of $10, $15, or $20 million, you're going to get their attention. If you say the benefits are $300 million, they're going to think you've fallen off the truck somewhere, because that's not realistic. On the other hand, if you show benefits of $3.5 million for a cost of $3 million, that's probably not going to beat the projected return of any other project that comes across their desk.”

Consider Who the Business Case Is For

Whether the business case comes in document form or as a presentation, the project sponsor and key stakeholders will study it. Consider the key audience for each section of your document and write with that audience in mind.

The most convincing arguments for projects are those that your team can initiate and wrap up within six months, as well as produce considerable quantifiable results. Especially when big money is on the table, your proposal will compete with others from different departments. “No company has all the money it wants to invest in everything — it has to prioritize. The business case helps evaluate what the return will be for each of the projects that comes across the board's desk for approval,” explains Maholic.

Furthermore, a business case presents estimates. A business case should be built on sound research, but no one has a lock on certitude. “I think first-time business case writers in particular get caught up in building some great story. But seasoned executives get requests all the time, and they're not buffaloed by clever-sounding words or fancy spreadsheets,” Maholic cautions.

“Your ideas have to be rooted in something sensible, not just, ‘I bet we can raise revenues by 15 percent,’” he explains. Grand plans may be possible, but the key, according to Maholic, is to help decision makers understand how it is possible.

How Do You Write a Business Case?

When you have the main questions in mind and a sense of the required sections and format, you can begin to write. Consider limiting the number of authors to ensure an effective writing effort that’s consistent in style and voice. Then follow these tips:

  • Concisely cover the core content with enough detail, so stakeholders can make an informed decision.
  • Compare options, so decision makers understand the landscape.
  • Be clear, concise, and captivating.
  • Avoid jargon as much as possible.
  • Demonstrate the value of the project to the business by creating a credible and accurate argument.
  • Clearly describe the landscape for the initiative, including its dependencies. Enumerating these dependencies is crucial because contextual changes can alter the project parameters or eliminate the need for the project altogether.
  • Focus on the business and the business value rather than the knowledge domain covered by the intended project deliverable.

How Do You Know You Have Enough Detail?

You determine the length of your business cases according to the scope and complexity of your proposed endeavour. A complex project means a long business case; a small, short project means a short business case.

However, Maholic cautions against adding too much detail — conciseness can be a challenge. “You may take 4 to 6 weeks to create a business. You might talk to 50 or 100 people. There's this gnawing urge in some people to show everything they've collected in the executive presentation. Look how hard we worked. Look how smart I am . That's just awful.

“You have enough data and slides when you can answer those 4 or 5 basic questions. There may be 100 other slides, but those are supporting detail,” he says.

Common Mistakes in Writing Business Cases

You can strengthen your business case by avoiding common mistakes:

  • Forget What Your White Papers Say: Maholic finds that when salespeople create cases for customers, they frequently rely on the benefits outlined in a product’s white papers. He notes, “Saying your product cuts costs by Y percent is a great place to start, but it has to be balanced by what's in front of you regarding a particular customer.” He continues, “As a salesperson, you may say that your product can increase revenue by 5 percent. That may be true for past customers, but this particular customer may have three straight years of declining revenues. It's silly to say that a product is going to both arrest a decline and bump up revenue by 5 percent. You have to think things through. That’s the analysis part. You can't just mouth off.”
  • Spreadsheets Are not the Main Show: "Too often, I think, people hear business case , and they jump right to building a spreadsheet,” Maholic says. “They're eager to build the mother of all spreadsheets and show how smart they are by demonstrating the mother of all spreadsheets. While certainly spreadsheets are necessary to show the math, the spreadsheet is only a small part of the solution. Spreadsheets don't really articulate the problem or indicate who you talked to or what you analyzed to get to that solution,” he adds.
  • Arguments Do not Equal More Money: Sometimes, people believe that a strong case justifies a more generous price tag. Not so, says Maholic: “As a decision maker, having a better business case doesn't mean I'm going to roll over and say, ‘Sure, you can charge me an extra million dollars.’ A good business case means the project has the value to go forward. Now, we're going to start negotiating and I'm still going to work to get the best price I can. People who've done business cases before know that. But people who are new to them don't completely understand that.”
  • Remember That It’s About Value, Not About Toys: For startups, the coolness factor of the technology or product may carry some weight, but for most organizations, a business case must focus on the business value without getting lost in the domain knowledge and technical details. Maholic explains: “Nobody at the executive level cares what the throughput ratio is of this process or that stack. What they want to know is, ‘Do I get revenue more quickly? Do I cut costs more deeply? Tell me what the value of doing X is, and then you can go off and buy whatever toys you want to in order to do X.’”

Steps to Produce a Business Case

Your organization may have a tribal understanding of the best process for creating a business case. Some employees may advocate for following the Ds , which refer to the steps to produce a business case. The Ds can include as many as six steps, but generally focus on these four:

  • Discover your problem or opportunity.
  • Design your solutions and alternatives.
  • Develop the details that describe the pros and cons of each potential solution.
  • Deploy the business case.

Some advocates add the Define step to the beginning of the process and the Deliver step to the end. For best results, create your business case in the following order:

  • Determine your problem or opportunity.
  • Research the context for your proposal as appropriate: When developing a new product, your research may focus on the market; when acquiring new training or software, you may review current internal processes; and when making a new purchase, you may interview dozens of team members who use current tools and procedures.
  • Compare alternative approaches and recommend the most appropriate strategy.
  • Gather supporting data and evidence for the recommended approach.
  • Write the business case.
  • Write the executive summary.
  • Edit your business case draft.
  • Present your business case to either the final authority or the personnel who will be instrumental in implementing the case plan.

‌ Download Business Case Process Checklist  

The Business Case in Project Development

Contrary to what you might imagine, the business case can be a living document. Starting with the review process, stakeholders may reject, cancel, postpone, accept, or adjust the business case. To some extent, the business case becomes the guidebook for your initiative. Stakeholders and the project manager should refer to the business case throughout the lifecycle of the project to ensure that efforts (and intentions) remain on track.

What Are the Features of a Project Business Case?

A well-considered business case offers the following characteristics: an easy-to-understand description of the business value of the initiative and the immediate benefits of the project, including details of the positive impact on organizational strategy.

How Do You Analyze a Business Case?

In university-level business schools, business case studies (or case studies) function as teaching tools to help students use their analytic skills. Case studies describe a company and how it employs a solution. Following is the suggested approach for students analyzing a case:

  • Review the case in detail. Identify the key issues.
  • Determine 2 to 5 essential problems.
  • Look for solutions to those problems.
  • Describe your recommended solution.

What Is a Full Business Case?

A business case is a structured, detailed document that presents the justification for the commitment of financial and other resources to an endeavor. Business cases help you gain the support of management and other stakeholders, as well as approval for projects and programs.

What Is a Business Case in Project Management?

An approved business case can have a long life. Although the project sponsor ultimately owns the business case, it is the project manager who uses the business case as the guidebook for expectations and dependencies. In addition, the business case becomes an important document in an organization’s project portfolio management process. During this process, a company balances its resources with its strategic objectives to determine the livelihood of all the projects it undertakes.

History and Origins of Business Cases

The formal business case has its roots in 19th-century Europe, particularly with the work of French-Italian engineer-economist Jules Dupuit. His contribution included statistical tools to identify, measure, and value the benefits beyond merely determining the lowest bidder. Specifically, Dupuit is credited with inventing what he called the benefit-cost analysis . Today, professionals recognize the value of business cases outside of public works and government. Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations regularly use business cases.

Resources and Examples for Creating Your Business Case

If you’re new to business cases, you don’t have to start empty-handed. We offer resources to help you begin writing. Please see the following examples and templates:

  • Here’s an example of a business case in a classic document format . This particular business case argues against a capital investment.
  • This example presents three business cases for one higher education department . The  presentation comes in a slide format.
  • In this article, Jim Maholic offers a template for creating your business case .

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10 Effective Business Justification Email Samples to Convince Your Boss

10 Effective Business Justification Email Samples to Convince Your Boss 1

Are you tired of crafting business justification emails that are not getting the desired response from your boss or investors? Well, you are not alone. It can be challenging to come up with the right words to persuade your audience to approve your project proposal, budget request, or any other business-related matter.

But, fret no more! I have scoured the internet and compiled a list of business justification email samples that are proven to be effective. You can use these templates as a starting point and edit them according to your needs.

Whether you are seeking approval for a new marketing campaign, a budget increase, or a project proposal, you will find examples that are specific to your situation. And the best part is, all of these templates have been tried and tested, so you can be sure that they are effective.

Stop wasting your time, energy, and resources on emails that have little to no impact. Instead, use these proven business justification email samples to achieve your goals. So what are you waiting for? Check out the samples now and start crafting the perfect email that will get you the results you want.

The Best Structure for a Business Justification Email Sample

When writing a business justification email, it is important to be concise, clear, and persuasive. You need to convince your boss or colleagues that your proposal is worth their time and resources. The following structure can help you achieve this goal.

1. Start with a clear and compelling subject line. This will help your email stand out in a crowded inbox and encourage the recipient to open it. Your subject line should summarize your proposal and its benefits in a few words.

2. Begin your email with a brief introduction that explains who you are and why you are writing. This will help establish your credibility and show that you have put some thought into your proposal. Keep it short and to the point.

3. Clearly state the problem or challenge that your proposal addresses. Explain why this problem is important and how it affects the company or your team. Use data and examples to support your case.

4. Present your proposal, including its scope, objectives, and deliverables. Be specific about what you are proposing and how it will solve the problem you identified. Use a bullet-point format to help your proposal stand out and make it easier to read.

5. Provide a detailed explanation of the benefits and ROI of your proposal. Address how your proposal will impact the company’s bottom line, customer satisfaction, or employee morale. Quantify your outcomes as much as possible.

6. Address any potential objections or concerns that your boss or colleagues may have. Anticipate their questions and provide answers in advance. This will help you show that you have thought through the proposal and are prepared to address any issues that may arise.

7. Conclude your email with a clear call-to-action. What do you want your boss or colleagues to do next? Set a deadline for a follow-up meeting or decision.

8. Close your email with a polite and professional sign-off and include your contact information.

In conclusion, a well-structured business justification email can make all the difference. By following this structure, you can make a persuasive case for your proposal and increase your chances of getting the green light. Remember to keep it concise, clear, and focused on the benefits for your company or team.

7 Business Justification Email Sample

Recommendation for remote work.

Dear Manager,

I am writing to recommend the implementation of remote work for our employees. In today’s world, more and more companies are adopting this method of work, and I believe it would have a significant impact on our productivity and employee satisfaction.

Firstly, remote work offers more flexibility to employees, which leads to better work-life balance and reduces stress. Workers can better manage their personal lives, such as caring for children or elderly parents, which can often impact their ability to do their best work. Secondly, remote work can lead to higher productivity. Research shows that employees who work from home are more focused and less distracted by office politics or interruptions than those in the office.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that we consider implementing a remote work policy in our company. I am confident that this move would significantly improve employee satisfaction and result in higher productivity.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Recommendation for Customer Service Training

I am writing to recommend investing in customer service training for our employees. In today’s competitive business environment, exceptional customer service is essential for retaining customers and building brand loyalty.

Firstly, customers who receive excellent service are more likely to return and recommend the company to others. In contrast, even one bad experience can lead to negative reviews and damage our reputation. Secondly, well-trained customer service representatives can handle difficult situations with professionalism and empathy, leading to positive resolutions and increased customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, I strongly urge the company to invest in customer service training to improve our service levels and enhance the overall customer experience. Thank you for considering my recommendation.

Recommendation for Marketing Campaign

I am writing to recommend launching a new marketing campaign to increase sales and brand awareness. With the current economic climate and growing competition, it is crucial for our company to stand out and attract new customers.

Firstly, a well-planned marketing campaign can help us reach new audiences, generate leads, and increase sales. We can use various channels such as social media, email marketing, and advertising to promote our brand and products. Secondly, a successful marketing campaign can enhance our brand’s reputation and increase our visibility in the market.

In conclusion, I believe investing in a new marketing campaign is a smart business decision that can have a significant impact on our bottom line. Thank you for considering my recommendation.

Recommendation for Employee Development Program

I am writing to recommend starting an employee development program to improve our employees’ skills and expertise. With the rapid pace of technological change, it is essential that our employees keep up to date with the latest trends and techniques in their respective fields.

Firstly, an employee development program can lead to increased job satisfaction and employee retention. Workers who feel that their employer is invested in their professional development are more likely to stay with the company long-term. Secondly, well-trained employees can improve overall productivity and operations, leading to increased efficiency and profitability.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that investing in an employee development program is essential for the success of our company. Thank you for considering my recommendation.

Recommendation for New Product Line

I am writing to recommend launching a new product line to diversify our offerings and capture additional market share. With changing customer preferences and a highly competitive market, it is crucial for our company to stay ahead of the curve and continually innovate.

Firstly, a new product line can attract new customers and help us expand into new markets. With a diverse range of products, we can appeal to a broader audience and increase our sales potential. Secondly, diversification can reduce the risk of relying solely on one product or service, providing a safety net in times of economic uncertainty.

In conclusion, I believe that launching a new product line is a strategic business decision and can lead to long-term success and growth. Thank you for considering my recommendation.

Recommendation for Employee Wellness Program

I am writing to recommend initiating an employee wellness program to promote physical and mental health in our workforce. With the current pandemic and stressful work environment, it is more important than ever to support our employees’ wellbeing.

Firstly, a wellness program can lead to increased employee satisfaction and retention. Workers who feel that their employer cares about their health and wellbeing are more likely to stay with the company long-term. Secondly, healthy employees are more productive and take fewer sick days, reducing the costs associated with absenteeism.

In conclusion, I strongly urge the company to implement an employee wellness program to support our workforce and improve overall productivity and job satisfaction. Thank you for considering my recommendation.

Recommendation for Sustainability Initiative

I am writing to recommend adopting a sustainability initiative to reduce our company’s environmental impact and demonstrate our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint. With growing concerns about climate change and the need for more sustainable business practices, it is essential that our company takes proactive steps to reduce its environmental impact.

Firstly, a sustainability initiative can lead to cost savings and reduced waste. By implementing more energy-efficient practices and reducing our reliance on non-renewable resources, we can decrease our costs and improve our bottom line. Secondly, a sustainability initiative can improve our reputation and demonstrate our commitment to corporate social responsibility, which is increasingly important to customers and investors.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that we adopt a sustainability initiative to reduce our environmental impact and improve our reputation as a socially responsible company. Thank you for considering my recommendation.

Tips for Writing a Business Justification Email Sample

Writing a business justification email can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the basics of this skill. However, with the right tips, you can learn to craft compelling business justification emails that will enable you to get your proposal approved. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Clearly articulate the problem: A good business justification email should begin by identifying the problem that you’re trying to solve. Make sure to state the problem clearly in the first paragraph so that the reader understands the context of your proposal.
  • Present the solution: After identifying the problem, the next step is to present a solution. Your proposed solution should be realistic and achievable, and should address the root cause of the problem. Provide details on what you plan to do to solve the problem and explain how it will benefit the organization.
  • Provide data to back up your proposal: When making a business justification, it’s crucial to provide data to support your proposal. Include statistics and figures that show the impact of the problem and the effectiveness of your proposed solution. This will give your proposal more credibility and make it more likely to be accepted.

In addition to these tips mentioned above, there are several other strategies that you can use to write a winning business justification email. These include:

  • Use a clear and concise writing style: Avoid using complicated language and technical terms that may confuse the reader. Write in a clear and concise style that is easy to understand and avoids ambiguity.
  • Be confident in your proposal: Show confidence in your proposal and explain why it’s the best solution to the problem. Use persuasive language that is convincing but not forceful or aggressive.
  • Address potential objections: Think about any objections that the reader may have to your proposal and address them in your email. Anticipating objections shows that you have put thought into your proposal and have taken steps to mitigate any potential risks.
  • Proofread your email: Finally, before sending your email, make sure to proofread it for any errors or typos. A poorly written email can undermine the credibility of your proposal and make it less likely to be accepted.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to craft a business justification email that is persuasive, convincing, and effective. With practice, you’ll become more confident in your ability to write winning proposals that get your ideas approved.

FAQs related to Business Justification Email Sample

What is a business justification email.

A business justification email is written to present clear and compelling reasons for a proposed business or project. It outlines the benefits, risks, and costs associated with the initiative.

When should I send a business justification email?

You should send a business justification email when you need to convince stakeholders to approve your proposed business or project. It’s also helpful if you need to justify an investment or request additional resources.

What are the key components of a business justification email?

The key components of a business justification email are the executive summary, problem statement, objectives, benefits, risks, costs, and recommendations.

How do I structure my business justification email?

You can structure your business justification email by following a logical flow of information – start with the problem statement, move on to the objectives, and then present the benefits, risks, and costs. End with your recommendation and a call to action.

What should I avoid in my business justification email?

Avoid vague language and unsupported claims. Ensure that every benefit, risk, and cost is backed up with data and analysis. Don’t oversell the benefits or downplay the risks.

How can I make my business justification email more persuasive?

You can make your business justification email more persuasive by tailoring it to your audience. Use language that resonates with their values and goals. Use visuals to make complex data easier to understand. Use real-life examples to illustrate your points.

What is the purpose of a business justification email?

The purpose of a business justification email is to persuade stakeholders to approve a proposed business or project by presenting a clear and persuasive argument for its benefits, risks, and costs.

Until next time!

Thanks for making it to the end! We hope our business justification email sample has given you some inspiration for the next time you need to make a case for a new project or investment. Remember to always tailor your message to your audience and use clear and direct language. Oh, and don’t forget that a little bit of research can go a long way. We look forward to seeing you again soon and sharing more tips on how to achieve business success. Stay curious, stay motivated, and keep crushing those goals!

Sample Email Asking for Justification: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Effective Request Effective Justification Email Sample: Get Your Request Approved! 10 Sample email for justification templates to use in your workplace How to Write a Justification Email: Tips and Examples to Help You Explain Your Decisions Overtime Approval Email Sample: How to Request Approval for Extra Work Hours

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How to Write a Job Justification

Last Updated: August 26, 2023

This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis . Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 362,062 times.

A job justification, sometimes called a position justification or job proposal, is commonly used in academia and in public sector jobs. This documentation helps flesh out why a newly created or previous position is important to a given organization. You may write a job justification to get your boss to hire a new employee; however, you may also write a justification to encourage your boss to promote you to a new job.

Job Justification Template

writing business justification

Making Decisions

Step 1 Determine the job title.

  • Think about the function of the job. Do you need someone to proofread articles for a magazine you're writing? That person could be called an editor or a copywriter.
  • How much responsibility will this person have? If they will be answering to a higher up editor in the department, maybe the position title could be Junior Copywriter.

Step 2 Do any necessary research.

  • Make sure you can justify why this position is necessary. You may, for instance, feel that establishing this job will help the company cut costs. Let's return to the Junior Copywriter position. If your company hires a great deal of freelance writers, and pays them by the hour, they may have to edit their own work. If your company had a copywriter, whose salary was slightly less than a freelance writer, writers would not work as long. But don't stop there: there are other justifications besides cost. This may include a lower cycle time so that articles appear in print faster, higher quality by ensuring proper grammar and content, etc.
  • Figure out a fair salary. Whether you're outlining a job for yourself or someone else, you want to make sure the salary you propose is reasonable. Spend some time researching the average salaries for similar positions. Keep in mind starter salaries are low, so you can aim to propose a salary or pay rate on the lower side of average.
  • Review your company's budget. You want to know how this position will be paid for. If the positions eliminates some costs, estimate how much money will be saved. You can put that money into a budget for the new position. You can also find areas where your company has excess money, which they may occasionally put towards new job openings. See if you can use some of this money to fund a new position.

Writing Your Letter

Step 1 Format the letter correctly.

  • Pick a letterhead. If you're writing a justification for yourself, you should use the same letterhead you use for your resume. This will keep things consistent when submitting your materials. If you're writing a justification for a position within your own company, use the letterheads typically used for office memos and other business related writing.
  • At the top righthand corner of your letter, write your name, your address, the date, the address of the business, and the name of the letter's recipient.
  • Make sure you choose a proper salutation. If you're addressing a group of people, you can address all of them by their appropriate name and title and then add a colon. For example, "Dear Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Fox:"

Step 2 Begin by stating the benefit to the company.

  • You can start by identifying an inefficiency or problem in the company that may need a solution. The consequences of the problem should be spelled out in detail, whether these are higher costs, poor quality product, etc. If there's a role you know needs filling, for example, you can point that out right away. You can also use some research here to backup your claims.
  • Let's look at another example. Say your company has a lot of data entry to do for an upcoming event. Those working in customer service have been doing data entry in their spare time, but given their other responsibilities there have been a lot of errors and the process is moving slowly. Point out that the data entry would get done quicker and more accurately with a specific individual responsible for the job. Also, keep cost in mind. Your boss is probably interested in cost effective changes. Note the customer service reps have been putting in a lot of overtime hours, and the cost of a temporary new employee would be much less than paying so much in overtime.
  • In the above example, you can do research on concentration. You may find some studies that say people work more efficiently and accurately when they concentrate on one task at a time.

Step 3 Describe the potential job in great detail.

  • List what tasks the job requires, and what kind of skill set is necessary. You should also outline if the job is fulltime or part time and how it pays. You may want to include a brief profile of the type of person you're looking to hire.
  • For example, "I propose we hire a part time data entry specialist to help with this workload. We need someone who's well-organized, pays close attention to detail, and has preferably had some data entry experience. This job would be great for a college student with a somewhat flexible schedule. We could pay this new employee an hourly rate, somewhere in the range of $10 to $13 an hour."

Step 4 Outline why you are the right person for the job, if you're proposing a job for yourself.

  • List your experience. Talk about what your background is, briefly overviewing your education and career experience. This is similar to a cover letter. Only include experience relevant for the job you're proposing. If you're proposing to do market research for a non-profit, definitely talk about your marketing internship for a local refugee center in college. However, it's probably unnecessary to disclose that you waited tables over the summer, unless the skills learned apply to the proposed job.
  • You should also list any specific awards or achievements. This can be particularly helpful for an academic job. For example, if you're proposing you teach a new art history class at a university, you might want to mention any articles you've had published, grants you've received, or other honors you've obtained.

Step 5 Talk about salary and costs.

  • Ideally, some of the costs should come from the money saved. If a chunk of overtime pay is no longer being given to customer service representatives, some of that money could go towards paying a new employee. A part-time employee at an hourly rate will cost much less overall than multiple full-time salaried employees receiving overtime pay. Make sure you clearly quantify just how much money they would be saving with this change.
  • Try to focus more on how much money your company will save, in addition to non-financial benefits. Using the above example, you could write something like, "Not only will this change save our company an estimated $2,123 a month, I believe it will boost morale. Without the stress of data entry, customer service reps will have more downtime. This will allow them to be more upbeat with customers. Less stress and higher job satisfaction leads to a better performance."

Step 6 Finish with a call to action.

  • Reiterate the points you made previously. In a few sentences, wrap up the main benefits of the position and talk about how it's necessary for the company.
  • Talk about how you'll be in touch. Say you'll call later in the week to follow up, for example, or request a business meeting with your boss to further discuss the position.

Revising Your Letter

Step 1 Write a few drafts.

  • Give yourself some time. You're more likely to catch typos if you set your work aside for a few days. If you don't have a few days, try setting it aside for an hour and then rereading.
  • Print out your letter. Changing the format from which you're reading can help you better check typos. If you don't have a printer, consider changing the font type or color. You can also try reading your letter from the last paragraph to the first.
  • Force yourself to reach each word by placing the tip of a pencil against the screen or page. Reading your letter out loud can also help you focus on each word.

Step 3 Have a friend look over your letter.

Expert Q&A

  • Anticipate objections. In some circumstances, the job justification process is fairly routine, and position requests are rarely denied. In others, there may be political or economic pressures that create push back. Finding out up front what objections may be raised can help you prepare an intelligent, thoughtful response that ensures that the needs of the organization are met. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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About This Article

Michael R. Lewis

To write a job justification, start by picking a job title, which will succinctly define the scope of the position. Choose a professional letterhead, and begin your justification by writing a few sentences on how the position will benefit the company. Then, describe the position in detail, including the responsibilities, ideal candidate, required skills, and expected pay. If you're proposing a job for yourself, include a final paragraph about why you're the ideal candidate for the job and a call to action for hiring someone to fill this need. For tips from our business reviewer on revising your letter for clarity, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing the Basic Business Letter

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Media File: Writing the Basic Business Letter

This resource is enhanced by an Acrobat PDF file. Download the free Acrobat Reader

Parts of a Business Letter

This resource is organized in the order in which you should write a business letter, starting with the sender's address if the letter is not written on letterhead.

Sender's Address

The sender's address usually is included in letterhead. If you are not using letterhead, include the sender's address at the top of the letter one line above the date. Do not write the sender's name or title, as it is included in the letter's closing. Include only the street address, city, and zip code.

The date line is used to indicate the date the letter was written. However, if your letter is completed over a number of days, use the date it was finished in the date line. When writing to companies within the United States, use the American date format. (The United States-based convention for formatting a date places the month before the day. For example: June 11, 2001. ) Write out the month, day and year two inches from the top of the page. Depending which format you are using for your letter, either left justify the date or tab to the center point and type the date. In the latter case, include the sender's address in letterhead, rather than left-justified.

Inside Address

The inside address is the recipient's address. It is always best to write to a specific individual at the firm to which you are writing. If you do not have the person's name, do some research by calling the company or speaking with employees from the company. Include a personal title such as Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr. Follow a woman's preference in being addressed as Miss, Mrs., or Ms. If you are unsure of a woman's preference in being addressed, use Ms. If there is a possibility that the person to whom you are writing is a Dr. or has some other title, use that title. Usually, people will not mind being addressed by a higher title than they actually possess. To write the address, use the U.S. Post Office Format. For international addresses, type the name of the country in all-capital letters on the last line. The inside address begins one line below the date. It should be left justified, no matter which format you are using.

Use the same name as the inside address, including the personal title. If you know the person and typically address them by their first name, it is acceptable to use only the first name in the salutation (for example: Dear Lucy:). In all other cases, however, use the personal title and last/family name followed by a colon. Leave one line blank after the salutation.

If you don't know a reader's gender, use a nonsexist salutation, such as their job title followed by the receiver's name. It is also acceptable to use the full name in a salutation if you cannot determine gender. For example, you might write Dear Chris Harmon: if you were unsure of Chris's gender.

For block and modified block formats, single space and left justify each paragraph within the body of the letter. Leave a blank line between each paragraph. When writing a business letter, be careful to remember that conciseness is very important. In the first paragraph, consider a friendly opening and then a statement of the main point. The next paragraph should begin justifying the importance of the main point. In the next few paragraphs, continue justification with background information and supporting details. The closing paragraph should restate the purpose of the letter and, in some cases, request some type of action.

The closing begins at the same vertical point as your date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word only (for example: Thank you) and leave four lines between the closing and the sender's name for a signature. If a colon follows the salutation, a comma should follow the closing; otherwise, there is no punctuation after the closing.

If you have enclosed any documents along with the letter, such as a resume, you indicate this simply by typing Enclosures below the closing. As an option, you may list the name of each document you are including in the envelope. For instance, if you have included many documents and need to ensure that the recipient is aware of each document, it may be a good idea to list the names.

Typist initials

Typist initials are used to indicate the person who typed the letter. If you typed the letter yourself, omit the typist initials.

A Note About Format and Font

Block Format

When writing business letters, you must pay special attention to the format and font used. The most common layout of a business letter is known as block format. Using this format, the entire letter is left justified and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs.

Modified Block

Another widely utilized format is known as modified block format. In this type, the body of the letter and the sender's and recipient's addresses are left justified and single-spaced. However, for the date and closing, tab to the center point and begin to type.

The final, and least used, style is semi-block. It is much like the modified block style except that each paragraph is indented instead of left justified.

Keep in mind that different organizations have different format requirements for their professional communication. While the examples provided by the OWL contain common elements for the basic business letter (genre expectations), the format of your business letter may need to be flexible to reflect variables like letterheads and templates. Our examples are merely guides.

If your computer is equipped with Microsoft Office 2000, the Letter Wizard can be used to take much of the guesswork out of formatting business letters. To access the Letter Wizard, click on the Tools menu and then choose Letter Wizard. The Wizard will present the three styles mentioned here and input the date, sender address and recipient address into the selected format. Letter Wizard should only be used if you have a basic understanding of how to write a business letter. Its templates are not applicable in every setting. Therefore, you should consult a business writing handbook if you have any questions or doubt the accuracy of the Letter Wizard.

Another important factor in the readability of a letter is the font. The generally accepted font is Times New Roman, size 12, although other fonts such as Arial may be used. When choosing a font, always consider your audience. If you are writing to a conservative company, you may want to use Times New Roman. However, if you are writing to a more liberal company, you have a little more freedom when choosing fonts.


Punctuation after the salutation and closing - use a colon (:) after the salutation (never a comma) and a comma (,) after the closing. In some circumstances, you may also use a less common format, known as open punctuation. For this style, punctuation is excluded after the salutation and the closing.

How to Write a Business Case for New Software [Includes Free Template]

You’re ready to invest in new software. You know the positive impact it will have on your business. You’re ready to get things moving. So what’s next?

It can be tough for decision-makers to justify the costs of a software investment without a clear understanding of the system’s merit. This is why writing a solid business case is your best bet.

In this article, you’ll learn how to build a business case for new software by identifying the benefits and costs of the solution and the return on investment. These recommendations and tips are compiled from my professional experience as an ITPMO leader, Gartner research, and best practices shared by the Project Management Institute.

Here’s a preview of the business case template provided for you. Click here to go straight to the template download .


What is a business case?

A business case is a formal document submitted to senior leadership requesting approval for a proposed project. It outlines the business problem being addressed and the proposed solution. The costs, benefits, risks, and project team are each identified.

The business case is then typically submitted for executive review and approval. The approval should serve as formal approval for budget, resource allocation, and scope agreement.

Why is it important?

Creating a business case serves multiple purposes:

Ensures alignment on the business problem and the solution.

Names the project team members and business owner.

Formalizes the budget approval; can also provide backup if the funds allocation is later questioned.

Shows that you’ve thoroughly analyzed the problem, potential solutions, and the risks to come up with the best possible solution.

Acts as the guiding light through the lifecycle of the project to keep the effort aligned with intention.

But what are the risks if you don’t submit a business case? Gartner states that goal-setting and stakeholder buy-in are two main challenges you’ll face if you don’t build a solid business case first. Let’s go over why. ( Full report available to Gartner clients only. )

Misaligned goals: Without a clear business case, there may be no clearly defined and agreed-upon goals for the investment. This makes gathering requirements and selecting a vendor significantly more challenging, and could potentially result in the project stalling, or selecting a vendor that isn’t suitable.

Limited buy-in: Getting the support of stakeholders across the business may be challenging to get without sharing a robust case for doing so. It’s also possible that opposition to the investment could arise months after implementation, when stakeholders challenge you to justify the ongoing costs. This will be hard to do without an existing business case that includes a measure of the success/impact of the new software.

Before going through the steps on how to write a business case, let’s look at this video to understand the contents of a business case.

Step 1: Build the pieces of your business case

When constructing a business case for new software, it’s important to lay out the full scope of the project so leadership can feel confident that you’ve considered the full impact of your proposal. This is especially important when asking for the amount of money the new software will require for implementation and ongoing expenses.

Be sure your argument includes the following elements (we’ll follow the structure in the template provided below):

Executive summary: Provide an overview of the goals of the new software selection and implementation. Don’t forget to state that you want to buy new software—this may seem obvious, but sometimes that can get muddled after you’ve worked and reworked the wording of this section.

Be sure to answer questions such as:

What is the business problem this will solve?

Why do we need to solve this problem now?

Are there changes to rules or regulations that are making this investment mandatory?

And, include highlights of the business problems that will be solved with the new software.

Cost savings (e.g., software will reduce headcount/hours spent on manual tasks, reduction in costly errors).

Revenue enhancement (e.g., increase workflow speed, integrate with partner systems).

Notice that we’re not naming a specific software program in this section and that’s intentional. This is because you need to solve the business problem. Not just buy software.

Oftentimes the project manager or a department head is tasked with implementing a specific tool. For example, if your lead accountant used one program at their previous company, they could request that you invest in the same software. So the project would become, “let’s buy X software” as opposed to a more thoughtful approach such as, “we’ve outgrown our current accounting process and need a robust program to help us scale.”

Solution description : Describe how you plan to use software to solve business problems and/or achieve your goals. Outline what you’ll be able to do that you can’t do now and what requirements the tool should have to support your team or department’s ability to solve their problems and/or accomplish their goals.

In this section, you can also include the justification for how you determined to buy new software as opposed to developing a custom solution in-house or hiring an external software development team. (This might not be relevant for your company depending on your IT environment.)

Cost overview: In the template below, implementation cost, total cost of ownership, and the return on investment calculation are the numbers highlighted. But these can be intimidating and confusing numbers to calculate. Because of this, we’ve dedicated Step 2 in this process to gathering the numbers needed in order to provide accurate and relevant calculations.

Summary of software benefits: Highlight the expected benefits and tangible gains, such as time and money saved, as well as the intangible benefits, such as increased collaboration and improved risk management protocols.

This section should focus on the business benefits as opposed to the technical benefits. Your executives will have trouble valuing the need for new software if you focus on benefits such as reducing technical debt or streamlining system architecture. But they will see the value in, for example, increasing speed and accuracy across the sales and leads process.

Tip: If you’re a very technical person (as I tend to be!), partner with a business leader to write this section.

Execution timeline : Outline the timeline for implementing the software solution. This timeline can vary significantly based on where you are in the software selection process, so be clear on what actions will be taken and when.

Additional elements you can include:

Major milestones such as the project kickoff meeting, the go-live date, and dates for training.

Cadence for team meetings, status reports, and demos.

Project governance : Name each person and their role on the project. Yes, use names, not just job titles, in order to make sure everyone is clear on the resources needed.

Free business case template

If your business doesn’t already have a business case template (and be sure to ask before starting one), we’ve created one for you. Click here to download .

Step 2: Break down the costs

As promised above in the “cost overview” component, in this section you’ll learn about the typical costs business leaders want to see in a business case. For each, we’ll show you where to get the numbers needed for the calculations.

Total implementation cost

To calculate this number, break down the costs associated with the software purchase and implementation. This includes both the obvious costs, such as the number and price of the software licenses, as well as costs that aren’t so obvious, such as new hardware and training sessions.

Tip: Lay out the number of licenses needed and what types are needed. The type of user licenses you’re purchasing can impact cost. For example, a system administrator license typically costs more than an average user, but it’s likely you need only a few of them.

Total cost of ownership (TCO)

Finding the TCO is often the starting point for calculating return on investment (ROI) and comparing vendor price quotes. This involves totaling the upfront costs for each solution, calculating the net present value of recurring costs over the expected lifespan of the tool, and then totaling the upfront costs and present value of future costs.

It’s common for businesses to only think of the initial costs of new software when evaluating vendors and risks. But there’s a considerable number of factors that need to be included when calculating the TCO.

Think of TCO as an iceberg. There’s more than meets the eye:


Source: Gartner ( full content available to Gartner clients )

Other numbers you may need to factor in include the salary for any new employees required to maintain the software (e.g., IT system administrator) and recurring hardware management, if applicable (e.g., handheld scanners for a new inventory tool ).

Return on investment (ROI) calculation

True ROI is often hard to measure and even harder to guarantee. You can’t know for certain how the business will grow and change over the life of a tool, and it’s possible you’ll need to add new modules or build out integrations.

Business leaders understand the gray area around this number but will expect full transparency from you. Be sure to explain that these numbers are the best projection of the expected benefits and costs of the new software that you’ve made with educated estimates.

The formula for calculating ROI is: 

(gain from investment – cost of investment) / (cost of investment)

Step 3: Get stakeholder support

Writing a business case isn’t a solo task. You need partners at every step in the process to help develop the plan. Here’s some tips on getting stakeholder support:

Communicate with accounting, marketing, and other department leaders before submitting the business case so they are at least aware of the initiative. Key leaders in other areas of the business will help identify your blind spots and can offer solutions.

Get agreement from all contributors on what is outlined in the document. Each person named in the document should see the final draft before it goes for executive review—no one wants their name assigned to work that they’re unaware of.

Don’t think of the presentation of the business case as an unveiling. Instead, whoever you’re getting approval from should be familiar with your proposal before the big meeting. Best case would be for the actual meeting to get approval is just a formality. The major details, such as the cost and type of software and high-level benefits, should all be previously understood by everyone in the meeting. To accomplish this, you’ll likely have to swing by their office or ask to go to lunch to discuss the proposal in the weeks leading up to your presentation.

What if your business case is rejected?

Rejection is a possibility and it’s important to be mentally prepared for this. Fellow PMPs Elizabeth Larson and Richard Larson share some of the best advice for rejection that I’ve come across. Here’s an excerpt from a paper Elizabeth shared at a PMI Global Conference .

Remember that we are advising the organization with our well-thought-out recommendation. Don’t take rejection personally. If your business case is rejected, ask:

Did I work closely with the business owner to develop the business case?

Do I understand the “objections?”

Can I address them to meet stakeholder needs? If I can, the final product will be even better.

Have I given stakeholders enough time to think about the proposal before asking for a decision?

How can I best support the business owner? Should I advise the business owner to walk away (at least for now), or, do we act like a pit bull that grabs on to a leg and won’t let go?

I feel more empowered and resilient just reading her advice again—hopefully you do, too!

Work through these questions and re-evaluate your proposal. Ask to re-submit your proposal at an agreed-upon time in the near future, involve more partners, and then strengthen your business case.

Next steps: Resources for comparing and evaluating software solutions

Now that you know how to write a strong business case, here are a few next steps you should take to help you compare and evaluate solutions:

Read user reviews: No matter what type of software you’re looking for, Software Advice has tons of user reviews for it . See how your peers have rated systems for qualities such as ease of use and customer support.

Schedule product demos: Discuss your needs with vendors and ask for “day-in-the-life” product demos rather than a reel of feature highlights. For more tips, check out this article on " How to Cut Through the Sales Pitch in Software Demos. "

Download the free template: If your company doesn’t already have a business case template, we’ve made one for you. Click to download it now .

How to Write a Great Business Case

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  • Case Teaching

C ase studies are powerful teaching tools. “When you have a good case, and students who are well prepared to learn and to teach each other, you get some magical moments that students will never forget,” says James L. Heskett, UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, emeritus, at Harvard Business School (HBS). “They will remember the lessons they learn in that class discussion and apply them 20 years later.”

Yet, for many educators who want to pen their own case, the act of writing a great business case seldom comes easily or naturally. For starters, it’s time consuming. Case writers can spend substantial time visiting companies, securing a willing site, conducting interviews, observing operations, collecting data, reviewing notes, writing the case, revising the narrative, ensuring that teaching points come through, and then getting executives to approve the finished product.

The question, then, becomes: Where do you begin? How do you approach case writing? How do you decide which company to use as the subject of the case? And what distinguishes a well-written case from a mediocre one?

We asked three expert HBS case writers—who collectively have written and supported hundreds of cases—to share their insights on how to write a great business case study that will inspire passionate classroom discussion and transmit key educational concepts.

Insights from James L. Heskett

UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, Emeritus, Harvard Business School

Keep your eyes open for a great business issue.

“I’m always on the prowl for new case material. Whenever I’m reading or consulting, I look for interesting people doing interesting things and facing interesting challenges. For instance, I was reading a magazine and came across a story about how Shouldice Hospital treated patients undergoing surgery to fix inguinal hernias—how patients would get up from the operating table and walk away on the arm of the surgeon.


Comfort with ambiguity, since cases may have more than one “right” answer

Command of the topic or subject at hand

Ability to relate to the case protagonists

Enthusiasm for the case teaching method

Capacity for finding the drama in a business situation and making it feel personal to students

Build relationships with executives.

“When writing a case, it’s helpful to start as high in the organization as possible. It helps assure mid-level managers that they can share the information you need with an outsider. It also helps when it comes to getting the case cleared for use. Serving on corporate boards can help in building relationships with senior executives, but there are other ways to make those connections. For instance, you can approach speakers at business conferences if you think their presentations could form the basis for a good business case. If you want to write about a company where you don’t have any personal connections, you can always check with your colleagues to see if any of them have a personal relationship with the CEO or sit on a board where they could introduce you to the right person who would be able to facilitate the case. My colleagues and I make a lot of these introductions for each other.”

“If you make the case into a crossword puzzle that takes five hours to solve, it’s not really fair to the students and will most likely cause them to lose focus.” James L. Heskett

Skip the curveballs and focus on key issues.

“Cases don’t have to be obvious. As a pedagogical objective, you might want students to look beyond a superficial issue to say this is the underlying topic that we need to address, and these are the questions we need to pose. Still, I think it’s unhelpful if cases contain real curveballs where ‘unlocking’ the case depends on finding some small piece of information hidden in an exhibit. Give students a break! They may have to read and digest three cases per day, so they probably won’t be able to devote more than a couple of hours to each one. If you make the case into a crossword puzzle that takes five hours to solve, it’s not really fair to the students and will most likely cause them to lose focus.”

Build a discussion plan while writing the case.

“In case method teaching, the teacher is not in complete control. Students teach each other and learn from each other. On any given day, there will likely be somebody in the room who knows more about the company featured in the case than the professor does. So a professor can’t walk into the classroom and expect to impose a lesson plan that goes in a strict linear way from A to B to C to D. The case ought to be written to allow students to jump from A to D and then come back later to B if that’s how the discussion plays out. At the same time, the case should be structured so that the instructor can collect student comments on a board, organizing them as a coherent set of related ideas, and then deliver a 5-to-10-minute summary that communicates whatever essential concepts the case has covered. This summation can be a very powerful teaching and learning experience.”

Focus on quality over quantity.

“Cases don’t have to be too long. Some good cases are only two or three pages. Students may give more scrutiny to these brief cases than they would a 20-page case.”

Advice from Benson P. Shapiro

Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Emeritus, Harvard Business School

Take out the chaff in advance.

“You don’t want students to spend too much time separating the wheat from the chaff. If a case has 12 pages of text and 10 pages of exhibits, even the smartest MBA students will likely lose interest. Writers who try to capture a situation from every angle and in every detail end up with sprawling narratives that usually do not make a good case. When writing cases, you need to set good, strong boundaries. Avoid superfluous, flowery, or poetic material that may contain interesting anecdotes or factoids, but that could distract readers from the case’s core topics. Include only those important and useful details that can help students make decisions and understand key issues that the case explores.”

Work in layers and metaphors—subtly.

“The best cases work on multiple levels. A case should focus on a specific situation—for example, whether or not to introduce a certain product. But it should also serve as a metaphor for broader issues in the background: How do we think about introducing new products? Are we introducing enough products? Are new product introductions a source of competitive advantage in our industry? How should we organize and manage new product development? You want the case to encourage students to think broadly about the various cultural, financial, and strategic impacts that managerial decisions have on a company.”

“Writers who try to capture a situation from every angle and in every detail end up with sprawling narratives that usually do not make a good case.” Benson P. Shapiro

Encourage emotional engagement.

“Case writing is an interesting literary form—it needs to be very engaging, but also educational. Great cases revolve around points of contention on which intelligent people can hold different points of view: What should you do? Why? How do you get it done? Ideally, students should have to choose between two very attractive alternatives or two terrible alternatives. The best cases involve questions that get students emotionally engaged so that they really care about choices and outcomes. When you see students physically leaning forward and following what their peers are saying, you know that they have a visceral feel for the importance of the subject. When you hear them debating after class— You were out in left field! You missed what was really important here! —that’s how you can tell you succeeded in developing a great case.”

Lessons from Carin-Isabel Knoop

Executive Director of the Case Research & Writing Group, Harvard Business School

Don’t forget the classroom component.

“Cases are deliberately incomplete documents. What a case writer leaves out of a case is often just as important as what he or she puts into it. Cases are designed to be completed through classroom instruction and discussion. While drafting the case, try to develop the classroom process in parallel. Work on the assignment questions and classroom content. Keep in mind that the case should be able to adapt to your classroom and course needs.”

Hone your elevator pitch.

“Before getting started, always have clear, succinct learning objectives in mind. Don’t start developing the case until you are able to summarize these objectives in less than five minutes.”

Case writing is a relationship, not a transaction.

When choosing a case site, be clear with executives that you are developing a teaching tool and that you will require their time and candor—and eventually their data. Put them at ease, and manage the authorization process, right from the start. Indicate that quotes will be cleared before publication and there will be time for individual review. During the creation process, ask their advice. This creates a process of engagement and helps bring home that this is a pedagogical tool, not gotcha journalism. At HBS, we oftentimes invite someone from the company to attend class. Finally, once the case is done, stay in touch with your case protagonists. They will move to other organizations and spread the good word about their experience with case writing.

Invite disagreement in case discussions.

“The case study method is based on participant-centered learning. The students all start from the same base of 11 (or however many) pages in the case, but they bring different knowledge and experiences into the classroom. So they can take the same facts and disagree about what course of action to pursue. We want students to behave like decision makers, and it can be painful to make decisions. Some critics deride the case teaching method as being unrealistic, but someone who just lectures about marketing doesn’t help students realize how difficult it is to choose between two plausible options to meet the same marketing objectives. For students, a big part of the education process is learning from discussions with classmates who think differently and advocate for different solutions. Witnessing a robust case discussion reminds us of the potential for collective learning to emerge from contrasting views.”

“Faculty don’t just write cases for teaching purposes, they write them to learn.” Carin-Isabel Knoop

The Case Writing Process Is a Worthy Effort

Researching, writing, and publishing cases is well worth the time and effort. “The case research and writing process is important for faculty development,” Knoop adds. “While developing field cases, faculty go to site visits and meet with decision makers. The case writing process helps connect scholars to practitioners and practitioners to the academic world. Faculty case writers get to explore and test how their academic theories work in practice. So faculty don’t just write cases for teaching purposes, they write them to learn. The case method is an integral part of faculty development.”

There’s another big bonus to becoming a case writer, especially for younger educators. “Young business instructors face a credibility gap with their students,” says Heskett. “It’s not uncommon to have MBA students in a class who have more experience than the instructor on a particular subject. Once you go into the field and write a case, you will know more about that subject than anyone else in the class. A primary way for professors to establish their credibility on a topic is to have written the case the class is discussing that day.”

James L. Heskett

James L. Heskett is UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, emeritus, at Harvard Business School. He completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and has been a faculty member at The Ohio State University as well as president of Logistics Systems, Inc. Since 2000, he has authored a blog on Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge website .

Benson P. Shapiro

Benson P. Shapiro is the Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, emeritus, at Harvard Business School where he taught full time from 1970 to 1997. Since 1997, Shapiro has concentrated his professional time on consulting, giving speeches, serving on boards, and writing. He continues to teach at Harvard and has taught in many executive programs and has chaired the Sustainable Marketing Leadership for Mid-Sized Firms Program.

Carin-Isabel Knoop

Carin-Isabel Knoop is the executive director of the Case Research & Writing Group at Harvard Business School. She is also coauthor of Compassionate Management of Mental Health in the Modern Workplace .

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writing business justification

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How to Write a Business Case (Template Included)


Table of Contents

What is a business case, how to write a business case, business case template, watch our business case training video, key elements of a business case, how projectmanager helps with your business case.

A business case is a project management document that explains how the benefits of a project overweigh its costs and why it should be executed. Business cases are prepared during the project initiation phase and their purpose is to include all the project’s objectives, costs and benefits to convince stakeholders of its value.

A business case is an important project document to prove to your client, customer or stakeholder that the project proposal you’re pitching is a sound investment. Below, we illustrate the steps to writing one that will sway them.

The need for a business case is that it collects the financial appraisal, proposal, strategy and marketing plan in one document and offers a full look at how the project will benefit the organization. Once your business case is approved by the project stakeholders, you can begin the project planning phase.

Projects fail without having a solid business case to rest on, as this project document is the base for the project charter and project plan. But if a project business case is not anchored to reality, and doesn’t address a need that aligns with the larger business objectives of the organization, then it is irrelevant.

writing business justification

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Use this free Business Case Template for Word to manage your projects better.

The research you’ll need to create a strong business case is the why, what, how and who of your project. This must be clearly communicated. The elements of your business case will address the why but in greater detail. Think of the business case as a document that is created during the project initiation phase but will be used as a reference throughout the project life cycle.

Whether you’re starting a new project or mid-way through one, take time to write up a business case to justify the project expenditure by identifying the business benefits your project will deliver and that your stakeholders are most interested in reaping from the work. The following four steps will show you how to write a business case.

Step 1: Identify the Business Problem

Projects aren’t created for projects’ sake. They should always be aligned with business goals . Usually, they’re initiated to solve a specific business problem or create a business opportunity.

You should “Lead with the need.” Your first job is to figure out what that problem or opportunity is, describe it, find out where it comes from and then address the time frame needed to deal with it.

This can be a simple statement but is best articulated with some research into the economic climate and the competitive landscape to justify the timing of the project.

Step 2: Identify the Alternative Solutions

How do you know whether the project you’re undertaking is the best possible solution to the problem defined above? Naturally, prioritizing projects is hard, and the path to success is not paved with unfounded assumptions.

One way to narrow down the focus to make the right solution clear is to follow these six steps (after the relevant research, of course):

  • Note the alternative solutions.
  • For each solution, quantify its benefits.
  • Also, forecast the costs involved in each solution.
  • Then figure out its feasibility .
  • Discern the risks and issues associated with each solution.
  • Finally, document all this in your business case.

Step 3: Recommend a Preferred Solution

You’ll next need to rank the solutions, but before doing that it’s best to set up criteria, maybe have a scoring mechanism such as a decision matrix to help you prioritize the solutions to best choose the right one.

Some methodologies you can apply include:

  • Depending on the solution’s cost and benefit , give it a score of 1-10.
  • Base your score on what’s important to you.
  • Add more complexity to your ranking to cover all bases.

Regardless of your approach, once you’ve added up your numbers, the best solution to your problem will become evident. Again, you’ll want to have this process also documented in your business case.

Step 4: Describe the Implementation Approach

So, you’ve identified your business problem or opportunity and how to reach it, now you have to convince your stakeholders that you’re right and have the best way to implement a process to achieve your goals. That’s why documentation is so important; it offers a practical path to solve the core problem you identified.

Now, it’s not just an exercise to appease senior leadership. Who knows what you might uncover in the research you put into exploring the underlying problem and determining alternative solutions? You might save the organization millions with an alternate solution than the one initially proposed. When you put in the work on a strong business case, you’re able to get your sponsors or organizational leadership on board with you and have a clear vision as to how to ensure the delivery of the business benefits they expect.

Our business case template for Word is the perfect tool to start writing a business case. It has 9 key business case areas you can customize as needed. Download the template for free and follow the steps below to create a great business case for all your projects.

Free Business Case Template for Word

One of the key steps to starting a business case is to have a business case checklist. The following is a detailed outline to follow when developing your business case. You can choose which of these elements are the most relevant to your project stakeholders and add them to our business case template. Then once your business case is approved, start managing your projects with a robust project management software such as ProjectManager.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a short version of each section of your business case. It’s used to give stakeholders a quick overview of your project.

2. Project Definition

This section is meant to provide general information about your projects, such as the business objectives that will be achieved and the project plan outline.

3. Vision, Goals and Objectives

First, you have to figure out what you’re trying to do and what is the problem you want to solve. You’ll need to define your project vision, goals and objectives. This will help you shape your project scope and identify project deliverables.

4. Project Scope

The project scope determines all the tasks and deliverables that will be executed in your project to reach your business objectives.

5. Background Information

Here you can provide a context for your project, explaining the problem that it’s meant to solve, and how it aligns with your organization’s vision and strategic plan.

6. Success Criteria and Stakeholder Requirements

Depending on what kind of project you’re working on, the quality requirements will differ, but they are critical to the project’s success. Collect all of them, figure out what determines if you’ve successfully met them and report on the results .

7. Project Plan

It’s time to create the project plan. Figure out the tasks you’ll have to take to get the project done. You can use a work breakdown structure template  to make sure you are through. Once you have all the tasks collected, estimate how long it will take to complete each one.

Project management software makes creating a project plan significantly easier. ProjectManager can upload your work breakdown structure template and all your tasks are populated in our tool. You can organize them according to your production cycle with our kanban board view, or use our Gantt chart view to create a project schedule.

kanban card moving into next column on the board

8. Project Budget

Your budget is an estimate of everything in your project plan and what it will cost to complete the project over the scheduled time allotted.

9. Project Schedule

Make a timeline for the project by estimating how long it will take to get each task completed. For a more impactful project schedule , use a tool to make a Gantt chart, and print it out. This will provide that extra flourish of data visualization and skill that Excel sheets lack.

10. Project Governance

Project governance refers to all the project management rules and procedures that apply to your project. For example, it defines the roles and responsibilities of the project team members and the framework for decision-making.

11. Communication Plan

Have milestones for check-ins and status updates, as well as determine how stakeholders will stay aware of the progress over the project life cycle.

12. Progress Reports

Have a plan in place to monitor and track your progress during the project to compare planned to actual progress. There are project tracking tools that can help you monitor progress and performance.

Again, using a project management tool improves your ability to see what’s happening in your project. ProjectManager has tracking tools like dashboards and status reports that give you a high-level view and more detail, respectively. Unlike light-weight apps that make you set up a dashboard, ours is embedded in the tool. Better still, our cloud-based software gives you real-time data for more insightful decision-making. Also, get reports on more than just status updates, but timesheets, workload, portfolio status and much more, all with just one click. Then filter the reports and share them with stakeholders to keep them updated.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

13. Financial Appraisal

This is a very important section of your business case because this is where you explain how the financial benefits outweigh the project costs . Compare the financial costs and benefits of your project. You can do this by doing a sensitivity analysis and a cost-benefit analysis.

14. Market Assessment

Research your market, competitors and industry, to find opportunities and threats

15. Competitor Analysis

Identify direct and indirect competitors and do an assessment of their products, strengths, competitive advantages and their business strategy.

16. SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis helps you identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal, while the opportunities and threats are external.

17. Marketing Strategy

Describe your product, distribution channels, pricing, target customers among other aspects of your marketing plan or strategy.

18. Risk Assessment

There are many risk categories that can impact your project. The first step to mitigating them is to identify and analyze the risks associated with your project activities.

ProjectManager , an award-winning project management software, can collect and assemble all the various data you’ll be collecting, and then easily share it both with your team and project sponsors.

Once you have a spreadsheet with all your tasks listed, you can import it into our software. Then it’s instantly populated into a Gantt chart . Simply set the duration for each of the tasks, add any dependencies, and your project is now spread across a timeline. You can set milestones, but there is so much more you can do.

Gantt chart from ProjectManager

You have a project plan now, and from the online Gantt chart, you can assign team members to tasks. Then they can comment directly on the tasks they’re working on, adding as many documents and images as needed, fostering a collaborative environment. You can track their progress and change task durations as needed by dragging and dropping the start and end dates.

But that’s only a taste of what ProjectManager offers. We have kanban boards that visualize your workflow and a real-time dashboard that tracks six project metrics for the most accurate view of your project possible.

Try ProjectManager and see for yourself with this 30-day free trial .

If you want more business case advice, take a moment to watch Jennifer Bridges, PMP, in this short training video. She explains the steps you have to take in order to write a good business case.

Here’s a screenshot for your reference.

how writing a business case for your project is good business strategy


Today we’re talking about how to write a business case. Well, over the past few years, we’ve seen the market, or maybe organizations, companies or even projects, move away from doing business cases. But, these days, companies, organizations, and those same projects are scrutinizing the investments and they’re really seeking a rate of return.

So now, think of the business case as your opportunity to package your project, your idea, your opportunity, and show what it means and what the benefits are and how other people can benefit.

We want to take a look today to see what’s in the business case and how to write one. I want to be clear that when you look for information on a business case, it’s not a briefcase.

Someone called the other day and they were confused because they were looking for something, and they kept pulling up briefcases. That’s not what we’re talking about today. What we’re talking about are business cases, and they include information about your strategies, about your goals. It is your business proposal. It has your business outline, your business strategy, and even your marketing plan.

Why Do You Need a Business Case?

And so, why is that so important today? Again, companies are seeking not only their project managers but their team members to have a better understanding of business and more of an idea business acumen. So this business case provides the justification for the proposed business change or plan. It outlines the allocation of capital that you may be seeking and the resources required to implement it. Then, it can be an action plan . It may just serve as a unified vision. And then it also provides the decision-makers with different options.

So let’s look more at the steps required to put these business cases together. There are four main steps. One, you want to research your market. Really look at what’s out there, where are the needs, where are the gaps that you can serve? Look at your competition. How are they approaching this, and how can you maybe provide some other alternatives?

You want to compare and finalize different approaches that you can use to go to market. Then you compile that data and you present strategies, your goals and other options to be considered.

And then you literally document it.

So what does the document look like? Well, there are templates out there today. The components vary, but these are the common ones. And then these are what I consider essential. So there’s the executive summary. This is just a summary of your company, what your management team may look like, a summary of your product and service and your market.

The business description gives a little bit more history about your company and the mission statement and really what your company is about and how this product or service fits in.

Then, you outline the details of the product or service that you’re looking to either expand or roll out or implement. You may even include in their patents may be that you have pending or other trademarks.

Then, you want to identify and lay out your marketing strategy. Like, how are you gonna take this to your customers? Are you going to have a brick-and-mortar store? Are you gonna do this online? And, what are your plans to take it to market?

You also want to include detailed information about your competitor analysis. How are they doing things? And, how are you planning on, I guess, beating your competition?

You also want to look at and identify your SWOT. And the SWOT is your strength. What are the strengths that you have in going to market? And where are the weaknesses? Maybe some of your gaps. And further, where are your opportunities and maybe threats that you need to plan for? Then the overview of the operation includes operational information like your production, even human resources, information about the day-to-day operations of your company.

And then, your financial plan includes your profit statement, your profit and loss, any of your financials, any collateral that you may have, and any kind of investments that you may be seeking.

So these are the components of your business case. This is why it’s so important. And if you need a tool that can help you manage and track this process, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager .

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

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Celarity Blog • Updated Apr 21, 2023

Build Your Case: Increasing Headcount on Your Team

How can you justify and build a business case for additional staff ? This question is easily one of the most frustrating things for hiring managers. You feel your team is understaffed and overworked. Even worse, you’re starting to worry about employee morale and the quality of work being pushed out the door.

So, what are some of the reasons it’s so hard to advocate for more staff? And more importantly, how can you overcome the common objections raised by the decision-makers when it comes to hiring more employees?

Why it’s so tough to convince decision-makers:

  • Costs – People are a large expense for companies. Eliminating employees increases equity for owners and decreases costs associated with benefits, salaries, equipment, training, etc.
  • Productivity – Companies sometimes downsize to increase productivity. Counterintuitive? Maybe. But, some companies think they can increase individual worker output while keeping production constant.  A company might also downsize to increase productivity by replacing workers with technology.
  • Value – Downsizing generally signals restructuring or change. If shareholders/investors think these changes will increase profitability, it will increase the value of company stock. This can result in more investors coming on board or current investors increasing their contributions. In either case, downsizing can increase the company’s perceived value.
  • Failed Evaluation – Some managers fail to critically evaluate their needs and the type of help required.
  • Outsourcing – Some companies overextend the number/types of services they offer which leads to the elimination of products/services or outsourcing certain activities. In turn, this often leads to a decrease in employees.

How To Build Your Case for Additional Staff:

Follow the steps in this guide to help you build a solid business case to justify an increase in headcount for your team.

Step 1: Identify your needs

Identify your needs by asking yourself some simple questions:

  • Do you need help during specific times of the year?
  • Are you seeing a higher volume of work right now? Do you expect that volume of work to continue?
  • Do you have specific gaps on your team? Do the gaps frequently change?
  • Is your business growing?
  • Do your team members seem more emotional and/or sensitive than usual?
  • Is the quality of work on your team decreasing?
  • Are you experiencing a higher turnover than normal?
  • Are employees working early mornings, evenings, on weekends and missing family or social engagements to work?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to identify the type of help you need…

Step 2: Be specific about what you’ll be asking for in a new hire

Not being specific with your requests is a critical mistake to avoid! When you’re asking for an increase in staff, focus on:

  • Skills/knowledge
  • Industry experience
  • Specific backgrounds
  • Personalities

In addition, think about how many employees you need to hire and what kind (full-time, part-time, temporary, freelance, etc.). No need to start from scratch – check out these job description templates that include responsibilities, key role metrics, competitive salary information, and more!

Step 3: Collect the right data

You’ll want to collect the data that will help you frame your argument for why you need more staff, exactly how many new employees, what kind , and why.

Use real-life scenarios to illustrate the negative impact of being understaffed and how an increase in headcount can help your team meet its goals. The best data you can collect on your own to help you make your case include things that will show:

  • Impact on company goals
  • Indisputable facts that highlight a need for action
  • How the business has been/will be negatively impacted by not hiring

Examples of data you can collect to showcase trends (some may currently be tracked by your team, and some may not):

  • An increase in the number of projects being assigned to the team but with the same number of resources (or less) assigned to complete the tasks
  • Working hours of current staff, which show everyone is consistently working extended hours. You can use data like this to calculate a specific deficit in your needs. For example, 6 months of tracking shows a 2-head deficit relative to capacity (ask salaried employees to track their hours in a spreadsheet)
  • An overall decrease in employee satisfaction, work quality, and customer service

If you don’t already have a Headcount Planning Strategy, consider creating one, so you can show how you can maximize efficiency and help justify your need for hiring when necessary.

Step 4: Show your current state and the consequences of not hiring

There can be serious consequences for not hiring if the customers, team, and business are suffering. This phenomenon is often referred to as the opportunity cost, which represents the lost benefits that would have been achieved if the new hire had been made.

Point out some of these consequences to the decision-makers:

  • Increased attrition/turnover
  • Decrease in qualified marketing and sales leads
  • Decrease in sales revenue
  • Missed growth opportunities
  • Competitive disadvantages
  • Delayed projects and initiatives
  • Other enormous impacts on the overall goals of the company

Step 5: Exhibit the positive impacts of hiring (for the customers, employees, and business)

Compare the current state to the future desired state. Focus on the impact. When you outline your plan, include how these things positively impact customers, employees, and business. For example:

  • Improved marketing efforts can positively impact the customer experience from a consumer perspective
  • Time to pursue career development opportunities can positively impact the morale and stability of a team
  • Generating higher-quality leads can positively impact big company goals, such as increasing sales revenue

Step 6: Know when and where to discuss this topic with decision-makers

When and where you should bring up adding more headcount to your team is crucial and wildly depends on your company and situation. So, follow these tips:

  • Pay attention to timing. It’s best to plead your case when your company has the money, when you can identify where to save alternative dollars and spend, or when your team recently had huge accomplishments
  • Ask yourself if it’s best to broach this topic during budget planning at the beginning or the end of the fiscal year; be smart about it and base it on your company structure
  • Always schedule an in-person, one-on-one meeting with the decision-makers; avoid getting ignored or shot down by email or phone

Step 7: Consider alternatives to full-time employees

If executives are hesitant to add full-time employees, you can explore other options, such as freelancers or contractors . The key is to show how these temporary workers can fill skill gaps, provide flexible staffing solutions, and allow for a trial period before committing to a full-time employee. This is also a great opportunity to show the need for more full-time staff in the future.

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How to Write a Job Position Justification

  • Accounting & Auditing Jobs
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How to Write a Memo to One's Boss

How to propose a job to a company, how to create new job positions.

  • How to Ask About a Promised Promotion
  • How to Address an Unnamed Employer in a Cover Letter

If you feel you’ve gone as far as you can in your current role, but don’t see any direct room for advancement, you may be able to make a justification for creating a new position within your company. You may also try this approach if you’re proposing the hiring of additional support staff. The key is to demonstrate the need, then to outline how you envision the new position being successfully filled.

What’s Missing

To justify a new position, you have to demonstrate what task or responsibility is not being effectively covered in your organization. Additionally, you should be able to show how creating a new role to address this deficiency will have a notable, measurable and positive impact on the company. If you plan to propose that you fill the new role yourself, the justification for creating a new position should be tailored in such a way that you’re the obvious candidate of choice.

Making Your Case

You can work backward in creating justification for a new position by writing a draft job description that outlines what the holder of the new position would be responsible for. For example, if you’re an administrative assistant who regularly proofreads materials because the marketing department doesn’t have a full-time copy editor, set out the responsibilities a copy editor would take on:

  • Ensure all written materials originating within the company are well drafted and free of errors.
  • Fact check all printed reports and materials before distribution or publication.
  • Review presentations to ensure they are complete, appropriate and on topic.

Drafting the Proposal 

Create an overview proposal that describes why the role is needed.

In recent months, there have been a number of poorly produced written materials that have been internally generated. The marketing division is currently swamped with requests, and at this time, there is no designated person responsible for being the final gatekeeper who proofs materials for errors. I believe a copy editor position should be created to fill this need. The person in this role will help reduce errors, eliminate production costs due to fixing mistakes, and will ensure a more professional company image.

If you’re making a case for hiring a position you don’t want to fill personally, tailor the above approach slightly.

Initial estimates indicate the sales division is unable to respond to 25 percent of prospect calls because we don’t have a sufficient number of telephone operators. I would like to propose we create a new position of department receptionist to field and distribute calls appropriately. I believe this position is justified due to the need and the potential for increased earnings that will result from streamlining efforts.

Include metrics and real-life examples when possible. If you want to fill the role yourself or if you have someone else in mind, indicate this at the conclusion of the proposal.

  • Mind Tools: When to Create a New Role
  • Inc.: Your Guide to Asking for a Promotion

Lisa McQuerrey has been an award-winning writer and author for more than 25 years. She specializes in business, finance, workplace/career and education. Publications she’s written for include Southwest Exchange and InBusiness Las Vegas.

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15+ Justification Letter Format – How to Write, Examples

  • Letter Format
  • January 31, 2024
  • Acceptance Letters , Business Letters , Formal Letters , Legal Letters , Promotion Letters , Request Letters

Justification Letter Format : A justification letter format is a formal document that is used to explain and support a particular decision or course of action . The format of a justification letter is critical because it ensures that the letter is clear, concise, and easy to understand .

In this article, we will discuss the essential elements of a justification letter format and provide tips for creating an effective letter.

Also Check:

  • Promotion Acceptance Letter Format
  • Promotion Letter Format
  • Promotion Request Letter Format 
  • Business Inauguration Invitation Letter

How to Start Justification Letter Format

Content in this article

  • Header: The header of a Promotion letter should include the date, the name and title of the person the letter is addressed to, and the sender’s name and contact information. The header should be aligned to the left of the page.
  • Salutation: The salutation of a justification letter should be formal and address the recipient respectfully. If the recipient is unknown, use “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Introduction: The introduction of a justification letter should explain the purpose of the letter and provide a brief overview of the decision or action that is being justified. The introduction should be concise and to the point.
  • Background: The background section of a justification letter should provide context for the decision or action being justified. This section should include relevant details, such as the problem or issue that led to the decision or action, and any relevant history or precedent.
  • Justification: The justification section of a justification letter is the most critical part of the letter. In this section, the writer should explain the reasons for the decision or action and provide evidence to support the decision or action. The writer should also anticipate any potential objections and address them in this section.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion of a justification letter should summarize the key points of the letter and restate the decision or action being justified. The writer should also thank the recipient for their time and consideration.
  • Closing: The closing of a justification letter should be formal and respectful. Use “Sincerely” or “Respectfully” followed by the sender’s name and title.
  • Enclosure: If there are any relevant documents or materials that support the decision or action being justified, they should be included as enclosures with the letter.

Tips for Writing an Effective Justification Letter Format :

  • Be clear and concise: Keep the letter short and to the point. Avoid using technical jargon or language that may be difficult for the recipient to understand.
  • Provide evidence: Use data, research, or other evidence to support the decision or action being justified.
  • Address objections: Anticipate any potential objections and address them in the letter.
  • Proofread: Check the letter for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure it is well-organized and easy to read.
  • Be professional: Use a formal tone and avoid using humor or sarcasm.

Sample 1: Justification letter format for a budget increase

Here is the sample for Justification letter format for a budget increase

[Your Name] [Your Title] [Your Organization] [Date]

[Recipient’s Name] [Recipient’s Title] [Recipient’s Organization]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I am writing to request a budget increase for our department. As you know, our department has been working hard to achieve our goals for this fiscal year. However, we have encountered unexpected expenses that have affected our ability to meet our targets.

Our team has been working diligently to control costs, but unfortunately, we have exhausted our current budget. To continue providing the best service possible to our clients, we require an additional budget of [$amount]. This budget increase will allow us to continue our work and meet our objectives for this fiscal year.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you require further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

[Your Name]

Sample 2: Justification letter format for a job promotion

Here is the sample for Justification letter format for a job promotion

I am writing to request a promotion to the position of [new position title] in [department or division]. I have been with the company for [number of years] years and have consistently demonstrated my skills, abilities, and commitment to the organization.

In my current position, I have successfully [list your achievements, skills, and contributions]. I believe that these accomplishments, combined with my education, experience, and dedication, make me an ideal candidate for the [new position title] role.

I am confident that with my skills and experience, I can make a positive contribution to the department and help the organization achieve its objectives. I would appreciate your consideration for this promotion and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with you.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sample 3: Email Format about Justification letter

Here is the email format sample for Justification letter format

Subject: Justification Letter Request

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request a justification letter for [purpose of the letter]. As you know, a justification letter is necessary in various situations such as budget increases, job promotions, business proposals, and leave of absence requests.

I am seeking your assistance in preparing a professional and persuasive justification letter that accurately outlines the reasons for the request and highlights the benefits and impact of the proposal. I believe that your expertise and knowledge in [related field or area] will be instrumental in drafting a convincing letter.

I have provided some background information and details about my request in the attached document, which I hope will assist you in preparing the justification letter. Additionally, if you require any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I would appreciate it if you could complete the letter within [timeframe]. Once you have finished drafting the letter, I will review it and make any necessary changes or additions before submitting it to the appropriate department or individual.

Thank you for your assistance and support in this matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,

Sample 4: Justification letter format for a business proposal

Here is the sample for Justification letter format for a business proposal

I am writing to propose a [brief description of the proposal]. This proposal is a strategic initiative that will benefit our organization by [list the benefits].

As you know, our industry is highly competitive, and we need to be proactive in identifying new opportunities for growth. This proposal will enable us to [list the advantages and positive impact on the organization].

I have attached a detailed plan outlining the proposal, including the costs, timeline, and expected outcomes. I would appreciate your review and consideration of this proposal.

Sample 5: Justification letter format for a leave of absence

Here is the sample for Justification letter format for a leave of absence

I am writing to request a leave of absence from [start date] to [end date]. The reason for this leave is [briefly explain the reason for the leave].

I understand that my absence will require the department to make arrangements to cover my workload. To facilitate this, I have already discussed my leave with [name of colleague or manager], who has agreed to cover my responsibilities during my absence.

I have attached a formal leave of absence request form, which outlines the details of my leave and the arrangements made for covering my workload. If you require further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

A well-written justification letter format can help to support a decision or action and convince others of its validity . By following Justification Letter Format & essential elements of a justification letter format and incorporating these tips, you can create an effective letter that achieves your desired outcome .

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  24. Manager Raise Justification Letter

    Hello! I can do your Manager Raise Justification Letter - 22/02/2024 09:20 EST job accurately. My experience with Business Analysis, Research Writing, Business Writing, Management and Report Writing makes me the right person to help you complete this project. I am available to start immediately upon your approval.