Sunday 13 April 2008

Tips for writing business cases

1. It’s not what you do (how you write it, language, length, etc) it’s who you talk to
  1. What are their needs (personal needs such as recognition - actually it’s quite important to recognise this)
  2. What are their priorities (if your service is essentially a primary care service and you work in a hospital, why would they want to put resources into it? Who should you pitch your idea to?)
  3. What are they measured on (for example, Local Authorities have picked 35 indicators from the 198 in the new booklet “new performance framework for local authorities” from the Communities and Local Government web site – identify which buttons your service pushes, identify which buttons your local authorities have chosen to be measured on, and emphasise the matching bits in your proposal)
  4. What pushes their buttons
2. Why are you doing this?
  1. What’s the evidence that there’s a need? Present it
  2. What’s the evidence that it will work (eg from other sites)? Present or at least acknowledge it
  3. What are the cost/benefits? (what do service users do if they don’t have your service? How much does that cost? Who pays?)
  4. Will it work? (what are the risks, resource implications, do you have answers to the simple questions?)
3. Who should you present to?
  1. From talking to people in 1) you should identify who the best funders are, who you want on your team as a figure-head, for credibility, or for all sorts of reasons not least that it’s lonely doing it on your own and you want company. But if you want financials worked out then get someone credible to the funding body to work out the financials, eg someone in their own finance department – that way you don’t have to pay for the service either!) Then give them credit
  2. What’s their timetable? Do they receive bids at a particular time of year, from a particular type of organisation, have a cycle of cases? Do they only fund successful organisations? What about assistance preparing the bid? (you’d be surprised, Urgent Care Limited got start-up funding to help initial costs, finds for legal costs and bid preparation costs and all sorts before the money started flowing in earnest)
  3. What is the accepted route (do they have subcommittees and screening committees? For your own sanity don’t present to anyone who isn’t relevant to the funding, because they don’t like it either. But do work the process – the more difficult it is the fewer other people will have stayed the course)

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