Is a Business Case Just About Money?

Pile of Money - freefoto
Pile of Money – freefoto

What is most important in a business case?

So is a business case just about money or not? There are differing views:

“Business, that’s easily defined, it’s other people’s money.”  Peter Drucker

Disneyland is a work of love.  We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”  Walt Disney

There is something of a paradox at work here.  If people are fulfilled in their jobs then they would say that they are not working just for the money. But equally, a business will go under unless it can turn a profit.

The bottom line is cash

Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, and Alan Sugar are men who have made a lot of money. They all know the importance of being profitable. But, even after they made enough money to retire comfortably, they worked on; why? It is obvious that these men (who all know the importance of a good business case) have another drive. There is a greater vision and mission. These go beyond just cash flow and profit.

A business case has to look at the bottom line, the money. But in general, it is primarily a formal way of expressing the vision, values and mission of an organisation.  Developing a business case can seem like a daunting process at times. Particularly so, as there are so many different templates and examples available. But the core of the business case is very simple; it is just answering some basic questions, questions that are covered in ‘The Right Questions’ framework.

At some point for a business plan, you will have to prove the figures. This means examining the detail of profit and cash flow. But for now, we are just going to concentrate on the top-level questions. These are the strategic framing of the business; seeing where what we are passionate about intersects with an opportunity to create revenue.  In this way, we can help identify our vocation.

What makes you and your product or service different?

A business case is generally focused on the need to make money; if a business proposition doesn’t demonstrate the ability to make money it has to be adapted or discarded. But, the ability to make money is driven by the fact that something you do or make should be attractive enough to make someone buy that service or product.  You need to stand out, make yourself different from the competition, to give you that competitive advantage. This is your unique selling proposition (USP).

Working out what makes us different is not always obvious.  Not many of us launch a completely new idea or industry.  In fact, it is a fallacy that you need a completely new concept to be an entrepreneur or successful business person.  It may not be a completely new idea or product but you certainly need to do something different in order to stand out. 

For example, you might offer better customer service or better value for money than the competition. Or you may pursue a particular under-exploited section of an existing market. If you are just starting up you need to make the offering attractive enough for people to buy your product or service, rather than those of the competition. You also need to overcome the buyer’s concern that purchasing from a new business might be risky. But, if you solve the customers’ problems sufficiently, they should need and want what you sell. That is the best incentive for getting people to buy anything.

Finding your USP

We find that it is primarily our character and abilities that make us stand out from other businesses.  Therefore to identify what makes us different we can start by looking at ourselves and look at where our values, our skills and a need in a market all intersect.  From this, we can see what makes us unique.

After that we can look at the broader marketing narrative and answer the sort of questions we find more commonly in a business case.  By going through this process we get a good overview of why the business exists, what it is going to do and indicate how it is going to make money.

Therefore as we continue to ask ‘The Right Questions’ you will find that you will naturally find the answers you need to build a business case. If you want to go through the process of writing a business case then read How to Write a Business Case:

If you would like access to some bonus content and get updates then please do sign up for my email list.

One thought on “Is a Business Case Just About Money?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.