The Audience and Decision Makers

in tutelage •  last month

In order to convey your message effectively, it's worth devoting some time to researching the people to whom the case will be presented.


THE AUDIENCE AND DECISION MAKERS


business case is written to provide company decision makers with the data they need to determine the viability of investment in your project.

In order to convey your message effectively, it's worth devoting some time to researching the people to whom the case will be presented.

When researching the people who will decide whether your project is approved, you need to ask three questions:

  • Who are the decision makers for my case?
  • What are their interests in my case?
  • What questions will they ask?

Your first question should be: Who are the decision makers for your case?

Depending on the project and the company, the key decision makers could be company owners and executives, corporate directors, or stockholders. They could also be research and development teams, sales and marketing teams, financial services and accounting teams, or banks and outside funding sources.

If your company is relatively small, the owners or partners may be the decision makers.

In large companies, decisions may be made by a division president instead of the CEO or chairperson.

QUESTION

Identify the meaning of the term "decision makers" from a list of possible definitions.

  1. The people who decide what goes into your business case
  2. The people who will decide whether your proposed project is approved for investment
  3. The people who refer to your business case throughout the life cycle of the project

You and your team decide what goes into your business case, but you are not the decision makers.

Examples of decision makers are company executives, directors, managers, and marketing and development staff.

Your business case may be referred to by different groups throughout the project cycle, but they are not all decision makers.

2. The people who will decide whether your proposed project is approved for investment

Your second question should be: What are their interests in your case?

Some decision makers may read only the executive summary to see whether your idea has merit, while others may focus on the business-case presentation.

Decision makers' professional interests often influence what they look for in a business case. Accounting personnel may go directly to the financial reports to look at the profit and expense projections. Sales and marketing personnel may be interested only in whether there is a market for your idea.

The third question you should ask is: What questions will the decision makers ask?

Examples of questions that you may have to answer include the following:

  • How will the product or service be promoted and priced?
  • Does a market exist for the product or service, and is the market ready?
  • How will customer service be handled?
  • What are the labor requirements for the project?
  • Is the budget for the project realistic?
  • What materials will be needed for the project? Are these materials readily available?
  • Are the current facilities sufficient to implement the project?

Identifying the decision makers, defining their interest in your case, and finding answers to the kinds of questions they may ask will help you to prepare and present a strong business case.

Your research in these three areas will help to ensure the approval of your new proposal.

QUESTION

How do you go about identifying the angle a business case should take?

  1. Identify the decision makers
  2. Identify the decision makers' interests in your case
  3. Offer incentives to individual decision makers to induce them to approve your project
  4. Identify the questions the decision makers may ask
  5. Include only positive information in the business case

There are different decision makers for different projects and different company structures.

Decision makers' professional interests often influence what they look for in a business case.

You will not influence the decision makers by trying to bribe them.

The decision makers' questions will depend on their specific interests in your case.

Your business case should provide decision makers with all the data they need to determine the viability of investment in your project.

1. Identify the decision makers
2. Identify the decision makers' interests in your case
4. Identify the questions the decision makers may ask

Decision makers are probably the most important audience for your business case, as they have the final say on whether the project is approved for funding.

But other individuals or groups will also need to refer to your business case for a variety of reasons. They may need to refer to the case to stay focused, to check their own involvement in the case, and to explain the concept to new managers if there is a management change during project development.

To secure commitment and funding for a new product or service, it's important to present your business case effectively to the decision makers.

But bear in mind that the audience for your business case is not restricted to decision makers alone. Different groups and individuals will need to refer to your business case throughout the life cycle of the project.

The Business Case Audience

Before you start preparing your business case, you must give some thought to who will use it besides company decision makers. Users of your business case may need to refer to the case to stay focused, to remain committed to your product or service idea, and to explain the basic concept to new managers should management change during the development phase. You should keep in mind all audiences when considering the key messages and format of your business case.

Departments within your company that will use your business case after the initial approval may include the following:

Research and Development

Research and Development will use your business case for a description of the product or service, and to determine essentials needed for development.

Production

The people responsible for production or service delivery will read your business case to find out what modifications might have to be made in the facilities and equipment. They may also use your case to begin acquiring materials and determining labor force needs.

Sales and Marketing

The Sales and Marketing people will use the business case to start planning how the product or service will be promoted and to establish pricing based on where and to whom the product or service will be sold.

Customer Relations

Customer Relations will use the business case to decide what kind of service customers will need and how best to deliver it.

Accounting

Accounting will need the business case to set up and generate projected profit and expense reports.

Distribution

Distribution will use the case to determine how to transport the product as well as how to deliver any services that may be required.

Human Resources

Human Resources will need a copy of the business case to supply labor and support the personnel involved.

Purchasing

Purchasing will use the business case to obtain the materials and supplies that will be used in production.

As you prepare a business case, it is important to consider who will use it during product development, production, and delivery. Remember that the value of the business case should extend beyond project approval by company decision makers. To help users stay focused, your business case must answer the question, "Why are we doing this?" for all departments and personnel involved. An effective case will also include the details that each user will need to do their part in ensuring the success of the project.


I have been teaching and training agents, team leaders, supervisors, managers and admins of call centers and other businesses in BPO related fields. This series, comes as a result of that experience. I have more than 4,000 modules that I plan on sharing here. This is # 007-10

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