Tag Archives: Business Case

Where is the Brexit Business Case?

Next week on June 8th there will be new elections in the UK and after this the negotiations around the Brexit between Britain and the EU will start. Michel Barnier, EU’s chief negotiator, has planned these negotiations to start on June 19th but who he will negotiate from te UK side is of course depending on the outcome of the elections.

Theresa May notified the European council of the UK’s decision to leave the EU on 29 March this year, nine months after last years June referendum. According to the Lisbon treaty the withdrawal negotiations as allowed under article 50 need to be finished within two years so the end date is set on March 30th 2019 (unless all parties agree on an extended deadline…). And after this day the actual transition will start and this will probably also take time, this whole Brexit programma will probably dominate the EU agenda for the coming years.

So although te UK had already nine months to prepare before the negotiation phase started, 10 weeks have passed since without any formal or informal negotiations. And with the elections next week even more uncertainty is created because we don’t know who we will need to negotiate with from the UK side after the elections: the latest polls show the conservatives are losing their majority so Theresa May did not get the clear victory she expected from the elections. And when Labour takes over government together with the SNP the whole negotiation process will at least delay and probably soften the negotiations.

With the Brexit negotiations a long and complex negotiation process will start which has never been done before in the history of the EU and with an uncertain outcome, a complex landscape of stakeholders within both the EU as the UK and a rapidly changing political and economical environment.

As a first step the European Council agreed on a set of principles outlined as follow:

“In these negotiations the Union will act as one. It will be constructive throughout and will strive to find an agreement. This is in the best interest of both sides. The Union will work hard to achieve that outcome, but it will prepare itself to be able to handle the situation also if the negotiations were to fail. These guidelines define the framework for negotiations under Article 50 TEU and set out the overall positions and principles that the Union will pursue throughout the negotiation. The European Council will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary.”

So a fixed end date but not fixed if all agree, basic principles which can be changed along the way and  even fall back scenario in case the negotiations are not successful: from a programme management perspective and change management perspective a big challenge with a lot of risks involved and all indicators for a potential failure most visible in the objective to ge an agreement  in the best interest of both sides.

You can compare the Brexit negotiations with a divorce, key with a divorce is that both parties are saying farewell to the former situation when they were living together  ‘in the best interest of both sides’ and want to establish a new situation where after the divorce you want to take care of your own interest. And as we all know a divorce can become very nasty and give a fight around parenthood and the distribution of material and immaterial assets and pensions: in the end both parties involved will have to pay a price. And just like after a divorce it is also valid for the Brexit: how can the EU and UK separate from each other and share the pain? In this process it is not about who will win but how both parties can quickly come to an agreement and sign the divorce papers, the longer this process will take the more damage will be done on the relationship. After the divorce it will take time to heal and buildup a new relationship: when the settlement of the divorce was not fair this will be more difficult.

So I think it would be best to come to an agreement as quickly as possible and already start with the implementation with parts of the agreements once decided on. It would have helped if EU had already come up with a more detailed plan how they would like to manage the Brexit and the future relationship with the UK including the different possible transition scenario’s, their costs and benefits and a roadmap for the transition. Just like a normal government programme is broken into projects and is based on a proper business case as described in the Prince2 project management methodology especially developed for UK government. This would also be fair for the UK voters because next week they will not know what the objectives and strategies of the political parties will be during the negotiations and will be giving a blanco cheque to the new UK Government next week to do what they think is best.

The Brexit is not about negotiating a contract between two companies who will profit most from the contract but it’s about countries with a long history of working together and establishing great things and need start connecting again and work together as soon as possible!

And as a European not having much influence on this whole negotiation process (we were not asked what we want) and not having elected the current EU leadership directly maybe EU leadership could take the criticism of the UK serious and transform the EU into a more democratic European Union and take out regulation that does not make sense and decrease overhead so we can also benefit from the Brexit business case.

Update June 9th 2017 4:00

Theresa May has lost the elections because she did not get the majority of seats in parlement which will make it difficult for the UK to start the Brexit negotiation process June 19th as planned. When Theresa May should decide to resign as MP, and already members of the conservatives are asking for this, someone else needs to take over: this will have impact on the UK negotiation team and it will take time before this team can operate effectively. This will delay the negotiations significant and weaken UK’s position. The winner of this UK elections is the EU who is now confronted with a divided UK without a strong leader and without a clear strategy.

Update June 19th 2017 20:00

Belgium EU Brexit

Today finally the negotiations started with a UK negotiation team presenting a divided country after the disappointing elections for the tories, the terror attacks and the Grenfell towers fire. The UK government is under a lot of pressure form inside and outside and that is not a good starting point for the negotiations. We will se how this will further develop the coming months…

Looking at above picture of the teams sitting together for the first time I noticed:

  1. It looks like there is no (independent) chair for the meeting;
  2. The delegations are too big, both teams consist of ten people, too much for running an effective meeting;
  3. The two parties are sitting opposite each other with a lot of distance in between, a smaller table could create a more informal atmosphere;
  4. There are a lot of microphones and screens in the middle, probably all what’s said is translated and recorded,  this will not help making creative solutions..

Let’s see how this will work out in time!

 

Protect or Die

Looking back, I was busy with the wrong issues those first twenty days of 2017. I had not foreseen the impact of the big changes which were coming. As soon as Donald Trump was inaugurated he started signing executive orders which were changing the worldwide political landscape significant. A few days after he took office I got a phone call from someone I did not know and he asked me if I was available for a meeting, he wanted to discuss something with me. We planned to meet in a restaurant in a small town not far from where I live.

He was already there when I arrived and he introduced himself as Paul. I started with introducing myself and told him about the projects I was running at the moment. After this, I asked him what he wanted from me. He started explaining his background, he had been in the Dutch army for a long time in a ‘technical’ function and had done assignments in Bosnia and Afghanistan and was now working in IT as a security expert. He still had a large network of ex-soldiers around him and participated in military training sessions all over the world. They did these trainings in secret because bad publicity was not what they wanted, they just wanted to practise their skills and meet old friends.

He had read my blogs on the International Police training Lowlands Grenade  in Marnehuizen in the North of the Netherlands. I participated during this training as an actor in June 2014. I was there for 5 days and really liked it working together with delegations of national police from 42 countries which were training there and showing each other their capabilities and skills. There were police from the US, Israel, Ukraine, Spain, the UK etc..

Working together with those policemen and women was big fun and most of the time I was walking around looking at what was happening and once in a while I was asked to play a role. I remember I had to play the role of Vice President of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment  (CPT) and drove around protected by an Lithuanian SWAT-team and an Hungarian CRC-team and visited the prison and a police station (PSS) interviewing staff there. I was impressed by the professionalism of all participating but also the friendship between the participants with these different backgrounds and had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the way they work and the technology they used.

After we discussed this Paul told me about his plans. He and his friends were very worried about the developments now happening worldwide with the election of Trump, the Brexit and the conflicts in the Middel East. They were discussing the impact of this and were investigating  what their role could be in this changing political and military landscape. He referred to the first meeting between Donald Trump and Theresa May who agreed that: “The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”

The impact of this would be that probably the number of local conflicts would increase and he expected a lot of demand on the short run for companies who could protect civilians and objects on a commercial basis. Most European countries have not invested enough in military material and capacity the last 20 years and are now facing a world in turmoil with big problems in the Middle East and Africa and potential new conflicts at locations we are not aware of yet. They need to respond to this and build up their own capacity but this will taken some time and in the meantime they need to do something to protect their citizens. 

Paul was busy with investigating if starting up a company for this in the Netherlands was possible and for this he needed some “citizens” next to the military from his network who could help with the administrative but also the ‘selling” of this company external. In the US and UK have already a lot of private military contractors (like Blackwater) working closely together with their government but there are none in the rest of Europe. This has to do with the fact that there is no political foundation for such an initiative but, according to Paul, this could change on the short run when conflicts escalate and protection is needed. He asked me if I was interested in helping setting this up with his team, he needed someone who did not talk in military terms and was able to talk to politicians and explain why this company was useful and not a threat for the official military institutions. The primary objective of this company would be to protect people and objects and do this in a professional way with high moral and ethical standards.

I was very surprised by this question, why had he contacted me? How did he now about my background? Was he maybe part of an Intelligence Service testing me?  I told him I would think about what he said and give him my feedback later. Under normal circumstances I would have never had done this but the things happening at that moment made me change my mind because of course we need to protect ourselves from the bad guys.

Channel Management: how to improve your market share in a fast changing world

The world is changing rapidly at this moment; the election of Donald Trump and Brexit are two examples of big changes which will have a lot if impact for the business of companies who sell their products and services on the world market.

While the last decades the main trend was to open markets, lower import taxes, get rid of boarders and support free trade this probably will change the coming years and will have big impact on us all. At the same time the distribution sector made it possible to transport goods all over the world for very low prices products which made it possible to produce goods at locations where they could be produced as cheap as possible and the same will happen for services outsourced to low income countries.

This will cause a lot of turbulence in the environment of companies who sell their products and services which will make it necessary for them to monitor these and take proactive actions to continue their business. And at the same time customers who have to buy products and services on an unstable market because protectionism will make products from outside the country more expensive and local products cheaper: the product landscape in their web shops and supermarkets will change significant the coming years!

What will happen when the UK decides to increase the tax products from the EU significant? What will be the impact when companies now producing in Asia must pay high import taxes when selling on the US market? What when China decides to transport products to Europe only with their own vessels? And what when a small local producer is becoming very popular because there is suddenly more demand because his product is suddenly added to a web shop for pricing reasons?

For this reason Channel Management will become more and more important because, companies continuously have to anticipate on these developments and take care their products and services keep being sold on the market through their channel network. In the past Channel Management was primary the domain of the distribution function but the marketing component will become more and more important and will need to be aligned with Business Planning when something changes in the economic and political environment of the company.

Local Business Services supports companies implementing Channel Management as a structural business function with the objective to optimize their mix of channels through which they sell their products and services to consumers. Companies should constantly ask themselves the question: “Am I selling through the right channels?” by setting up a function and process for Channel Management within the company aligned with their Business and Marketing strategy.

Local Business Services can support you to improve your Channel Management function and enable you to improve your market share by enabling you to anticipate early on new opportunities in a fast changing world and help you setting up or improving your Channel Management function:

Define a Strategy: Identify your current portfolio, margins and metrics, identify trends around your products and services, risks around current channels and the behavior of customers and important stakeholders influencing your business and potential scenario’s. We will investigate the following areas which could impact your business:

  • Currency and Stock Markets
  • Costing & Distribution
  • Marketing & Sales Channels
  • Direct & Indirect Tax (including customs)
  • Legal & Contracts
  • People/ HR-aspects
  • Financial Reporting

Per area will be investigated what actions you can take and define a Strategy which supports you building up your market position in a changing environment.

Design Channel Structure: Identify potential new channel opportunities based on your Strategy, analyse the impact of introducing new channels on your existing channels for your sales process, distribution and IT and design a new channel structure, portfolio and metrics. Take care both the channel strategy and structure are authorized by management and ownership is taken by the management team of the transition process by authorizing a proper business case regarding the new Channel Strategy and Structure both on costs and expected benefits.

Select Channel(s): Once having a channel strategy and structure start implementing this by selecting new channels and produce an implementation and transition plan how to implement the new channels. Based on this plan a budget should be allocated and ownership taken on the management level by appointing a channel manager responsible for the optimizing of the channel portfolio. Develop tools and support for upgrading your channel capabilities, implement the new channels and track the progress and define the metrics.

Implement Channel Structure: Implement the new channel structure in your organization: startup new channels, phase existing channels out you or to get rid of or change existing ones which underperform. Keep measuring the progress on your Channel metrics monthly both on channel value and margin.

Manage Channel(s): Once having implemented the new channel structure keep monitoring the key metrics on how your business is performing oer channel and keep tracking opportunities and threats in your environment.

Interested in knowing more about Channel Management? Contact us for planning a meeting or workshop for your organization.

Local Business Services B.V. 

Owner: Gerard Geerlings MSc

E-mail: localbusinessservicesnl@gmail.com

Website: www.localbusinessservices.nl

Het PortXL startup initiatief

Eerder deze week meegedaan als mentor aan het PortXL programma in Rotterdam en gedurende twee dagen samen met 160 andere mentoren in totaal 19 startups gesproken en beoordeeld. Ik zat in een review groep die de voorstellen beoordeelde vanuit het marketing perspectief: wie is de klant, wat is de toegevoegde waarde van je propositie voor de klant en hoe ga je hem vinden, benaderen en overtuigen met jou in zee te gaan? Op basis van de beoordelingen van de mentoren zijn er door een jury uiteindelijk 12 startups geselecteerd die de komende maanden verder gaan met dit programma tot er uiteindelijk eind juni een winnaar zal zijn:10XL, StaffaIPI, Pingle, Addnovation, RanMarine, Portcall, Glock-Tass, Lotebox, Vesselbot, Sailrouter, XYZ, Fibersail.

PortXL_win_blog

Het was erg leuk was om mee te doen. Ik heb een aantal leuke initiatieven langs zien komen, interessante teams gesproken en goed samengewerkt met de andere mentoren. Iedereen die mee deed was erg betrokken en had een positieve instelling naar de startup teams en er was een goede energie die volgens mij een vruchtbare basis is voor het vervolgtraject. Een pluim dus voor de organisatie!

Er waren een paar zaken die me opvielen en het succes van PortXL kunnen verklaren:

  • Het hele project wordt gesponsord door 12 bedrijven die actief zijn in de haven zoals Van Oord, Damen, Boskalis, Vopak en het Havenbedrijf Rotterdam.  Veel van deze bedrijven waren aanwezig bij de selectiedagen en zullen actief betrokken zijn bij de rest van het programma (en wellicht in de toekomst klant van de startups zijn…). Tijdens de selectiedagen waren CFO Paul Smits van het Havenbedrijf, Paul Verheul van Van Oord en Jan Peter Balkenende van Ernst & Young aanwezig.
  • De inschrijving stond open voor iedereen dus ook voor bedrijven buiten Nederland waardoor er meer initiatieven mee konden doen, in totaal waren er zo’n 1.000 inschrijvingen it zowat alle werelddelen. Hierdoor was er oog voor het internationale perspectief en niet alleen het lokale.
  • Het programma heeft veel tijd besteed aan een internationale roadshow om PortXL op de kaart te zetten, dit verklaart het hoge aantal buitenlandse startups onder de finalisten.
  • Er is geld voor de startups die mee doen aan het programma en een vastgelegd commitment van de startups die mee doen, van vrijblijvendheid is dus geen sprake.
  • De belangeloze inzet van de vele mentoren zorgde er voor dat de startups serieuze gesprekspartners tegenover zich hadden, het zal niet meegevallen zijn 19 maal een half uur door de mentoren ondervraagd te worden maar op deze manier kan je case wel optimaal getest worden.

PortXL-World-Port-Accelerator-Rotterdam-620x235

Tevens vielen de volgende zaken me op:

  • Ik had verwacht dat veel initiatieven van net afgestudeerde of gepromoveerde studenten zouden komen van een Technische Universiteit (Delft om de hoek!) maar dat was niet het geval. Dat verbaasde me, innovatie staat bij dit soort instituten toch al jaren hoog op de agenda? Is er een mooi programma om de hoek en dan doe je niet mee?
  • De gemiddelde leeftijd van de startup teams was hoger dan ik had verwacht (zie foto finalisten hierboven), ik had veel meer jongeren verwacht. Ik las deze week een interview met de Nederlander Frank Slootman, CEO van het succesvolle bedrijf ServiceNow uit San Diego, die stelde: “De mensen die het meest succesvol zijn in startups, blijken altijd weer de mensen die het al eerder gedaan hebben. Die kennen de fouten. Zulke ervaring haal je niet zomaar uit een boekje.” Klopt dus!
  • Je kan de startups classificeren in de volgende 4 categorieën:  1) goed team, goed idee, 2) goed team, slecht idee, 3) slecht team, goed idee, 4) slecht team, slecht idee. Categorie 1 redt het waarschijnlijk wel zonder programma en aan categorie 4 moet je natuurlijk niet opnemen in het programma. Je zou volgens mij de focus moeten leggen op de categorieën 2 en 3 omdat daar nog flink gesleuteld moet worden aan het team of het product. Het opnemen van de categorie 1 maakt de performance van het programma natuurlijk wel hoger!
  • De nadruk van alle startup cases lag op het creëren van kosten reductie voor de klant, niet op het creëren van groei of benefits. Dit kan te maken hebben met de markt waarop PortXL zich richt waar lage marges gerealiseerd worden en bedrijven continu zoeken naar mogelijkheden de kosten te verlagen.
  • De meeste startups willen alles doen: product ontwikkeling, productie, marketing, verkoop, distributie, support etc.  Dat daarmee de noodzakelijk benodigde investering alleen maar oploopt en je zeggenschap verliest omdat de investeerders gaan meebeslissen neemt men dan op de koop toe. In een wereld waarin steeds meer wordt uitbesteed zou je verwachten dat daar meer over was nagedacht. Focus je op je kernkwaliteit en zoek partners is mijn advies!
  • Twee kostenfactoren worden binnen de cases systematisch onderschat: de kosten voor ICT en voor het personeel. Een software applicatie ontwikkelen voor de wereldmarkt doe je niet met 2 of 4 mensen en mensen werken nu eenmaal niet gratis.

Een goede start van het PortXL programma en ik ben benieuwd hoe het verder gaat lopen tot de finale in juni!

De feminisering van het winkelaanbod

Had je als man vroeger nog de mogelijkheid een boekhandel, platenzaak of electronica winkel in  te duiken terwijl je vrouw naar schoenen, jurkjes of tassen ging kijken, juist in onze categorie is het winkelaanbod en de mannelijke ‘Customer Experience’ zoals het tegenwoordig heet wel erg mager geworden.V&DVandaag een rondje door de mooie binnenstad van Amersfoort gedaan en geconstateerd dat na het sluiten van de V&D:

  • er nog maar één goede boekhandel over is in onze binnenstad,
  • er geen CD of DVD’s winkels meer zijn,
  • er geen computer winkels meer zijn behalve dan de Apple store,
  • er nog wel wat fotozaken zijn maar met een wel heel beperkt aanbod.

Daarentegen stikt het in de stad van de mode, schoenen, tassen, cosmetica, lingerie, parfum, chocola en bonbon winkels waar voor mannen weinig te halen is. En als er dan aanbod voor ons is in een winkel moet je vaak met de trap naar boven, schijnbaar is er aan ons niet veel te verdienen. Soms is er voor de man een speciaal zitje met ons een auto of sportblad tussen de damesbladen waar je dan even kan zitten terwijl je vrouw aan het passen is en waar je, als de verkoopsters je vrouw’s koopgedrag positief inschatten, een expresso krijgt. Bij mijn vrouw is dat meestal het geval…Claudia-StraterIk moet dan ook constateren dat het evenwicht man – vrouw in het winkelaanbod er niet meer is en in het voordeel van de vrouw is doorgeslagen. Winkeliers zouden er dan ook goed aan doen het winkelaanbod voor mannen te vergroten anders krijgt op een gegeven moment geen vrouw haar man de stad mee in…

De grote boosdoener en veroorzaker van deze trend ben ik natuurlijk zelf: tot voor kort ging ik eerst in de winkels kijken wat er zoal te koop is en pas daarna bestelde ik online bij de webwinkel waar het het goedkoopst is. Maar dat eerste kan dus niet meer: de verschraling van het aanbod in onze binnensteden heeft er voor gezorgd dat de producten die je online wilt kopen niet meer in winkels te zien zijn. Als er al aanbod in de winkels is dan worden alleen de best verkopende in de winkel getoond. De consequentie hiervan is dat je volledig afhankelijk bent van de product informatie op het internet zelf en de reviews die de kopers van producten op vergelijkingssites geven.om-d-e-m10-mark-ii-limited-edition-fox-brown-body-14-42-ez-mIk werd eerder deze week dan ook helemaal blij toen ik in Doorn fotowinkel Van Kesteren instapte en een heel aardige en deskundige medewerker mij uitgebreid ging uitleggen hoe de Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II werkt en waarom die beter is dan zijn voorganger de Olympus OM-D E-M10. Ruim drie kwartier heeft hij in onze relatie geïnvesteerd en hebben we uitgebreid herinneringen opgehaald uit het pre-digitale tijdperk toen je nog foto-rolletjes had die je zelf in een doka kon ontwikkelen: hij wist zelfs wat “doordrukken” betekend (en dat weten alleen de kenners!). Nadeel voor mij was wel dat hij alleen Olympus toestellen in de vitrine had maar dat mocht de pret niet drukken. Ik ben er inmiddels van overtuigd dat dit een geweldig toestel is hoewel de koopbeslissing nog niet is gevallen.

Zou het daarom niet een goed idee zijn in onze binnensteden speciaal voor mannen product informatie winkels te maken waar deskundige en ervaren medewerkers je onder het genot van een expresso alles kunnen uitleggen over de nieuwste ontwikkelingen en modellen van mannendingen zoals fototoestellen, tablets en gereedschap en dat je daar dan ook even mee mag spelen? En als je dan later via Internet online besteld je hun code kan ingeven zodat zij een redelijke fee krijgen van de fabrikant? Zowaar een mooi nieuw business model en een goede reden om weer eens met je vrouw te gaan shoppen, kan jij spelen terwijl zij past!

Met dank aan: V&D, Claudia Strater en Foto Van Kesteren Doorn (Pasfoto’s, Copyshop, Fotozaak), onderdeel van de Foto-Groep.

Naschrift: uiteindelijk heb ik dit fototoestel bij van Kesteren gekocht!

Let’s start a band!

Een paar weken geleden werd ik benaderd door een ex collega of ik zin had een vestiging in Europa op te zetten voor het bedrijf waar hij nu voor werkt. Sindsdien een aantal gesprekken gevoerd met mensen van dat bedrijf en inmiddels bezig met het maken van een serieuze Business Case en het ziet er erg goed uit. Ik heb de afgelopen jaren tientallen studenten begeleid met het maken van een Business Case dus alleen al vanuit dat oogpunt een interessante exersitie dit nu ook eens voor mezelf te doen.

image

Op dit moment zit ik nog in de vrijblijvende fase waarbij niets op papier staat maar er komt zo een moment dat ik moet beslissen: doe ik het of doe ik het niet, zie de quote van Maslov hierboven.  Best wel leuke fase als je net begint: het kan nog alle kanten op en je hebt je nog niet contractueel vast gelegd. Ik moet dan ook vaak denken aan het liedje van Amy McDonald ‘Let’s start  a band’ waarin een aantal enthousiaste muzikanten gewoon een instrument oppakken en zeggen: ‘We zijn een band!’ en dan gaan spelen. Leeftijd hoeft daarbij geen rol te spelen, zie onderstaand plaatje.

image

Het opzetten van een bedrijfje is echter niet zo eenvoudig, voor je het weet zit je naar contracten te staren, gaat het over de belastingdienst en Intelectual Property. Wel jammer dat ik dit doe naast mijn werk als docent waardoor ik hiervoor minder tijd heb dan ik zou willen. Aan de andere kant een enorm leuke uitdaging en het geeft veel energie zelf iets op te zetten en met anderen daar over te praten.

Amy McDonald

 

Nog even een citaat van Amy McDonald:

Give me a stage and I’ll be a rock and roll queen
Your 20th centaury cover of a magazine
Rolling stone hear I come
Watch out everyone
I’m singing, I’m singing my song

 

Ondertussen hou ik jullie via deze blog op de hoogte over de voortgang en als je er meer over wilt weten neem dan even contact met me op!

Why do you need a Business Case?

In May this year a Dutch parliamentary committee investigated the Fyra High Speed train programme which costed the Dutch state 10,8b€ so far. The NS, 100% owned by the Dutch state, won the contract in 2003 after a public tender. The Fyra High Speed train, delivered by the Italian company AnsaldoBreda, supposed to travel from Amsterdam to Brussel connecting the Netherlands with the European High Speed network, never got used due to a lot of technical issues.  The NS was not capable to deliver according to the contract. fyra-Google-zoeken

What surprised me most during the public interviews of the key stakeholders by the parliamentary committee is that the initial Business Case for this huge project was not available any more. Both within the Ministry of Transport and the NS tried to find it but it was gone. According to the Dutch Ministers of Transports who were involved during the lead time of the programme the NS asked for more money all the time without giving detailed insight in the costs in relationship to the business case, simply because it was not there. Although 100% owner of the programme the Dutch state did not have a proper business case or took care a new one was made when they could not find it!

Fyra Parlementaire Commissie

From a programme or project management point view unbelievable that you manage a project without knowing what the expected costs and benefits were in the business case approved by the business owner. A business case captures the reasoning for initiating a programme or project answering he basic question “Why should we make this investment?”. The business case gives you insight in the business need, the resources such as money and effort needed, the expected benefits, the risks involved etc.. And, once approved, it’s the foundation for the project plan and basis for reporting on the progress off the project, changes made in the project plan with impact on the business case should of course always be approved by the business owner.

The big question is of course why a big programme’s like Fyra can run for such long time without stakeholders asking themselves how the programme is performing against the expectations described in the initial business case. Probably the size and complexity, lack of technical knowledge In the political domain and focus on short term issues, instead of the whole picture play an important role. What you also see is that the role of the programme manager has changed in time. More and more programme managers have a business background and focus on the keeping the business satisfied while in the past programme managers had a project manager background. This means not much time is spend on the internal project focus so operational project issues and risks are not managed before but after they have already happened.image

A strong business case is key for running a successful business and it is worthwhile spending time on the development of this. A business case captures the justification and reasoning for all this stakeholders for initiating a project to support a specific business need. And can be used for convincing of those you want to be involved or you need to make your business case successful: investors, partners, subcontractors, suppliers etc. By developing a business case you can conceptualize your business ambition and enable others to challenge if your case has real potential, which areas contain risks or you need external help etc.. So, don’t try to do this alone and involve as much people as possible. And, of course, don’t forget to involve the customer, the most the most important factor which will make your business case successful. Without involving the customer who needs to buy your product or service you will never be able to start a business, so involve your potential customers also as early as possible!

If you want to know more about this? Check this presentation!

Business Case Workshop

Are you planning to start your own business or perhaps already in the process of setting it up? Or do you have your own business already, started without a business case and have problems making money out of it? Or are you now looking to expand, increase or decrease services and activities? Do you have the feeling you lost clear focus and need to re-clarify the main objective of your business?imageFor this purpose I developed a training workshop on developing your business case: during the workshop you will be guided on conceptualizing and writing your business case and challenged if your case has real potential,  which areas contain risks  or you need external help etc.

The workshop is interesting for 1) those who have already a business case and need to pitch their plan to an investor and see if their plan is solid enough to attract the financial injection they need but also for 2) those who don’t have a business case yet and are in the proces of translating their ideas into a formal business case.

Gerard Geerlings, the facilitator of the workshop, has a track record in Business Planning & developing and reviewing Business Cases & Business Plans. Based on this experience he developed a methodology which helps startups to develop their own Business Case in 7 steps: The Business Case Funnel Gerard Geerlings june 2015During the workshop he wil introduce this methodology and give you a chance to test your own case by going through a checklist with others. The aim of the workshop is to give you new insights on what you are good at and understand where you should focus on to improve your case.

Next workshop: June 20th 2015 14:00 – 17:00 organized by e3events Pedro de Medinalaan 1, Amsterdam or signup with Meetup

Feel free to contact me if you want more information or want to plan a simular workshop!

Gerard Geerlings – gerardgeerlings@gmail.com or www.gerardgeerlings.nl