Captain’s Log Entry 7471.7—The value of strong brands and branding is clear to everyone familiar with names such as Coca-Cola, Apple, IBM, BMW, Ericsson, Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Disney. Brand owners spend and work continuously to protect their brand identities from misuse and damage.
In competitive industries, branding plays a central role in competitive strategy.
The companies that own these names have built successful brand names over many years. Their brands now work as powerful assets for market pricing and selling. Why do they spend so much and work so hard to build strong brands? And, why do they pay so much attention to protecting their brands from misuse, damage, or slander?
The answer, of course, is that strong branding pays off at the bank. The financial payoff stems from customer qualities that every company founder, officer, and marketer aims for: strong brand equity and strong brand loyalty.
Captain’s Log Entry 7156—Can you produce business case results showing anything you want to show? “Figures don’t lie but liars figure.” – Attributed to Mark Twain and others
Deploy and deliver business cash flow forecasts, financial metrics, and tactical advice for actions and investments. Build a compelling rationale that turns business case results into convincing business case proof.
One reason that business case results do not always receive support, no doubt, is this. Many believe that case results can be made to show anything the author wants them to show.
Is that belief really valid?
To be fair, not all who use business case analysis to support proposals intend to deceive. For many, however, personal biases and motives do shape case results. In business analysis and in scientific research, this is known as solving to a result. Keep “working” the numbers until they show you what you want to see! And, with the results you want in hand, everyone knows that figures don’t lie!
Captain’s Log Entry 7345.3 — Business case analysis predicts future cash flows and risks. Know that when you deliver business case results, business case risk comes with the turf. Learn how to minimize uncertainty and measure what remains.
The business case predicts financial results, but these predictions come with business case risk.
Those proposing business investments and actions rely on robust business case analysis (BCA) to predict the likely outcomes. However, business case risk is always present.
Captain’s Log Entry 7337.4 — The modern Annual Report to Shareholders does not look like a dreary financial report. Instead, it looks more like a glossy marketing brochure. In fact, annual reports do have a marketing purpose.
Captain’s Log Entry 7316.5 — Cost accountants know that traditional costing can skew the measure of product production costs. Thus, many firms turn instead to Activity-Based-Costing for a truer picture of product costs and gross profits. However, ABC is notoriously labor intensive. Many ask: Is ABC worth the extra effort?
Every company that produces and sells products must understand product costs accurately and in detail. This kind of information is essential for planning operations, pricing, and evaluating business margins. For product cost data, management relies on the firm’s cost accountants. But how, precisely, do the accountants develop this information? Continue reading “Activity-Based-Costing: Is ABC Worth the Extra Effort?”
Captain’s Log Entry 7290.4 — Avoided costs and opportunity costs can all play an important role in business planning, budgeting and decision support. Nevertheless, some financial specialists do not grant these costs legitimacy for the business case. Is this exclusion justified?
A routine oil change is a familiar example of cost avoidance. Small investments in preventative maintenance avoid the much larger cost of engine replacement later.
I spoke recently with a project manager whose project funding proposal had just failed.
Captain’s Log Entry 7286.4 — Business Case, Business Plan. Do the Terms Mean the Same Thing? It’s a question you may have to answer many times for your colleagues. In brief, the case is organized around an action, while the plan is organized around the business.
The Business Plan outlines tactics for reaching objectives in the Business Strategy.
Captain’s Log Entry 7279.3—Some managers see the business case simply as a tool for securing project authorization and funding. Experienced project managers, however, understand that a principle-driven case has substantial additional value to exploit throughout the project lifecycle.
Business case results forecast cash inflows, outflows, risks, financial metrics and KPI impacts. A compelling rationale turns these results into convincing proof: your project is a sound business decision.
A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
Very few business cases built today qualify as principle driven cases. A principle driven case manifests in short, concise documents that don’t need exhaustive descriptions to take into account every eventuality. Case building with a principle driven approach is efficient, and case usage is clear and straightforward. And, principle driven cases have proven uniquely effective in improving project performance and delivering business value for the organization.
Captain’s Log Entry 7275.1—Your business case critic comes with the turf. You can avoid a potentially damaging critique at your business case review if you take steps to prevent it. Anticipate the critic and prepare for the expectable criticisms.
Expect your business case critic.
No matter when or how you prepare your business case, there will be a sinister, uninvited stranger in the room when you present it for review: the business case critic. You can’t bar this person from the meeting and speaking to everyone present.
Know for certain the critic will be there, working against you. This person “comes with the turf,” whenever you project future business results. The critic’s name is The Credibility Question. Your critic is the moving force behind questions like these: Continue reading “Expect Your Business Case Critic. Be Ready!”