Basic Business Case Template
It will often be necessary to produce a business case in order to secure finance for a new premises. Simply, a business case should set out:
- What your business is for;
- Your predicted income, expenditure, and profit;
- A case for funding;
- And how you will manage success.
This page provides an outline template for a business case. Of course, this model may need tweaking depending on if you are seeking a loan or grant funding.
Here you summarise what it is your business does, which clients it serves, the benefits you expect it will deliver, and the overall profit you expect to generate. This section summarises the parts which follow the executive summary so you may want to write this last.
Here you provide an overview of how securing funding to operate a new property will enable you to achieve your organisation’s objectives. This is about inspiring an organisation to part with funding so it should be inspiring while being realistic.
Here you summarise the role your organisation is performing that nobody else is. Here, provide context on why your organisation should be funded, the niche in the market in fills, and what it is you will achieve. It may be easier to fill it out as:
- Purpose of my organisation.
- Why we are requesting support.
- The need this fulfils.
- The measurable outcomes this funding can deliver.
- Any risks the funder should be aware of and how you will manage them.
Here you are setting out why asking for will meet your strategic aims. In this section you should set out your existing finances, your projected financial position, and the funding request. If this business request is for a loan, you should also set out how you will repay it. You may wish to fill it out as:
- Description of current financial position.
- Reason for financial request.
- Profit and loss summary of previous five years.
- Repayment timeline.
It is healthy to have multiple revenue streams to ensure that the organisation isn’t too reliant on one source. This might mean funding from 2-3 different bodies, some trading income, topped up with donations. You will need to think about how you can generate funds in different ways an, ideally, set out a strategy to protect the organisation if one avenue fails.
Securing funding is not the objective. The objective is whatever it is you need the funding for. Usually, if someone is loaning, granting, or gifting you money, they will want to know it’s not going to disappear quickly. This section is about setting out how you will put someone else’s money to good use
- Set out how this funding will allow you to achieve something new and how the funders will either recoup their money or how it will be put to good use.
- Describe how your organisation maintains oversight of funds and that you can practically ensure it will be used for what you say it will be.
- Lay out delivery milestones. This is to say the proportion of funding that will be spent at specific times, on which projects, and what success looks like.
- Finally, set out any contractual, commercial, or financial issues a funder should be aware of, either within your organisation or wider business environment, so they are not surprised later down the line.
In this final section you should set out what success looks like and how you will measure this success This is an agreed set of key performance indicators (KPIs) which you will deliver as a condition of funding. These should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, this might include:
- Increase turnover by a specific date.
- Increased participation or visitors to an exhibition.
- Have 5 volunteers / employees by the end of the first year.
- Increased attendance at your performance or exhibition.
- Ensure all invoices are paid within required time frames.
- Increased efficient use of equipment, space, or management time.
- Receive 10 positive customer feedback scores per month.
It is important to remember that each organisation is different, and the scale of their projects will often dictate how long, or detailed their plans need to be.
Take a look at some of these examples of strategic plans to help steer you in the right direction:
- National Gallery 2018 – 2023 Strategic Plan – provides some ideas on narratives which you may wish to follow.
- The People’s History Museum’s Business Plan – is a much more detailed plan but is a great example of how you can set up activities to work alongside financial intent.
Are you reading this page as part of our Guide for Opening, Running and Growing a Cultural or Community Space? Have a look at Business Structures next.
Organisational Structures and Registering with HMRC
Explore the main legal structures for organisations in the culture sector.
Understanding Premises Costs
A guide to premises costs for cultural organisations.
Signing and Negotiating a Lease
Considerations for cultural organisations when negotiating a lease.