← Part 2 The story in the business case
Stay on track, keep it simple
Taking an executive through the numbers or details is a no-go. Instead she wants to have a story.
This is where the above structure comes in. Here are the answers to the five questions:
- Our margins have decreased significantly. The evidence shows that capacity bubbles on the East coast are to blame.
- Since our cost base has just been improved and the lemon seems to be squeezed a selective price increase could be a solution.
- Most players have started to increase prices already. If we communicate carefully and offer additional contract extensions we can signal customer focus and long term commitment to the customers.
- The risks to act have decreased by competition already moving into this direction. Doing nothing would further erode our bottom line and leave us with limited options like layoffs.
- If we act swiftly and decisively, communicate carefully and complete the price increase without further delay we might not even get any negative press.
How is that for a 60 seconds elevator speech?
Based on the above 5 questions that every business case needs to answer, those answers help to keep the top facts in order and tell a little story.
Make it count
Making a strong impression, supporting executives to feel comfortable with their decision has everything to do with facts.
Better even, if the facts are prepared with action in mind the whole executive summary would be more compelling. This format cannot only be used in an elevator speech but as a presentation opener orally or in short bullets.
Adding facts and action to our pricing example the five step elevator speech could look like this:
- Our margins have decreased in a linear fashion by average 3% per quarter over the past four quarters. The evidence shows that capacity increases of 30% within the last 12 months on the East coast are to blame.
- Since our cost base has just been significantly improved by 40% with the recent ‘FitOps’ program a selective price increase could be a solution.
- 5 of the top ten competitors have started to increase prices already, on average by 10%. Our communication should be empathetic, personal and offer additional benefits like contract extensions with the new prices frozen for 12 months.
- The risks to act have decreased by many top competitors already moving into this direction and it is well publicized in the 3 major industry magazines. Doing nothing will further erode our bottom line and leave us with limited options like layoffs.
- If we act swiftly and decisively, communicate carefully and complete an 8% price increase without further noise within a week we might not even get any negative press and the investors gain additional confidence in our ability to take bold steps confidently to protect our business’ health.
Practicing this five step principle based on the general structure of a business case can become a very powerful habit and decision makers might show up more often to seek advice by anyone who can compute complex business cases and translate it into a compelling and convincing story.