We have been involved in the development of many Business Cases for public sector clients following HM Treasury’s 5 Case Model. In the private sector, we have been Scotland’s leading Dealmaker for the past 15 years. Collectively, we are good at convincing people to make good investments.
I was curious about what our Consulting Team could learn from our Corporate Finance colleagues in relation to ‘investment’ cases. It turns out there isn’t much difference in securing ‘funding’ whether in the public or private sector.
Here are six common issues that regularly trip up anyone seeking private sector investment, and why avoiding these pitfalls helps a good case in the public sector.
- Starting the process too late – no one sitting on an approval or investment committee wants to feel bounced into making a quick decision because you left it too late in the day to ask some key questions
- The ‘Oliver’ effect – coming back for more – there is nothing a Finance Director hates more than you coming back asking for more money when you should have asked for it in the first place. They have planning to do too and budgets to work within
- Spending too much time trying to secure funds – the 5 Case Model provides a good process and you don’t have to make an industry out of following it! The longer you take, the more your stakeholders might think you are not sure what you are asking for
- Not delivering a consistent message – make sure you have a strong golden thread running through each of your 5 Cases. Cases should provide a compelling and consistent narrative; inconsistencies will be easily spotted and cast doubt on the validity of your ‘ask’
- The ‘just in case’ effect - unrealistic valuations – the opposite of not asking for enough funds! Don’t exaggerate the amount you ask for. Be realistic, don’t guess, and provide evidence to back up the amount you are asking for
- Seeking tax / structuring advice too late – before you start spending the money you will probably need help from procurement, legal and finance colleagues. Get them involved in developing the case. They can be invaluable in strengthening your case.