A concept statement is a formal document setting forth an idea in words and/or graphics to be presented to decision makers prior to actually implementing the idea. The decision makers could be a potential client, upper management in your own organization or a board or other organizational body. A concept statement can be used for an advertising campaign, a proposal for a project or a solution for a problem.

Gather the Information

Decide on the specifics of the program or project you want to propose with your concept statement. Then, write down notes about every aspect of the program or project that you can think of. Anticipate any objections the decision makers (your client, company's upper management or organization's board) may have to your proposal and jot down your planned replies to each objection.

Make the Business Concept's Benefits Clear

List all the benefits of implementing the project or program that you can think of. In other words, identify how the potential client, the company overall or the particular group of employees or department, or the community or constituency the board represents will benefit from the project or program.

Highlighting the business concept's benefits is a crucial part of your design statement, because these are what will determine whether it is approved. Determine how probable it is that this project or program will succeed and write down your prediction along with the reasons why.

Specify the Team's Roles in your Design Statement

Identify who will need to perform each task to complete the project or program if the concept statement is approved. Will the tasks be completed by specific departments or members of the company, outsourced to other companies or referred to company subcommittees for completion, for example?

Have Answers Before You Receive Questions

Print the necessary number of copies of the project concept statement in anticipation of your meeting with the decision makers. Consider logical questions the decision makers may ask and write down answers to those questions. Brainstorm any problems that could arise during or as a result of this program or project, if it is approved and implemented. Sit down and make a list of every possibility you can think of. Use a mind map format in which you generate ideas randomly trying to imagine all the what ifs.

Consider the objections and questions you identified that the decision makers might have. Make sure you have proactively responded to each of them within the appropriate sections of the document — without identifying them as such (i.e., don’t call them "Possible Objections").

Preparing a Concept Statement Document

Open a new document in your word processing program and create a title page with the name of the proposed project, the words “Project Concept Statement” beneath the project name, a project logo (if applicable), and the date. Center the text on the page in a large font.

Start a new page and create headings for all of the different categories you can think of to clearly articulate your program or project. Suggested headings include:

  • Description of the Proposed Project
  • Background/Business Problem
  • Goal and Overview
  • Benefits
  • Limitations or Constraints
  • Known Risks and Variables
  • Justification/Consequences of Not Implementing Project
  • Resources Required
  • Project Management/Responsibility
  • Probability of Success 

You may wish to bold or underline the headings so they stand out.

Organize your notes into sections or categories for easier preparation of a formal written concept statement. Include footnotes and appendices to show the decision makers where you acquired any facts, numbers, estimates or predictions used, or to include diagrams, drawings or other visual materials to help describe or present the project concept.

Evaluating the Final Document

Print a copy of your document's final draft and read it as though you are one of the decision makers. Make mental (or physical) notes of any thoughts or ideas that pop into your head while reading. Revise the document as needed to address any thoughts or issues that arose while reviewing the document. Proofread the final document, looking for typos and errors. Have another person proofread your document, as it is easy to read over typographical errors.