5.2 Planning a business report
Business studies reports follow a structure that is very similar to those normally written to help management to make decisions. The main purpose of these reports is to describe a real life business situation and to provide a list of recommendations.
While the overall structure is similar to that of a science or a technology report, the main text is usually structured using a ‘business model’, i.e. a framework that helps the writer to analyse a situation by looking at its specific features.
The following assignment task is structured using a SWOT model. SWOT stands for:
In other words, it is a framework that analyses a business by looking at its strengths and weaknesses as well as at any opportunities it can exploit and the threats it faces.
Below is a business studies assignment question:
Use a SWOT model to analyse the multinational company Coca-Cola.
Table 6 shows how this report should be structured.
Table 6 The main elements of a business report
|Title||Attracts the reader's attention||Concise phrase or sentence introducing the content|
|Executive summary||Gives a brief summary||Section or paragraph explaining the purpose of the report, the main findings and the recommendations|
|Introduction||Gives the purpose of the investigation being reported||Paragraph providing background information and explaining why the investigation was required|
|Method||Explains how the investigation was conducted||Explains why a particular model has been used and how the data was collected|
|Analysis||Examines the situation in great detail using the SWOT categories||Four sections or paragraphs under the following headings:|
|Conclusion||Describes what the study has shown||Paragraph briefly summarising the findings, i.e. the content of the analysis and highlighting the key factors|
|Recommendations||Suggests future action||Paragraph or bullet point list of recommendations based on the findings|