|Due By (Pacific Time)||11/18/2016 12:00 pm|
BUSINESS REPORT GUIDE
SWOT Analysis Report
You are required to produce a report which addresses a specific strategic objective through the use of the SWOT tool (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). For example, what a company must do to maintain its competitive edge or whether or not it should expand overseas or diversify its product range. Note your SWOT analysis must have a strategic focus with clear links to your findings, conclusions and recommendations
SCOPE OF REPORT
STEP 1 Choose from ONE of these five options:
A start-up UK business
By ‘start-up’ we mean a business that has been trading in the UK for 7 years or less
An existing UK based business
The business does not need to have been incorporated in the UK as long as it is operational in the UK. Remember, most of UK businesses are actually services.
An existing family-run business
This is straightforward but again seek the permission of parties involved before proceeding with your research
A potential business opportunity
You may have a business idea that you would like to analyse to see whether or not it could be successful. Bear in mind that you would need the permission of all parties involved if you were to divulge sensitive details
Personal career development
Essentially, you will be taking stock of your current strengths and weaknesses and measuring these against your academic and professional goals; in addition you will be making predictions on threats and opportunities based on current job market trends. Hence, your SMART Planner will be a crucial resource for this report.
STEP 2 Once you have decided on one of the options above, choose ONE specific objective or problem (or success) area. The following are examples:
A start-up business/ An existing business/ A family-run business
How to respond to new market trends
How to implement new technology
How to respond to competitor gains
How to grow sales distribution channels
The best way to penetrate a new market
Whether to form a partnership
Whether to make an acquisition
Whether to outsource a service, operation or resource
Whether to diversify product range
Whether to undergo organisational restructuring, etc.
Resources: company annual reports, market analysts, business strategists, business news reports, theories in business and management
A potential business opportunity
Determining how to establish product/services differentiation
Identifying potential customers and their demographic
The potential of the business to raise investment and to what amount
Understanding the barriers to market entry
Knowing what sort of expertise is needed and from where
Whether or not a business will be profitable
Establishing which assets need to be protected (e.g. Intellectual property)
Understanding the best route to entry (joint venture, franchising, etc)
Establishing which market conditions could be exploited
Test the strength and robustness of a business plan
Resources: competitor annual reports, market analysts, business strategists, business news reports, start-up guides, theories in business and management
Personal career development
understanding career destination and route to getting there; clarify direction and choices;
identifying your core strengths and weaknesses;
identifying potential opportunities for success;
making predictions based on job market trends and anticipating the possibility of change
determining how to build personal brand differentiation
Resources: SMART Planner, profiling tools (e.g. Belbin), ‘Careers Services’, job websites, theories in learning and development; theories in personal branding, etc.
NOTE: giving your report such focus will enable you to be much more analytical in your approach; thus when it comes to formulating a title you will avoid the trap many students fall into
Title 1: ‘SWOT on Glasgow Rangers Football Club - dull and descriptive X
Title 2: ‘What does Glasgow Rangers have to do to return to profitability?’ - dynamic and analytical âœ“
POINT The second title is a much more interesting question, which allows you to analyse their situation and make recommendations, which relate to the question of profitability (focus area).
Your tutor will guide you in formulating a title and will approve it before you begin writing the report.
Ensure it is a company, etc. which you can get information about.
Ensure it is a title you can manage within the time frame
The Formula - structure, style and language
Business reports follow a basic standard formula. There are, however, variations, both in style and structure, depending on subject area or an institution’s ‘house style’: always check what the requirements are for each module.
Business reports require formal language: you must avoid slang, also colloquialisms and contractions such as ‘won’t’ in place of ‘will not.’
A report does not use a more lively style of writing, found for example, in a journal like The Economist.
Also avoid the personal; avoid the first person singular (‘I think’’ and ‘we should’, etc.). You are aiming for objectivity, not subjectivity! Example: ‘The Economist (2016) claims…’
A short, standard report is organized as follows (section word counts are approximate and only intended as a guide):
STRUCTURE (Including sections for 1st draft submission, due Tuesday week 6 by 23.59 hrs):
Title page draft
Table of Contents including the numbering and title of any diagrams/charts/ tables.
Terms of Reference (50-100 words) draft
Procedure (20-50) draft
Introduction (optional; 50-100)
Findings (1000-1150) (with at least 5 references) draft (bulleted SWOT findings with in-text citations)
References page (length variable) draft
Note The SWOT analysis in placed in your findings must also be relevant to the report title
CONTENTS IN DETAIL
Full title of report
Date (final submission)
Illustration which reflects the content
Table of Contents
The full names of sections and sub-sections and their page numbers
(sub-divisions should be indented)
Terms of Reference
Set the context for the report (background to research question)
State who wrote it (you as an external consultant)
For whom it is intended (CEO, Board of directors, etc.)
What its purpose is
The date by which it is required
Says what you did to collect the information on which the report is based
This can be primary or secondary research – for this report it will mostly be secondary. (Remember, primary is new research, secondary is already published in the field)
Offer a rationale for your choice of sources and indicate where your sources can be located (i.e. References page)
Are the main body of the report and likely to be divided into different areas.
Should consist of at least 3 titled and numbered subheadings, e.g. 3.1 Airline Competition Among European Budget Airlines.
When using a tool of analysis, such as a SWOT, the information it produces will appear in this part of the report.
Do include charts, graphs and tables to illustrate points and give a title and number to them..
Remember to reference all data material sourced (views, stats, charts, images, videos, etc.)
Is usually relatively short
Is not just a summary, as it offers an analysis based on the findings, in other words, it presents an 'answer' to the question posed in the title
Must not introduce any new ideas or sources, and must flow from material in the findings section
These involve the opinions of the author, based on the findings and the analysis of those findings
They should be numbered and expressed in bullet points
Remember that a recommendation refers to specific actions that the author believes should be taken – express them clearly and succinctly
Starts on a separate page
Include all texts and images, both printed and electronic, used in your research
Use alphabetical order by author.
Ensure that you use a standard (Harvard) format, with enough details to allow your readers to consult any source
Appendices contain additional information which may or may not be required
It can include, for example, tables and graphs, and accounts of primary research such as interview transcripts.
The report should be of 1,500 words +/- 10% excluding cover sheet, bibliography page, and appendix
Report must be submitted to Turnitin, the plagiarism detection service. Submissions due on Friday of week 9 by 23:59 hrs
Report should use 1.5 spacing, except for the References which should be single spaced.
Use font style Times New Roman or similar
Remember to use only compatible file extensions such as .doc, .docx. and .pdf when saving your work
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