Business Studies Workshop 1 How to write an effective executive summary.Basic principles • The executive summary is a summary of what is in the actual business report. • The executive summary is NOT about what the report will do but rather what it does.
• The executive summary does NOT restate thequestion • Wafﬂe is only used when you DON’T KNOW the answer and want to try and kid the examiner - it might work but its very doubtful! Do not use phrases such as: - The purpose of this report is to or - This report will
Use instead phrases like:• The report reviews• The report provides detailed informationregarding• Additionally the report highlights• The report illustrates the relationshipbetween
Sometimes different terms are used.All of them are acceptable.1 Executive summary2 Overview3 Synopsis
Can you see how this excellent example of an executivesummary from Walmart focuses on telling you what is inthe report. It is a summary of the key ideas in the report
The body of the report• answers each aspect of the question in detail• the answer focuses on the stimulus but does notinclude wafﬂe• there will be underlining of key words and/orimportant terminology• bullet points are often included at the end ofparagraphs Eg “Additional strategies mightinclude” (and then bullet the strategies)
Question 26 (20 marks)Just Cotton Ltd is an Australian manufacturer and retailer with stores throughout Australiaexclusively selling Just Cotton products. The company uses pure Australian cotton toproduce men’s only t-shirts, socks, suits and jeans.Just Cotton has used the same methods of production throughout its 10 year history andhas achieved reasonable success in the industry.Recently Just Cotton has experienced a decline in sales and market share due mainly tocompetition from cheaper overseas imports and the increasing number of customercomplaints about the quality of the product. As a result Just Cotton has decided to examineopportunities in the global market such as online retailing and outsourcing manufacturingoperations and product design to China and India.You have been employed as a consultant to prepare a report for Just Cotton Ltd.In your report: • Explain why a situational analysis is crucial for Just Cotton. • Outline TWO influences on operations management for Just Cotton. • Evaluate the proposal to outsource operations and product design. • Propose and Justify TWO marketing strategies that would be effective in ensuring Just Cotton Ltd regain market share in the domestic economy.
Executive summaryThis report is prepared for Just Cotton Ltd as it prepares toregain any losses incurred in the market.This report will make various recommendations that willstrengthen the competitive position of the business in theface of an extremely competitive global and national market.The importance of situational analysis will be re-iterated inthis report and will outline how this analysis can be used as agood form of preparation.It will also examine with detail the inﬂuence of quality andglobalisation that will impact Just Cotton Ltd.Moreover the report will evaluate the company’s proposal ofoutsourcing highlighting and the consequent advantages anddisadvantages. Lastly the promotional strategy of advertisingand penetration pricing strategy will be proposed andjustiﬁed as a means to regain the market share that wasbefore lost.The situational analysis is horrible. The executive summaryrepeats the question. It would be much easier for me to readthe question. The executive summary should NOT beconcerned with what the report WILL do – it is a summary ofwhat the report PROVIDES.
achieved a reasonable amount of business success over the last ten years. Althoughrecently has experienced a decline in sales and market share due to reducedinternational competitiveness.This report will outline the effect of a situational analysis on Just Cotton, outline twoinﬂuences that have lead to the decline of the company and evaluate a proposaldesigned to further growth in the coming years. Furthermore this report recommendsthat Just Cotton, implement penetration pricing to enable it’s expansion into thedomestic markets and commence e-marketing to reduce the costs associated with ahigher visibility retailer such as Just Cotton.The executive summary is horrible. Do you think, for example, the CEO of Just Cottonis not aware the business is an “Australian clothing manufacturer and retailer”?The executive summary should immediately come to grips with the question.1 Explain that a comprehensive understanding of the market place is essentialbecause marketing objectives are more likely to be achieved if there is thisunderstanding of the marketplace. (Make the cause and effect of the directiveobvious).2 Surely the executive summary should identify the two inﬂuences on operationsmanagement! More importantly why talk about “inﬂuences that have lead to thedecline of the company” rather than identifying inﬂuences on the operations process.A really top answer would also identify inﬂuences on the basis of the stimulusmaterial – I think cost-based competition and globalisation are the most relevant3 Why talk about an “evaluate a proposal designed to further growth? The questionrelated to a proposal to outsource operations and product design. Is this a good ideato outsource these functions? What criteria will be used to make this judgement?4 The setting out for the fourth part of the question could be improved. Why wouldn’tyou bullet the two proposals so they stand out? The ﬁrst proposal is ﬁne but why notbe more speciﬁc and state this strategy is designed to improve market share (ratherthan its expansion into the domestic market) and possibly demonstrate youunderstand the impact of this strategy on cost and proﬁtability and maybe even bringin the idea of cost leadershipThe second proposal is horrible! In the report it is called a high visibility strategy andthat is NOT a marketing strategy. Don’t even think you can get a band 6 withoutmemorising the syllabus.Last, watch out for bad habits, such as misspelling “business”. In the above “it’s” isjust as bad. I would also like to belt this candidate across the left ear hole every time
Sample 3Executive summaryThis business report will outline the strategies that Just Cotton mustbe able to do to regain their market share and sales; this willinclude:• Using the situational analysis to be able to anticipate theirposition in the market place.• Outline two inﬂuences that are present in the Just Cotton company• Provide an evaluation in the proposal to outsource the operationsand product design• Provide two marketing strategies that will be effective in ensuringthe Just Cotton achieve its market share once againChallenges• Regain market share and market sales• Provide a quality product• Outsource from cheap wage countries such as India and ChinaThe executive summary is horrible. Would be brilliant for someonewho knows nothing and is aiming for a band 3 by trying to kid theexaminer they know something. The executive summary is simply arestating of the question. It is irrelevant!It should NOT be about what the report WILL do. But rather asummary of what the report HAS found.
Sample 4Executive summary* A situational analysis is crucial for Just Cotton because acomprehensive understanding of the marketplace in which thebusiness’s products are manufactured and sold will impact on howwell the business will achieve its marketing objectives of improvedrevenue and market share.* Two key inﬂuences on operations management at Just Cottonwill be cost-based competition and globalisation.* The report supports the proposal to outsource operations andproduct design because access to the global marketplace willreduce costs and improve the quality and design of the products,which in turn will lead to improvements in market share.*It is proposed that Just Cotton adopt the following marketingstrategies to regain market share in the domestic economy:1 A penetration pricing strategy because this will have animmediate effect of more competitive prices and improve marketshare2 A more intensive channel choice in distribution, particularlybecause again this is most likely to achieve the marketingobjective of improved market share.I like this executive summary. It is to the point. It respondsspeciﬁcally to the question. I like the setting out of things like theproposed marketing strategies as 1 and 2. I like the use ofbecause. It makes the justiﬁcation clear.