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7 Favorite Business Case Studies to Teach—and Why
Seasoned educators explain their top case picks, explore more.
- Case Teaching
- Course Materials
FEATURED CASE STUDIES
The Army Crew Team . Emily Michelle David of CEIBS
ATH Technologies . Devin Shanthikumar of Paul Merage School of Business
Fabritek 1992 . Rob Austin of Ivey Business School
Lincoln Electric Co . Karin Schnarr of Wilfrid Laurier University
Pal’s Sudden Service—Scaling an Organizational Model to Drive Growth . Gary Pisano of Harvard Business School
The United States Air Force: ‘Chaos’ in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron . Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School
Warren E. Buffett, 2015 . Robert F. Bruner of Darden School of Business
To dig into what makes a compelling case study, we asked seven experienced educators who teach with—and many who write—business case studies: “What is your favorite case to teach and why?”
The resulting list of case study favorites ranges in topics from operations management and organizational structure to rebel leaders and whodunnit dramas.
1. The Army Crew Team
Emily Michelle David, Assistant Professor of Management, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
“I love teaching The Army Crew Team case because it beautifully demonstrates how a team can be so much less than the sum of its parts.
I deliver the case to executives in a nearby state-of-the-art rowing facility that features rowing machines, professional coaches, and shiny red eight-person shells.
After going through the case, they hear testimonies from former members of Chinese national crew teams before carrying their own boat to the river for a test race.
The rich learning environment helps to vividly underscore one of the case’s core messages: competition can be a double-edged sword if not properly managed.
Executives in Emily Michelle David’s organizational behavior class participate in rowing activities at a nearby facility as part of her case delivery.
Despite working for an elite headhunting firm, the executives in my most recent class were surprised to realize how much they’ve allowed their own team-building responsibilities to lapse. In the MBA pre-course, this case often leads to a rich discussion about common traps that newcomers fall into (for example, trying to do too much, too soon), which helps to poise them to both stand out in the MBA as well as prepare them for the lateral team building they will soon engage in.
Finally, I love that the post-script always gets a good laugh and serves as an early lesson that organizational behavior courses will seldom give you foolproof solutions for specific problems but will, instead, arm you with the ability to think through issues more critically.”
2. ATH Technologies
Devin Shanthikumar, Associate Professor of Accounting, Paul Merage School of Business
“As a professor at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, and before that at Harvard Business School, I have probably taught over 100 cases. I would like to say that my favorite case is my own, Compass Box Whisky Company . But as fun as that case is, one case beats it: ATH Technologies by Robert Simons and Jennifer Packard.
ATH presents a young entrepreneurial company that is bought by a much larger company. As part of the merger, ATH gets an ‘earn-out’ deal—common among high-tech industries. The company, and the class, must decide what to do to achieve the stretch earn-out goals.
ATH captures a scenario we all want to be in at some point in our careers—being part of a young, exciting, growing organization. And a scenario we all will likely face—having stretch goals that seem almost unreachable.
It forces us, as a class, to really struggle with what to do at each stage.
After we read and discuss the A case, we find out what happens next, and discuss the B case, then the C, then D, and even E. At every stage, we can:
see how our decisions play out,
figure out how to build on our successes, and
address our failures.
The case is exciting, the class discussion is dynamic and energetic, and in the end, we all go home with a memorable ‘ah-ha!’ moment.
I have taught many great cases over my career, but none are quite as fun, memorable, and effective as ATH .”
3. Fabritek 1992
Rob Austin, Professor of Information Systems, Ivey Business School
“This might seem like an odd choice, but my favorite case to teach is an old operations case called Fabritek 1992 .
The latest version of Fabritek 1992 is dated 2009, but it is my understanding that this is a rewrite of a case that is older (probably much older). There is a Fabritek 1969 in the HBP catalog—same basic case, older dates, and numbers. That 1969 version lists no authors, so I suspect the case goes even further back; the 1969 version is, I’m guessing, a rewrite of an even older version.
There are many things I appreciate about the case. Here are a few:
It operates as a learning opportunity at many levels. At first it looks like a not-very-glamorous production job scheduling case. By the end of the case discussion, though, we’re into (operations) strategy and more. It starts out technical, then explodes into much broader relevance. As I tell participants when I’m teaching HBP's Teaching with Cases seminars —where I often use Fabritek as an example—when people first encounter this case, they almost always underestimate it.
It has great characters—especially Arthur Moreno, who looks like a troublemaker, but who, discussion reveals, might just be the smartest guy in the factory. Alums of the Harvard MBA program have told me that they remember Arthur Moreno many years later.
Almost every word in the case is important. It’s only four and a half pages of text and three pages of exhibits. This economy of words and sparsity of style have always seemed like poetry to me. I should note that this super concise, every-word-matters approach is not the ideal we usually aspire to when we write cases. Often, we include extra or superfluous information because part of our teaching objective is to provide practice in separating what matters from what doesn’t in a case. Fabritek takes a different approach, though, which fits it well.
It has a dramatic structure. It unfolds like a detective story, a sort of whodunnit. Something is wrong. There is a quality problem, and we’re not sure who or what is responsible. One person, Arthur Moreno, looks very guilty (probably too obviously guilty), but as we dig into the situation, there are many more possibilities. We spend in-class time analyzing the data (there’s a bit of math, so it covers that base, too) to determine which hypotheses are best supported by the data. And, realistically, the data doesn’t support any of the hypotheses perfectly, just some of them more than others. Also, there’s a plot twist at the end (I won’t reveal it, but here’s a hint: Arthur Moreno isn’t nearly the biggest problem in the final analysis). I have had students tell me the surprising realization at the end of the discussion gives them ‘goosebumps.’
Finally, through the unexpected plot twist, it imparts what I call a ‘wisdom lesson’ to young managers: not to be too sure of themselves and to regard the experiences of others, especially experts out on the factory floor, with great seriousness.”
4. Lincoln Electric Co.
Karin Schnarr, Assistant Professor of Policy, Wilfrid Laurier University
“As a strategy professor, my favorite case to teach is the classic 1975 Harvard case Lincoln Electric Co. by Norman Berg.
I use it to demonstrate to students the theory linkage between strategy and organizational structure, management processes, and leadership behavior.
This case may be an odd choice for a favorite. It occurs decades before my students were born. It is pages longer than we are told students are now willing to read. It is about manufacturing arc welding equipment in Cleveland, Ohio—a hard sell for a Canadian business classroom.
Yet, I have never come across a case that so perfectly illustrates what I want students to learn about how a company can be designed from an organizational perspective to successfully implement its strategy.
And in a time where so much focus continues to be on how to maximize shareholder value, it is refreshing to be able to discuss a publicly-traded company that is successfully pursuing a strategy that provides a fair value to shareholders while distributing value to employees through a large bonus pool, as well as value to customers by continually lowering prices.
However, to make the case resonate with today’s students, I work to make it relevant to the contemporary business environment. I link the case to multimedia clips about Lincoln Electric’s current manufacturing practices, processes, and leadership practices. My students can then see that a model that has been in place for generations is still viable and highly successful, even in our very different competitive situation.”
5. Pal’s Sudden Service—Scaling an Organizational Model to Drive Growth
Gary Pisano, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
“My favorite case to teach these days is Pal’s Sudden Service—Scaling an Organizational Model to Drive Growth .
I love teaching this case for three reasons:
1. It demonstrates how a company in a super-tough, highly competitive business can do very well by focusing on creating unique operating capabilities. In theory, Pal’s should have no chance against behemoths like McDonalds or Wendy’s—but it thrives because it has built a unique operating system. It’s a great example of a strategic approach to operations in action.
2. The case shows how a strategic approach to human resource and talent development at all levels really matters. This company competes in an industry not known for engaging its front-line workers. The case shows how engaging these workers can really pay off.
3. Finally, Pal’s is really unusual in its approach to growth. Most companies set growth goals (usually arbitrary ones) and then try to figure out how to ‘backfill’ the human resource and talent management gaps. They trust you can always find someone to do the job. Pal’s tackles the growth problem completely the other way around. They rigorously select and train their future managers. Only when they have a manager ready to take on their own store do they open a new one. They pace their growth off their capacity to develop talent. I find this really fascinating and so do the students I teach this case to.”
6. The United States Air Force: ‘Chaos’ in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron
Francesca Gino, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
“My favorite case to teach is The United States Air Force: ‘Chaos’ in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron .
The case surprises students because it is about a leader, known in the unit by the nickname Chaos , who inspired his squadron to be innovative and to change in a culture that is all about not rocking the boat, and where there is a deep sense that rules should simply be followed.
For years, I studied ‘rebels,’ people who do not accept the status quo; rather, they approach work with curiosity and produce positive change in their organizations. Chaos is a rebel leader who got the level of cultural change right. Many of the leaders I’ve met over the years complain about the ‘corporate culture,’ or at least point to clear weaknesses of it; but then they throw their hands up in the air and forget about changing what they can.
Chaos is different—he didn’t go after the ‘Air Force’ culture. That would be like boiling the ocean.
Instead, he focused on his unit of control and command: The 99th squadron. He focused on enabling that group to do what it needed to do within the confines of the bigger Air Force culture. In the process, he inspired everyone on his team to be the best they can be at work.
The case leaves the classroom buzzing and inspired to take action.”
7. Warren E. Buffett, 2015
Robert F. Bruner, Professor of Business Administration, Darden School of Business
“I love teaching Warren E. Buffett, 2015 because it energizes, exercises, and surprises students.
Buffett looms large in the business firmament and therefore attracts anyone who is eager to learn his secrets for successful investing. This generates the kind of energy that helps to break the ice among students and instructors early in a course and to lay the groundwork for good case discussion practices.
Studying Buffett’s approach to investing helps to introduce and exercise important themes that will resonate throughout a course. The case challenges students to define for themselves what it means to create value. The case discussion can easily be tailored for novices or for more advanced students.
Either way, this is not hero worship: The case affords a critical examination of the financial performance of Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, and reveals both triumphs and stumbles. Most importantly, students can critique the purported benefits of Buffett’s conglomeration strategy and the sustainability of his investment record as the size of the firm grows very large.
By the end of the class session, students seem surprised with what they have discovered. They buzz over the paradoxes in Buffett’s philosophy and performance record. And they come away with sober respect for Buffett’s acumen and for the challenges of creating value for investors.
Surely, such sobriety is a meta-message for any mastery of finance.”
More Educator Favorites
Emily Michelle David is an assistant professor of management at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). Her current research focuses on discovering how to make workplaces more welcoming for people of all backgrounds and personality profiles to maximize performance and avoid employee burnout. David’s work has been published in a number of scholarly journals, and she has worked as an in-house researcher at both NASA and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Devin Shanthikumar is an associate professor and the accounting area coordinator at UCI Paul Merage School of Business. She teaches undergraduate, MBA, and executive-level courses in managerial accounting. Shanthikumar previously served on the faculty at Harvard Business School, where she taught both financial accounting and managerial accounting for MBAs, and wrote cases that are used in accounting courses across the country.
Robert D. Austin is a professor of information systems at Ivey Business School and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Medical School. He has published widely, authoring nine books, more than 50 cases and notes, three Harvard online products, and two popular massive open online courses (MOOCs) running on the Coursera platform.
Karin Schnarr is an assistant professor of policy and the director of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where she teaches strategic management at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. Schnarr has published several award-winning and best-selling cases and regularly presents at international conferences on case writing and scholarship.
Gary P. Pisano is the Harry E. Figgie, Jr. Professor of Business Administration and senior associate dean of faculty development at Harvard Business School, where he has been on the faculty since 1988. Pisano is an expert in the fields of technology and operations strategy, the management of innovation, and competitive strategy. His research and consulting experience span a range of industries including aerospace, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, health care, nutrition, computers, software, telecommunications, and semiconductors.
Francesca Gino studies how people can have more productive, creative, and fulfilling lives. She is a professor at Harvard Business School and the author, most recently, of Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life . Gino regularly gives keynote speeches, delivers corporate training programs, and serves in advisory roles for firms and not-for-profit organizations across the globe.
Robert F. Bruner is a university professor at the University of Virginia, distinguished professor of business administration, and dean emeritus of the Darden School of Business. He has also held visiting appointments at Harvard and Columbia universities in the United States, at INSEAD in France, and at IESE in Spain. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books on finance, management, and teaching. Currently, he teaches and writes in finance and management.
6 Brilliant Case Study Examples for Small Businesses
Every business starts small.
The success of a business lies in its strategy to overcome any challenge during its journey.
If you are trying to take your business to new heights, start identifying challenges and create solutions.
The best way is to learn from sundry success stories.
There are several case studies of different businesses that can teach you which strategy to take for selling your product and attracting the target audience.
In this article, we will discuss some of the top case study examples that can assist in upscaling small businesses.
Interesting read: 9 Small Budget Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Business
Challenges Faced by Small Businesses
As far as businesses go, there are always hurdles that need to be defeated. Starting a business is itself a big achievement for entrepreneurs, but the main challenge is maintaining one.
There are three common challenges businesses need to overcome. These include managing the expenses, hiring people, and following new trends to develop a customer base.
1. Increased Expenses
Every business revolves around money. There are different areas where businesses have to spend their money. But the issue is handling the financial hurdles. With an unplanned budget and financial advice, businesses will be spending more than they need to.
Keeping an eye on expenses is important because the expenses determine the profit the business will make.
However, it is not easy to reduce the expense. It’s affected by demand and supply. If businesses need to keep up with the market’s demands, then the chance of increasing expenses is 100%.
2. More and Skilled Manpower Required
Businesses don’t run themselves. They need manpower with skills to handle different departments. Generally, the number of employees in a small business ranges from 1 to 500 people. Getting this manpower is easy but getting a skilled one is difficult and time-consuming.
Whenever looking for manpower, businesses need to decide what skills they want in their candidate. The problem is candidates can’t always fulfill all the requirements. Besides, hiring manpower also increases the expenses.
3. Keeping Up With the Latest Trends
The market is fluid. It changes and introduces new trends. Small businesses need to keep up with the changing trends to keep their business growing. But this is where many businesses start to fall apart.
The thing about new trends is that businesses need to sell their products at the right time. It means they have to keep on studying the market to speculate their next products. If a small business fails to deliver during the peak of the trend, then it will suffer a heavy loss.
Solutions to Grow a Small Business
The best thing about businesses is that there is an attempt to find a solution for every challenge. It brings out the competition in the market, which is huge for surfacing different kinds of solutions a business can adopt.
1. Reduce the Expenses
When it comes to expenses, businesses are focused on spending huge sums on communication because communication is the key element of increasing customers and revenue. It’s not a big problem for big companies, but it is expensive for small businesses.
Fortunately, the cloud telephony system has removed the dilemma while making business budgets because cloud phone services are cheaper than plain old telephone services.
It reduces the initial cost of new businesses up to 90%. Recent surveys suggest that over 74% of businesses prioritize cloud phone systems as their urgent investment.
The same goes for marketing which is necessary to attract potential customers. Small businesses don’t have enough budget to advertise their products.
The best solution for this is using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. to promote and sell their products .
Case Study: Coffman Engineers
Coffman Engineers clearly states that although the cost of using a virtual phone number adhered to cloud phone is 50% more per employee, it still provides overall 25% more savings than plain old telephone service (POTS).
Coffman Engineers have been relying on cloud phones ever since their one office location faced a disaster. Now they have a disaster recovery feature built into their cloud phone system. It helped them to be ready for any disasters without losing communication with employees.
Not just that, they found all the necessary features bundled into one subscription package in a VoIP phone system. Such a facility enabled them to handle all their business communication using only one platform.
- Small businesses must invest in cloud telephony for business communication.
- Extensive use of social media to promote and sell your products/service.
2. Improve Employee Productivity
As we have already discussed earlier, manpower is a big challenge for small businesses. Hiring more employees doesn’t mean higher productivity. Businesses need to hire the right candidates to keep their expenses in check and improve productivity.
There are different tools available that can monitor what the employees are doing. Time tracking tools and workforce management tools are key components every business needs.
Especially in remote working scenarios, these tools are crucial to getting the full effort for the employees. Companies have seen a 35%-40% rise in productivity in employees working remotely with the use of tracking tools.
Case study: On The Map Marketing
On The Map Marketing , a digital marketing agency, used time tracking tools that showed that remote working employees tend to work more hours since they can work at flexible hours.
On The Map Marketing first started using the time tracking tool when they were opening their office in Riga, Latvia. The CTO of the company wanted the time spent on different tasks on his computer as well as managing the remote working employees.
Using a time tracking tool , they were able to track their productivity with a detailed report of their daily activities during office hours. It helped them calculate salary bonuses. They also found the productivity level of each employee to determine their value for the company.
- Small businesses should use a time tracking tool to make sure employees focus on their office work.
- Small businesses can track the performance of each employee at office locations or remote working locations.
3. Reward Your Customers
A business becomes successful when it can keep its customers happy. In efforts to upscale a small business quickly, the marketplace has seen a decline in the quality of products and services. It is a primary reason for customer dissatisfaction.
About 45% of business professionals rate customer experience as their top priority for growing a business.
Survey says more than 85% of buyers are willing to spend more for a better customer experience. Therefore, small businesses need to focus on improving their quality of products and services, which is a powerful indicator of customer experience.
Case study: Starbucks
Starbucks introduced a Reward Loyalty Program in which customers collect stars to get exciting rewards. This program drives 40% of Starbucks total sales .
By adapting the gamification method, Starbucks added a reward loyalty program to their already established app. This move drastically increased sales and digital traffic. They brought mobile payment, customer loyalty, and content partnership in one powerful app.
Customers started registering for My Reward via their app. They are given stars(points) in exchange for their interaction in the app or purchase made. The higher the number of stars a customer gets, the better rewards they get.
- Small businesses can give different forms of rewards for more customer engagement.
- Improvement in customer service can drive more sales and attract more customers.
4. Build Your Brand
Small businesses should learn to build their brand image . While marketing any product or service, the brand image is a key factor for understanding how people view your business.
A brand image must first include mission, vision, and values. It also requires a brand positioning statement that can set your business apart from the competitors.
It’s important to create a unique brand personality. For this, businesses need to design a good logo because customers are most likely to recognize a business looking at a logo. They will have to identify their target audience to craft a good brand image.
According to a study, around 89% of users stay loyal to a business with a good brand image .
Case study: Apple
Apple logo is a well-recognized design that reflects the brand value. Over the years, the Apple logo has gone through several design changes.
The most important rebranding of the company came when Steve Jobs changed the logo which impacted the overall personality of the company. Now, this logo is the most recognized logo in the world.
Looking at the Apple logo, customers can feel a sense of trust, reliability, and innovation . It is the main reason for the huge sales of all the Apple products across the globe.
- Branding helps a business build strong relationships with prospects and attract them to be loyal customers.
- Small businesses need to create a strong brand image to sell their products efficiently.
5. Prioritize on Partnerships
Partnerships and collaboration can lift the businesses to maximize their cost savings. It allows businesses to strengthen their programs using available resources and tools.
This has a direct effect on improving the efficiency of their operations. It improves the credibility of the business in the marketplace.
Case study: RENAULT & NISSAN
Renault and Nissan have a strong partnership in automobiles. Their partnership made a remarkable achievement of making up 10% of new car sales worldwide .
Renault and Nissan chose to make an alliance rather than a merger because an alliance has many stronger benefits than a merger would give.
With an alliance, they can access more geographical areas where foreign investments are restricted. These companies got better chances to enter each other’s territory where they were already established companies because of the alliance.
Although they faced numerous challenges including fluctuation in price share, they managed to resolve issues and succeed.
- Small businesses can collaborate with other businesses to increase their chances of higher product sales and profit for everyone.
- Partnership with other businesses allows all parties to take benefits from each other’s strong areas.
6. The Right Marketing Strategy
Every business requires to sell its product and services to the market. Without marketing, a business cannot compete in the marketplace. The first thing about marketing is knowing your target audience and competitors.
When small businesses know who they are competing against, it will help them to see how the competitors are executing their business and attracting their customers.
One such way is to grow your website traffic which can bring you more leads and eventually customers. And how do you increase your website traffic? SEO. If done right, Search Engine Optimization can drive huge traffic to your website to reach your marketing goals.
Case study: Zapier
Zapier used an SEO strategy revolving around long-tail keywords for generating organic traffic to their website. They created 25,000 unique landing pages for unique keywords.
Zapier had a structure and layout for each page including well-optimized human written content. They outsourced SEO content and focused on a playbook for the onboarding process and launched new apps so that they can get partners to write content for them.
On top of that, they also outsourced link building to their partners. These partners wrote valuable guest post content of Zapier on their site and gave a backlink to Zapier. It helped Zapier to get new users as well as drive their website traffic.
- Small Businesses should improve their website traffic by adding more landing pages with relevant content.
- Backlinks through guest posts on other websites can drive more website traffic and attract more prospects.
Now that you have a fair idea of the business challenges and solutions, there is a good chance of delivering a good strategy for growing your small business.
On top of that, the case study examples above will help you view how other businesses overcome their situation to take their business to new heights.
The most important aspect of upscaling a small business is understanding the customer’s needs. Therefore, you should design a persuasive marketing strategy to attract customers and compete with other businesses in the market.
And a good marketing strategy for any business must include social media. And to make the most of your social media marketing efforts try SocialPilot for free today.
Frequently Asked Questions
🌟 how do you upscale a small business.
Upscaling a small business is a very challenging process. Whether it's making a budget or hiring employees, you have to focus on things that are best for your business. Planning, targeting prospects, marketing strategy, etc. are crucial steps for upscaling businesses and competing with big companies.
🌟 What is a small scale business?
Small scale businesses or Small scale industries (SSI) provide products and services on a small level. Normally in the US, a small business consists of less than 250 employees. Also, it has small capital investments and less office space.
🌟 Why do entrepreneurs find it difficult to scale up?
New entrepreneurs find difficulty in scaling up their businesses because they don’t know what to do. Even if they know, they have to face many challenges like market research, finding loans, allocating space, etc. Also, legal matters are always a major concern for making changes.
🌟 Why is scalability important in business?
Scalability is important because it directly impacts business competition, profitability, brand image, and product quality. Since small businesses have huge growth potential and high return on investment (ROI), they have to properly focus on scalability.
🌟 When should you scale a business?
A small business should look for upscaling its business if it has achieved a minimum annual growth of 20% over 2-3 years with only 10 or more active employees.
About the Author
Sujan Thapaliya is the CEO and Co-founder of KrispCall . He has a wealth of computer, communications, and security experience. Through KrispCall, he aspires to make business communication safer, reliable, and more affordable.
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- Case Questions
- 1.1 Entrepreneurship Today
- 1.2 Entrepreneurial Vision and Goals
- 1.3 The Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Review Questions
- Discussion Questions
- Suggested Resources
- 2.1 Overview of the Entrepreneurial Journey
- 2.2 The Process of Becoming an Entrepreneur
- 2.3 Entrepreneurial Pathways
- 2.4 Frameworks to Inform Your Entrepreneurial Path
- 3.1 Ethical and Legal Issues in Entrepreneurship
- 3.2 Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship
- 3.3 Developing a Workplace Culture of Ethical Excellence and Accountability
- 4.1 Tools for Creativity and Innovation
- 4.2 Creativity, Innovation, and Invention: How They Differ
- 4.3 Developing Ideas, Innovations, and Inventions
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- 9.1 Overview of Entrepreneurial Finance and Accounting Strategies
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- 10.1 Launching the Imperfect Business: Lean Startup
- 10.2 Why Early Failure Can Lead to Success Later
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- 10.5 Growth: Signs, Pains, and Cautions
- 11.1 Avoiding the “Field of Dreams” Approach
- 11.2 Designing the Business Model
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- 11.4 The Business Plan
- 12.1 Building and Connecting to Networks
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- 14.1 Types of Resources
- 14.2 Using the PEST Framework to Assess Resource Needs
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- 15.1 Launching Your Venture
- 15.2 Making Difficult Business Decisions in Response to Challenges
- 15.3 Seeking Help or Support
- 15.4 Now What? Serving as a Mentor, Consultant, or Champion
- 15.5 Reflections: Documenting the Journey
- A | Suggested Resources
The National Association of Broadcasters launched its PILOT Innovation Challenge in 2016. The challenge is centered around a specific challenge question aimed at helping the association’s primary customers, broadcasters. The most recent challenge question was, “What is an unconventional way broadcasters and other local media could serve communities?” The PILOT organizers have contracted you to help them design their next challenge. Using your knowledge of innovation and customer-centric entrepreneurship processes, what would you advise? How would you go about determining the challenge question? What questions about innovation would you have regarding the Innovation Challenge?
The Guidewell Innovation Center at Lake Nona Medical Center on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida, is a 92,000-square-foot facility aimed at accelerating innovation within the healthcare industries. Guidewell, the parent company of Florida Blue, brings in outside companies to help with that innovation process. One of the features of the Innovation Center is its Collaborative Resource Ecosystem. Some of the center’s strategic areas of focus are next-generation consumer engagement, computational health, well-being and human performance, digital health, and remote management, among other areas. How could Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation and jobs-to-be-done theory help guide Guidewell’s mission? What are the prevalent business models in the strategic areas for incumbent businesses? What are opportunities for innovation for new companies?
As youth programs face severe budget cuts, many youth sports organizations respond by raising their fees, which shifts the costs to families. Good Sports was founded in 2003, to tackle this problem by providing new equipment, footwear, and apparel to those most in need. The organization’s addressable markets include children ages five to eighteen living in low-income households, as defined by poverty data, and participating in youth sports in top fifty metropolitan service areas. This Boston-based organization has plans to expand from its three existing markets in Dallas, Chicago, and Boston to seven total markets by 2023 with a goal to serve 600,000 kids by that target date.
- What would a customer empathy map look like for Good Sports’ target user? What about its target customer segment? Would it or should it differ in differing markets? Is the Boston area user any different from say, an Atlanta, user?
- Given its social mission, what are some impact measures Good Sports could use to gauge success and impact?
DoSomething.Org is a “global movement for good” among 6 million young people, transforming their communities across the United States and in 131 countries worldwide. This nonprofit organization constantly holds cause-based campaigns, ranging from receiving over 1 million pairs of donated jeans from teens to clothe homeless youth to cleaning up 3.7 million cigarette butts through its Get the Filter Out initiative. A past campaign, “Don’t Be a Sucker,” addressed the problem of Americans losing $5.8 billion annually and producing 8.7 billion pounds of carbon pollution by leaving unused devices plugged in. The campaign sought to slay those “energy vampires” not in use by having users unplug equipment and post a sticky note next to the outlet to remind others not to let them suck the energy dry. Further research the problem, solution and this campaign and answer the following:
- Identify what social impact(s) the campaign addressed.
- What impact measures could the campaign assess?
- Could a viable business be created around this problem?
In recent years, the entrepreneurial educator and author Steve Blank began applying lean startup principles to various US governmental agencies. Through a Hacking for Diplomacy course, students at Stanford University began tackling problems for the Department of State. A former US ambassador to the United Nations, a State Department representative to Silicon Valley and senior advisor for technology and innovation, a retired US Army colonel, and other entrepreneurial educators joined Blank in applying lean startup methods to State Department issues. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry even visited the Stanford students and said he was looking forward to the solutions students develop during the ten weeks. One project that emerged was from a group calling themselves Team Space Evaders. The team was tasked with working on the problem of satellite collision. Members charted satellite positioning data and explored how information about potential collision was shared by commercial operators and governmental entities ranging from the Federal Aviation Administration to the Department of Defense.
- Apply the lean startup methodology to identify potential customer segments and problems and solutions that students such as yourself could identify for the State Department on the issue of satellite collision.
- What would a unique value proposition for a State Department solution to this issue be? How could a high-level concept pitch work when selling the concept within the State Department?
Incorporated in 2003, Tesla declared in its mission statement that its goal is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport,” 56 and it has proven itself a leader in green technology in the automotive sector. In its initial business plan, by co-founder Martin Eberhard , the electric sports car company promised to provide the value of a high-end sports car at a lower cost to the customer and a lower environmental cost to the planet. Electric vehicles were seen as inferior to standard vehicles prior to Tesla’s innovations in creating powerful cars that piqued consumer desire. The generic automotive manufacturing business model relies on collaborative manufacturing with industry partners and a distribution model dependent on third parties. Standard cars are aimed at people and businesses with individual transportation needs. This model is commercially viable because of custom-equipped add-on features to the per-vehicle prices.
- Tesla’s business model is different. Identify at least three ways in which the Tesla model differs from the traditional automotive business model.
In the mid-1990s, at least one newspaper company, the now-defunct Knight-Ridder chain, created the prototype for a tablet newspaper that very much resembles the present-day iPad. A 1994 video titled “The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision for the Future” shows off the design of a futuristic newspaper designed at the Knight Ridder Information Design Lab in Boulder, Colorado. The video went viral in 2011 after it was posted on YouTube and numerous websites and blogs. The person behind the tablet vision, Roger Fidler , had even published an essay describing a tablet future as far back as 1981. The Knight-Ridder lab shared a wall with its neighbor Apple, with executives swapping ideas and visitors. The newspaper company, focused on content creation and not the hardware side, decided to not patent its tablet design and scrapped the project because screens took too much energy, and it was too expensive.
- Using the components of a feasibility study, consider how the newspaper company would stack up on go-or-no-go decisions for each component of the feasibility study.
- How did the newspaper company in the 1990s fare in terms of management prowess, resource capabilities, financial viability, and market analysis?
- Do you think the newspaper made a wise decision to abandon the project when it did? Why or why not?
Founded in 2013 primarily as a coding boot camp, Tech Talent South offers both part-time and full-time courses on topics like Ruby on Rails and Big Data Analytics. Most of the camp’s programs are run out of cooperative working spaces and temporary locations throughout the cities it has a presence in. The primary focus of the Atlanta-founded and now North Carolina-based company as branded in the name was on coding in the South, but the company to date has expanded to eleven markets with plans to expand even more. The founder, Betsy Idilbi , jokes that she wouldn’t have named the company Tech Talent South if she had known its full potential and growth, including being plugged into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in places such as Columbus, Ohio. The company even has offices in the northeastern city of Hartford, Connecticut.
- Could a feasibility analysis have helped Betsy from the start?
- The company has expanded its business to offer corporate trainings at existing companies, rather than teaching classes directly to student enrollees. How would you identify a new potential market for Tech Talent South to enter?
- What could be done with its existing business?
- How would you advise the company on making go-or-no-go decisions for entering new markets?
You were introduced to The Cut Buddy , a plastic hair and beard grooming tool that began selling on Amazon in 2016, in The Business Plan . Following funding from the Shark Tank investor Daymond John , the company plans to expand into retail and extend its product line.
- How would a business plan for the company’s ecommerce business differ from a retail distribution outlet?
- Discuss how changes to aspects of the original business plan affected the outcome of the success of The Cut Buddy.
- What do you think should be the key markets and strategies moving forward for the company?
Pretty Young Professional , discussed in The Business Plan , failed because of disagreements among its four founders that emerged shortly after launch.
- If you were to launch the venture today, outline what steps you would need to take in formulating a business plan.
- What do you think the total addressable market would be, which industry classification would it fall under, and who would be the primary competition?
- 56 In 2016, it was changed from “sustainable transport” to “sustainable energy.” https://www.tesla.com/about
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- Book title: Entrepreneurship
- Publication date: Jan 16, 2020
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15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]
By Alice Corner , Jan 12, 2023
Let me ask you a question: Have you ever bought something — within the last 10 years or so — without reading its reviews or without a recommendation or prior experience of using it?
If the answer is no — or at least, rarely — you get my point.
For businesses selling consumer goods, having raving reviews is a good way to get more customers. The same thing applies to B2B and/or SaaS businesses — but for this type of business, besides regular, short reviews, having a detailed case study can help tremendously.
Case studies are an incredibly effective form of marketing that you can use to help promote your product and plan your marketing strategy effectively. You can also use it as a form of customer analysis or as a sales tool to inspire potential customers.
So what does a case study look like and how can you create one? In this article, I’m going to list over 15 marketing case study examples, case study tips, and case study templates to help you create a case study that converts.
Click to jump ahead:
- What is a Case Study?
- Marketing Case Study Examples
Sales Case Study Examples
Simple case study examples, business case study examples.
- Case Study FAQs
What is a case study?
A case study is a research method to gain a better understanding of a subject or process. Case studies involve in-depth research into a given subject, in order to understand its functionality and successes.
In the context of a business, however, case studies take customer success stories and explore how they use your product to help them achieve their business goals.
As well as being valuable marketing tools, case studies are a good way to evaluate your product as it allows you to objectively examine how others are using it.
It’s also a good way to interview your customers about why they work with you.
Related: What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]
What is a marketing case study?
A marketing case study is a type of marketing where you use your existing customers as an example of what your product or services can achieve. You can also create case studies of internal, successful marketing projects.
Here’s an example of a marketing case study template:
Return to Table of Contents
Marketing case study examples
Marketing case studies are incredibly useful for showing your marketing successes. Every successful marketing campaign relies on influencing a consumer’s behavior, and a great case study can be a great way to spotlight your biggest wins.
In the marketing case study examples below, a variety of designs and techniques to create impactful and effective case studies.
Show off impressive results with a bold marketing case study
Case studies are meant to show off your successes, so make sure you feature your positive results prominently. Using bold and bright colors as well as contrasting shapes, large bold fonts, and simple icons is a great way to highlight your wins.
In well-written case study examples like the one below, the big wins are highlighted on the second page with a bright orange color and are highlighted in circles.
Making the important data stand out is especially important when attracting a prospective customer with marketing case studies.
Use a simple but clear layout in your case study
Using a simple layout in your case study can be incredibly effective, like in the example of a case study below.
Keeping a clean white background, and using slim lines to help separate the sections is an easy way to format your case study.
Making the information clear helps draw attention to the important results, and it helps improve the accessibility of the design .
Business case study examples like this would sit nicely within a larger report, with a consistent layout throughout.
Use visuals and icons to create an engaging and branded business case study
Nobody wants to read pages and pages of text — and that’s why Venngage wants to help you communicate your ideas visually.
Using icons, graphics, photos, or patterns helps create a much more engaging design.
With this Blue Cap case study icons, colors, and impactful pattern designs have been used to create an engaging design that catches your eye.
Use a monochromatic color palette to create a professional and clean case study
Let your research shine by using a monochromatic and minimalistic color palette.
By sticking to one color, and leaving lots of blank space you can ensure your design doesn’t distract a potential customer from your case study content.
In this case study on Polygon Media, the design is simple and professional, and the layout allows the prospective customer to follow the flow of information.
The gradient effect on the left-hand column helps break up the white background and adds an interesting visual effect.
Did you know you can generate an accessible color palette with Venngage? Try our free accessible color palette generator today and create a case study that delivers and looks pleasant to the eye:
Add long term goals in your case study
When creating a case study it’s a great idea to look at both the short term and the long term goals of the company to gain the best understanding possible of the insights they provide.
Short-term goals will be what the company or person hopes to achieve in the next few months, and long-term goals are what the company hopes to achieve in the next few years.
Check out this modern pattern design example of a case study below:
In this case study example, the short and long-term goals are clearly distinguished by light blue boxes and placed side by side so that they are easy to compare.
Use a strong introductory paragraph to outline the overall strategy and goals before outlining the specific short-term and long-term goals to help with clarity.
This strategy can also be handy when creating a consulting case study.
Use data to make concrete points about your sales and successes
When conducting any sort of research stats, facts, and figures are like gold dust (aka, really valuable).
Being able to quantify your findings is important to help understand the information fully. Saying sales increased 10% is much more effective than saying sales increased.
In sales case study examples, like this one, the key data and findings can be presented with icons. This contributes to the potential customer’s better understanding of the report.
They can clearly comprehend the information and it shows that the case study has been well researched.
Use emotive, persuasive, or action based language in your marketing case study
Create a compelling case study by using emotive, persuasive and action-based language when customizing your case study template.
In this well-written case study example, we can see that phrases such as “Results that Speak Volumes” and “Drive Sales” have been used.
Using persuasive language like you would in a blog post. It helps inspire potential customers to take action now.
Keep your potential customers in mind when creating a customer case study for marketing
82% of marketers use case studies in their marketing because it’s such an effective tool to help quickly gain customers’ trust and to showcase the potential of your product.
Why are case studies such an important tool in content marketing?
By writing a case study you’re telling potential customers that they can trust you because you’re showing them that other people do.
Not only that, but if you have a SaaS product, business case studies are a great way to show how other people are effectively using your product in their company.
In this case study, Network is demonstrating how their product has been used by Vortex Co. with great success; instantly showing other potential customers that their tool works and is worth using.
Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert
Case studies are particularly effective as a sales technique.
A sales case study is like an extended customer testimonial, not only sharing opinions of your product – but showcasing the results you helped your customer achieve.
Make impactful statistics pop in your sales case study
Writing a case study doesn’t mean using text as the only medium for sharing results.
You should use icons to highlight areas of your research that are particularly interesting or relevant, like in this example of a case study:
Icons are a great way to help summarize information quickly and can act as visual cues to help draw the customer’s attention to certain areas of the page.
In some of the business case study examples above, icons are used to represent the impressive areas of growth and are presented in a way that grabs your attention.
Use high contrast shapes and colors to draw attention to key information in your sales case study
Help the key information stand out within your case study by using high contrast shapes and colors.
Use a complementary or contrasting color, or use a shape such as a rectangle or a circle for maximum impact.
This design has used dark blue rectangles to help separate the information and make it easier to read.
Coupled with icons and strong statistics, this information stands out on the page and is easily digestible and retainable for a potential customer.
Less is often more, and this is especially true when it comes to creating designs. Whilst you want to create a professional-looking, well-written and design case study – there’s no need to overcomplicate things.
These simple case study examples show that smart clean designs and informative content can be an effective way to showcase your successes.
Use colors and fonts to create a professional-looking case study
Business case studies shouldn’t be boring. In fact, they should be beautifully and professionally designed.
This means the normal rules of design apply. Use fonts, colors, and icons to create an interesting and visually appealing case study.
In this case study example, we can see how multiple fonts have been used to help differentiate between the headers and content, as well as complementary colors and eye-catching icons.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, business case studies can be a powerful resource to help with your sales, marketing, and even internal departmental awareness.
Business and business management case studies should encompass strategic insights alongside anecdotal and qualitative findings, like in the business case study examples below.
Conduct a B2B case study by researching the company holistically
When it comes to writing a case study, make sure you approach the company holistically and analyze everything from their social media to their sales.
Think about every avenue your product or service has been of use to your case study company, and ask them about the impact this has had on their wider company goals.
In business case study examples like the one above, we can see that the company has been thought about holistically simply by the use of icons.
By combining social media icons with icons that show in-person communication we know that this is a well-researched and thorough case study.
This case study report example could also be used within an annual or end-of-year report.
Highlight the key takeaway from your marketing case study
To create a compelling case study, identify the key takeaways from your research. Use catchy language to sum up this information in a sentence, and present this sentence at the top of your page.
This is “at a glance” information and it allows people to gain a top-level understanding of the content immediately.
You can use a large, bold, contrasting font to help this information stand out from the page and provide interest.
Learn how to choose fonts effectively with our Venngage guide and once you’ve done that.
Upload your fonts and brand colors to Venngage using the My Brand Kit tool and see them automatically applied to your designs.
The heading is the ideal place to put the most impactful information, as this is the first thing that people will read.
In this example, the stat of “Increase[d] lead quality by 90%” is used as the header. It makes customers want to read more to find out how exactly lead quality was increased by such a massive amount.
If you’re conducting an in-person interview, you could highlight a direct quote or insight provided by your interview subject.
Pick out a catchy sentence or phrase, or the key piece of information your interview subject provided and use that as a way to draw a potential customer in.
Use charts to visualize data in your business case studies
Charts are an excellent way to visualize data and to bring statistics and information to life. Charts make information easier to understand and to illustrate trends or patterns.
Making charts is even easier with Venngage.
In this consulting case study example, we can see that a chart has been used to demonstrate the difference in lead value within the Lead Elves case study.
Adding a chart here helps break up the information and add visual value to the case study.
Using charts in your case study can also be useful if you’re creating a project management case study.
You could use a Gantt chart or a project timeline to show how you have managed the project successfully.
Use direct quotes to build trust in your marketing case study
To add an extra layer of authenticity you can include a direct quote from your customer within your case study.
According to research from Nielsen , 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer and 70% trust recommendations even if they’re from somebody they don’t know.
So if you have a customer or client who can’t stop singing your praises, make sure you get a direct quote from them and include it in your case study.
You can either lift part of the conversation or interview, or you can specifically request a quote. Make sure to ask for permission before using the quote.
This design uses a bright contrasting speech bubble to show that it includes a direct quote, and helps the quote stand out from the rest of the text.
This will help draw the customer’s attention directly to the quote, in turn influencing them to use your product or service.
Case Study Examples Summary
Once you have created your case study, it’s best practice to update your examples on a regular basis to include up-to-date statistics, data, and information.
You should update your business case study examples often if you are sharing them on your website.
It’s also important that your case study sits within your brand guidelines – find out how Venngage’s My Brand Kit tool can help you create consistently branded case study templates.
Case studies are important marketing tools – but they shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. Content marketing is also a valuable way to earn consumer trust.
Case Study FAQ
Why should you write a case study.
Case studies are an effective marketing technique to engage potential customers and help build trust.
By producing case studies featuring your current clients or customers, you are showcasing how your tool or product can be used. You’re also showing that other people endorse your product.
In addition to being a good way to gather positive testimonials from existing customers , business case studies are good educational resources and can be shared amongst your company or team, and used as a reference for future projects.
How should you write a case study?
To create a great case study, you should think strategically. The first step, before starting your case study research, is to think about what you aim to learn or what you aim to prove.
You might be aiming to learn how a company makes sales or develops a new product. If this is the case, base your questions around this.
You can learn more about writing a case study from our extensive guide.
Some good questions you could ask would be:
- Why do you use our tool or service?
- How often do you use our tool or service?
- What does the process of using our product look like to you?
- If our product didn’t exist, what would you be doing instead?
- What is the number one benefit you’ve found from using our tool?
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A Case Study: Real-Life Business Planning A planning meeting should set the foundation for real strategy, not set forth the strategy itself. Find out how one company made the most of its two-day session.
By Tim Berry • Feb 3, 2009
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I'm writing this the day after a two-day planning meeting for Palo Alto Software. It was the start of the company's annual planning cycle, plus a refresher for changed assumptions in a changed economy. Reflecting on the meeting now provides me with a great opportunity to explore a real-world, real-business example of how a planning cycle works.
I'm not trying to suggest that there's one right way to do this, or that this way is the right way. But with so much material out there on business planning written by consultants who don't actually run companies with more than a few employees, this seems like an opportunity to share what really happened, at least with this company, last month.
For the record, although I'm founder of Palo Alto Software, I no longer run it. Sabrina Parsons has been CEO for two years now. I'm still a full-time employee, but my new jobs as president are blogging, writing, speaking and teaching. I wasn't in charge of this meeting--I didn't set it up and I didn't run it. The company started in 1988 but really started growing in the mid-1990s; it now has 40-plus employees and multi-million dollar sales. And of course I'm not going to include details about the discussions or anything else that might be inappropriate because of confidentiality. Here's what happened:
The Setup The meeting was scheduled about a month in advance. It was held in a meeting room a few blocks away from the Palo Alto Software offices, in Eugene, Ore. They served coffee in the morning and lunch. The cost was $100 per day plus food for a nice meeting room on the top floor with a big conference table--very comfortable for the 10 key managers in attendance. One of them was charged with setting up the agenda and facilitating the discussion. We met from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., each day for two days.
The Ground Rules This became very important, and was a big surprise. Ground rules: no cell phones, no laptops, no tablet computers, no BlackBerrys, no iPhones, no "devices." Gulp. I had no idea how much difference that makes these days. I've become an addict. At least seven of our 10 attendees suffered similar addictions. It was so hard to go from break to break without checking e-mail, Twitter, blog comments or Yahoo! Messenger. I suffered severe withdrawal symptoms.
More important, we were all focused on the meeting. I'd forgotten how for so many years meetings have been given off-and-on attention, at least for me, as I use my computer, making the arrogant assumption that I can actually focus on two things at once. I can't. My colleagues can't. Locking out all our devices made an enormous difference in improving this meeting.
Discussions Following a planned agenda, we did a lot of SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses: not just for the company, but also for each of our main product lines ( Business Plan Pro , Marketing Plan Pro , Email Center Pro ). From there we went into good, lengthy discussions about changed assumptions--the economic downturn, results of new releases, results of some recent projects and programs and long-term development maps. Eventually, we went over some specific action points and next steps.
Results I think it's important to point out that the output of the two days isn't strategy. Strategy isn't really done in two days, and it isn't done by vote of consensus by the top management team, either. What you get is a really strong first step toward strategy; a refresher and review of past strategy, reminders of results and a team working together to formulate strategy.
In the end, strategy has to be developed by the leadership of the company. Good leaders listen, but they also lead. They watch for the problems of "group think," and they also watch that functional experts--product developers or web producers for example--have leadership roles related to strategy for their areas. Ideally, this two-day meeting sets the foundations of strategy; and when that strategy is fully developed and articulated, everybody on the team recognizes where it came from. This was a really good first step. Make sure your business is taking good first steps, too.
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How to Write a Business Case (Template Included)
Table of Contents
What is a business case, how to write a business case, business case template, watch our business case training video, key elements of a business case, how projectmanager helps with your business case.
A business case is a project management document that explains how the benefits of a project overweigh its costs and why it should be executed. Business cases are prepared during the project initiation phase and their purpose is to include all the project’s objectives, costs and benefits to convince stakeholders of its value.
A business case is an important project document to prove to your client, customer or stakeholder that the project you’re pitching is a sound investment. Below, we illustrate the steps to writing one that will sway them.
The need for a business case is that it collects the financial appraisal, proposal, strategy and marketing plan in one document and offers a full look at how the project will benefit the organization. Once your business case is approved by the project stakeholders, you can begin the project planning phase.
Projects fail without having a solid business case to rest on, as this document is necessary to start the project and it’s the base for the project charter and project plan. But if a project business case is not anchored to reality, and doesn’t address a need that aligns with the larger business objectives of the organization, then it is irrelevant.
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Use this free Business Case Template for Word to manage your projects better.
The research you’ll need to create a strong business case is the why, what, how and who of your project. This must be clearly communicated. The elements of your business case will address the why but in greater detail. Think of the business case as a document that is created during the project initiation phase but will be used as a reference throughout the project life cycle.
Whether you’re starting a new project or mid-way through one, take time to write up a business case to justify the project expenditure by identifying the business benefits your project will deliver and that your stakeholders are most interested in reaping from the work. The following four steps will show you how to write a business case.
Step 1: Identify the Business Problem
Projects aren’t created for projects’ sake. They have a goal. Usually, they’re initiated to solve a specific business problem or create a business opportunity.
You should “Lead with the need.” Your first job is to figure out what that problem or opportunity is, describe it, find out where it comes from and then address the time frame needed to deal with it.
This can be a simple statement but is best articulated with some research into the economic climate and the competitive landscape to justify the timing of the project.
Step 2: Identify the Alternative Solutions
How do you know whether the project you’re undertaking is the best possible solution to the problem defined above? Naturally, choosing the right solution is hard, and the path to success is not paved with unfounded assumptions.
One way to narrow down the focus to make the right solution clear is to follow these six steps (after the relevant research, of course):
- Note the alternative solutions.
- For each solution, quantify its benefits.
- Also, forecast the costs involved in each solution.
- Then figure out its feasibility .
- Discern the risks and issues associated with each solution.
- Finally, document all this in your business case.
Step 3: Recommend a Preferred Solution
You’ll next need to rank the solutions, but before doing that it’s best to set up criteria, maybe have a scoring mechanism to help you prioritize the solutions to best choose the right one.
Some methodologies you can apply include:
- Depending on the solution’s cost and benefit, give it a score of 1-10.
- Base your score on what’s important to you.
- Add more complexity to your ranking to cover all bases.
Regardless of your approach, once you’ve added up your numbers, the best solution to your problem will become evident. Again, you’ll want to have this process also documented in your business case.
Step 4: Describe the Implementation Approach
So, you’ve identified your business problem or opportunity and how to reach it, now you have to convince your stakeholders that you’re right and have the best way to implement a process to achieve your goals. That’s why documentation is so important; it offers a practical path to solve the core problem you identified.
Now, it’s not just an exercise to appease senior leadership. Who knows what you might uncover in the research you put into exploring the underlying problem and determining alternative solutions? You might save the organization millions with an alternate solution than the one initially proposed. When you put in the work on a strong business case, you’re able to get your sponsors or organizational leadership on board with you and have a clear vision as to how to ensure the delivery of the business benefits they expect.
Our business case template for Word is the perfect tool to start writing a business case. It has 9 key business case areas you can customize as needed. Download the template for free and follow the steps below to create a great business case for all your projects.
One of the key steps to starting a business case is to have a business case checklist. The following is a detailed outline to follow when developing your business case. You can choose which of these elements are the most relevant to your project stakeholders and add them to our business case template. Then once your business case is approved, start managing your projects with a robust project management software such as ProjectManager.
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary is a short version of each section of your business case. It’s used to give stakeholders a quick overview of your project.
2. Project Definition
This section is meant to provide general information about your projects, such as the business objectives that will be achieved and the project plan outline.
3. Vision, Goals and Objectives
First, you have to figure out what you’re trying to do and what is the problem you want to solve. You’ll need to define your project vision, goals and objectives. This will help you shape your project scope and identify project deliverables.
4. Project Scope
The project scope determines all the tasks and deliverables that will be executed in your project to reach your business objectives.
5. Background Information
Here you can provide a context for your project, explaining the problem that it’s meant to solve, and how it aligns with your organization’s vision and strategic plan.
6. Success Criteria and Stakeholder Requirements
Depending on what kind of project you’re working on, the quality requirements will differ, but they are critical to the project’s success. Collect all of them, figure out what determines if you’ve successfully met them and report on the results.
7. Project Plan
It’s time to create the project plan. Figure out the tasks you’ll have to take to get the project done. You can use a work breakdown structure template to make sure you are through. Once you have all the tasks collected, estimate how long it will take to complete each one.
Project management software makes creating a project plan significantly easier. ProjectManager can upload your work breakdown structure template and all your tasks are populated in our tool. You can organize them according to your production cycle with our kanban board view, or use our Gantt chart view to create a project schedule.
8. Project Budget
Your budget is an estimate of everything in your project plan and what it will cost to complete the project over the scheduled time allotted.
9. Project Schedule
Make a timeline for the project by estimating how long it will take to get each task completed. For a more impactful project schedule, use a tool to make a Gantt chart , and print it out. This will provide that extra flourish of data visualization and skill that Excel sheets lack.
10. Project Governance
Project governance refers to all the project management rules and procedures that apply to your project. For example, it defines the roles and responsibilities of the project team members and the framework for decision-making.
11. Communication Plan
Have milestones for check-ins and status updates, as well as determine how stakeholders will stay aware of the progress over the project life cycle.
12. Progress Reports
Have a plan in place to monitor and track your progress during the project to compare planned to actual progress. There are task tracking tools that can help you monitor progress and performance.
Again, using a project management tool improves your ability to see what’s happening in your project. ProjectManager has tracking tools like dashboards and status reports that give you a high-level view and more detail, respectively. Unlike light-weight apps that make you set up a dashboard, ours is embedded in the tool. Better still, our cloud-based software gives you real-time data for more insightful decision-making. Also, get reports on more than just status updates, but timesheets, workload, portfolio status and much more, all with just one click. Then filter the reports and share them with stakeholders to keep them updated.
13. Financial Appraisal
This is a very important section of your business case because this is where you explain how the financial benefits outweigh the costs. Compare the financial costs and benefits of your project. You can do this by doing a sensitivity analysis and a cost-benefit analysis.
14. Market Assessment
Research your market, competitors and industry, to find opportunities and threats
15. Competitor Analysis
Identify direct and indirect competitors and do an assessment of their products, strengths, competitive advantages and their business strategy.
16. SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis helps you identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal, while the opportunities and threats are external.
17. Marketing Strategy
Describe your product, distribution channels, pricing, target customers among other aspects of your marketing plan or strategy.
18. Risk Assessment
There are many risk categories that can impact your project. The first step to mitigating them is to identify and assess the risks associated with your project activities.
ProjectManager , an award-winning project management software, can collect and assemble all the various data you’ll be collecting, and then easily share it both with your team and project sponsors.
Once you have a spreadsheet with all your tasks listed, you can import it into our software. Then it’s instantly populated into a Gantt chart . Simply set the duration for each of the tasks, add any dependencies, and your project is now spread across a timeline. You can set milestones, but there is so much more you can do.
You have a project plan now, and from the online Gantt chart, you can assign team members to tasks. Then they can comment directly on the tasks they’re working on, adding as many documents and images as needed, fostering a collaborative environment. You can track their progress and change task durations as needed by dragging and dropping the start and end dates.
But that’s only a taste of what ProjectManager offers. We have kanban boards that visualize your workflow and a real-time dashboard that tracks six project metrics for the most accurate view of your project possible.
Try ProjectManager and see for yourself with this 30-day free trial .
If you want more business case advice, take a moment to watch Jennifer Bridges, PMP, in this short training video. She explains the steps you have to take in order to write a good business case.
Here’s a screenshot for your reference.
Today we’re talking about how to write a business case. Well, over the past few years, we’ve seen the market, or maybe organizations, companies or even projects, move away from doing business cases. But, these days, companies, organizations, and those same projects are scrutinizing the investments and they’re really seeking a rate of return.
So now, think of the business case as your opportunity to package your project, your idea, your opportunity, and show what it means and what the benefits are and how other people can benefit.
We want to take a look today to see what’s in the business case and how to write one. I want to be clear that when you look for information on a business case, it’s not a briefcase.
Someone called the other day and they were confused because they were looking for something, and they kept pulling up briefcases. That’s not what we’re talking about today. What we’re talking about are business cases, and they include information about your strategies, about your goals. It is your business proposal. It has your business outline, your business strategy, and even your marketing plan.
Why Do You Need a Business Case?
And so, why is that so important today? Again, companies are seeking not only their project managers but their team members to have a better understanding of business and more of an idea business acumen. So this business case provides the justification for the proposed business change or plan. It outlines the allocation of capital that you may be seeking and the resources required to implement it. Then, it can be an action plan. It may just serve as a unified vision. And then it also provides the decision-makers with different options.
So let’s look more at the steps required to put these business cases together. There are four main steps. One, you want to research your market. Really look at what’s out there, where are the needs, where are the gaps that you can serve? Look at your competition. How are they approaching this, and how can you maybe provide some other alternatives?
You want to compare and finalize different approaches that you can use to go to market. Then you compile that data and you present strategies, your goals and other options to be considered.
And then you literally document it.
So what does the document look like? Well, there are templates out there today. The components vary, but these are the common ones. And then these are what I consider essential. So there’s the executive summary. This is just a summary of your company, what your management team may look like, a summary of your product and service and your market.
The business description gives a little bit more history about your company and the mission statement and really what your company is about and how this product or service fits in.
Then, you outline the details of the product or service that you’re looking to either expand or roll out or implement. You may even include in their patents may be that you have pending or other trademarks.
Then, you want to identify and lay out your marketing strategy. Like, how are you gonna take this to your customers? Are you going to have a brick-and-mortar store? Are you gonna do this online? And, what are your plans to take it to market?
You also want to include detailed information about your competitor analysis. How are they doing things? And, how are you planning on, I guess, beating your competition?
You also want to look at and identify your SWOT. And the SWOT is your strength. What are the strengths that you have in going to market? And where are the weaknesses? Maybe some of your gaps. And further, where are your opportunities and maybe threats that you need to plan for? Then the overview of the operation includes operational information like your production, even human resources, information about the day-to-day operations of your company.
And then, your financial plan includes your profit statement, your profit and loss, any of your financials, any collateral that you may have, and any kind of investments that you may be seeking.
So these are the components of your business case. This is why it’s so important. And if you need a tool that can help you manage and track this process, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager .
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Small Business Case Studies Samples That Help You Write Better, Faster & with Gusto
Developing Case Studies is quite an arduous task on its own. Developing outstanding Case Studies is an even more demanding exercise. Developing a first-rate Small Business Case Study is, well, something supernatural. Yet, with the WePapers.com free directory of professionally written Small Business Case Study examples, the job is entirely doable. Skim our repository, spot a piece that satisfies your fundamental requirements and use it as a source of content presentation and structuring ideas in order to put together your own original Case Study on Small Business.
In case you lack time or eagerness for viewing abundant examples in search of revelation or writing ideas, you can easily order an one-of-a-kind Small Business Case Study sample custom-written specifically for you to be used as a bedrock for a completely original academic work.
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How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools
It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.
That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.
A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.
In this article, you’ll learn:
What is a case study?
How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.
A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.
The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:
- Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
- Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
- Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
- Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
- Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.
Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.
Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.
Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.
Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.
Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.
1. Identify your goal
Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.
The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.
2. Choose your client or subject
Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.
The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.
Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:
- Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
- Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
- Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
- Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.
Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.
3. Conduct research and compile data
Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.
This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.
Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.
4. Choose the right format
There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:
- An engaging headline
- A subject and customer introduction
- The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
- The solution the customer used to solve the problem
- The results achieved
- Data and statistics to back up claims of success
- A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor
It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.
5. Write your case study
We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.
- Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
- Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
- Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
- Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
- Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
- Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.
6. Promote your story
Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.
Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.
Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.
Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.
Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format
- Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
- Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
- Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
- Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
- Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
- Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.
Template 2 — Data-driven format
- Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
- Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
- Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
- Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
- Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
- Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
- Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.
While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.
One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.
The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.
When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.
Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.
When you’re ready to get started with a case study:
- Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
- Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
- Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
- Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.
Adobe can help
There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.
To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .
Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.
Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.
Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.
Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.
How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template
Published: January 12, 2023
Earning the trust of prospective customers can be a struggle. Before you can even begin to expect to earn their business, you need to demonstrate your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises.
Sure, you could say that you're great at X or that you're way ahead of the competition when it comes to Y. But at the end of the day, what you really need to win new business is cold, hard proof.
One of the best ways to prove your worth is through a compelling case study. In fact, HubSpot’s 2020 State of Marketing report found that case studies are so compelling that they are the fifth most commonly used type of content used by marketers.
Below, I'll walk you through what a case study is, how to prepare for writing one, what you need to include in it, and how it can be an effective tactic. To jump to different areas of this post, click on the links below to automatically scroll.
Case Study Definition
Case study templates, how to write a case study.
- How to Format a Case Study
Business Case Study Examples
A case study is a specific challenge a business has faced, and the solution they've chosen to solve it. Case studies can vary greatly in length and focus on several details related to the initial challenge and applied solution, and can be presented in various forms like a video, white paper, blog post, etc.
In professional settings, it's common for a case study to tell the story of a successful business partnership between a vendor and a client. Perhaps the success you're highlighting is in the number of leads your client generated, customers closed, or revenue gained. Any one of these key performance indicators (KPIs) are examples of your company's services in action.
When done correctly, these examples of your work can chronicle the positive impact your business has on existing or previous customers and help you attract new clients.
To help you arm your prospects with information they can trust, we've put together a step-by-step guide on how to create effective case studies for your business with free case study templates for creating your own.
Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today:
And to give you more options, we’ll highlight some useful templates that serve different needs. But remember, there are endless possibilities when it comes to demonstrating the work your business has done.
1. General Case Study Template
5. Lead Generation Business Case Study Template
Additionally, a backlink from you increases your subject's page authority in the eyes of Google. This helps them rank more highly in search engine results and collect traffic from readers who are already looking for information about their industry.
6. Ensure you have all the resources you need to proceed once you get a response.
So you know what you’re going to offer your candidate, it’s time that you prepare the resources needed for if and when they agree to participate, like a case study release form and success story letter.
Let's break those two down.
Case Study Release Form
This document can vary, depending on factors like the size of your business, the nature of your work, and what you intend to do with the case studies once they are completed. That said, you should typically aim to include the following in the Case Study Release Form:
- A clear explanation of why you are creating this case study and how it will be used.
- A statement defining the information and potentially trademarked information you expect to include about the company — things like names, logos, job titles, and pictures.
- An explanation of what you expect from the participant, beyond the completion of the case study. For example, is this customer willing to act as a reference or share feedback, and do you have permission to pass contact information along for these purposes?
- A note about compensation.
Success Story Letter
As noted in the sample email, this document serves as an outline for the entire case study process. Other than a brief explanation of how the customer will benefit from case study participation, you'll want to be sure to define the following steps in the Success Story Letter.
7. Download a case study email template.
While you gathered your resources, your candidate has gotten time to read over the proposal. When your candidate approves of your case study, it's time to send them a release form.
A case study release form tells you what you'll need from your chosen subject, like permission to use any brand names and share the project information publicly. Kick-off this process with an email that runs through exactly what they can expect from you, as well as what you need from them. To give you an idea of what that might look like, check out this sample email:
8. Define the process you want to follow with the client.
Before you can begin the case study, you have to have a clear outline of the case study process with your client. An example of an effective outline would include the following information.
First, you'll need to receive internal approval from the company's marketing team. Once approved, the Release Form should be signed and returned to you. It's also a good time to determine a timeline that meets the needs and capabilities of both teams.
To ensure that you have a productive interview — which is one of the best ways to collect information for the case study — you'll want to ask the participant to complete a questionnaire before this conversation. That will provide your team with the necessary foundation to organize the interview, and get the most out of it.
Once the questionnaire is completed, someone on your team should reach out to the participant to schedule a 30- to 60-minute interview, which should include a series of custom questions related to the customer's experience with your product or service.
The Draft Review
After the case study is composed, you'll want to send a draft to the customer, allowing an opportunity to give you feedback and edits.
The Final Approval
Once any necessary edits are completed, send a revised copy of the case study to the customer for final approval.
Once the case study goes live — on your website or elsewhere — it's best to contact the customer with a link to the page where the case study lives. Don't be afraid to ask your participants to share these links with their own networks, as it not only demonstrates your ability to deliver positive results and impressive growth, as well.
9. Ensure you're asking the right questions.
Before you execute the questionnaire and actual interview, make sure you're setting yourself up for success. A strong case study results from being prepared to ask the right questions. What do those look like? Here are a few examples to get you started:
- What are your goals?
- What challenges were you experiencing before purchasing our product or service?
- What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
- What did your decision-making process look like?
- How have you benefited from using our product or service? (Where applicable, always ask for data.)
Keep in mind that the questionnaire is designed to help you gain insights into what sort of strong, success-focused questions to ask during the actual interview. And once you get to that stage, we recommend that you follow the "Golden Rule of Interviewing." Sounds fancy, right? It's actually quite simple — ask open-ended questions.
If you're looking to craft a compelling story, "yes" or "no" answers won't provide the details you need. Focus on questions that invite elaboration, such as, "Can you describe ...?" or, "Tell me about ..."
In terms of the interview structure, we recommend categorizing the questions and flowing them into six specific sections that will mirror a successful case study format. Combined, they'll allow you to gather enough information to put together a rich, comprehensive study.
Open with the customer's business.
The goal of this section is to generate a better understanding of the company's current challenges and goals, and how they fit into the landscape of their industry. Sample questions might include:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many employees do you have?
- What are some of the objectives of your department at this time?
Cite a problem or pain point.
To tell a compelling story, you need context. That helps match the customer's need with your solution. Sample questions might include:
- What challenges and objectives led you to look for a solution?
- What might have happened if you did not identify a solution?
- Did you explore other solutions before this that did not work out? If so, what happened?
Discuss the decision process.
Exploring how the customer decided to work with you helps to guide potential customers through their own decision-making processes. Sample questions might include:
- How did you hear about our product or service?
- Who was involved in the selection process?
- What was most important to you when evaluating your options?
Explain how a solution was implemented.
The focus here should be placed on the customer's experience during the onboarding process. Sample questions might include:
- How long did it take to get up and running?
- Did that meet your expectations?
- Who was involved in the process?
Explain how the solution works.
The goal of this section is to better understand how the customer is using your product or service. Sample questions might include:
- Is there a particular aspect of the product or service that you rely on most?
- Who is using the product or service?
End with the results.
In this section, you want to uncover impressive measurable outcomes — the more numbers, the better. Sample questions might include:
- How is the product or service helping you save time and increase productivity?
- In what ways does that enhance your competitive advantage?
- How much have you increased metrics X, Y, and Z?
10. Lay out your case study format.
When it comes time to take all of the information you've collected and actually turn it into something, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Where should you start? What should you include? What's the best way to structure it?
To help you get a handle on this step, it's important to first understand that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the ways you can present a case study. They can be very visual, which you'll see in some of the examples we've included below, and can sometimes be communicated mostly through video or photos, with a bit of accompanying text.
Here are the sections we suggest, which we'll cover in more detail down below:
- Title: Keep it short. Develop a succinct but interesting project name you can give the work you did with your subject.
- Subtitle: Use this copy to briefly elaborate on the accomplishment. What was done? The case study itself will explain how you got there.
- Executive Summary : A 2-4 sentence summary of the entire story. You'll want to follow it with 2-3 bullet points that display metrics showcasing success.
- About the Subject: An introduction to the person or company you served, which can be pulled from a LinkedIn Business profile or client website.
- Challenges and Objectives: A 2-3 paragraph description of the customer's challenges, before using your product or service. This section should also include the goals or objectives the customer set out to achieve.
- How Product/Service Helped: A 2-3 paragraph section that describes how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
- Results: A 2-3 paragraph testimonial that proves how your product or service specifically benefited the person or company and helped achieve its goals. Include numbers to quantify your contributions.
- Supporting Visuals or Quotes: Pick one or two powerful quotes that you would feature at the bottom of the sections above, as well as a visual that supports the story you are telling.
- Future Plans: Everyone likes an epilogue. Comment on what's ahead for your case study subject, whether or not those plans involve you.
- Call to Action (CTA): Not every case study needs a CTA, but putting a passive one at the end of your case study can encourage your readers to take an action on your website after learning about the work you've done.
When laying out your case study, focus on conveying the information you've gathered in the most clear and concise way possible. Make it easy to scan and comprehend, and be sure to provide an attractive call-to-action at the bottom — that should provide readers an opportunity to learn more about your product or service.
11. Publish and promote your case study.
Once you've completed your case study, it's time to publish and promote it. Some case study formats have pretty obvious promotional outlets — a video case study can go on YouTube, just as an infographic case study can go on Pinterest.
But there are still other ways to publish and promote your case study. Here are a couple of ideas:
Lead Gen in a Blog Post
As stated earlier in this article, written case studies make terrific lead-generators if you convert them into a downloadable format, like a PDF. To generate leads from your case study, consider writing a blog post that tells an abbreviated story of your client's success and asking readers to fill out a form with their name and email address if they'd like to read the rest in your PDF.
Then, promote this blog post on social media, through a Facebook post or a tweet.
Published as a Page on Your Website
As a growing business, you might need to display your case study out in the open to gain the trust of your target audience.
Rather than gating it behind a landing page, publish your case study to its own page on your website, and direct people here from your homepage with a "Case Studies" or "Testimonials" button along your homepage's top navigation bar.
Format for a Case Study
The traditional case study format includes the following parts: a title and subtitle, a client profile, a summary of the customer’s challenges and objectives, an account of how your solution helped, and a description of the results. You might also want to include supporting visuals and quotes, future plans, and calls-to-action.
The title is one of the most important parts of your case study. It should draw readers in while succinctly describing the potential benefits of working with your company. To that end, your title should:
- State the name of your custome r. Right away, the reader must learn which company used your products and services. This is especially important if your customer has a recognizable brand. If you work with individuals and not companies, you may omit the name and go with professional titles: “A Marketer…”, “A CFO…”, and so forth.
- State which product your customer used . Even if you only offer one product or service, or if your company name is the same as your product name, you should still include the name of your solution. That way, readers who are not familiar with your business can become aware of what you sell.
- Allude to the results achieved . You don’t necessarily need to provide hard numbers, but the title needs to represent the benefits, quickly. That way, if a reader doesn’t stay to read, they can walk away with the most essential information: Your product works.
The example above, “Crunch Fitness Increases Leads and Signups With HubSpot,” achieves all three — without being wordy. Keeping your title short and sweet is also essential.
Your subtitle is another essential part of your case study — don’t skip it, even if you think you’ve done the work with the title. In this section, include a brief summary of the challenges your customer was facing before they began to use your products and services. Then, drive the point home by reiterating the benefits your customer experienced by working with you.
The above example reads:
“Crunch Fitness was franchising rapidly when COVID-19 forced fitness clubs around the world to close their doors. But the company stayed agile by using HubSpot to increase leads and free trial signups.”
We like that the case study team expressed the urgency of the problem — opening more locations in the midst of a pandemic — and placed the focus on the customer’s ability to stay agile.
3. Executive Summary
The executive summary should provide a snapshot of your customer, their challenges, and the benefits they enjoyed from working with you. Think it’s too much? Think again — the purpose of the case study is to emphasize, again and again, how well your product works.
The good news is that depending on your design, the executive summary can be mixed with the subtitle or with the “About the Company” section. Many times, this section doesn’t need an explicit “Executive Summary” subheading. You do need, however, to provide a convenient snapshot for readers to scan.
In the above example, ADP included information about its customer in a scannable bullet-point format, then provided two sections: “Business Challenge” and “How ADP Helped.” We love how simple and easy the format is to follow for those who are unfamiliar with ADP or its typical customer.
4. About the Company
Readers need to know and understand who your customer is. This is important for several reasons: It helps your reader potentially relate to your customer, it defines your ideal client profile (which is essential to deter poor-fit prospects who might have reached out without knowing they were a poor fit), and it gives your customer an indirect boon by subtly promoting their products and services.
Feel free to keep this section as simple as possible. You can simply copy and paste information from the company’s LinkedIn, use a quote directly from your customer, or take a more creative storytelling approach.
In the above example, HubSpot included one paragraph of description for Crunch Fitness and a few bullet points. Below, ADP tells the story of its customer using an engaging, personable technique that effectively draws readers in.
5. Challenges and Objectives
The challenges and objectives section of your case study is the place to lay out, in detail, the difficulties your customer faced prior to working with you — and what they hoped to achieve when they enlisted your help.
In this section, you can be as brief or as descriptive as you’d like, but remember: Stress the urgency of the situation. Don’t understate how much your customer needed your solution (but don’t exaggerate and lie, either). Provide contextual information as necessary. For instance, the pandemic and societal factors may have contributed to the urgency of the need.
Take the above example from design consultancy IDEO:
“Educational opportunities for adults have become difficult to access in the United States, just when they’re needed most. To counter this trend, IDEO helped the city of South Bend and the Drucker Institute launch Bendable, a community-powered platform that connects people with opportunities to learn with and from each other.”
We love how IDEO mentions the difficulties the United States faces at large, the efforts its customer is taking to address these issues, and the steps IDEO took to help.
6. How Product/Service Helped
This is where you get your product or service to shine. Cover the specific benefits that your customer enjoyed and the features they gleaned the most use out of. You can also go into detail about how you worked with and for your customer. Maybe you met several times before choosing the right solution, or you consulted with external agencies to create the best package for them.
Whatever the case may be, try to illustrate how easy and pain-free it is to work with the representatives at your company. After all, potential customers aren’t looking to just purchase a product. They’re looking for a dependable provider that will strive to exceed their expectations.
In the above example, IDEO describes how it partnered with research institutes and spoke with learners to create Bendable, a free educational platform. We love how it shows its proactivity and thoroughness. It makes potential customers feel that IDEO might do something similar for them.
The results are essential, and the best part is that you don’t need to write the entirety of the case study before sharing them. Like HubSpot, IDEO, and ADP, you can include the results right below the subtitle or executive summary. Use data and numbers to substantiate the success of your efforts, but if you don’t have numbers, you can provide quotes from your customers.
We can’t overstate the importance of the results. In fact, if you wanted to create a short case study, you could include your title, challenge, solution (how your product helped), and result.
8. Supporting Visuals or Quotes
Let your customer speak for themselves by including quotes from the representatives who directly interfaced with your company.
Visuals can also help, even if they’re stock images. On one side, they can help you convey your customer’s industry, and on the other, they can indirectly convey your successes. For instance, a picture of a happy professional — even if they’re not your customer — will communicate that your product can lead to a happy client.
In this example from IDEO, we see a man standing in a boat. IDEO’s customer is neither the man pictured nor the manufacturer of the boat, but rather Conservation International, an environmental organization. This imagery provides a visually pleasing pattern interrupt to the page, while still conveying what the case study is about.
9. Future Plans
This is optional, but including future plans can help you close on a more positive, personable note than if you were to simply include a quote or the results. In this space, you can show that your product will remain in your customer’s tech stack for years to come, or that your services will continue to be instrumental to your customer’s success.
Alternatively, if you work only on time-bound projects, you can allude to the positive impact your customer will continue to see, even after years of the end of the contract.
10. Call to Action (CTA)
Not every case study needs a CTA, but we’d still encourage it. Putting one at the end of your case study will encourage your readers to take an action on your website after learning about the work you've done.
It will also make it easier for them to reach out, if they’re ready to start immediately. You don’t want to lose business just because they have to scroll all the way back up to reach out to your team.
To help you visualize this case study outline, check out the case study template below, which can also be downloaded here .
You drove the results, made the connection, set the expectations, used the questionnaire to conduct a successful interview, and boiled down your findings into a compelling story. And after all of that, you're left with a little piece of sales enabling gold — a case study.
To show you what a well-executed final product looks like, have a look at some of these marketing case study examples.
1. "Shopify Uses HubSpot CRM to Transform High Volume Sales Organization," by HubSpot
What's interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. This reflects a major HubSpot value, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why Shopify uses HubSpot and is accompanied by a short video and some basic statistics on the company.
Notice that this case study uses mixed media. Yes, there is a short video, but it's elaborated upon in the additional text on the page. So, while case studies can use one or the other, don't be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project's success.
2. "New England Journal of Medicine," by Corey McPherson Nash
When branding and design studio Corey McPherson Nash showcases its work, it makes sense for it to be visual — after all, that's what they do. So in building the case study for the studio's work on the New England Journal of Medicine's integrated advertising campaign — a project that included the goal of promoting the client's digital presence — Corey McPherson Nash showed its audience what it did, rather than purely telling it.
Notice that the case study does include some light written copy — which includes the major points we've suggested — but lets the visuals do the talking, allowing users to really absorb the studio's services.
3. "Designing the Future of Urban Farming," by IDEO
Here's a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, he or she is greeted with a big, bold photo, and two very simple columns of text — "The Challenge" and "The Outcome."
Immediately, IDEO has communicated two of the case study's major pillars. And while that's great — the company created a solution for vertical farming startup INFARM's challenge — it doesn't stop there. As the user scrolls down, those pillars are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and additional visuals.
4. "Secure Wi-Fi Wins Big for Tournament," by WatchGuard
Then, there are the cases when visuals can tell almost the entire story — when executed correctly. Network security provider WatchGuard can do that through this video, which tells the story of how its services enhanced the attendee and vendor experience at the Windmill Ultimate Frisbee tournament.
5. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Boosts Social Media Engagement and Brand Awareness with HubSpot
In the case study above , HubSpot uses photos, videos, screenshots, and helpful stats to tell the story of how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame used the bot, CRM, and social media tools to gain brand awareness.
6. Small Desk Plant Business Ups Sales by 30% With Trello
This case study from Trello is straightforward and easy to understand. It begins by explaining the background of the company that decided to use it, what its goals were, and how it planned to use Trello to help them.
It then goes on to discuss how the software was implemented and what tasks and teams benefited from it. Towards the end, it explains the sales results that came from implementing the software and includes quotes from decision-makers at the company that implemented it.
7. Facebook's Mercedes Benz Success Story
Facebook's Success Stories page hosts a number of well-designed and easy-to-understand case studies that visually and editorially get to the bottom line quickly.
Each study begins with key stats that draw the reader in. Then it's organized by highlighting a problem or goal in the introduction, the process the company took to reach its goals, and the results. Then, in the end, Facebook notes the tools used in the case study.
Showcasing Your Work
You work hard at what you do. Now, it's time to show it to the world — and, perhaps more important, to potential customers. Before you show off the projects that make you the proudest, we hope you follow these important steps that will help you effectively communicate that work and leave all parties feeling good about it.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in February 2017 but was updated for comprehensiveness and freshness in July 2021.
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More From Forbes
How to start a small business: 10 key steps for beginners.
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Follow these 10 steps to start a successful business as a beginner.
Starting a business may sound complicated, but if you follow a systematic plan with actionable and practical steps, you can be successful, even as a beginner.
Turning your small business ideas into reality takes time, extensive research, detailed planning, and constant improvement. This article lists an effective 10-step guideline for starting one from scratch.
How To Start A Small Business At Home Or Online
1. come up with a business idea.
First, develop one or several small business ideas you want to pursue. If you haven’t settled on an idea yet, you can research to explore various options or choose one that aligns with your passion or interests.
At this point, don’t focus exclusively on the practicality of your idea, and allow yourself to be creative. The question of whether your idea has the potential to be a successful business will be answered in the next step.
2. Conduct Market Research
There are various methods to conduct market research, including surveys, interviews, and online research. Regardless of your chosen strategy, it’s important to be as thorough as possible.
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Know the current trends in your prospect niche, analyze your potential business competitors, and assess whether there’s enough demand for your products or services. Once the data you’ve gathered indicates a market space for your business idea, proceed to the next phase.
3. Write A Business Plan
Whether you want to self-finance or seek potential investors, you must create a comprehensive business plan. This document serves as a detailed guideline for your business, covering aspects such as your products and services, marketing strategies, financial plans, and more.
With a detailed business plan, you’ll be prepared for difficulties or problems you may encounter when starting your project. Moreover, you will have a clearer understanding of the essence and purpose of your business idea.
4. Figure Out Your Finances
Your business plan should have already determined the required financing. That said, it’s time to figure out how you’ll secure the necessary funds for your business.
There are three major ways to obtain funding for your business: self-funding, seeking investors, or acquiring loans. So, decide which ones are most suitable for your business.
Regardless of how your business is funded, set up a separate bank account to avoid mixing up your personal money with your business capital.
5. Determine Your Business Structure
Your business structure impacts various aspects of your enterprise. These include your day-to-day operations, how much tax you pay, and the risks to your personal assets.
Select the business structure best suited for the type and scale of your enterprise. You can choose from Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Corporation, and Sole Proprietorship.
6. Register Your Business
The registration process for your business varies depending on which structure you choose and the state in which you want to operate.
If you decide to establish your business as a sole proprietorship, there’s no need to register it formally. Your business profits will be considered as your personal income, so you can start immediately without filing separate paperwork. However, if you wish to operate under a brand name instead of your own, you may need to register a Doing Business As (DBA) name.
Suppose you establish your business as an LLC, LLP, or corporation. In that case, you must register it as a separate legal entity, with taxes and income separate from your own.
To do so, visit your state’s business agency, and complete the necessary registration steps. These typically involve paying a filing fee, choosing a registered agent to manage your business’ legal documents, and obtaining your business's tax identification number and bank accounts.
7. Select Your Vendors
Decide whether your business requires products and services from vendors that will help you streamline your operations. Some common business functions you may want to outsource to service-providing vendors are finance management, customer service support, and shipping and logistics.
Given that the data you’ll share with vendors may be sensitive, it’s important to engage exclusively with trusted entities in your industry.
8. Set Up An Online Presence
In this tech-centered era, establishing an online presence for your business is non-negotiable. This is one of the easiest ways to promote your business to customers and showcase your brand to potential future investors.
The most common methods to establish an online presence for your business are creating a social media page and developing a customized website. As mentioned before, you can outsource this process to vendors if you’re not too experienced in this field.
9. Market And Advertise Your Business
It’s time to be proactive about showing your products and services to your target audience. You can do this through various offline and online marketing and advertising strategies.
To promote your brand offline, you can sponsor local events, hand out banners and posters, or offer free branded merchandise to the public. Online marketing also offers various options, including paid advertisements, establishing affiliate programs, and engaging in organic social media marketing, where you post regular content and build a community around your brand.
10. Grow Your Business
Launching a business marks the initial phase of your entrepreneurial journey. Be prepared to improve and change how your business operates over time, as this is almost always inevitable.
Join communities, collaborate with other brands in your niche or industry, and accept constructive criticisms from customers and experienced entrepreneurs. Your business doesn’t have to be perfect to succeed, but it should always be adapting and improving.
Other Key Tips For Starting A Small Business
Know when to ask for help.
Even if you plan to establish a sole-proprietorship business , don’t pressure yourself to do everything independently. Know your strengths and weaknesses in starting a business and ask for help when needed on aspects you’re unsure of or inexperienced in doing.
You can ask family, friends, and colleagues for general advice and seek out professionals who can help propel your business to the next level.
Embrace Not Knowing Everything From The Get-Go
While I previously mentioned the importance of crafting a detailed business plan, it may not always be necessary, particularly for small-scale businesses in their initial stages.
Sometimes, an informal plan consisting of just a page or two will be more than enough to provide insight into the profitability of your business idea. From here, you can always expand the business plan as you start operating your company and get more accurate, real-time data.
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Business Case Studies
Business case studies are important as they help us understand how real-life business scenarios are different from classroom teaching. Businesses are dynamic, meaning they are susceptible to external forces. A business case study tells us how a particular business responded to a unique situation. Other businesses can learn from them and be prepared for what can happen, how-to, or how…
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Business case studies are important as they help us understand how real-life business scenarios are different from classroom teaching. Businesses are dynamic, meaning they are susceptible to external forces. A business case study tells us how a particular business responded to a unique situation. Other businesses can learn from them and be prepared for what can happen, how-to, or how not to respond to a similar situation.
What is a business case study?
A case study is a research tool that is also implemented as a research methodology. It is preferred by many students while writing their bachelor's or master's thesis. A case study gives students a chance to apply theory to a real-life situation, analyse, and draw insights. The business case study can be a fictitious account of a business situation provided by the instructor to check the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of students. We have developed 44 case studies that provide students with detailed problem statements and analyses to understand real-life business scenarios. Students can use these case studies as examples with the corresponding theory to stand out in exams. For example in Figure 1 below, what strategy would a salesman implement to increase his sales? We need to study his business case to find out!
A business case study summarises a real-life business issue faced by a company and explains how it may affect society within a business context.
Business Case Studies Format
In this study set, we have divided case studies into groups as per the business situation. The groups include case studies regarding mergers and takeovers, strategy overviews, SWOT analyses, business leader characteristics, corporate social responsibility, franchise models, Porter's five forces, change management and ethical issues.
Business Case Studies: Mergers and takeover case study
In Layman’s terms, When two equal-sized companies join forces to capture more market share, it is called a merger. While if a big company buys out a smaller company, it is called a takeover. Virgin Media O2 merger happened in June 2021 through a 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica, the owners of Virgin Media and O2.
Another example of a merger is analysed in the Disney Pixar Merger Case Study. The former CEO of Pixar, Steve Jobs, has said that this merger will allow companies to focus on what they do best. But did you know that Kraft Food Ltd. tried to acquire Cadbury in a hostile takeover? Kraft Cadbury Takeover is a case study that explains how hostile takeovers may occur.
Case studies about strategies of businesses
A strategy is not the same as a plan. Strategy is the first step in business that determines why, considers all known and unknown factors, multiple different paths, and multiple outcomes. Without a strategy, businesses cannot reach their goal and their plans will wander. Businesses create different strategies to reach different goals. We have presented marketing strategies and global and internationalization strategies for some successful companies like Apple, Starbucks, Nike, Ikea, Netflix, and Coca-cola.
You might have observed that Coca-cola has similar branding all over the world. Their marketing strategy is to be a common household name that can be recognized anywhere globally. Starbucks and Mcdonald’s also use the same branding even if their products differ from country to country.
Business Case Studies: SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is a tool all businesses use before making decisions. The tool helps put Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats concisely so that one can easily analyze them before making any decision. Studying cases of companies like Apple, Tesco, and Cadbury gives us more insight into the company than we see. Hershey has acquired the rights to produce Cadbury products in the U.S. in 1988. Cadbury was facing issues expanding its market reach. This is a weakness Cadbury has.
What do you think will be the threats to tech giant Apple? Read the Swot Analysis of Apple case to find out.
Business Case Studies: Business leaders
Who is your role model in business? Whose leadership style do you admire? Is it Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Jeff Bezos? Perhaps you wish to know more about Warren Buffet or Reed Hastings of Netflix.
Mary Barra, the first female CEO of General Motors, practices an inclusive and transformational leadership style. Have you heard about the innovative leadership style employed by Susan Wojcicki, who is the CEO of Youtube? Or you can read all to know how these business leaders differ in their leadership styles.
Business Case Studies: Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Corporations often undertake practices and policies for the betterment of society along with profit maximization. Common examples of CSR include green initiatives, donating to charities, or organizing fundraisers. In our case studies regarding CSR, you can read about Ben and Jerry’s CSR strategies. Ben and Jerry’s has, over the years, supported protestors against income inequality, protested drilling in Arctic regions and has launched several climate action campaigns.
Are you aware of Walt Disney CSR Programs? Disney's CSR programs include CSR programs for children, investment in youth programs, social influence and workforce programs and supply chain investment programs. Disney not only has children as their main audience but also takes responsibility for helping children in need, showing exemplary CSR practices.
Business Case Studies: Franchise model
The first company that might come to mind when asked about an example of a franchise model could be McDonald’s. McDonald’s model has ensured the ability of the franchise to run sustainably for 10 years.
Another brand that grew using the franchise model is the well-known clothing brand, Zara. Zara took 13 years to make its presence via franchising as they moved forward cautiously. Zara gives the opportunity to franchisees to repurchase their stocks.
Oyo, a unicorn hospitality start-up from India, is growing internationally via a franchise model. Oyo implemented an aggregator model in which it leases some rooms from partner hotels, refurbishes them to match quality standards, and rents them out on their platform. From 2018, Oyo switched to a franchise model in which partner hotels make a contract with Oyo to provide quality service for brand name and posting hotel rooms on Oyo platforms.
Business Case Studies: Porter five forces
Porter's Five Forces is a method for analyzing a company's competitive environment. It identifies and analyzes five competitive forces that shape the industry:
Power of buyers,
Power of suppliers,
Threat of substitutes.
There are many coffee shops that could match Starbucks’ quality of service. Starbucks is always under the threat of new entrants, competition, and substitutes. To survive, Starbucks has to keep innovating new flavours, drinks, and coffee substitutes.
Walmart is another case study that we analyzed for Porter’s five forces. We realized that the strongest force of Porter’s Five Forces for Walmart is the competitive rivalry from other retailers like Costco, Amazon, and eBay.
What is your opinion about these forces on Apple? Is it the customer bargaining power or threat from substitute products that have the most influence? Read Porter’s five forces Apple to learn more!
Business Case Studies: Change management
Change management is the process of managing responses to changes in the internal and external environment of a business. Businesses that do not change in time, perish. When Apple launched touchscreen phones, Nokia stuck with QWERTY keypads. When Google launched Android, Nokia stuck with the development of the Symbian operating system. What happened to Nokia and why were they resistant to change? On the other hand, you can also read about Apple's change management. The decision-making and acceptance to change are what differentiates Apple from Nokia.
Business Case Studies: Organizational structure
Organizational structure decides how flexible the company is towards the process of change. Modern organizations like Google keep innovation at the centre of their strategy. Google has a flat, function-based, and product-based organizational structure.
McDonald’s has separate departments for each country/region. They have a centralized decision-making body and a decentralized structure for each country they operate in. Tesco, one of the big five grocery retailers in the UK, has a decentralised, hierarchical, and product-based structure. These businesses are active in different sectors and their organisational structure depends on it. The other factors that influence organizational structure are company work culture, management , and business model.
Business ethics case studies
Keeping a check on businesses ethically is not just the government’s job but also consumers'. Unfortunately, there seemed to be several ethical issues with Apple such as poor working conditions, health and safety risks, child labour , poor environmental reporting, contributing to e-waste and tax avoidance. Starbucks is not an exception for it either. They have an aggressive marketing strategy, poor employee conditions, and a weak position on fair trade ratings. Companies like Apple, Starbucks can improve their ethical issues but some companies have faced sandals.
Nike's Sweatshop Scandal and the Enron Scandal are two such examples. Nike Sweatshop Scandal began in 1991 when Jeff Ballinger published a report detailing the appalling working conditions of garment workers at Nike's factory in Indonesia. Since then Nike has taken positive steps to reinforce CSR. The Enron Scandal was financial fraud. Enron did not show large debt on its balance sheet . But why did it happen? You can read about it in our case study called Enron Scandal!
Business case study examples
In this section, we have mentioned case studies that do not fall into any of the categories mentioned above but still hold importance in business studies. These case studies are unique and one may find that these companies have created new markets via their business model.
Business Case Studies: Ryanair Strategic Position
Ryanair is a cost-friendly budget airline that operates in 40 countries. How can they sell tickets so cheap? Well, they travel to less busy airports, usually far from the city, outside business hours when there is a high rush at airports, and they charge you for almost every small addition. Ryanair operates only one type of aircraft to speed out ground crew processes. Ryanair tries to keep their planes for small times on airfields to save on rent. Budget flyers across Europe prefer Ryanair for its cheap tickets. More insights at Explanation: Ryanair Strategic Position .
Business Case Studies: Unilever outsourcing
You might have heard that many major companies outsource their IT operations. Unilever Outsourcing is different as they have outsourced their HR operations to Accenture. Outsourcing has helped Unilever save fixed costs and share risks.
Business Case Studies: Nivea Market Segmentation
Nivea is a well-known name in Asian countries. Nivea effectively targets the young adult market in the tropical equatorial region. Nivea’s market segmentation thus concluded to be geographical and demographic. But how did we reach this conclusion? Read more about our Explanation: Nivea Market Segmentation .
Here are the links to each case study.
Table 1 - Summary of StudySmarter Case Studies
Find out more about how businesses function in the 'real world' by reading our case studies mentioned above!
Business Case Studies - Key takeaways
- A case study is a research tool that is implemented as a research methodology.
- A business case study summarises a real-life business issue faced by a company and how it may affect society within a business context.
- StudySmarter has provided 44 case studies that provide students with detailed problem statements and analyses to understand real-life business scenarios.
- In Layman’s terms, When two equal-sized companies join forces to capture more market share, it is called a merger while if a big company buys out a smaller company, it is called a takeover.
- Strategy is the first step in business that determines why, considers all known and unknown factors, multiple paths, and multiple outcomes.
- SWOT analysis is a tool all businesses use before taking any decision.
- Corporations undertake practices and policies for the betterment of society, this is known as CSR.
- Porter's Five Forces is a method for analyzing a company's competitive environment .
- Change management is the process of managing responses to changes in the internal and external environment of a business.
- Companies are always in the moral dilemma of doing things the 'right' way or the profitable way!
Final Business Case Studies Quiz
Business case studies quiz - teste dein wissen.
what year was Nike founded?
What was the nike sweatshop scandal about?
Nike has been criticized for using sweatshops in Asia as a source of labour. The company was accused of engaging in abusive and verbal behaviour toward its workers.
Does nike sweatshop scandal involve human rights violations?
Yes. A report by the Washington Post in 2020 stated that Nike doesn't have evidence of a living wage for its workers. The same year, it was revealed that the company uses forced labor in factories.
What is the main reason Nike is considered unethical?
Nike has been criticized for using sweatshops in Asia as a source of labor. The company was accused of abusing its employees. In addition, some of the factories reportedly imposed conditions that severely affected their workers' restroom and water usage.
Was Nike involved in child labour?
In what year did Nike created the Fair Labour Association, which was created to oversee the company's 600 factories?
In what year did the company started improving the conditions of its factories?
Where was the first Nike store to be open?
First Niketown store to launch open in Portland, Oregon.
When was Nike first founded?
Life magazine in America did a report on child labour in 1996, which included a shocking photo of a 12-year-old boy sewing a Nike football. What country was he from?
Where and when was Tesco founded?
Tesco was founded in London, the United Kingdom in 1919.
Who is the founder of Tesco?
Tesco’s founder is Jack Cohen.
What type of market does Tesco belong in?
Tesco belongs to the grocery and merchandise retailer market.
Is it true that Tesco only sells its own brand products?
No, as well as selling its own brand products Tesco also supplies and sells other popular grocery item brands.
Why do businesses use SWOT analysis?
Business uses SWOT analysis to analyse their strategic positioning in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it assists companies in decision making with consideration of external factors and the environment, in terms of opportunities and threats.
What are the key elements that are included in SWOT analysis?
There are four key elements that are included in the SWOT analysis. They are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Regarding SWOT analysis, what elements are used for internal analysis and which ones are used for external analysis?
For internal analysis: Strengths and weaknesses
For external analysis: Opportunities and threats
What is meant by threats?
Threats are external factors that can potentially be harmful to the organisation.
What are the key Tesco’s strengths?
The key Tesco’s strengths are:
- Having the largest market share in the UK
- The ability to increase its growth even during events such as the Coronavirus pandemic,
- High adaptability to the constantly changing environment,
- Innovation especially in regards to new technology,
- Holding the largest employer’s title in Europe.
What are the key Tesco’s weaknesses?
The key Tesco’s weaknesses are:
- Failure to adapt to markets outside of Europe,
- Being involved in scandals regarding food safety and quality.
What are the key Tesco’s opportunities?
The key Tesco’s opportunities include:
- Investing in optimising consumers’ experience of online shopping,
- Increasing youth employment rates,
- Investing in expanding the range of plant-based products.
What are the main Tesco’s threats?
The main Tesco’s threats include:
- Post-Brexit rules
- Government’s regulations
- Price inflation of necessities
Why SWOT analysis is an important part of Tesco’s strategic analysis and decision-making process?
SWOT analysis is an important part of Tesco’s strategic analysis as it assists in identifying the business’s strategic positioning and making decisions with consideration of external factors and the environment.
What is meant by market analysis?
Market analyses are used by businesses to get a sophisticated understanding of the market that they are operating in and identify the competition in the market.
Why is it important for Tesco to conduct market analysis?
It is important for Tesco to conduct market analysis as it will allow Tesco to fully understand its market and see the company’s positioning among the competitors.
What are the key elements that market analysis is made of?
The market analysis is made upon the following elements:
- Market size
- PESTLE analysis
- Consumer loyalty in the market
- Market segmentation
- Consumer decision making within the market
What is the full name of the IKEA Foundation?
Stichting IKEA Foundation
Who founded the IKEA Foundation?
Is the IKEA Foundation independent from the IKEA company?
When was the IKEA Foundation founded?
According to its founder, why was the IKEA Foundation founded?
It was founded to make sure that IKEA continues to be an independent company using some of its profits to help people in need long after he is not there.
According to Ingvar Kamprad, what are the basic needs we all share?
a secure home, good health, a regular income, and a desire to keep our children safe and to see them get a good education and succeed in life
What are the objectives of the IKEA Foundation?
- To help families in poverty across developing countries to fulfil their basic needs such as a secure home, good health, a regular income, and a desire to keep their children safe and to see them get a good education and succeed in life
- To help young people, women and refugees who often struggle to find a job and earn a sustainable income
What are the six programs funded by the IKEA Foundation?
- climate action
- renewable energy
- agricultural livelihoods
- employment and entrepreneurship
- refugee livelihoods
- special initiatives and emergency response
What is the main goal of the IKEA Foundation’s climate action?
to reduce carbon emissions
How does the IKEA Foundation work on supporting agricultural livelihoods?
Partnering with Enviu they support social entrepreneurs in Africa and India in creating local markets by building local supply chains.
What is an initiative launched by the IKEA Foundation to enable underprivileged people to earn income and lift their families out of poverty?
Green Entrepreneurship Initiative
What institution was a research on refugees carried out by?
by the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford
What did the IKEA Foundation do to help during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It donated €3 million to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation. The donation is expected to support ongoing life-saving medical activities caused by the spread of COVID-19 in India.
What is IKEA's international strategy?
Its concept is to combine high-quality design and functionality with low prices. Ikea's goal is to keep the prices low enough to allow the customer to buy the product directly.
Is IKEA a transnational company?
Does IKEA use standardization or adaptation?
What type of global business is IKEA?
IKEA is a global home furnishing brand that was started in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad. It started as a mail order catalog business.
Who is the founder of IKEA?
In what year was IKEA founded?
What does IKEA mainly sell?
it is mainly focused on selling ready-to-assemble furniture
True or False?
The company started by developing innovative modular designs and sourcing components from eastern Europe.
Ikea strategy allowed it to offer quality furniture at very low prices.
What is Ikea hybrid strategy?
Ikea hybrid strategy is aimed to achieve competitive advantage by producing at the lowest cost. It allows the company to charge lower prices and increase the profitability.
To achieve its goals, IKEA constantly bring costs up and is always looking for the most costly suppliers.
- Business Operations
- Organizational Behavior
- Change Management
- Introduction to Business
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Organize Your Change Initiative Around Purpose and Benefits
- Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez
Connecting a project to core principles — and explaining how it will benefit stakeholders — can spark the motivation required for success.
If there’s one thing that’s certain about the future, it’s that change is here to stay. The ability to constantly transform has become a top priority for organizations. Therefore, change management is now an essential business priority that can’t be overlooked or set aside. Leaders need to urgently develop change and project management competencies across all levels of an organization, from employees and managers to senior executives. This article covers the two most important things leaders should focus on in any change project: purpose and benefits. Every successful change project needs at least one clearly articulated purpose. And the benefits to stakeholders must be clear. By using the approach outlined in this article, you’ll see that the level of engagement and buy-in on your change initiative will increase significantly.
A dramatic shift is taking place in industries everywhere: We have left behind a century dominated by increasing efficiency and are now living in an always-changing environment. Operating a business in this environment means having a massive proliferation of change projects.
In a survey of 1,284 executives and project management professionals, the majority of senior executive respondents indicated that the number of change projects in their organizations had exploded over the last five years. Some 85% of the respondents had seen an increase in the number of projects, and out of these respondents, 56% had seen a rise of more than 25%. A full 25% of respondents said that the number of projects had increased by more than 50%. This meteoric growth of projects is affecting not only organizations, but also our professional lives and the very nature of work.
Change management can no longer be ignored, relegated, or misunderstood. These fundamental changes have created huge anxiety in the workplace and a natural dislike to change projects. Yet, nowadays, continuous transformation is at the center of the strategy of any organization, small, midsize, or large. Everyone at all levels of organizations — employees, managers, project managers, senior leaders, and CEOs — must understand and adapt to this shift.
Welcome to the Project Economy and a World Driven by Change
While the number of change projects keeps rising, the failure rates continue to be staggering: According to the Standish Group , only 31% of projects are considered successful. The idea that 69% of change projects result in wasted resources and budgets and unrealized benefits is mind-blowing. It requires that we approach change management in a radically different way, not only from a methodological perspective, but also from an organizational, cultural, and pure human perspective.
In fact, most of the current change management methods were developed for a stable world, where change projects were temporary and in addition to day-to-day operations, which were always the priority.
New concepts and tools to address change are emerging. I introduce two of them in the HBR Project Management Handbook : the importance of the purpose behind any change project, and the focus on the benefits.
Purpose: An Easy-to-Apply Tool to Fire Up Engagement
All change and project management methodologies demand that projects have a well-defined business case with often lengthy, technical, and deliverable-focused goals: for example, a new software rollout, a new platform, an expansion program, a new set of company values, a reorganization, or a digital transformation project. Most change projects use financial goals, such as a 10% return on investment (ROI). Yet these goals don’t inspire people to commit passionately to the change initiative.
Besides having a business case, a project should be linked to a higher purpose. People have enormous strengths, and the best leaders know that it’s possible to tap into those strengths through hearts and minds. When a project people work on connects to their inner purpose and passions, they can achieve extraordinary things.
According to the EY Beacon Institute , purpose-driven companies are 2.5 times better at driving innovation and transformation than other companies. At the same time, Deloitte says that, on average, purpose-driven companies report 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors. These statistics are borne out in my own experience: Change initiatives with a higher purpose have significantly higher chances of success than those that don’t inspire people. Understanding the purpose and its connection to the overall strategy is not just crucial for deciding whether to invest or whether the transformation makes sense strategically; it is also a key driver for engaging team members and the organization as a whole, motivating them to support the change initiative.
Remember that people don’t have to be great at something to be passionate about it. Steve Jobs was not the world’s greatest engineer, salesperson, designer, or businessman. But he was uniquely good enough at all these things, and was driven by his purpose and passion for doing something far greater. Conversely, a lack of purpose or conviction about a change project can quickly spread from one team member to the rest of the team.
A remarkable example of setting a compelling purpose for an organizational transformation comes from Sony’s co-founder Akio Morita. At a time when Japan was seen as a cheap-product-copycat country, Morita established that Sony’s purpose was to make Japan known for the quality of its products. Japan — not Sony. Sony’s purpose was aimed at a higher dimension than its own company — which was bold, yet inspiring to its employees.
An easy method of finding a change project’s purpose is to continuously ask, “Why are we doing the project?” Usually, you need to ask this question three to four times to get to the core purpose. For example, consider the introduction of a new Client Relationship Management (CRM) software system. Most change managers will say that the project is about implementing a new CRM system, but that’s not why we do the project. Instead, ask, “Why do we want the CRM system?” The answer may be “to manage our data more effectively, providing a single source of truth for our customer information.” See — you’ve just gone to a higher-level purpose. Next, ask yourself again why you want this outcome, and you may come up with “to provide a more personalized and responsive service.” You just went to a higher level again, and a higher priority of thinking based on what’s more essential for your company. Then ask again: “Why do we want to provide a more personalized service?” “Because we want our customers to be delighted with our services and retain them over the long term, which will lead to higher revenues.”
We’ve now moved the purpose of our project from installing a new CRM system to a project that will increase customer satisfaction and improve sales performance. What a difference. Now, we have a project whose purpose connects with the organization’s strategy and will motivate project team members.
Once you’ve gotten to the real reason behind your change project, ask “By when?” and “How much?”. Here’s an example: “We’ll increase customer satisfaction by 50% for our next customer survey, which will take place in five months.” Now, you have a specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-based goal, what I call a SMART purpose.
Every successful change project needs at least one clearly-articulated SMART purpose.
Benefits : The Key to Obtaining Buy-In From Stakeholders
Traditional change management practices have focused on the inputs and outputs — things like plans, schedules, budgets, deliverables, teams, etc. A change initiative is considered successful if it is delivered on time, on budget, and within scope. Yet, what matters most are the outcomes and benefits delivered, such as happier employees, returning customers, more sustainable practices, etc.
A great example of putting the focus on benefits is a sustainability transformation. Sustainability has become one of the most profound challenges of our time and a priority topic on most CEO’s agendas. Consider this example from Procter & Gamble (P&G): Marc Pritchard, a top marketer at P&G, has recently described how the world’s biggest consumer goods company is embracing sustainability to transform its brands. Or, as he puts it, to make P&G “a force for good and a force for growth.” As part of its new Ambition 2030 plan , P&G has pledged to make all its packaging fully recyclable or reusable by 2030. The company also plans to use 100% renewable energy and have zero net waste by that point.
While benefits might be easy to claim, they’re far more challenging to validate and measure, mainly when they’re accruing over time. Since a change project’s success should be measured by the benefits achieved, the process you use for identifying and mapping the benefits must be inclusive and transparent.
Each project will bring different benefits to different stakeholders. Change managers and project leaders should identify the main benefit expectations for each key stakeholder early in the transformation. Here is a simple approach to identifying the main benefits of your change projects:
- Develop a benefits card, which is a checklist of the potential benefits of change projects. Here is an example of the potential benefits of a digital transformation project:
See more HBR charts in Data & Visuals
- Instead of you defining the expected benefits of your project, meet your key stakeholders and with the help of the benefit card, ask them which benefits they would like to obtain from your change project. For instance, in a digital transformation project, the sales manager would like to see an increase in revenues from top customers.
- Ask the key stakeholders to tell you how to measure the benefits, and when they would like to see the benefits delivered. For example, you could have a benefit of enhancing customer experience by increasing the net promoter score from 50 to 80 in five months.
- Show the link between your change initiative, its benefits, and the organizations’ strategy to help reassure your stakeholders of the project’s credibility — for example, how your digital transformation will help your organization increase its competitive advantage.
- Plot the benefits into a benefit plan, which you should use to show progress when communicating with key stakeholders.
By using this approach, you’ll see that the level of engagement and buy-in on your initiative will significantly increase.
Today, organizations need to change regardless of whether they are successful or not. They can not wait years to start obtaining benefits; leaders need to create value faster than ever. Constant transformation has become a top priority. Therefore, change management is now an essential business priority that can’t be overlooked or set aside; leaders must start adopting new concepts like purpose and benefits. And they need to urgently develop change and project management competencies across all levels of an organization, from employees and managers to senior executives. Some visionary leaders have already embarked on this transformation, and if you hesitate or wait too long, you might be putting the future of your organization seriously at stake. If there’s one thing that’s certain about the future, it’s that change is here to stay.
- Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is the author of the Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook , the HBR article The Project Economy Has Arrived , and five other books. His research and global impact on modern management have been recognized by Thinkers50. A pioneer and leading authority in teaching and advising executives the art and science of strategy implementation and modern project management, Antonio is a visiting professor in seven leading business schools. He is the founder of Projects&Co and the Strategy Implementation Institute . You can follow Antonio through his website , his LinkedIn newsletter Lead Projects Successfully and his online course Project Management Reinvented for Non–Project Managers .
Between 2008 and 2014, the Top 4 banks sharply decreased their lending to small business. This paper examines the lasting economic consequences of this contraction, finding that a credit supply shock from a subset of lenders can have surprisingly long-lived effects on real activity. 31 Jul 2017. HBS Case.
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What is a business case study? A business case study is an in-depth look at a specific company or organization that examines how a business solved a problem, achieved success, or faced failure. Case studies are often used by businesses to demonstrate the effectiveness of their strategies and solutions.
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RHN Strategic Objectives: Network Sustainability through Revenue Generating Services Provide Public Relations through Outreach and Education Encourage Membership Interaction Increase Board Engagement Promote Network Visibility Increase Provider Involvement RHN embraces the concept of process improvement and organization effectiveness.
Our business case template for Word is the perfect tool to start writing a business case. It has 9 key business case areas you can customize as needed. Download the template for free and follow the steps below to create a great business case for all your projects. ProjectManager's free business case template.
7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2023) Read Time 6min. If you're writing a business plan, check out these 7 real-world and made-up examples to help guide your own. Email address Create your store Build your dream business for $1/month
Case Study Small Business Case Studies Samples That Help You Write Better, Faster & with Gusto Developing Case Studies is quite an arduous task on its own. Developing outstanding Case Studies is an even more demanding exercise. Developing a first-rate Small Business Case Study is, well, something supernatural.
Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study. 1. Identify your goal Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal.
Determine the case study's objective. Establish a case study medium. Find the right case study candidate. Contact your candidate for permission to write about them. Ensure you have all the resources you need to proceed once you get a response. Download a case study email template.
Know the current trends in your prospect niche, analyze your potential business competitors, and assess whether there's enough demand for your products or services. Once the data you've ...
Business Case Studies Format. In this study set, we have divided case studies into groups as per the business situation. The groups include case studies regarding mergers and takeovers, strategy overviews, SWOT analyses, business leader characteristics, corporate social responsibility, franchise models, Porter's five forces, change management ...
Description. This course is about understanding business planning and writing a quality business plan . You will be provided with all the relevant templates and case studies. You will be taught all the important concepts of business management quickly along the way so that you can walk away as a business owner after this course , ready to ...
Benefits: The Key to Obtaining Buy-In From Stakeholders. Traditional change management practices have focused on the inputs and outputs — things like plans, schedules, budgets, deliverables ...