The case method is used in business when it is necessary to find a solution to a problem situation without an obvious way out. This is a convenient way to resolve crises, conflicts and non-standard incidents for which there is no prescribed solution or job description.
In addition, a ready-made business case is an opportunity to demonstrate to clients the ability to solve problems and tasks. Therefore, well-structured case studies need to be published on your website to attract customers.
It is recommended to use business cases so that the organization always finds a successful solution to both internal and external problems. At the same time, this method will help save resources and time, and the finished result will help attract customers.
What are business cases
A case is a description of a specific problem situation from the life of an organization. Employees are encouraged to investigate the case, find several solutions, and then choose the best solution.
The case method can be used to train staff. Modeling various business situations helps prepare managers and avoid panic when real problems arise.
General algorithm for writing cases
In the case, it is necessary to prescribe the condition of the problem, which does not have an unambiguous solution. In the course of researching the issue, the case will prescribe:
- The main characteristics of the situation. This requires a comprehensive study of it.
- Additional Information. New data is generated when the performer is looking for answers to questions that have arisen during the study of the problem.
- Disassembly of solutions. When the factual base is ready, you can start looking for a solution. It is important not only to find enough options, but also to analyze each one (pros, cons, opportunities and risks).
- Choosing the best solution.
Features of the case for business
In business, a case is a problem associated with entrepreneurial activity: personnel training, management crisis, attracting new customers, audit and control, income growth, etc.
Business cases are used not only as a method for solving problems but also during interviews and internships. This is called a case interview.
If we are talking about a real situation that requires a solution, then the cases are suitable for both an individual solution and for collective discussion.
If the cases are solved by several employees, then they should be of different specialties in order to comprehensively consider the problem.
It is recommended to publish a completed case with a ready-made solution on the website so that a potential customer appreciates the professionalism of the team.
The business case is based on situational analysis. That is, employees are required to be able to competently process large amounts of data (or vice versa – to work in conditions of a lack of information). Avoid analysis for the sake of analysis, one-sided gaze, and worship of authority. That is, the case will be useless if empty unsubstantiated solutions are proposed for the solution.
Types of business cases
- marketing – methods of business promotion and advertising ;
- personnel management and others.
Case studies: what business cases look like
Purpose: Opening a branch.
Customer: Retail store.
Formulation of the problem. The company wants to expand, for this it needs to decide where, when and how best to open an additional office.
Methodology of work: Case specialists should study the current position of the company, its main clients, the available expansion options, think over what, the opening can be timed. Based on the analysis of the competitive environment, as well as the activity of the target audience, the future location is selected. Experts are working on all issues related to the issue of opening a store.
Result: Several options for locations for the future store, possible dates, a business plan for the branch.
How to write a business case: step by step instructions
Below is a simple instruction on how to write an effective case study and execute it correctly. It is not recommended to skip at least one of the proposed steps, as each aspect plays a key role.
Step 1. Choosing a suitable candidate
Requirements for a candidate who has to solve a real case (we are not talking about an interview or training):
- specialized knowledge that directly or indirectly relate to the problem;
- Analytical mind;
- the ability not to get hung up on one solution, generate a chain of probabilities at once;
- conservatism is not encouraged, creativity and the ability to solve problems in several ways are important.
Step 2. Contacting the case participant
Next, you need to contact the selected candidates, get their consent to become participants in the case and check that they are fully informed.
Provide a clear time frame.
Step 3. Thinking over the plan
In order for the case to be structured and contain the entire amount of data, it is necessary to draw up a plan for the text:
- Introduction – a brief description of the case.
- Introductory information – information about the company, its activities, structure, features, advantages.
- Formation of the problem.
- Search for solutions – a detailed description of how the research was carried out, what conclusions it was possible to come to.
- The results are the most logical and correct paths, and a list of all possible options is also indicated here.
- Summary – results and suggestions.
Two people can participate in filling out the case: the customer and the contractor (boss and subordinate). The customer fills in items 1-3, and the contractor – 4-6.
Step 4. Case solution
The methodology for solving the cases is as follows:
- The contractor receives the task and initial information from the customer.
- Investigation of the situation. The area of study is a problem that needs to be addressed. The study should be comprehensive and include several metrics (eg competitors, market conditions and customer base).
- Gathering missing information.
- Analysis of all data.
- Possible solutions to the problem are sketched out.
- Among all the solutions, one or several are selected.
3 rules for creating a successful business case
It is not enough to just write a text at random and expect it to become a case or bring a case. Despite the fact that the methodology is quite simple, it is recommended to adhere to simple rules:
- Statement of the problem and choice of the situation. The chosen situation should really be problematic, and there should be several options for equivalent solutions.
- Correct shots. There is no point in attracting people who cannot find creative solutions, who are not specialists. Professionals must have a creative mind to generate viable ideas. Departure from this rule is possible only when cases are used for training.
- Sufficient amount of data. To resolve the situation, especially in a time-limited environment, employees need to be provided with a sufficient amount of information. The decision should be derived on the basis of data analysis, therefore the result depends on their truthfulness, completeness, relevance and volume.
How to draw up business cases
The volume of the case should be at least A4 pages (about 2000 characters). A smaller volume will not allow a comprehensive solution to the problem. You can only increase the volume if you need to add useful information. It is forbidden to write water in this case.
If the topic of the case is highly specialized. then insert a section with a dictionary where the client is familiar with the terms that were used in the text.
Use numbers wherever possible. For example, replace the words “a lot / a little”, “enough” with a quantitative characteristic, and also supplement with numbers when talking about profit growth, customer acquisition, increased traffic, or completed orders.
To make the case visually easy to perceive, use media files (photo / video / gif), as well as graphs, tables and diagrams. One such element can replace several paragraphs of text. If you add such elements, be sure to make captions so that the client or performer understands what is depicted there.
It is useful to leave comments of the customer or the boss in this case.
Who to entrust the creation of a business case
In an organization, you can find a person whose field of activity is related to the task at hand. It is to such a specialist (or group of people) that you can entrust the solution of the case.
If the company does not have qualified employees in this area, then it is best to involve experts. For example, during a crisis, it will be an anti-crisis manager.
In any case, solving the case will help solve the problem in the organization. It is important to regularly draw up tasks in the form of a case in order to train employees. Then at any moment, they will be ready to take up the analysis of a real task. In addition, the case base is an excellent portfolio.