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A brand new opportunity has emerged in your small business radar, and it might propel your business in a captivating and profitable direction. It might be a new product or service line, a set of untapped consumers or even -- keep your voice down now -- a potential merger with a bigger competitor.

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, you know that it's smart to thoroughly vet this chance by commissioning a market research report . At some point -- probably after your staff has completed gathering the necessary quantitative and qualitative information -- you need to lay out your expectations for your written report. The best way to approach this job should get their blood pumping, too.

Issue Three Dictates
If your marketing team is new to the job, they are probably going to enjoy your top three directives:

Tell a narrative. Tell a visual story, with plenty of graphs and graphs. Keep it short.
They may not think they heard you ; after all, you did say you would like a market study report, didn't you? And are not most reports long, voluminous and sometimes dull products?

Inform them make no mistake: you anticipate a comprehensive effort that assesses every angle of this new business opportunity. You desire the report, as they say, to"see around corners" But there are legitimate reasons that push your directives.

Tell a Story
The most compelling market research reports pivot on a story -- about why this new product or service line holds this claim, why that group of untapped consumers may gain from your offerings or why that merger would be a smart investment.

Like all good stories, this one may begin with an anecdote or focus on one person -- the"main character" -- that could serve as your perfect client. Telling the story of your research through her or his eyes, and with lots of dynamic quotations, should flow directly into how pursuing this new opportunity would advance your business objectives. This is a essential part of the narrative, also, since the chance would not even be worth considering if it did not conform with your company strategy.

At this point, you might wish to share with your employees the experience of a well-known manufacturer of a men's fragrance that was prepared to embark on a marketing effort -- targeted to men. Then the market research revealed that women, not men, make the majority of these buys, and the finding changed the campaign. Presently there was an entirely different story to tell since the main characters shifted to girls -- who they are, what they do for a living, when they purchase men's scents and how they convince the guys in their lives to acquiesce to sporting a fragrance from the first location.

Inform a Visual Story
As much of this quantitative information as possible should be consigned to graphs and charts on the market study report, not the actual content that is written. Amounts are easier to read, and evaluate, when they are displayed in a chart instead of tucked into a dense paragraph, in which the reader can struggle to translate their meaning.

This point underscores another reality about market study reports: you may think that it's being written to your own benefit and that of your employees. And for now, it may be. Your viewers may also include your business accountant and attorney. But some day, if it's appropriate, new stakeholders may browse the report, also, and graphs and charts will make it easier for them to digest.

Obviously, you may always overdo a fantastic thing. Only relevant graphs and charts -- or the ones that advance the basic story -- should be included in the body of this market research report. Ancillary data should be relegated to the appendix -- which record repository which arrives in the end of a document.

Keep it Short
By focusing on a compelling story and relying on visuals, your team should find it a lot easier to tackle your third party cardinal rule. They should know that you will judge the worth of the effort on its quality, not the number of pages. (It is up to you if you wish to inform them that many market research reports operate from between 10 and 50 pages.)

Use bullet points when they can.
Challenge every paragraph into the relevancy test. In other words, if a paragraph doesn't progress the fundamental story, strike it.

You will hesitate to call it an"outline," however you should communicate to your staff that the true worth of the report will ride on its organization. So if they don't like the noise of establishing a incremental development of the account, then turn them loose on PowerPoint, which will force the issue (in a fantastic way). In the long run, they might decide this format -- and not a paper report -- would be the best one for their own findings.

As liberating as this may be, many market research reports hew to convention, and necessity, by including:

A section in the study methods. An executive summary. Detailed findings and, perhaps, the implications. Told in a dynamic fashion, the fascinating finish ought to get everyone's blood pumping.