Your outlook section is often the toughest to write, but is arguably the most important because you are leaving your reader with your recommendations and a possible way forward.
That final paragraph (or paragraphs) should cover what is next for your customer. As an analyst, it is your job to discover trend lines and unexpected activity for your clients. You are looking at the reporting every day–what are you seeing?
- What opportunities does your customer have?
- What can be done to enhance these opportunities (or mitigate them if necessary)?
- What are the pros and cons?
- What are your recommendations going forward?
A few questions to ask yourself as you are thinking through your outlook sentences include:
- Consider upcoming events for your client, including decisions they might be grappling with including worldwide events that could impact their business or key personnel.
- How can you be more specific when it comes to their interests and a possible way forward?
- Are there any steps your customer might be able to take to ensure this activity does not increase?
- Is there anything over the horizon your customer might not be thinking about, but could pop up? If it does occur, what might that mean?
- In instances where you have a tricky subject, for example, whether or not you want to advise your company about further involvement in their industry or into a new field, make sure you are presenting a balanced assessment of the situation. Ensure you are not recommending (or are perceived of recommending) actions that are controversial or could get your client into financial or political trouble.
- When providing recommendations for your client, do so in a way that you remain objective, and not prescriptive. In most cases, we do not want to tell our clients what to do, or be seen as doing so.
- If-then statements are also helpful–for example, “If you take the following actions, we assess the industry will then respond by encouraging stricter regulations.”
When crafting your outlook section, try to lean forward and push yourself as much as you can. Look beyond the obvious and see if there is anything more specific you can provide your client. Always be prepared to provide clarification if necessary, as well as follow-up support if additional questions arise or if the situation changes.