What Is a Business Scenario?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A business scenario is an outline of a set of circumstances that could occur within a business setting. Typically, a scenario is based on a combination of events and factors that compose the current situation of the business, then augmented with some projections of possible events that could occur in the future. The purpose of the business scenario is to determine what is most likely to come about if certain events do occur in the future, allowing the company to take immediate steps to minimize negative consequences while also positioning itself to make the most of potential opportunities.

One of the easiest ways to understand a business scenario is to consider the situation of a customer who wishes to place an order. During this process, the customer will identify the items he or she wishes to purchase and the clerk or other business representative will add those items to the order. During this portion of the event, there are several different scenarios that may arise as the result of this order placement. The task is to determine which one is most likely and make sure that course of action is followed so both the company and the client are satisfied with the outcome.


One possible business scenario for this situation is that the clerk or salesperson checks and finds that all the items on the customer order are in stock and available for immediate shipment once payment arrangements are made. The outcome here is that the company makes a sale and the client can look forward to receiving the ordered items without delay. With this business scenario, there are no complications and the result is beneficial for all parties.

An alternative business scenario is that one or more of the items ordered are not available. Here, the clerk may attempt to divert a possible adverse reaction by making the client aware of the current status of those items, while noting a specific future date when that portion of the order can be fulfilled. If this is acceptable to the client, then the order can be filled with a partial shipment now and a second shipment later to fill the remainder of the order. With this scenario, the sale is still completed and there is a good chance that the relationship with the customer will remain strong.

A third business scenario would involve one or more of the ordered items not being available, due to being discontinued. Here, the clerk may rely on past experience and history with the customer and make suggestions for substitutions. The idea is to move the focus away from what the company can no longer provide and place it on what the company still has to offer. Depending on how suitable the alternatives happen to be, this scenario may play out with the client being happy with the substitutions, and choose to continue the business relationship. Alternatively, the business may lose the customer since it no longer can meet that client’s needs and desires. With this unhappy business scenario, the company must deal with a loss of the customer and the revenue generated from that account, usually by seeking a new client with a similar level of business volume.

Composing a business scenario and following it through to a logical conclusion can often help companies identify situations that could pose a threat to the company. Alternatively, the scenario may trigger ideas that ultimately help the company to grow. As long as the scenario is based on reliable information, using this type of business tool can go a long way toward helping a company make the most of available opportunities while also minimizing outcomes that would weaken the business and make failure a strong possibility.


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