What & How to Report to the Owner

You are a manager and you want to know

If you are a good manager, you will not be satisfied with showing up for work and just doing what the owner tells you he wants done. The characteristics of a good manager include:

Self-motivated. Accepts orders from the owner, but does not do things only when the owner orders it.
Interested in the well-being, success, and growth of the business.
Supports and respects the owner and his goals.
Is the owner's "eyes and ears" when he is not there.

As the owner's "eyes and ears," you should know how to write and make two kinds of reports:

A "FYI" report simply to give the owner information which he may likely "store for future reference."
A problem-and-solution report in which you clearly state the problem and offer a solution.

Elements of a FYI Report

Write a FYI report:

  1. In response to a simple question,
  2. when the matter is of interest to the owner but not something that requires immediate attention.
  3. when you are answering a question you think the owner will ask about.

The parts should be:

  1. The date and time of day.
  2. To whom.
  3. A brief reminder or line explaining why you think the matter is noteworthy.
  4. A sentence or line that will make sense by itself.
  5. Your signature, name, and title. Someone other than the owner might read the report.


Tue 04-06-02 11:04am
Mr Gordon
You asked me how many different types of 16-oz drinks we have stock.
I counted 36.
Maria Schmidt, manager, West Side Chevron

Wed 05-22-02 6:45pm
Thomas Rhodes Elementary opened for the fall semester today. Jasmine Hanes, morning cashier, told me that 3 or 4 kids
asked about those candy suckers with the worm in it. We have not carried those before.
Do you want me to try a display or assortment?
Kyle Bollinger, manager, Terence Texaco

Fri 07-11-02 8pm
Mr Terence
I am only supposed to schedule one cashier tonight. But the Budweiser driver called a few hours ago and said he would get here
between 9 and 10 tonight. I asked Johnnie Dorbrit to stay until after the delivery was checked in.
Angie Ferdinand, night manager, Delk Road BP

The Problem-and-Solution report is for bigger things.

Problem-and-Solution Report
S - T - O - I - C


I borrowed this particular format from the standard 5-Paragraph Order of the U.S. Marine Corps. They call it SMEAC for Situation-Mission-Execution-Administration-Command. I adapted this format to our civilian business use.

The main idea behind this format is that the format forces the writer to cover all the important bits of information without having to spend a lot of time deciding what and how to say it.

SITUATION. This is a simple and direct statement of the problem.

TASK. Simply state what has to be done.

ORDER. This is the "meat" of the report. It is your step-by-step request or suggestion.

INFORMATION. This is where you will write names, phone numbers, dates, and other information that you did not write in the ORDER section. Keep the ORDER section as short and to the point as possible. Save the finer points for the INFORMATION section.

CONCLUSION. Write any final comments here. You may not have any, in which case you may stop after the INFORMATION section.


08-06-02 Tues 7:30am
To: Mark Daniels
From: Margaretha Avoyelles, manager, South Street Exxon

During the night, the outside bagged ice machine broke. The electric motor ran as usual, but it was not freezing. No one sold any ice during the night shift, so no one knew the machine was down until it started leaking water. Maury Yates emptied out the water and pulled out the plastic bags. There were 32 bags. He thew the ice left behind the building because there was not enough to sell.

We have to fix the machine as soon as possible. I already have your permission to fix the freezers, coolers, and ice machine. This is what I'm doing.

I called Enher Company to come fix it. They said they would be over at 10am at the latest.
I ordered 70 new bags from Arcturus. If they get here before the ice machine is ready, we'll put it the inside cooler.
I will have someone clean up after they fix it.

Enher Co (235) 432-3243. Meagan Pomes. New motor might cost $175.

We have it under control.