By Anh Tran
Business acumen and examples
Business acumen, to some, means being able to understand business disciplines or certain functional areas in a business. However, it's more than that. It is the ability to quickly assess and approach a business situation by applying concrete skills and deep knowledge to achieve the best outcome.
Having a strong business acumen is crucial for everyone in a workplace, especially for startup founders. Building proficiency in business acumen not only helps you to improve your productivity at your work but also contributes to your organization's success.
Here are examples of some qualities and skills that an individual with strong business acumen has to inform optimal business decisions:
- Ability to understand the stakeholders' objective:
Stakeholders are the ones who have a significant impact on your business and how you make your business decisions. Sometimes, keeping the balance between all their needs can be difficult. Understanding the stakeholders' objective and recognizing their needs by practicing business acumen will benefit you in your decision-making process.
- Ability to apply business knowledge to problem solve:
One of the most important skills of business acumen is using your understanding and deep knowledge to achieve the desired results for your business. This can be using relevant information to quickly assess a business problem or applying your knowledge in a specific operational task to adapt to a new change. By doing this, you will not only be ready for any business challenges but also be able to solve problems efficiently.
- Ability to prioritize and focus
In order to achieve the business goals in your business, you must be able to prioritize tasks and focus on the objectives that make an impact. There are many distractions that get us sidetracked on our way to pursuing our business goals, which makes this one of the most difficult skills to master.
The ability to concentrate helps you to increase your productivity so you can accomplish more in less time.
How to develop business acumen skills
Now that we have understood the definition of business acumen with the examples of good business acumen qualities, here are some strategies to help you achieve the proficiency of business acumen that you want:
- Understand the business model and strategies:
A foundational component to developing strong business acumen is a deep knowledge of your company’s business model. This goes beyond a basic understanding of how the company makes money, and must dive into various aspects of the business such as how the company’s supply chain works and its business life cycle. Another piece of the business model is understanding the importance of talent acquisition and the types of proficiencies that make a person excel at their job. This amounts to a kind of HR business acumen that you apply to ensure team members brought into the company exhibit the skills that can make them successful. In fact, some HR software will scan resumes to flag candidates with the required skills as well as help with workforce planning. The deeper you can go into understanding the business factors that affect your company’s ability to generate revenue, the more it helps with all areas of developing your business acumen, such as understanding the business consequences of your decisions. The marketing component of a business is also a key part of the business model that should be studied. Understanding the company’s marketing objectives as well as key marketing concepts like positioning strategy, customer segmentation, and the four marketing principles will build up your marketing acumen.
For instance, a fashion retailer’s business model is to manufacture and sell merchandise to the consumers. But to develop business acumen in the fashion industry, you have to understand details such as how marketing plays a role in enhancing your brand presence and awareness, and how project managing software will help to maintain operational efficiencies.
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