How to Develop Business Acumen

March 9, 2016

What Is Business Acumen?


Business acumen is the ability to quickly assess a business situation, and take decisive action that will lead to a favorable outcome. The business world is in a constant state of evolution. Thus, developing a keen business sense constantly grows ever more crucial for success, whether you’re an employee, small business owner or CEO.


While some especially successful individuals seem to have an ability to make sound business decisions on the fly, chances are good that they have spent plenty of time developing their capacity to do so. So, how does one develop better a business acumen?


Know Your Industry


No matter what business you are in, you should strive to obtain as much knowledge of every aspect of your industry as possible. Read everything you can about your competitors’ successes and failures, industry trends, and new developments in related technology.


You should also stay up to date on news in related industries. What factors are affecting your suppliers and clients? Have the prices of their raw materials gone up? Have new advances streamlined their manufacturing processes? Keeping up on these types of things can help you stay ahead of the curve, giving you the ability to anticipate changes that can affect your industry, and therefore, your business.


Know Your Company


Many professionals tend to focus on their individual departments. If you want to be able to make wise decisions that will be good for the whole company, spend some time getting to know other aspects of the business. For example, an Office Manager may want to spend time in the sales department or a Research and Depeloper may want to take time to learn a bit about marketing.


The more you know about the workings of your company, the greater an understanding you’ll have of what is working, and what could use some improvement. Knowing how you can contribute to improvements will lead to you adding value to your company and ultimately to a successful career path.


Know your Clients


Who are your company’s biggest clients? What do you know about them as people? What do you know about their businesses, their competitors, and the trends and noteworthy events that might be affecting them? If you can’t answer these questions, you should start getting to know your clients better. After all, the more you know about them, the more useful you’ll be to your client. If you approach a client by what you can give them, instead of the opposite, the more likely they will be to not only stick with you, but also to refer others to your company.


Become a Knowledge Sponge


Developing your business acumen isn’t all business. Learn as much as you can about everything you can. Read periodicals not only related to your industry, but also completely unrelated. Make time to research whatever interests you. You never know when a bit of knowledge will come of use and help you connect with a client, emploee or employer that will lead you to greater success.


Klaras, John Rick (2012). “How to Develop Your Business Acumen”. Retreived from

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