What drives profitability? How does your manager set priorities? Depending on your work, you might not know all the answers, but these questions indeed ring a bell. Well, the answers to these questions are some examples of business acumen. Thus, whoever wants to thrive in their career must get comfortable with these concerns.
Business acumen is a person’s ability to understand organizational problems and issues. It is general know-how of the way things get done. More or less a key characteristic of leadership. Besides this, business acumen is also about understanding your business model and making fruitful decisions for the business. So, how can you develop business and financial acumen?
For starters, you have to understand the business model. Learn about the organizational practices, product offerings, core operations, even if doesn’t link with your job roles. Likewise, dig into financial strategies, oversee budgets, and identify gaps in money-related matters. Perhaps, you can find areas for cost-cutting. In addition, think about the factors that drive the decisions behind the business strategy. It will help you acquire the knowledge you need to have a successful career.
If you want to learn more about this, have a look below. Here are six ways to improve business and financial acumen.
1.Deep Dive into Financials
Every company lays its foundation on critical financial metrics. You have to understand the numbers and financial mechanics that affect your company’s economic health. These data points will help you focus on what is essential and serve as a means to measure success. Sounds interesting, no?
If you start to enjoy these numbers and stats, you can think about pursuing it as a career. Perhaps, you can look for the requirements to be an accountant and become an expert in the finance world. You will get an in-depth understanding of financial metrics that you can track over time and measure progress. Likewise, you can calculate net income and customer lifetime value to determine if the company is moving in the right direction.
Having a comprehensive idea of the financials will help you understand the company better. In addition, it will allow you to identify setbacks and financial crunches beforehand, securing the company’s financial future.
2.Learn about the Business Model
Another foundational element to building strong business and financial acumen is understanding your business model. Remember, this goes beyond the primary knowledge of how the organization makes money. You have to dig into different aspects of the company, such as supply chain, marketing, and logistics. For instance, the primary objective of a doctor is to diagnose and provide treatment, but you have to dig into the details. You have to understand the insurance process, procedures, etc.
Another crucial component of the business model is talent acquisition. You have to ensure the employees hired into the company display unique skills.
It involves extensive planning to ensure you have the right talent on board. Lastly, understand the company’s marketing objectives such as positioning strategy, target market, and marketing principles. The better you understand business factors, and the better will be your business acumen.
3.Pay Attention to Business News
Undeniably, a lot is happening in the business industry. The business world is evolving from falling share prices to new emerging markets. To develop financial and business acumen, you must beware of these trends. And for that, you have to pay attention to business news. There are many web pages online that provide information free of cost. To name a few, you can access Forbes, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, or Harvard Business Review.
You have to stay up to date on the current events and understand how this relates to your company. For instance, if the global oil prices increase, determine if it would impact your logistics cost. Also, understand the ramifications emerging trends can have on the overall industry.
4.Get Immersed in a TED Talk
Initially, TED talks began as a discussion on innovation and technology, but now it includes every topic. It has become an incredible place for hungry finance disciples as the website has thought-provoking finance lectures.
It goes beyond personal finance, covering budgets, equity markets, portfolio analysis, etc.
Moreover, TED talks offer a fresh perspective on conventional advice such as savings. Instead of telling you to open saving accounts, the host unfolds plenty of investment opportunities that can help individuals build wealth.
5.Find a Mentor
Truthfully, mentors can provide a much-needed insight into the industry. These are mostly industry experts and professionals with years of experience. Hence, they can pass on their knowledge to the mentee, helping them grow and prosper. You can look for an expert within your industry and ask questions about their journey in the corporate world.
Moreover, you can also seek career advice, whether you should explore new horizons or continue in the same field.
A mentor’s insights can be super helpful in developing business know-how. However, that doesn’t mean the mentor must be a senior member. At times, young entrepreneurs can have a valuable perspective and experience to convey to older peers.
6.Understand the Customers
What sets your business apart? Find out from clients what prompts them to buy from your brand. It is vital to understand their challenges to determine how your company finds a solution. For instance, Steve Jobs – the founder of Apple, focused on customer service and experience for every product. As a result, he delivered intuitive products like the iPad, iPhone, etc. So, why not follow the same technique.
You can begin with qualitative research that involves direct interactions with the customers. It will allow you to gain their viewpoint on your product offerings. You have to talk to many clients to collect a sample size. In addition, provide feedback on your research to get accurate results. Otherwise, you can also use CRM software to collect customer data. Remember, the more you learn about your customers, the better you can deliver your products and services.
No one develops business and financial acumen overnight. It is a journey that requires time, effort, and persistent dedication. You have to open yourself to learning, discover new horizons, and seek advice from professionals. Likewise, you can keep up with external stakeholders such as customers and suppliers to keep up with emerging trends. Over time, you will master key business concepts and learn to make more informed decisions. All you have to do is maintain discipline and keep learning.