In both of these cases, a greater sense of business acumen is needed to further guide your business’ long-term goals. According to the Financial Times Lexicon http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=business-acumen, business acumen is, “business ‘sense’ or business ‘smarts’. [People with business acumen] are able to obtain essential information about a situation, focus on the key objectives, recognize the relevant options available for a solution, select an appropriate course of action and set in motion an implementation plan to get the job done.”
While developing business acumen takes time, there are a number of ways you can work to improve your business acumen.
Find a mentor
Whether it is within your company or in the general community, find someone to serve as your business mentor. In addition to being a resource for your business-related questions, this person may be able to provide you with invaluable networking opportunities with people you would not have otherwise met. Most people will be flattered when asked to be a mentor and are eager to share all they have learned with someone equally passionate about being successful in business.
There are hundreds of thousands of books on the market today dedicated to business and business strategy. Studying business not only gives you a strong foundation in the fundamentals, but also provides you with new ideas or concepts that you can begin applying immediately.
In addition to reading books, publications such as Forbes http://www.forbes.com/, The Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com/, and Business Week http://www.businessweek.com/ are excellent resources to learn about current trends in the business world.
See the bigger picture
Businesses often focus on the immediate – the sales for this quarter, current trends, or pressing conflicts – at the risk of losing sight of their ultimate objective. Taking a moment to step back and consider your long term goals can often help guide how you respond to issues in the present. Before making a major decision, discuss these five questions with your peers and colleagues:
1. What is happening in the world today?
2. How does this affect us?
3. How does this affect others?
4. What would need to happen for us to get our desired results?
5. What should we do next?
While business acumen is natural in some, it can also be an acquired skill. Taking the time to improve your business sense can lead to positive outcomes for you and your business in the future.