To be successful in today’s economy, you need to have business acumen. Business acumen refers to understanding the world of business – business policies, trends, market strategies and competition, as well as to be able to predict future developments and the way in which they can impact the organization.
Business acumen makes people react faster and smarter. People who possess it can extract the key information from a situation, establish smart goals, find solutions to problems and implement solutions. They can identify what needs to be changed and they can manage change effectively. A sufficient level of knowledge helps take practical decisions and understanding of the business environment means they can take part and contribute during decision-making meetings.
It takes time to develop your business acumen, and you need to put a great deal of effort in it. However, it is possible to do it, and it doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Here are three easy ways in which you can improve your business acumen:
1. Business books or magazines
Reading business books and magazines will help you understand key concepts related to business. There are countless such publications available for free on the Internet or at your local library. You need to differentiate between valuable business books and less valuable ones given the thousands of titles out there, but you will find valuable information in your reads. Business books are written by experts in their fields, and contain the results of thousands of hours of research, not to mention valuable information about their successes and failures.
It’s quite possible there are training programs available to you within your company. Even if there aren’t, you can always ask questions to colleagues from other departments. There are also potential mentors in your family, friend circle, or community. Everyone is an expert in something – find out if they can help you develop your business acumen. Ask these people to help you and guide you, and most of them will feel flattered that you think of them as experts and trust their opinion.
3. Formal Education
An MBA costs money, but it could be worth your time. In a classroom ideas flow freely, and you can benefit from the experience of skilled practitioners if you embrace the experience.