How to Build Business Acumen Skills [Examples and Definition]

by Benjamin Miller

“Develop business acumen skills.”

That’s a terrific goal for the new year. If you’re exposed to the worlds of management, startups, or business in general, you’re likely familiar with the definition of business acumen.

Business acumen is an all-encompassing term that speaks to one’s business competence and ability. Many professionals desire this attribute, but very few truly obtain it.

What does it take to develop strong business acumen? Is it an innate ability or something you can learn along your career journey? Fortunately for many, it’s more of the latter.

That is, anyone can develop strong business acumen skills with the appropriate practice, real-world experience, and top-quality educational programs. In this post, we’ll dive into what it takes to develop strong business acumen skills in 2022. Let’s first start with the definition of business acumen.

Business Acumen Definition: What Is The Definition of Business Acumen?

What is the definition of business acumen? Let’s define business acumen as the competency required to succeed in business. You can measure business acumen by the ability to understand various business situations, make smart decisions, and ultimately lead initiatives that drive business success. 

Business acumen is largely about having the requisite “hard skills” in your business toolbox, but it’s just as much about the softer skills — like intuition, judgment, and instinct. That is, one with strong business acumen must have a wide breadth of business knowledge, but also a good “feel” for the product, the market, and the customer.

What Are Some Business Acumen Skills?

Business acumen skills are any skills that serve to strengthen one’s overall business knowledge. These skills make up the main pillars of any holistic business education. Take the following list, for example, which covers the skills learned in brunchwork’s Business Intensive mini-MBA course:

• Strategy & Finance

• Pricing

• Web Development

• Communication & Presentation

• Sales & Influence

• Customer Research

• Marketing

• Branding

Business Education MBA Skills

Business Acumen Examples:

Under each of the core skills exists a number of granular specialties that can be learned. With enough study and practice, you can develop strong business acumen skills:

Business Acumen Skill Example: Pricing

For example, take Pricing. A Pricing expert would claim skills like how to leverage various pricing models, packaging, and competitive landscape analysis. From there, they’d be able to identify when and how to put those skills and competencies to use.

Business Acumen Skill Example: Marketing

As another example, consider Marketing. A Marketing expert would claim skills like lead generation, copywriting, paid ad campaign management, and more. As with any business acumen skill, it’s all about understanding the best or most likely to succeed initiatives worth pursuing.

Business Acumen Meaning

There are plenty of business acumen skills one can learn. As I previously mentioned, there’s also a “feel” one must develop, which typically requires practice in real-world scenarios. That’s largely what makes business acumen such an intriguing topic, and it’s why there is more meaning to this idea than just a set of skills. One must be disciplined in their intuition and judgment to truly have strong business acumen. 

The takeaway here is that reading a textbook isn’t sufficient! To understand this “intuition” side of the coin, consider that there are nearly unlimited decisions one can make when running a business. Having the ability to make one great decision over dozens of others is often where true business acumen is revealed. What’s the best way to allocate limited resources? Where might a marketing team get the best bang for its buck? How might a sales team get creative with closing more deals? Answering these questions sometimes revolves around a “hunch” just as much as it revolves around data or hard skills.

For the ideal environment to learn business acumen skills and develop business acumen intuition, a structured educational experience makes both possible. Look no further than a top mini-MBA course that specializes in both: Business Intensive by brunchwork.

How To Build Business Acumen Skills

The Business Intensive experience was designed specifically for those looking to not only learn new business skills but to put those skills to use in real-world environments. This is made possible by the “flipped classroom” approach, which focuses less on lectures and textbooks, and more on collaboration, discussion, and immersive learning. 

Business Intensive promises to teach students a proven approach for validating, prototyping, modeling, marketing, selling, and presenting business concepts. But it’s not all by the book. For example, students have the chance to refine and test a business concept as one of the course projects. For students looking to develop the “intuition” side of their business acumen, these co-learning projects provide consistent opportunities to do so:

• Refine and test a business concept

• Run a market sizing, revenue growth, and competitor analysis

• Deliver a high-caliber presentation

• Analyze financial reports and models

• Develop a brand strategy

• Build a no-code website

• Conduct user interviews

• Develop and execute a marketing and sales plan

• Pitch a business idea with conviction and charisma

This 7-week mini-MBA program has been named by Forbes as one of the best MBA programs. And it costs less than $2,000 — a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional MBA programs. Weekly guest speakers include high profile business leaders, like former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, PayPal Founding COO David Sacks, Ellevest Co-founder, and CEO Sallie Krawcheck, and Peloton Co-founder, Graham Stanton.

Business Acumen Skills Are A Life-Long Pursuit

Like anything else in life, business acumen takes practice, and most of all, patience. When talking about such a broad-reaching concept, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. Fortunately, in 2022 and beyond, there are some great ways to accelerate the process.

Even today’s most well-known CEOs and executives are still learning and adding to their business acumen. It’s not quite like a higher education degree, where you work for it until one day, you officially have it. Rather, we all have some level of business acumen to build on top of already — and none of us will ever be done building.