Developing business acumen skills is a great goal for the new year.
Chances are you’re familiar with the concept of business acumen if you’ve had any exposure to the worlds of management, startups, or business in general. An all-encompassing term that speaks to one’s business competence and ability, business acumen is an attribute desired by many, but only truly obtained by some.
What does it take to develop strong business acumen? Is it an innate ability or something you can learn along your journey as an entrepreneur? 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.
Business Acumen Definition: What Is Business Acumen?
What is business acumen? Business acumen can be defined as the competency required to succeed in business, and it can be measured by one’s 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
• Web Development
• Communication & Presentation
• Sales & Influence
• Customer Research
With enough study and practice, learning about each of the above pillars will naturally lead to the development of strong business acumen. Under each of these categories exists a number of granular skills that can be learned — all of which further serve the development of one’s business acumen.
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
While there are plenty of business acumen skills one can learn, as mentioned before there’s also a “feel” one must develop, and that 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.
Develop Business Acumen Skills Through A Mini-MBA
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 Is 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.