What Is Business Acumen And Why It Should Matter To Everyone

What Is Business Acumen And Why It Should Matter To Everyone

One topic that has gained a lot of heat in recent times is business acumen. But have you ever wondered what is business acumen? In simple words, business acumen is the quickness and keenness in understanding as well as dealing with business conditions in such a manner that it results in a good outcome. Now let us break down this definition.

The business consists of two things-

  • business literacy- business literacy is the understanding and knowledge of functions inside the organization.
  • Acumen- Acumen, on the other hand, is the ability to make quick decisions and good judgements.

Previously business acumen was a skill that was only performed by senior leaders of the organization. On the contrary today, in the modern world leaders are required at every level of the organization.

In this article, you will get in-depth knowledge about business acumen meaning.

What does business acumen mean?

Business acumen can be referred to as:

  • A bigger picture which helps us to understand the business model
  • It an understanding of interdependence and importance of numerous functions that takes place in an organization
  • It can also be referred to as an ability to foresee as well as break down uncertainties and complexities faced by an organization
  • It helps us to understand what drives the cash flow and profitability
  • It is the awareness of the implications of choice and risk
  • Quick decisions and decisive judgements

The definition of business acumen holds irrespective of the function, level, industry, organization or business. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that business acumen is an important skill that each organization must-have.

Now that you know what business acumen mean it is also important to know how you can develop business acumen for your organization as well. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you in developing business acumen.

Business literacy

The first step to build a strong business acumen is to build your business literacy.

  • Fall in love with numbers: every business, every organization on this planet is built on numbers. From employees, budgets, salaries, revenues to performance reviews and cash flow everything is based on numbers.
  • Go through the company report: A company report will help you to know much more about the company. However, if you are a fresher, you might face difficulty in understanding the report but keep trying you will get better at it with time. The company report will not only help you in understanding your company but your rival’s company as well.
  • Follow the market and industry trends: A business relies on various stakeholders like partners, customers, competitors and so on. Change in the action or behavior of any single stakeholder can affect your business significantly. Therefore, it is important for you to stay updated about the market and industry trends.
  • Let the customers teach you: customers are the biggest asset that a business has. Thus, you need to understand what they want. Let your customers give you feedback. Feedback can be both positive and negative. This feedback will help you know your strengths and weaknesses which will develop business acumen.


Now that you know the business acumen definition you should also know how you can develop acumen. Although developing acumen isn’t easy however it isn’t impossible either!

  • Look for a mentor: Look for an experienced mentor who can show you which path is right and which is wrong. A good mentor acts as a safety blanket and helps you in developing business acumen.
  • Confidence: confidence is the key to success. You should be confident in the risk that you are taking. It is a fact you might not always taste success however it is always better to give it a try.
  • Nothing can completely prepare you for every business situation. The business world is built on uncertainty. What you should learn is to move with the flow. Do not hesitate in taking risks, if you fail learn from your mistakes and move on.
  • Never quit after a single failure. Failure is a part of business as much success is. Rather learn from your experiences, from good as well as bad ones. Analyze-it and then work on it. Things might not always work well for us but we should learn from everything. This will help you keep moving forward.

Being a business leader is not an easy job, it takes a lot of courage to develop business acumen. The ones who show courage are the ones who move ahead in the race. Courage is the key to become a good business leader.

Final thoughts

Now that you know the business acumen definition you might have understood how important it is for organizations. These days business acumen is required in every department or sector of an organization. It is not an option anymore rather it has become a necessity.

About the author

Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Steven enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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