Entrepreneurship takes more than fiery passion and relentless commitment to achieving one’s goal. You may have the right mindset, but success requires sharp judgment, insight, strategic thinking, financial understanding, and actionable strategies to sharpen your business skills. Without these traits, you may easily lose your way or fall behind competitors in a country with 31 million entrepreneurs.
Fortunately, you can imbibe these skills and traits, even if you aren’t inherently blessed with them. Developing business acumen is the key to success in a competitive landscape.
What drives profitability for a business? How should your managers set their priorities? What can decide the success of your organization in the long haul? If you struggle with the answers, you must get into the learning mode sooner than later.
As an entrepreneur, be ready for the hard work because there are no shortcuts to extending your business acumen. Here are a few tips you can rely on to achieve your learning goals.
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Make Peace With Your Shortcomings
Business acumen empowers you to make quick and confident decisions to address challenging situations and drive positive outcomes for your company. It is critical for entrepreneurs running low on cash, time, and resources. But beginners often fall short because of a lack of hands-on experience in real-world landscapes.
Making peace with your shortcomings is a great start. You need not worry too much about them because you aren’t alone. According to a Cisco study, 93% of business and IT executives have a talent gap that challenges business transformation. Additionally, 42% consider the business acumen skill gap as the biggest hindrance. That shows the state of the industry and indicates the need to focus on the skill.
Create a Skills Wishlist
The US is among the most entrepreneurial countries, yet the startup success rate here isn’t as impressive as you imagine. According to the BLS data, 20% of startups fail during the initial two years in the market.
A lack of good leadership is often the reason because even a few wrong decisions at the early stage can ruin the chances of success. Developing the right skillset can keep you on top of entrepreneurial challenges.
You can follow this actionable skills wishlist to start on the right foot:
- Financial literacy (budgeting and forecasting)
- Communication and influence
- Analytical capabilities
- Marketing knowledge
- Situational awareness
- Strategic thinking
Invest in Education
Returning to school may be the last thing on your mind once you join the entrepreneurial landscape. Learning on the go seems more convenient because of the time constraints.
But education is an essential aspect of developing business acumen when it comes to specific skills such as financial literacy and analytics. Fortunately, you can pursue a Master in Business Administration online to get the best of both worlds. With distance learning, you can learn critical concepts without cutting corners with your entrepreneurial responsibilities.
Kettering University notes that an online MBA is ideal for people working across all industries, from IT to healthcare and more. It offers an in-depth understanding of business concepts, managerial tools, and practical application of knowledge in accounting, finance, marketing, and people management. These traits can make you a consummate organizational leader.
Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor helps you get actionable insights into the real-world challenges of the startup space. Look for a leader with experience in the niche you work in. It is even better to find a mentor who may have started from the bottom because they will understand the challenges of the journey and have valuable experiences to share.
Besides passing on insights and knowledge, a mentor can motivate and guide you throughout your growth journey. Networking is the best way to find a leader you can emulate as your mentor. Attending industry events and fostering connections in online communities can help you connect with them.
Listen to Your Customers
Listening to your customers is perhaps the most underrated way to enhance your business acumen. It helps you gain an insight into their pain points, motivations, expectations, and preferences. Moreover, you can understand what your competitors are doing better than you to capture the customer’s attention and market share.
Another benefit of paying attention to customers is that it can help you foster deeper connections. Did you know that 86% of customers are willing to pay extra for a positive experience? Listen, analyze, and act to match customers’ expectations. The best part is that your business acumen will improve along the way.
Business acumen is a game-changing trait that sets winners apart in the entrepreneurial space. The best thing is that you can cultivate it with the right steps. Being on the right track will help you make decisions faster and pivot effectively during challenging situations. That’s all you require to lead your business on the road to success.