Are you business savvy? According to an article that I recently read, there are seven key ingredients to being business savvy. Let’s take a look and see how many of these categories you have conquered and how many you still need to work on. As I look at the list of business savvy attributes, I realize that these characteristics are important for anyone who will make a great leader. The first on the list is to, “Seek self-awareness”. In my opinion a true grasp on authentic self-awareness is a gift given by time. Maturity is the gift of being able to know yourself well, but also be able to see other’s points of view. As a leader this is crucially important. Being able to put yourself in the place of those taking direction from you and thinking about how they feel about your leadership approaches will help you to be a reflective leader who cares about the welfare of his employees. The next ingredient to being business savvy works hand in hand with being self-aware. Being able to, “appreciate different perspectives” is a branch of self-awareness where you can see other’s points of view, take them into consideration, learn from them, and grow as an individual.
“Value and recognize others”. As a business person, you most likely can’t run a successful business alone, so if you don’t value your employees and your customers, you are sunk. I feel that this element is extremely important in operating a successful business. First you have to actually show your appreciation to employees that do a great job for you. They don’t know that you feel this way unless you actually tell them, and believe me, they will respect you and work harder for you if you do let them know how you feel. I realize in the hectic course of the day there might not be much time to profess your admiration to your employees, and this isn’t something that must be done every day or even every week, but by acknowledging the value that your employees bring to your business during appropriate times and intervals, the praise may go to them, but the actual rewards go to you. So often we only hear the negatives in life. Giving praise for a job well done can be a powerful motivator. Showing appreciation to customers is also super necessary. Remember, without those customers you wouldn’t be in business. Sometimes showing a customer appreciation is as simple as giving them excellent customer service. Customer service can be hard to come by these days, and going the extra mile for a customer can go an extra mile for how they think about your business or service.
The next ingredient might at first seem confusing, but if you look closely at the suggestion, it’s not off the mark at all. “Validate your assumptions and analysis”, from my view point, means simply to trust your gut feelings (ok, maybe go a little farther than that), but really, use those feelings to launch you in the direction that they are leading you. Sometimes it may be as simple as trying out a new idea that you think will work well for your business. Sometimes it may go a little farther into researching to find an answer to a question that is burdening you. Take the time, find the answers, and make the changes that will give you peace of mind. Taking the time to validate your assumptions and analysis leads us into the next key to a successful businessman which is to “yield when appropriate”. Many times it is necessary to be going all out when you are trying to create a successful business, but there are plenty of times when it might be a good idea to pause and reflect on the direction you are heading. Are you treating your employees and customers well? Are you taking the right steps to further promote your business? And are you listening and considering advice from other trusted professionals? No one has all the right answers. Sometimes it is beneficial to pause and reflect.
As you take a breath to pause and reflect, think about how to “Manage your timing”. Timing is so important with everything in life. Timing is key in business as well. When is it the right time to expand your business? When is it the right time to take a loan? When is it the right time to have a big sale? There are endless questions revolving around good timing that as a business owner you must be prepared to answer. I think that most of these ingredients to business savvy fit hand in hand with each other. Being able to manage your timing fits tightly in the hand of being self-aware. It is important to take the time to reflect and choose an appropriate path to all aspects of your businesses life.
The last suggested ingredient for business savvy in this article is to “Embrace Empathy”. At first glance that seems a bit strange, but upon closer inspection it begins to make sense. As a business person you will see many ups and downs. It is important to remember how you felt during those down times. Being an empathetic person means that you are open and receptive to understanding the highs and the lows that everyone goes through. Having this ability will help you to deal with employees, customers, and vendors in a much more relaxed and understanding way, and that can only be good for business as well as your soul. So being business savvy seems not to be all about knowing the right answers to everything, but more about having the ability to care and self-reflect in order to find the best answers for your business to the best of your ability. Blending the appropriate amounts of each of these ingredients will surely help you in your venture as a business person, so remember, being in business is challenging enough. There is no reason to make it harder by not following the recipe.
To read the full article that this blog was adapted from, “Six Tips to Develop Business Savvy Skills” by Lisa Boesen, click here.