We all know those people that are either book smart or street smart. Combining the two make one very sharp individual.
What about business smart?
You may have met someone that was business smart. They started multiple businesses and sold them after they were built into highly successful entities.
What do you think they know that you don’t know?
You’re smart! You must be. You’re reading my article.
But in case you are wondering, here are 10 ways to get business smart.
Now, there many more, but here’s a well-rounded ten for you to work on or improve on.
- Come up for air: Are you sitting in your ivory tower scanning data, financials, and reading reports? If so, get out and really learn about business. You need to be well versed in all areas of business to be successful.
- Talk to others: Take your marketing team out to lunch. Chat with business development. Get out of your office and talk to your employees. Just ask them questions, no advice, no managing, just questions-personal and business. This will be very helpful when you want to know the truth about some issue that popped up.
- Spend time with the customer: No one knows what they want better than the customers, so why not ask them? Some very successful company CEO’s spend a day every month on the phones with the customers to really hear what the customers want and need. The customer does not know they are speaking with the CEO, just having a real conversation. Just think what you will find out by speaking to your customers.
- Get a business mentor: Find someone who knows the business and get him or her to teach you. Provide technical knowledge in exchange. ALL great leaders have a mentor. Find one that will give you advice, hold you accountable to yourself, and can be a great resource for you and your business. Get a SCORE mentor — for free!
- Read: Burn the midnight oil and read up on business basics. When speaking to business owners that are successful, they are always reading their industry magazines, ezines, blogs, listening to podcasts and reading a book about business. For you to be ahead of your competition and satisfy your clients you need to be in the know and ahead of the game. Read!
- SSPA: Stop speaking in acronyms: Others will understand better when you translate techspeak into standard English. When you speak in acronyms you alienate your listener and they shut you off. Don’t assume everyone knows your industry acronyms. DYKWIM? Do you know what I mean?
- Polish those social skills: Learn a few communication techniques to smooth the differences between IT and the suits. You really need to speak to each department as they want to be spoken to. If you are talking big picture to the folks that work in the minutiae you will not be on the same page with them. But, if you explain how their work relates to the big picture and visa versa, they will understand you.
- Look for another answer: Realize that technology cannot solve every business problem. This is where all those other tips above will come into play. You may have some answers, but I bet your team has a lot more answers – ask them.
- Ask Questions: If nobody is telling you anything, start asking questions. Ask open ended question, not closed end (yes or no answers). The more questions you ask the more information you will get. Ask straight forward questions. Don’t combine two questions into one. One question at a time to get an answer, then have a follow up question if needed.
- Try to form consensus on terms: Get to the bottom of any failure to communicate. Have both sides speak and represent their ideas. Then ask questions to find out some underlying items, this will open dialogue with everyone to get a consensus on and item.
Clear Communications: One of the biggest problems with communication is filler words and NOT getting to the point. Believe me, the listener will receive your message much better without saying, “UM” “AH” and “YOU KNOW” every 4th word. Clean up your communication, get to the point and your message will be much clearer. Join a Toastmasters club if needed. If you are the leader of your organization (or want to be) clean up your communication. Then you will sound like a leader. Have you ever heard Winston Churchill say “UM” and “AH” during his famous speeches?
These are very simple ways for you to become business smart. None of them cost money (maybe if you buy a book and join Toastmaster-but that is a very small price to pay on your return), and only some limited time.
Run your business smarter, not harder. GET SMART!!