Foundations of Business Acumen in a Disrupted World


3 Skills Every Employee Can Now Have Thanks to Virtual Learning

I’ve known this client for about 10 years and have never seen her to be so emotional. “This really works. I virtual-business-acumencan’t believe it. This is a dream come true for the talent development team as we can take this wonderful Business Acumen program around the world and scale it to over 3,000 people by the end of the year,” she said with tears welling in her eyes and a lump in her throat. The “this” that she was referring to was the a foundational business acumen program that was run in corporate headquarters about 6 times a year which is no going global at a fraction of the cost and without expenses for travel.

As the business world plots its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are huge challenges ahead that many organizations will be unprepared to deal with because of a lack of business acumen skills. Based on our current research, the 3 biggest challenges facing the business world are:

  • Replacing Lost Revenues
  • Managing Rising Costs
  • Generating More Cash Flow

Up until the pandemic, only the best and highest potential employees were able to go to powerful and prestigious corporate training events. Now, they can have the same experience or even better utilizing virtual learning platforms and tools such as digital business simulations to build specific skills. Here is an overview of the approaches organizations with transformative business acumen skills can take to address the business challenges they face:

Replacing Lost Revenue

There are only a few ways to replace lost revenue and they include marketing more and selling more. In 2020 and beyond, Marketing skills are one of the most critical and sought-after competencies in the world. What worked just a few years ago doesn’t work now and many organizations are woefully behind in their methods. Organizations must provide all employees with skills and tools to increase awareness through digital marketing strategy and tactics such as better search engine optimization, targeting campaigns to drive web traffic, nurturing programs, and of course follow-up programs.

On the sales side, today’s sales professionals need the business acumen skills to have the confidence to follow-up on leads, engage in strategic business conversations, negotiate deals, and maintain relationships.

Manage Rising Costs

It’s scary to realize how many people in the business world don’t know the difference between COGS and ROCI. COGS of course stands for Cost of Goods Sold. Revenue less the COGS is equal to the Gross Margin which is the first line of sight into profitability. As businesses try to find their new normal, they will notice costs are up including materials, labor, shipping, and technology. Managers will need to understand how to optimize their decisions to both decrease rising costs while driving margin and profitability. This can be accomplished through deep analysis, bench marketing, and understanding internal costs such as the weighted average cost of capital.

Generating More Cash Flow

Cash Flow is the lifeblood of the business. In a tough economy such as the one we are about to have, generating increased cash flow is going to be critical. The best way to do this is to generate more cash from operations (net income) and reduce the amount of cash being invested in the business in terms of equipment and infrastructure. Every dollar is going to count and decision makers who are able to understand how cash flow works and can pull the right levers will help drive their company’s increased cash flow and ultimately their shareholder value as investors are going to appreciate good cash flow management more than anything else in a business.

In summary, things are about to get hard. New business acumen skills can help team members make the best decisions to replace lost revenue, manage increasing costs, and to generate positive cash flow. The time and cost to acquire these skills have changed as a result of virtual learning solutions and great organizations who care about their long-term talent are making the investments today that will pay off tomorrow.

Business Acumen - Virtual Learning

Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.