Practical Application: Assessing Your Business Acumen

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Business acumen helps explain how well you know how a business operates. In this activity, you'll take a self-assessment of your business acumen and learn ways that you can improve your business knowledge.

Seeing the Big Picture

Great quarterbacks are ones who are able to see the whole field and guide their team to victory. They understand what the defense is doing and how to utilize their best offensive weapons, and then make the best decisions to win the game.

Business acumen is similar, allowing you to understand the big picture of the organization and make decisions that will lead to successful outcomes. To refresh your memory on these concepts, check out the lesson What is Business Acumen.

In this activity, you will find questions to test your business acumen.

Business Acumen Self-Assessment

Write down your answers to the questions provided using ''always,'' ''sometimes,'' ''rarely'' or ''never.'' Calculate your score based on the key provided below. Use your score to determine where you fall on the business acumen scale and read up on ways to improve your results.


  1. Can you anticipate the needs of your department or business?
  2. Do you know how to set plans (or help set plans) that align with business objectives?
  3. Are you able to identify what your business objectives are?


  1. Do you understand the work of other departments in your business?
  2. Are you aware of how various departments are interconnected in business operations?
  3. Do you know what position your company's finances are in?
  4. Do you make strategic business decisions that align with the company's financial position?
  5. Do you know all of the ways that your business is able to make money?


  1. Can you identify the market your business is trying to reach with products or services?
  2. Can you identify your competitors in the market?
  3. Do you know where your business stands in relation to your competition?


  1. Can you develop a clear position about what you want to achieve in business?
  2. Are you able to identify new opportunities that can be beneficial for your organization?
  3. Do you participate in planning processes for your business?
  4. Do you stay up-to-date about trends and events in your industry or market?

Decisions and Communication:

  1. Do you know how to make decisions solely on profit and loss for your company?
  2. Do you understand the implications or impact of business decisions?
  3. Can you communicate effectively with individuals in other departments?
  4. Do you feel comfortable making business decisions based on your existing knowledge?
  5. Do you talk to customers to get a better understanding of their needs?

Points Key and Scoring Analysis

Answer Points Per Answer
Always 5
Sometimes 4
Rarely 3
Never 2

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