Firstly, what is Business Awareness?
What do people mean when they say business awareness? Ask any number of different businesses and you are likely to get any number of different answers.
Fundamentally, business awareness comes down to three important factors:
How well you understand an occupation
How well you understand your business environment
How well you understand yourself
1. Start by questioning
In order to maintain your business awareness, start by asking yourself what you think is assumed knowledge about your business e.g. Who is my target market? Who are my customers? What are the key issues facing the business? Where is the organisation headed in the immediate future?
If you have answers to these questions, you have already some business awareness. It is important to recognise how much you already know, based on your previous experiences in conducting business. Often, when issues arise, you may find you have the answer based on previous experiences.
2. Self assessment for the process
Self assessment is your next step to increasing your business awareness. It is important to recognise when examining your business, that the financial performance is in no way a reflection of your skill as a business owner. Instead, it is important to focus on assessing the process of how your business got to where it is. Focusing on the process for your business allows you to see where your business did well and where it could have improved.
3. Build your knowledge base
The next step in increasing your business awareness is to build your knowledge base. It is important to be on top of all current information relevant to your business, but to also understand how information can affect your business. The hardest part will be understanding to what end your business will be affected from this, but that’s ok. As long as you are aware of the potential for change, you can mitigate issues before they become problems.
Common knowledge sources include newspapers, personal networks, social networks, sector specific journals, the website of another company, or even government websites.
4. Analyse this, Analyse that
One of the most important roles within big business is the ability to generate useful insights from data. In a small business, this should be no different, but analysis should be conducted on a much smaller scale. For instance, if you were to look at your business accounts data in a spreadsheet, you may start to notice a pattern in terms of customer flow. Data analysis is one of the best ways to increase your business awareness.
One thing we haven’t talked about is where you, the business owner, fit into this. That’s for another time!
To increase business awareness, start by asking simple questions about your business to establish your business understanding. Then assess the current business processes, and how effective you think they are. Build your knowledge base to improve your understanding on what factors may affect your business, and once complete, analyse your business data to find how you can improve.