Commercial awareness is an understanding of how industries and businesses work. It’s about knowing what’s going on in the world and analyzing the way it might impact your chosen sector and company, according to Bright Network, a career site.
With it, one is able to understand the inner workings of both the organization they work for and the industry it operates within.
Although this might be a basic skill for most employees, Emile Musabyimana, a Kigali-based mentor and moderator says commercial awareness improves one’s overall performance, and most importantly, allows them to recognize the different ways that can impact their work in general.
He mentions that staying aware of changes in a field one is in, is a characteristic that many employers value. However, he is quick to point out that many employees seem unable to demonstrate this skill in their working environment unfortunately.
“Personally I believe that commercial awareness can make an enormous difference in your career in general, irrespective of whether you’ve just started your career or you have some experience,” he says.
This, he says is a key requirement in almost every organization, as this means that the individual will take the time to understand how the organization operates, thus contributing to its achievements.
Jesse Shyaka, a youth leader and entrepreneur says being commercially aware improves your thinking capacity, thus helping you to drive your company forward.
He says that such people are able to think of new ideas, develop new products, find opportunities as well as save the business from collapsing.
“Almost every role in every organization around the world needs people who have some level of understanding about how a business works and the influences on a business. All these revolve around being commercially aware of what’s happening, ”he says.
Moving forward, Shyaka says being commercially aware is a skill that is needed for people who are interested in a career in any area.
From his understanding, Shyaka believes that understanding an organization and how it operates is what is considered as commercial awareness, thus to him, those with this skill help add value to an organization or company.
Musabyimana says an individual is able to find opportunities for the company to explore new markets and thus become more profitable, which is a goal of every company.
Steps to achieve this
· From different studies and research, staying ahead with the financial press and current affairs is important. It’s a low-cost way to familiarize yourself with the wider business community and gain an understanding of the current economic climate and how it is impacting different businesses.
Think about what you have learned from your previous job experience. It’s easy to get caught up with the day-to-day micro matters of a role but true commercial acumen means being able to see how small steps taken by one department can impact the company more broadly.
· Also, from studies, commercial awareness can also help to connect with a mentor. Many professional associations can put you in touch with a mentor, and it can be a great way to leverage the skills and experience of a more seasoned professional in your field.
· Understanding your profession well, helps make better decisions, manage risks more effectively, get good prices from suppliers, and increase your chances of promotion.