Business Acumen

Business acumen pre-work

The next Simply Natural Workshop is about Business Acumen. The outcome that we’re hoping to accomplish from this session is to equip you all with the skills to have more business-like conversations with our customers. So, why is that important?

Some businesses talk to their customers about products and services. Their customers see them as suppliers. The customers may appreciate the products and services, but they feel little loyalty to the supplier. As soon as they perceive better products coming along, or a similar product at a better price, there is nothing to stop them from switching suppliers. It is hard to develop deeper business relationships and lasting loyalty by only talking about products.

So how can you develop deeper relationships? The answer is by improving your Business Acumen. This means you can talk to customers about their business problems and challenges, and make astute observations based on your improved business understanding.

In this way, your customers will start to see you as more than just a supplier. They will feel that you can help solve their business problems. If you do this well, you can achieve coveted “trusted advisor” status. Your customer appreciates you for giving useful business advice, sometimes about problems that they haven’t yet thought of themselves.

So, in the next Simply Natural workshops, we’ll be looking at how to develop greater Business Acumen. We’re going to do this by examining the roles of the senior team, to understand what each of them focus on and how they think.

Your clear next step is to undertake a short piece of prep work before the workshop, by choosing a company and doing a bit of background work to understand more about it. By researching your chosen company, you’ll already be developing your Business Acumen before you even arrive at the workshop, and it will start you thinking about the topics we’re going to cover during the session.

If you’re in sales, please pick a prospect that you have found in the last few weeks, someone that you don’t know very well yet. For everyone else, please choose an existing Natural Training client. Everyone needs to choose someone different, so please tell Lottie the company you’ve chosen and she’ll let you know if that company is available.

It’s first come, first serve, so the faster you move the more likely you are to get your first choice!

To focus your research, please prepare a 3-minute presentation:

  • What product or service does your chosen company sell?
  • Which type of customer is their main source of revenue?
  • Who are their top 2-3 competitors?
  • How do they differentiate themselves from their competitors?
  • Pick any three of the senior team roles (see table below). If they were in a daily huddle, what ONE metric do you think each of them would have each day? Make these metrics specific to the company if you can, e.g. if you chose VMB, the huddle metric for MD Peter Kelly might be “Percentage of UK SMEs signed up for Virgin’s ultrafast broadband”.
  • What’s been the top news story involving your customer in the last 12 months?

You don’t have to use Powerpoint, but if you do, please only use a single slide, and send it to before the Huddle on the day of your workshop.

You’ll need all your brain power for this session, so please get a good night’s sleep the night before, have a light, nutritious lunch, go for a brisk walk and arrive bursting with energy for a fantastic session!

UK Senior Team Role US Senior Team Role
Managing Director Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Finance Director Chief Finance Office (CFO)
Operations Director Chief Operations Officer (COO)
Sales & Marketing Director Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
ICT Director Chief Information Officer (CIO)
HR Director Chief HR Officer (CHRO)

The Business acumen session

Business acumen wrap-up video

Business acumen summary

Summary of main players' top priorities


Business acumen KASH profile


Business acumen questions


Business acumen follow-up

You could hear the cogs whirring during the Business Acumen session. You all brought your best business brains to the session, to understand business better. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm for becoming more business aware, and many of you gained some new insights during the session.

Your presentations were fantastic, and it was great to see that many of you found out things about your clients that you didn’t know before.

We could all feel better informed about our clients as a result of the information-sharing that was going on. The quality of our business conversations cannot fail to improve if we keep this up, and remember, this is what will differentiate us from other providers and lead us to “trusted advisor” status with our customers.

So, here’s what we’re going to do as a result of the session:

Simply Natural Business Acumen WhatsApp group

This group is for you to post interesting articles that you find on business topics that you think are relevant to Natural Training or our clients.

So whenever you come across anything that will help to improve our collective business knowledge, please post it to the group.

Weekly business lunch and big biz quiz

Every week, there will be a Business Lunch during which we’ll go through the papers together looking for interesting business articles.

There will be pizza, and a weekly Big Biz Quiz to see who’s done the best job of keeping up with the news. This will include whatever has been posted in the WhatsApp group, so keep reading to improve your score.

New client presentations

When a new client is signed, the salesperson and/or the client services person will deliver a 5-10 minute presentation during BBB/DDD, similar to the presentations that you did during the workshop.

This will mean that all of us understand who the client is, who their clients are, how they differentiate themselves from their competitors and how they measure success. All very helpful to have more meaningful business conversations.

Sustained learning

There will be a couple of sustained learning pieces coming out in the next week or two, just to “keep the learning burning” and to help you increase your business understanding to have better conversations with customers.

Success story prize

To celebrate your successes as a result of this session, there will be a prize for the best Business Acumen Success Story. In a few weeks, you will be asked to submit your best business-led conversation.

This must be a recording of a conversation that you’ve had with a customer, highlighting where you have said something different as a result of your improved business acumen and what happened as a result.

So save your conversations and be ready to enter them into the competition.

Moments of Truth

Video of the MoT session

MoT wrap-up video

MoT summary & case study

Moments of Truth follow-up

Great work team in the Moment of Truth Workshop.  I’m looking forward to seeing the Action Plans that you created so that we can ensure that any critical Moments of Truth for our clients can be moments to Impress (not mess!)

Please send through your Action Plans to by 12pm Monday 15th May. These will be published so that your commitments become public and we can all be aware of what we have pledged to do as a team as a result of the workshop.

In addition to these Action Plans please make a note in your Personal Development Plans on 2 Individual Pledges:

  • 1 way that I can bring the Natural Values to life in our clients’ MOT.
  • 1 Natural Training MOT that I am going to focus on improving.

Please remember to make sure that your Pledges are SMART

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

These Personal pledges will be followed up in 121 coaching sessions.

There’s a follow up presentation for you to access below which summarises the session and gives some insight into The top 5 home truths about Customer Service and a great story of inspired customer service from Sainsburys. Please do and have a look – it’s less than 4 minutes long – and don’t forget to watch the wrap up video too!

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