what is commercial awareness?
Commercial awareness is a burning topic that is utilised regularly but is barely defined. Having a genuine interest in the business world at the same time understanding its issues requires awareness. One must understand that commercial awareness is a universal context.
Understanding commercial awareness is necessary to adequately represent clients. This is also relevant for an international business transaction. Hence, the importance of understanding the industry and the factors relating to it as it is relevant.
We all talk about the word Commercial Awareness but; do we truly know the meaning of this word? In simple term, commercial awareness means being up-to-date on business happenings and developments.
Accurately, you need to consider if we are truly commercially aware? Do we just simply utilise the word just to make-believe that we are professionals in our businesses? Or we simply pretend to portray being commercially aware?
Working in a corporate world involves having a diverse knowledge of every significant business-related matter in the world. For instance; it is often said that;
“ A lawyer needs to be commercially aware.”
How Important is Commercial Awareness?
Significantly, one needs to have knowledgeable awareness in the department they choose to specialise. Thus, this is an addition to the provision of advice to their clients, as law firms are businesses themselves.
Being commercially aware also involves knowing what goes around and not just around one’s business but other corporations too. This is an extremely practical skill as it helps one to understand and contextualise information rapidly.
In an instance where you have self-assuredly put yourself out there, by saying oh! I am aware of all business matters, i.e. “I am commercially aware.” Then, a foreseeable scenario pops up whereby a client expects their lawyer to demonstrate commercial awareness in the advice they are paying for. What happens next?
A successful lawyer-client relationship often depends on the lawyer understanding the client’s encounter, business, and the markets in which they operate. Interestingly, one can fathom that business decision the client makes is likely an influence of commercial concerns rather than legal ones. This is equally true in any professional organisation be it accountancy, banking, insurance, financial services, law, aviation etc.
Brainstorming with someone who knows all the ins-and-outs of businesses is always crucial in an organisation. What happens when your knowledge is significant in this urgent concern and you are completely clueless? albeit, this has been happening for a while now?
This brings us to why most organisations consider commercial awareness to be an essential skill in any future employment. There is always an evaluation at every stage of the recruitment process, such as on the application form, perhaps as part of a case study during an assessment day and during the interview itself.
Benefits of being Commercially Aware
Understanding commercial awareness and how it works is an essential personal skill that’s useful in one’s career development. Developing entrepreneurial or business related skills through work experiences and societal associations can help an aspirant demonstrate commercial understanding.
Part of the Commercial Awareness Function requires;
- A lawyer to be able to render their legal proficiency into occurrences and generate better outcomes.
Here a few Pros of being Commercially Aware:
- Having an active business oriented workforce
- Improves an employer’s chance of securing new business,
- Ability to maintain and manage existing clients.
- Understand the background advice is sought.
- Ability to tackle situations from commercial perspectives
- Being able to consider business factors
- Understanding present-day business developments, risk and costs.
How to Become Commercially Aware
- Ensure you are ready to always think on your feet;
- Watch informative TV programs;
- Learn about top businesses;
- Understand how bosses face challenges and how they solve them;
- Making surfing the Internet your best hobby;
- Utilise Google, Yahoo and the economist to stay updated
- Always read daily insights on businesses.
- Use your smartphone to set news update alerts and always try listening to the radio.
- Get more work experience in the area you would like to gain more information. Also, try to include yourself in an extracurricular activity.
One could also watch the news, read financial times or the broadsheets and follow relevant social pages like The Economist, The Lawyer, Financial Times, The Guardian and Punch. This can be a positive start to knowing the weekly overview of what’s going on in the world.
Accordingly, be consistent with these tips. Gradually, it will become a habit whilst your level of awareness in the corporative world increases.