Entrepreneurs with acumen

Acumen is a word that should be familiar to you. It means sharpness of mind, the ability to make accurate and intelligent judgments. We hear acumen most often when describing entrepreneurs; in that they are said to have business acumen.

Acumen is a word that has been around since the early sixteenth century when it was borrowed from the Latin word acuere to sharpen (it is closely related to acute); hence the sharpness of mind.

Entrepreneur a borrow word from French has only been in English for about 200 years. It was originally used for a manager or promoter of a theatrical production. It came from the the French word for one who undertakes or manages. The meaning business manager is from a short time later.

One of my favourite stories from the “George W. Bush is dumb” meme is that in July 2002, President Bush, Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, and France’s President Jacques Chirac were discussing economics and the French economy. As the story goes, after the meeting Bush confided in Blair “The problem with the French, is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur”.  Sadly the story is considered to be scuttlebutt probably created by the British press. The other “George W. Bush is dumb” story that makes me laugh is that he was supposed to have waved at the blind Stevie Wonder at a concert. Some evidence is there but he may have been waving at someone else or the piano.

Acumen might sound a bit of a pompous word for being good at something but it has some advantages over its synonyms. For instance, perspicaciousness (having characteristics of keen mental perception and understanding) has the disadvantages of complicated spelling and pronunciation.

But if you are perspicacious you will recognise the importance of sound communications in your enterprise. If you have acumen you will choose professionals to design and plan your marketing and communications.