Business Idioms and Phrases

The easiest way to broaden your horizons from the comfort of your home is by picking up new words or phrases. Here’s a list of Business Idioms and Phrases that are sure to help propel your career.

Many studies[1][2] found that the demand for bilingual workers is rising. And with mammoth tech companies pledging to hire remote workers all over the globe because- Talent is equally spread around the world- now is the best time to start learning. Check out what Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg understood a decade ago when he launched the online publishing platform WordPress.

Ahead of the packTo be more successful than the competitionIf we want to stay ahead of the pack, we’ll have to increase our marketing budget.
Average Handle Time (AHT)A customer service metric that measures the average length of a customer’s call.AHT is a common KPI for contact centers.
Back to square oneTo start something over again because a previous attempt failedTo make this software finally work, we have to go back to square one.
Ballpark number/figureA very inexact estimateTo give you a ballpark figure, how much the border wall to Mexico is going to cost, I’d say about 30 million dollars.
BenchmarkingThe process of measuring key business metrics and practices and comparing themBenchmarking is commonly used to compare customer satisfaction, costs and quality.
Big pictureEverything that is involved with a particular situationWorking on all these details, we have lost sight of the big picture.
By the bookTo do things exactly according to the rules or the lawWe told our auditors that we do everything by the book.
Brandbrand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual. An example of a brand is Havainas.
Brand ExperienceBrand experience is the sum of all the sensations, thoughts, feelings, and reactions that individuals have in response to a brand.Think of Brand Experience as a holistic approach that combines elements of user experience, customer experience, and brand identity all in one.
Business hoursBusiness hours is another term for office hours.The hours between 9 am and 5 pm (the traditional “9 to 5”) are typically considered to be standard business hours.
Call centerA call center is a managed capability that can be centralized or remote that is used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of inquiries by telephone.Working in a call center can be very demanding, but also extremely rewarding.
Corner the marketTo dominate a particular marketAmazon more or less corners the online retailing market.
Cut-throatVery intense, aggressive, and merciless competitionCompetition in the food retailing business is cut-throat.
Customer serviceCustomer service is the support you offer your customers — both before and after they buy and use your products or services — that helps them have an easy, enjoyable experience with your brand.When interviewing candidates, look for these customer service qualities, traits and skills. Look for someone who is communicative, persuasive, is polite, patient, conscientious, and loyal.
Customer loyaltyCustomer loyalty describes an ongoing emotional relationship between you and your customer, manifesting itself by how willing a customer is to engage with and repeatedly purchase from you versus your competitors.A typical example of customer loyalty is Starbucks. The company has managed not only to retain its customers but also to expand its customer base through exemplary loyalty programs.
Customer ExperienceCustomer experience (CX) is the sum total of customers’ perceptions and feelings resulting from interactions with a brand’s products and services.Great customer service means following best practices like valuing customers’ time, having a pleasant attitude, and providing knowledgeable and resourceful resources.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)Customer lifetime value is the total worth to a business of a customer over the whole period of their relationship.The simplest formula for measuring customer lifetime value is Customer Lifetime Value = Average Total Order Amount * Average # Purchases Per Year * Retention Rate.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)Customer Satisfaction Score, or CSAT score, is a customer experience metric that measures happiness with a product, service, or support interaction through a customer satisfaction survey that asks: “How satisfied were you with [company]?”Customer satisfaction is important because it means your customer base likes what you’re doing.
Easy come, easy goSomething gained easily is also lost easilyI lost 500 Euros in a poker game last night, but that’s life – easy come, easy go.
FeedbackInformation about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.Throughout this process we have obtained valuable feedback.
Follow-UpFollow up is the process of completing an activity, so when it comes to business, especially when you need to acquire new customers, follow up means turning a prospect into a customer.Follow-ups can be a great source to ask customers, “What they want/expect next.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Frequently asked question (FAQ) pages (or hubs) help your business respond to the needs of your audience more quickly and appropriatelyFAQs enable you to deal with specific queries that your customers have about your business. 
Game planA strategy or plan for achieving successWhat is our game plan for dealing with our new competitor?
Get down to businessStop making small talk and start talking about serious business topicsNow that everyone’s here, let’s get down to business and start with the presentation.
Get something off the groundTo start something (e.g. a project or a business)Now that we have finished the planning phase, we’re eager the get the project off the ground.
Go down the drainSomething is wasted or lostAll our efforts in entering this new market went down the drain.
Go the extra mileTo do more than what people expectTo give our customers the best shopping experience, we go the extra mile.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI)Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result.An example of a key performance indicator is, “targeted new customers per month”. 
Hands are tiedNot being free to behave in the way that you would likeI’d love to help you, but my hands are tied.
Help DeskA service providing information and support to computer users, especially within a company.While a help desk can fix a broad range of IT issues, desktop support is dedicated to fixing only desktop or laptop issues.
In a nutshellUsing as few words as possibleIn a nutshell, we will run out of cash in three months time.
In full swingAt a stage when the level of activity is at its highestConstruction of our new production site is in full swing now.
In the driver’s seatTo be in charge or in control of a situationBeing offered the position of managing director, I’ll soon be in the driver’s seat.
Keep one’s eye on the ballTo give something one’s full attention and to not lose focusWe should not diversify our product offering too much, but rather keep our eyes on the ball.
Learn the ropesLearn the basics of something (e.g. a job)I’m learning the ropes in my new position.
 LifecycleIn business, a life cycle is a way to describe the birth, growth and maturation, and eventual decline of a product or service.By understanding the sequence of events in a life cycle, companies can make better financial decisions.
Long shotSomething that has a very low probability of happeningWinning the lottery is a long shot.
MetricA business metric is a quantifiable measure businesses use to track, monitor and assess the success or failure of various business processes.The main point of using business metrics is to communicate an organization’s progress toward certain long- and short-term objectives.
No-brainerSomething that is really obvious or easyMaking money working for an investment bank is a no-brainer.
No strings attachedSomething is given without involving special demands or limitsThey will let you try the product for free with no strings attached.
Not going to flySomething isn’t expected to work outThis product is definitely not going to fly.
On the same pageTo be in agreement about somethingLet’s go over the contract details once more to make sure we’re on the same page.
Out in the openSomething that is public knowledge and not secret anymoreOur financials our out in the open anyway.
OutsourcingOutsourcing is a business practice in which a company hires a third-party to perform tasks, handle operations or provide services for the company.Outsourcing occurs when a company contracts a specific process out to a third party, finding someone who specializes in whatever needs to be done. Offshoring happens when businesses send in-house jobs overseas. Both may save a company money, but only offshoring specifically means sending jobs out of the country.
Put all one’s eggs in one basketTo rely on only one thing to bring successIt’s not smart to invest in American tech stocks only and put all one’s eggs in one basket.
Put the cart before the horseTo do or think about things in the wrong orderTrying to find an investor without having a business plan is like putting the cart before the horse.
Quality AssuranceThe maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product, especially by means of attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production.Quality control can be defined as “part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.” While quality assurance relates to how a process is performed or how a product is made, quality control is more the inspection aspect of quality management.
Raise the barTo set standards or expectations higherThe iPhone raised the bar for smartphone makers.
Red tapeOfficial rules and processes that seem excessive and unnecessaryThe new law is going to create a lot of red tape.
RetentionRetention is the act of retaining, that is, holding onto or keeping possession of something.Employee retention is defined as an organization’s ability to prevent employee turnover, or the number of people who leave their job in a certain period, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
Rock the boatTo do or say something that will upset people or cause problemsDon’t rock the boat until the negotiations are finished.
Safe betSomething that is certain to happenIt’s a safe bet that computer processor speed will more than triple within the next 10 years.
Same boatTo be in the same difficult situation as someone elseNone of us has any money left, so we’re all in the same boat.
See eye to eyeTo agree with somebodyMy boss doesn’t see eye to eye with me about our marketing campaign.
See something throughTo continue until something is finishedI want to see this project through before taking on another one.
Sever tiesTo end a relationshipWe had to sever ties with several suppliers due to poor product quality.
Shoot something downTo reject something (e.g. an idea or a proposal)You shouldn’t shoot down your co-workers ideas during a brainstorming session.
Smooth sailingA situation where success is achieved without difficultiesOnce our largest competitor went out of business, it was smooth sailing.
Stand one’s groundTo not change one’s opinion or positionThey tried to cut my travel budget, but I stood my ground.
Shipping FeesThe shipping fee is the cost used to ship items to a buyer. As a seller lists an item, he or she can determine and disclose the cost to ship.Once all shipping fees are paid we will inform you of your delivery date*.
Self-service PortalA self-service portal is a website that offers information and resources to help users find answers and resolve their issues.The two most common types of self-service portals are customer self-service and employee self-service.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) Subject matter experts, also called SMEs, are professionals who have advanced knowledge in a specific field.The best SMEs know how to articulate even the most complicated concepts clearly to their audience.
Take the bull by the hornsTo directly confront a difficult situation in a brave and determined wayMy mid-level managers constantly delayed projects, so I took the bull by the horns and fired several of them.
Talk someone into somethingTo convince someone to do somethingI was reluctant to redesign our website, but my employees talked me into it.
Talk someone out of somethingTo convince someone not to do somethingWe wanted to take on more debt, but our CFO talked us out of it.
The elephant in the roomAn obvious problem or controversial issue that no one wants to discuss.We should have discussed our pending litigation, but no one wanted to talk about the elephant in the room.
Think outside the boxTo think of creative, unconventional solutions instead of common ones.Our current approach will get us nowhere. We have to think outside the box.
Time’s upTime for something or someone has ended.I think his time’s up as the CEO.
Touch baseTo make contact with someone.I will touch base with you later today.
Twist someone’s armTo convince someone to do something that he or she does not want to do.My boss thought the budget was a little high, so I had to twist his arm to get him to agree to it.
Up in the airSomething is undecided or uncertainOur international expansion plan is still up in the air.
Uphill battleSomething that is difficult to achieve because of obstacles and difficultiesGaining market share in this country will be an uphill battle due to tough competition.
Upper handTo have more power than anyone else and so have controlDue to my experience, I had the upper had in the argument.
Word of mouthSomething is given or done by people talking about something or telling people about somethingMany local stores rely on word of mouth to get new customers.
Working from home (WFH)work being done remotely, instead of at an officeWhat jobs can I do working from home?
Working remotelywork being done remotely, instead of at an officeCompanies that encourage and support remote work often report higher levels of employee retention and engagement, reduced turnover, higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity and autonomy, and lots of other benefits.
Remote workwork being done remotely, instead of at an officeRemote work, also called work from home, work from anywhere, telework, remote job, mobile work, and distance work is an employment arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or retail store.
*shipping date is the date the product will leave the supplier’s warehouse while delivery is the date the package will make it to the customer’s doorstep.

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