25 Essential Business English Vocabulary Words You Need to Know

English is the global language of business. Given that the world is so interconnected and multinational companies are growing in number, the importance of learning business English is higher than ever. By learning the type of English that is used in a business context you will be able to understand and communicate effectively with business people from other countries.

Committing time and making an effort to learn business English can have an enormous impact on your career, salary, business opportunities and personal development. A good way to start is by learning some key business English vocabulary which are standard terms in most companies.

using Business English in work

We have put together a list of 25 key business English vocabulary words for you to study to get you started……

1. Forecast (verb): to forecast something means to predict what might happen in the future.  For example, an economist may forecast (predict) a decrease in interest rates or company might forecast sales for the coming year.

*Forecast (noun): a document which outlines what is likely to happen in the future.  For example, the sales forecast for the company was promising.

2. USP (noun): This is an acronym for Unique Selling Point, which is a feature of a product that makes it different or unique from other products on the market.  For example, Toms Shoes’ USP is that they give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that you purchase.

3. Cold call (verb): To cold call someone is when you phone or visit a customer to sell them something that they haven’t asked for. For example, most Telesales (jobs where you sell something by phone) jobs descriptions will state that you must be prepared to cold call.

4. Startup (noun): A startup is a new company that has just started operating. The word startup is often used to refer to companies in the technology industry. Silicon Valley in the US has a lot of startups located there.

5Brand (noun): a combination of design, logos, signs, symbols, words, slogans, colors, or style that creates an image about a particular product and identifies or differentiates it. Basically, features of your brand are the things that identify your company.  For example, Branded clothes are always more expensive that non-branded clothes.

6. Pivot: Pivot can be used as a noun or a verb. It refers to a change in strategy that happens when a new company realizes that it needs to shift to a different direction to be successful.

For example, Groupon was initially a fundraising site but they they pivoted their strategy and focused on applying the same idea to discounts with suppliers which was much more successful.  

7. Strategy (noun): A strategy is a plan which is used to achieve a goal or an aim. For example, companies can use an acquisition strategy to acquire similar businesses in other areas to expand their operations.  

8. Launch (verb): to launch something is to advertise it and make it available for customers to buy. For example, customers often camp outside Apple stores for a few nights before their newest product launches.

9. Slogan (noun): A slogan is a short phrase used by a company in advertising. A slogan is memorable and easily recognizable by customers.

For example
– Nike’s slogan is “Just do it”.
– McDonald’s slogan is “I’m loving it”.

10. Target market (noun): The target market for a product is the group of people who the product is aimed at. The interests and characteristics of these people help the company selling the product to market it.  For example, the target market for Rolex watches is wealthy males above the the age of 35.

Business English newspaper

11. Shareholders (noun): Shareholders are people who own shares or ‘piece’ of a company. For example, if you buy shares in a company, you are one of that company’s shareholders.

12. Perk (noun): A perk is an extra benefit that you get from working for a company aside from your salary. For example, Disney employees often get discounted or free entry to Disneyland as a perk.

13. Resign (verb):To resign means to you tell your employer that you want to leave your job.   Example: The man resigned last week after a disagreement with his boss.

14. Strike (verb/noun): To strike’ means to stop working to protest working conditions. In English we often use the phrase ‘to go on strike’  For example, employees usually strike when they want more money or better working conditions.

15. IPO (noun): This is an acronym for an Initial Public Offering, which refers to when a company raises money by offering stock to the public for the first time. This means anyone can buy a piece or shares of a company.  For example, Facebook’s IPO was one of the biggest in history.

16. Venture capital (noun): This is financial support that is given to startup companies and small businesses that the investors believe have long-term potential for growth. For example, Sequoia Capital, which is a Venture Capital firm, invested $60mil in WhatsApp and received $3billion in return for the initial venture capital provided when WhatsApp was sold.

17. Deal (noun): A deal is when two parties agree to buy, sell or exchange a product. For example, one company might make a deal with another company to sells its products. 

*A deal also refers to a purchase which was ‘good value’ or cheaper than expected. For example, if you buy a product on sale it is considered a good deal.

18. Quote (verb/noun): This business English vocabulary word can be used as a noun or a verb. It refers to a company telling a customer how much money they will need to pay for the company to do the work for them. For example, a builder might quote $220,000 as the cost of building a house for someone. The person receives a quote from the builder.

19. Tender (verb/noun): A tender is a process where a government or large organisation invites relevant companies to bid for a project. Companies send a tender document which outlines the company’s fees, goals and timelines, as well as their particular expertise.  For example, governments often use the tender process to hire private companies for work.

20. HR (noun): This is an acronym for Human Resources. It refers to both;

  • the people who work for a company – the resources of the company that are human
  • and the department which manages the people who work for the company.

For example, Human Resources is usually responsible for hiring and firing employees.

English for business meetings

21. Joint-venture (noun): A business arrangement where two companies decided to work together to achieve a certain goal. For example, communication companies often work together in a joint venture to expand their coverage or to expand into a new region. In 2001, Sony and Ericsson agreed a joint-venture for the mobile phone market.

22. Demand (noun): An economic principle which balances a consumers desire to purchase a product with the amount that it costs. The higher the cost of a product, the lower the demand will be. The opposite is also true, the lower the price, the higher the demand will be.  

23. Supply (noun, verb): An economic principle which balances the number of products being produced with the number of products the public wants. If the supply increases above the demand, the cost of the product will need to be lowered. If the supply is lower than the demand, the price can increase.

24. Wholesaler (noun): A wholesaler is a person or company which buys a large amount of goods, stores them in a warehouse and then sells them to different companies for resale. For example, normal convenience stores buy their products from a wholesaler and not directly from the person or company that makes the product.

25. Fire (verb): ‘To fire’ a worker means to tell someone they are no longer employed by the company – to terminate their job. It normally occurs when the employee has acted badly towards the company or another worker or if they have repeatedly failed to do their job. For example, a worker might be fired for arriving late to work every day.

The business English vocabulary taught in this article are all frequently used in a business context around the world and are important for people who want to learn English for their work.

Learning the business vocabulary in this article is a good way to start your journey to becoming fluent in Business English. An ability to speak the ‘global language of English’ and to be able to communicate with businesspeople around the world will help you excel in your career. You simply must learn English if you wish to succeed in a global economy.