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10 Useful Business Expressions for the Workplace

10 Useful Business Expressions for the Workplace

10 Useful Business Expressions for the Workplace – Survival English

By Analiz Guzman, Oct. 2019


Developing Business English skills is essential for getting ahead in your professional life. Improving your business English vocabulary and knowledge will help you communicate more effectively within a work setting as well as open up new career opportunities to propel you toward your professional and personal goals.


If you run a small business/startup or work for one, here are 10 useful business expressions to help you be at your most confident when talking business. Read along to improve your fluency and begin talking like a boss!


  1. Carve out a niche

Do you have a passion that is unique only to you? Then you may have found your special niche! A niche is something specific that is most appropriate for you to do. For example, if you have a passion for designing clothes and you are good at it, then design is your niche!  To “carve out a niche” means to find a particular market in business that is unique to you and you can control. Niche markets are very small and specific. If your goal is to succeed in this competitive world, then it is important to carve out a niche and be the best in your industry. A similar phrase to use when one controls part of a certain market is “corner the market.”





  1. Get something off the ground


This term is mostly used in regards to startups or new endeavors. It means to start a project or business. For example, on opening day of your new restaurant, you may feel excited to get your family recipe off the ground.


  1. Red tape


Red tape is the dreadful phrase American entrepreneurs and business owners use to refer to all the bureacracy required to maintain a business such as excessive rules, procedures, regulations and standards that must be met to maintain in compliance with governing bodies. For example, you may be required to pay hundreds of dollars in fees for licenses to be able to operate and run your business. But don’t let the red tape keep you from achieving your goals! With a little hard work and dedication, you can make your dream come to fruition.


A common phrase similar to this one is to do something “by the book.” Doing something by the book means to follow the rules. Many people like trying to skip the red tape, but we prefer to do things by the book, so JUST.Go languages is proudly and successfully accredited by the CEA and SEVP certified.


  1. In the red


Opposite Phrase: Business is booming!


“In the red” is a phrase you never want to hear about your business because it means business is not booming. In the red means that a business is not making a profit and is running at a loss. If you are in the red, you are losing money so work hard to keep your business in the green!


  1. Get the ball rolling


To get the ball rolling means to start something in hopes to gain some results. Getting the ball rolling is similar to getting something off the ground (#2 on our list) but it differs in the sense that you are not starting something from zero. When you get the ball rolling, there already is some momentum. For example, you have already gotten your first few clients or profits and are looking to increase results with new projects or tasks.

  1. Multitask


To multitask means to do many things at once. Have you every found yourself doing ten things at once? When you are an entrepreneur or a new business owner, you will certainly need to multitask as you will be playing many vital roles at once in order to get your business off the ground!


Some useful, similar phrases is to “wear many hats” which means to do many jobs or play many roles within an organization and having “a lot to balance on your plate” which is another quirky way to say you are multitasking with many tasks at once.




  1. Go the extra mile


To go the extra mile means to do more than is needed. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it’s important to go the extra mile. You will need to put in the extra effort to reap the rewards of entrepreneurship. As an English-learner, it’s also important to go the extra mile in class so you can transfer all your new language skills into your business.


  1. To get ahead of the game


In business and in life, you want to be ahead of the game. Getting ahead of the game means to try to do better than your industry competitors. One could do so by offering better, more unique services or by being more affordable. Once you already have the advantage against your opponent, you’ll have to take measures to keep or stay ahead of the game.


  1. Cut corners


To cut corners means to do something the cheapest or easiest way possible. For example, many people will try to save on costs by cutting corners on manufacturing or by multitasking. Sometimes cutting corners hurts more than help as it can impact the quality of your service or product.


  1. The bottom line


The bottom line is a phrase used when you are getting to the most important point of your discussion. It is also used to refer to the net income after all taxes have been deducted. In negotiations, this phrase means the least amount or minimum conditions one is willing to accept.

Business English can be daunting even for native speakers! It is full of complex terminology, expressions, phrases and idioms that requires some time and effort to learn. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are confused or don’t understand what was said, here are some safety phrases you can fall back on to have the speaker repeat and explain:


Could you repeat that, please?


Could you explain that in another way, please?


I’m afraid I didn’t get that.


Just to clarify, what you’re saying is….


We hope you enjoyed this article and learned some new phrases and expressions along the way. Try them out with your colleagues at your next business meeting!



For more survival business English tips, call us at +1 (305) 534-1255 or email us at


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