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Business English: Key Terms and Phrases

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Business English is a specialized area of English language learning focused on the vocabulary and language skills necessary for professional communication. Whether you’re new to the corporate world or looking to brush up on your business lingo, understanding these key terms and phrases is essential. Here are some of the most common and useful terms to know:

An agenda is a list of items to be discussed or done at a meeting. It’s meant to organize and prioritize the topics for the meeting to ensure all important matters are covered.
Could you please circulate the agenda before the meeting tomorrow?

Benchmark refers to a standard by which something can be measured or judged. In business, it’s often used to compare a company’s performance with others in the industry.
The quarterly report shows that our profits are above industry benchmarks.

To brainstorm is to generate ideas spontaneously as a group, encouraging creativity and free-flowing discussion. It’s a common technique used to solve problems or come up with new concepts.
Let’s set aside an hour on Friday to brainstorm marketing strategies for the new product.

Buy-in is the agreement on a course of action by all parties involved. It often entails convincing colleagues or stakeholders to support and endorse a plan or idea.
We’ll need the management’s buy-in before we proceed with the project implementation.

Cash Flow
Cash flow is the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business, especially affecting liquidity. It’s a vital measure of financial health for any company.
Positive cash flow indicates that a company’s liquid assets are increasing.

A deliverable is any tangible outcome or product that must be delivered to complete a project or part of a project. This could include reports, plans, software, buildings, and other physical products.
We need to finalize the deliverables for the next phase of the development project.

To empower means to give someone the authority or power to do something. In a business context, it often refers to enabling employees to make decisions and take responsibility for their work.
The new company policy is aimed at empowering our staff to make more client-focused decisions.

Fiscal Year
A fiscal year is a one-year period used for financial reporting and budgeting. It is not necessarily the same as a calendar year and varies between companies and countries.
Our fiscal year runs from April 1st to March 31st, unlike the calendar year.

In business, leverage refers to the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital to increase the potential return of an investment.
We can leverage our existing assets to secure the additional funding required for expansion.

A milestone is a significant stage or event in the development of a project. It marks an important achievement that is critical to the project’s progress.
The completion of the prototype was a major milestone for the R&D department.

Outsourcing involves obtaining goods or services from an external supplier, often from another country. Companies may outsource to save costs or focus on their core business activities.
To reduce expenses, we’ve decided to outsource our customer service operations to a company overseas.

ROI (Return on Investment)
ROI measures the gain or loss generated on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. It is a key performance indicator for evaluating the profitability of an expenditure.
The ROI on the new software exceeded our expectations within the first year.

Synergy refers to the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
The merger created a synergy that increased our market share and revenue.

Touch Base
To touch base means to make contact or check in with someone briefly. It is often used to refer to a quick conversation or update.
I’ll touch base with the design team this afternoon to see if they need any assistance.

Value Proposition
A value proposition is a statement that summarily describes how a product or service will meet the customer’s needs in a way that is different from its competitors. It’s a key component of a company’s overall marketing strategy.
Our value proposition highlights why our solution is more cost-effective and efficient than the competition.

Understanding these terms can be a game-changer in the way you navigate through the business world. Whether you’re leading a meeting, crafting a business plan, or engaging in high-stakes negotiations, proficiency in Business English will contribute tremendously to your success.

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