Career Development

The Value of Increasing Your Business Vocabulary

August 23, 2021

Business vocabulary enables you to communicate ideas with your industry colleagues. Studying some of the most common English business words can also help you understand certain concepts in your professional environment. This article provides you with a business vocabulary list with definitions that can help you navigate the corporate jargon used in business environments.

What are business vocabulary words?

Business vocabulary words and phrases are terms used to describe events, outcomes, tasks, entities and processes in the workplace. The stronger your business vocabulary is, the better you will be at communicating important thoughts and concepts to others in your work environment. It’s important to understand the most used business words so you can easily understand industry publications, workplace memos, professional presentations, standup meetings and casual conversations with coworkers.

19 business words to know

Below is a list of some of the best business words to use when you’re discussing common topics like marketing, finance, production and business management.

1. Asset

An asset is anything of value that a company possesses. Assets include goods, products, documents, properties and other resources. Assets might also refer to a grouping of deliverables required by a client or the organization itself.

2. Board of directors

The board of directors is a group of individuals who set the policies that govern a company. Board members are elected by stockholders.

3. Branding

A company’s branding includes the name, logo, imagery, colors, typography and language that are used to distinguish it from other businesses. Branding is a critical part of marketing since it determines how others perceive the company.

Related: Learn About Being a Brand Manager

4. Liability

A liability is a financial debt, risk or obligation. Liabilities include mortgages, outstanding loans and accrued expenses.

5. Logistics

Logistics are the processes involved in managing and executing a complex task or project involving many people, materials, timelines and more. Logistics may also refer to more specific processes related to supply chain management.

6. Objective

A company or team’s objective outlines a goal that a business, team or individual is trying to achieve. This statement of purpose will guide your actions as you plan for future successes.

7. Opportunity cost

The opportunity cost is a loss as a result of choosing one action over another. If you can choose only one option, calculating the opportunity cost of each can help you determine the best course of action.

8. Outsourcing

When a company gets products or services from an outside worker or supplier, it’s outsourcing. A business may outsource from another country or a different company. Anything that is not handled in-house is outsourced.

9. Overhead

Financial overhead is the indirect cost associated with running a business, often related to administration, marketing and maintenance. These costs are not associated with product manufacturing or service delivery. 

10. Profitability

A business’s profitability is its ability to yield a certain financial gain in relation to its size and costs. This is a measurement of efficiency that helps define the company’s ability to produce a return on investment.

11. Research and development

Research and development, or R&D, are activities that center around invention, innovation and improvement. In the R&D department, new technologies, messaging, processes and products are developed and tested.

12. Return on investment

Return on investment, or ROI, is the amount of profit returned on an effort in comparison with the expense. To calculate this performance measurement, you divide the benefit of the investment by the cost.

13. Revenue

A company’s revenue is its earnings over a certain period. This includes any deductions available for returned merchandise. On an income statement, revenue may also be called sales.

14. Shareholder

A shareholder is anyone who owns one or more shares in a company. Shareholders have a financial interest in the company, as they stand to profit if stock prices go up. However, they are not responsible for the company’s debts. Shareholders are always stakeholders, but not all stakeholders are shareholders.

15. Stakeholder

A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in a company, goal or project. Examples of stakeholders include shareholders, employees, owners, customers and vendors. These individuals all stand to profit if the company succeeds or suffer if it fails.

16. Supply chain

The supply chain incorporates both the production and distribution of goods. This chain follows a product from the initial manufacturing phase through to consumption by the consumer.

17. Telecommuting

Telecommuting is working from home or another environment outside of the traditional office. Telecommuters typically use the internet and telephone to communicate, access information and turn in projects from a remote location.

Read more: What is Telecommuting?

18. Turnover

Turnover is the rate that employees leave and join the company. A business with high turnover doesn’t retain workers for long periods of time. Low turnover is desirable, as this means that employees stay on longer, which reduces costs and increases productivity.

19. Unique selling proposition

The unique selling proposition, or USP, is the feature that differentiates a product or service from the competition. It’s important to define your USP in the development phase to make sure your project, product or organization has something distinct to offer customers.

Tips for increasing your business vocabulary

Increasing your business vocabulary is something you can continually work on to improve your professional communications. Try these tips:

  • Take a business writing course.
  • Read business-related literature.
  • Watch business news segments.
  • Purchase or download a set of business flashcards and learn a new word each day.
  • Use your business vocabulary in daily conversations and written communications.

Any time you encounter a business word that you’re not familiar with, you should look it up online to get a better understanding of the term or phrase. Enter it into a search engine and browse the first few results. Reading in-depth articles on the topic will help you get a well-rounded understanding of the new vocabulary.

Improving your business vocabulary will equip you to speak intelligently and eloquently about key topics in the workplace, positioning you for professional success.


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