Business Collocations and Common Terms

What are some of the common business collocations and terms? How can I use these effectively to ensure that I sound capable when speaking with native English speakers? Take a look at the list of terms and check back since we will continue to add to this list.

1. Time  Management – the art of effectively using time in the most effective manner at work for yourself and your employees.

Example: Time management is a key skill for successful managers.

2. Top-Down Management – an autocratic style whereby decisions are made at the top and passed down through the ranks.

Example: The practice of top-down management has meant that the company is less responsive than it should be to market changes.

3. Bottom-up management – a management style which allows ideas to rise up through the organization, and where responsibility is devolved or given to the lowest possible level.

Example: In a company with bottom-up management, there is more opportunity for people to use their talents for the maximum benefit of the company.

4. Management style – the way in which the tasks of management are carried out. There are multiple styles that are used based on the situation and the company.

Example: It is common for the management style of a company to have a big influence on the way it performs.

5. Management by objectives – a management system where very clear and measurable objectives are set and management performance is measured against these objectives.

Example: Management by objectives makes it very easy to understand if a particular manager is effective in their job.

6. Management by walking about(MBWA) – an informal management method which focuses on collecting information from all parts of an organization, in order to feed back real and unscreened information into the decision making process.

Example: As a business matures, management by walking about can bring fresh new ideas which would otherwise be overlooked.

7. Management culture – the style of management which prevails in an organization.

Example: Many start-ups have a management culture which appears quite chaotic due to the high intelligence and independent spirit of the average employee in those types of companies.

8. Managing Director – the person in a company who is in charge of day to day functions. This is the most senior manager and is a common term used in UK corporations.

Example: The Managing Director wants to see you in her office right now!

9. Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – another term for Managing Director that is used in US companies to denote the top person running the company.

Example: The board of directors has decided to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer.

10.Board of Directors – a group of people who represent the owners and stakeholders of the company, and in many cases is the ultimate authority within a company. These may include shareholders, union representatives, clients and users (often found in the case of utility companies) and senior management of the company itself.

Example: The Board of Directors will meet to make an important decision tomorrow which will decide the fate of the sales staff.

11. Departmental Head – the most senior manager in a department who heads it up and is responsible for that department’s function.

Example: The Departmental Head of Marketing takes a special interest in consumer research in order to increase the reach of their advertisements.

12. Shareholders – people or organizations having a financial interest in a company by means of owning shares of stock in that company.

Example: The shareholders are extremely angry that profits have taken a dive this year which has driven down the price of the stocks they own.

13. Operations Department – the function within a company that monitors and controls the overall production of goods or management of services. These are separate from other departments such as sales and marketing.

Example: The Operations Department is considering purchasing new and more efficient packaging equipment.

14. Marketing Department the department in an organization which is responsible for communicating the attributes of products and services to the consumer in such a way as to persuade them to make a purchase. In some companies, they combine this department with the sales department.

Example: The Marketing Department is trying a new promotion by advertising on YouTube and Facebook.

15.Sales Department – the department that typically runs the sales force and is responsible for the process of selling goods and services to the consumer or other companies.

Example: The Sales Department has done a great job this year by increasing sales this year while continuing to open up new markets.

16. Information Technology(I.T.) Department – the IT department is responsible for communications, cyber security, the company networks, hardware, software, and data.

Example: Our Information Technology department is working on a new network that will be available on the internet with the proper login for each employee.

17. Human Resources – the department which manages the people in an organization along with the hiring process. They also ensure that employment regulations are adhered to.

Example: The Human Resources department is currently conducting a review of pay scales to ensure that they can attract top talent.

18. Financial management – the function within a company that looks after generating income through cash inflows along with money being spent through outflows. They also look after company assets as well.

Example: The financial management of most companies is concerned with costs, cash flow, profits, and investment.

19. Corporate branding – the process of creating a recognizable identity for a company by means of logos, slogans, brand names, colors, uniforms, and other details such as the typefaces used in marketing.

Example: A company such as Apple spends a great amount of time and detail focused on corporate branding which makes their logo strong and instantly recognizable.

20. Advertising campaign – a specific and generally time limited program designed to communicate sales messages for a product, brand or company.

Example: We need an advertising campaign to improve sales of our traditional line of cakes.

21. Factors of production – those things which are required to produce the goods a company makes.

Example: One of our most important factors of production is our continuous supply of quality raw materials.

22. Raw materials – the basic materials from which products are made.

Example: Our cakes are so good because we use nothing but the finest raw materials such as organic butter, free-range eggs, demerara sugar and non-GMO flour.

23. Due diligence – the process of detailed inquiry into the affairs of a company, its assets and liabilities, and past performance. This typically happens prior to selling or making a large investment in a company.

Example: We undertook due diligence and are satisfied that this will be a great acquisition for our company.

24. Intangible Products or Services – these are things that the customer cannot see or are physically available. These are typically services such as insurance and products like an online video or music service such as Spotify.

Example: Our intangible services include insurance and advice on how to use our products.

25. Profit objective – this the profit which a company is trying to achieve for a certain period of time.

Example: We could improve our profit objective for this year by decreasing our costs and selling into new markets.

26. Catastrophic loss – a loss which is so serious that it could mean the end of the company or at least a big setback.

Example: We had a catastrophic loss when we released a defective product into the market.

27. Organizational chart – A visual depiction of how the employees of an organization relate to each other.

Example: Our organizational chart shows that some of our managers have too many people reporting to them, and some have too few.

28. Planning Department – the department in a company which helps other departments to help layout the needs for future projects and needs within the various parts of the company.

Example: The Planning Department is in the final stages of the creation of an entirely new range of products.

29. Management training – typically managed by the Human Resources department to develop and train the managers of the company. This is critical since the management makes an impact on the employees which are key to most companies.

Example: We will conduct a management training workshop for senior managers to improve their skills in dealing with new employees.

30. Critical Path Analysis – a technique by which a project is mapped by showing the dependencies that the most vital functions and people have on the success of the project.

Example: The critical path analysis shows that we are unable to proceed until the contractors finish their portion of the project.

31. Chain of command – the management structure which enables information, instructions, and responsibility to move between different levels of authority in an orderly fashion.

Example: The chain of command in our company is structured in a way that makes the sales organization in the lead when it comes to new ideas and procedures.

32. Corporate Ethics – the moral foundation of an organization. There are written rules that are part of the organization and in some organizations, there are additional unwritten rules for organizations such as sales and marketing.

Example: I prefer to buy from a company which has good corporate ethics. For example, one which devotes part of its profits to worthy causes and which treats its employees fairly.

33. Fixed assets – assets that are needed for long-term use and are highly unlikely to be sold off and instead are used as the foundations for production. These are items like land, buildings, vehicles, and factory equipment.

Example: Our fixed assets are a major line item on our balance sheet and can be used as collateral for a new loan.

34. Fixed costs – costs which must be paid regardless of the volume of production, such as insurance, salaries, leases on equipment and subscriptions.

Example: Our fixed costs are much too high so we need to find a way to reduce them or cut some of them out of the budget completely.

35. Balance sheet – the financial statement of a company showing the sources of its income, expenses, and either a profit or loss.

Example: The balance sheet shows that the company is in very good financial health.

36. Bottom line – a common term with two main meanings. It can mean the profit or loss a company is making, and it can also mean the ultimate position or conclusion.

Example: The bottom line of the company is looking very healthy indeed. The bottom line is, if I do not get a salary increase, then I will have to think about for a new job!

37. Profit motive – the motivation of a company, leading them to operate in a manner that maximizes their profits. It is at the core of modern-day corporations.

Example:  It is clear that in this organization the profit motive is more important than welfare if the employees.

38. Customer service – the function of the company assigned to take care of the customer. Aspects of this organization include such things as dealing with complaints, user-friendly instructions, and after sales service.

Example: Our company prides itself in giving great customer service and as a result, we get a lot of repeat business and have a high level of customer loyalty.

39. Competitive advantage – the attributes and functions of a company or product they make which make the company able to perform better than its competitors.

Example: Our street locations and top sales staff give us a tremendous competitive advantage in small and medium sized communities.

40. State of the art – the most up to date, leading edge ways of performing tasks. This also includes having the latest up to date equipment and tools.

Example: Our state of the art production facility lowers the cost of production and gives us the ability to lower our prices and undercut our competitors.

41. Economies of scale as the increased level of production goes up, there is a savings in the cost per unit due to the higher volume.

Example: Once our factory was at full production we saw the economies of scale in action and enjoyed the increase in profits.

42. Hostile takeover – an attempt to buy a company which is resisted by the company trying to be taken over.

Example: The board of directors called an emergency meeting to discuss the hostile takeover by one of our major competitors.

43. Just in time – a stock and resources control system which means that you do not have to carry inventory because the resources needed are available at the right or perfect time.

Example: Since we began using just in time we have decreased our inventory and warehouse costs associated with having a large stockpile of spare parts and materials.

44. The Pareto Principle – a well-known observation that 20% of any input results in 80% of the result. This is often called the 80/20 rule.

Example: 80% of our profitability comes from just 20% of our customer base, which is a classic example of the Pareto Principle.

45. The Peter Principle – the observation that people are promoted to their maximum level of incompetence to where they can no longer be promoted due to this.

Example: Tim is a perfect example of The Peter Principle since he has not been promoted in years and seems to be behind with his tasks all of the time.

46. Big Data – The collection and analysis of huge amounts of data in the hopes that it will show how to better run an organization, sell to customers and other aspects of the company to help it run more effectively.

Example: The IT department has a big data initiative that will help the sales department to better forecast the monthly sales while also serving to better understand what type of customers to target.

47. The Internet of Things – the connectivity of domestic items which can be controlled through the internet. Most businesses are preparing themselves as this is an ever increasing market.

Example: Our air conditioners and heaters are now part of the internet of things since they are hooked up to the internet to better control the temperature in the office.

48. SWOT Analysis – analyzing an organization or situation by looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Example: We’ve conducted a SWOT analysis of the company which has revealed an issue with the production of our top products.

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