There are many idioms used in the business world. If you don’t understand these expressions, it’s easy to get lost in a conversation. Learn 20 Business Idioms and Phrases that are commonly used in English.
1. Get one’s foot in the door
- Meaning: To get an opening or promising opportunity; to start working at a low level, hoping to progress
- Example: An internship might not sound very interesting, but it’s a great way to get your foot in the door at this company.
2. On a shoestring
- Meaning: With very little money; on a very tight budget
- Example: We lived on a shoestring for years before I got a good-paying job. John traveled to Florida on a shoestring.
3. Jump through hoops
- Meaning: To do a lot of difficult things before you are allowed to have or do something you want
- Example: The boss expects the entire staff to jump through hoops for him.
4. Eager beaver
- Meaning: An enthusiastic person who works very hard
- Example: Give that big project to the new girl, she’s a real eager beaver.
5. Hold the Fort
- Meaning: To have the responsibility for something or care of somebody while other people are away or out
- Example: You should open the store at eight o’clock and hold the fort until I get there at ten.
6. Golden handshake
- Meaning: A large sum of money that is given to somebody when they leave their job, or to persuade them to leave their job
- Example: The company’s vice president received a $700,000 golden handshake after being pressured to leave his position.
7. Walking papers
- Meaning: The letter or notice dismissing somebody from a job
- Example: The boss gave Jame his walking papers for arriving to work late yet again.
8. Cash cow
- Meaning: The part of a business that always makes a profit and that provides money for the rest of the business
- Example: When Danniel purchased stock in that software company 10 years ago, he never expected it to become such a cash cow.
9. Bet your bottom dollar
- Meaning: Bet all one has on something
- Example: I would bet my bottom dollar that the accounting manager will be late again today.
10. Get the ball rolling
- Meaning: Let’s start
- Example: I got the ball rolling, but no one helped me with the project.
11. Low hanging fruit
- Meaning: It’s easy to do
- Example: People who always want to be the first to buy something, they’re low-hanging fruit for this product.
12. Get the bugs out
- Meaning: Find the mistakes or prevent problems
- Example: I got the bug out of my system and came back and worked hard to build my career..
13. Think outside the box
- Meaning: Think of creative, unconventional solutions instead of common ones
- Example: OK, team, we really need to think outside the box if we’re going to impress the CEO!
14. Hit the ground running
- Meaning: We need to start the project well
- Example: We need to hit the ground running with this project.
15. All hands on deck
- Meaning: Everyone is working extra hard to finish this
- Example: All hands on deck! We’ve got to roll out this tarp before the rain starts. Now let’s go!
16. Touch base
- Meaning: Let’s speak again next week
- Example: John and I touched base on this question yesterday, and we are in agreement.
17. In the black
- Meaning: Become profitable opposed to being “in the red”
- Example: I wish my accounts were in the black. Sally moved the company into the black.
18. On the ball
- Meaning: To be alert and aware
- Example: My new personal assistant is working out well. He’s really on the ball.
19. Shooting the breeze
- Meaning: Talking casually without purpose
- Example: We spent the entire afternoon just shooting the breeze.
20. Know the ropes
- Meaning: Have knowledge of
- Example: Don’t worry about Sara’s taking over that reporter’s job-she already knows the ropes.
Commonly Used Business Idioms and Phrases – Image