Business English Vocabulary
The most useful business English from
advertising - show your products to customers through radio, television or newspapers
"What is the best way for us to advertise our product?"
afford - able to buy, have enough money to buy
"Television is the best advertising, but the most expensive. Can we afford it?"
agenda - a detailed plan for a meeting.
"The first item on our agenda is advertising."
booming - business is growing very fast
"This year business is booming, so we can start thinking about increasing our investments."
borrow - getting money from someone else, or from a bank, which we must pay back later
"We need to borrow $100,000 to expand our business."
brand - the name of a well-known product (McDonald's, Coca Cola, Volkswagen, etc.)
"We'll need to borrow money for advertising, then we'll build our brand awareness."
break even - when our spending equals the amount we receive from sales
"The company didn't make money nor lose money during the last quarter. They just broke even."
bribe - secretly paying money to get special favors from a company or government official
"She was sent to prison for 30 years for trying to bribe a high official."
budget - a detailed plan for spending money
"The second item on our agenda is the budget. We need to pay special attention to advertising, marketing and building our sales staff. Oh, and we need to significantly increase our budget for English teachers!"
calculate - to count, add, subtract, multiply, divide numbers
"It's not hard to calculate - if we keep spending more money than we take in, we'll have to sell more!"
cancel - to decide NOT to buy something that you had agreed to before
"Before they cancel the order, find out what the problem is and fix it!"
capital - money
"If we had more capital to invest, we would build a new factory."
charge for - ask money for payment
"We never charge for repairs. Making sure our products work is included in the purchase price."
CEO - the top officer in a company, the chief executive officer
"How can we find a good CEO who knows how to run a business in today's business environment?"
CFO - the top financial officer in a company
"The CFO will be attending today's meeting to talk about fundamental accounting principles."
commission - a percentage of each sale that goes directly to the salesperson
"Our salespeople get 10% for each item sold, but that increases as he or she sells more."
competition - other companies that make the same product as yours
"We face tough competition, but our product has some important advantages."
consumption - the total amount of product bought in a market
"Although prices have fallen, overall consumption is higher, so we can still make money."
credit - when you buy first, but pay later
"You can buy this product on credit. The payment will be due in 90 days."
currency - the money of one country
"If you exhange currency in the airport, you'll pay a large commission. Go to a bank instead."
deadline - the time by which some project must be finished
"We have to finish this by Friday. That's the final deadline."
demand - the wish of customers to buy a product
"Until demand increases, we won't sell many of our most expensive products."
discount - a lower price
"If you buy more than 100 of these, we will give you a 10% discount".
distribution - getting the product to the final consumer, or customer
"Our distribution system needs to be improved if we are to meet increased demand."
diversify - start many new businesses instead of doing just one
"If we diversify, we can make more money, but sales of our main product may go down."
economics - the study of finance and money
"If you want to succeed in business, you should study economics."
employee - a worker
"Employees today need to learn so much to be able to move up in the company."
employer - the person who finds and pays workers
"My employer told me I have to work overtime or I'll lose my job!"
estimate - a guess about how much something will cost
"We estimate the new factory will cost less than 20 million euros."
export - to send goods out of a country
"As the local currency drops in value, our exports to that country also drop."
extend - to give more, especially a loan of money
"The bank said they cannot extend the deadline. We have to pay by Friday or face the consequences."
finance - the study of money and how to use money well
"After you study finance, you will know how to increase profits and limit losses."
fund - to provide money in general.
"The CFO said the company plans to fund 50% of the project. The rest will come from the government."
gross - amount of money received from sales
"We took in more than $100 million in gross sales last year.
import - to bring goods into a country
"When our currency is strong, we can import more goods into our own country."
incentive - a special price to get customers to buy
"By offering a 15% discount as an incentive, we'll attract many new customers."
income tax - money paid to the government, based on total money received
"I thought I made enough money last year, but after paying 25% income tax, I didn't have enough to buy that new house."
inflation - rising prices
"Rising energy prices have caused many other prices to increase. The rate of inflation has increased to 7%."
install - to put in and prepare for use, as with a machine
"If you buy now, we'll install this machine for free."
interest - extra money needed to pay back borrowed money
"When you pay back the 100,000 euros, you must also pay 10% interest, so the total will be 110,000 euros."
inventory - unsold items that you keep so that you can sell them in the future
"Our inventory is very low right now. We have to increase build up our inventory to meet demand in the coming year.
invest - spending money so that we can make more in the future
"If we invest so much money in a new factory, we won't have any money in our budget for new advertising."
invoice - a paper which explains what was sold and at what prices
"Look at the invoice. You charged us for repairs that you said were free!"
leadership - the skill of managing people
"He has natural leadership skills, so he will surely be successful."
lend - giving money to someone else, which they will pay back to us later
"When did you lend him the money? I lent it to him two months ago."
loss - when we spend more money than we receive from selling our product
"We took a loss last year, but this year we are spending less and selling more."
lucrative - the possibility of making a great amount of money
"This could be a very lucrative contract! Well make money for each sale as well as for each installation!"
maintain - keep a machine in good condition
"If you maintain this product, it will last for years."
management - the study of how to run a business and lead people
"I plan to study management before I open my own business."
memo - a paper with a message, sent to other people in the same company
"The CFO read the CEO's memo at the meeting, to remind the employees of the company's strategic goals."
monopoly - when only one company controls a whole market
"With this new product, we can break our competitor's monopoly."
negotiate - try to get a better price or make a better arrangement
"We negotiated for hours before they finally gave us a 20% discount."
net - the amount of money received from sales, after expenses are subtracted
"Our gross sales were very good, but we need to cut expenses to add to our net sales."
principal - the main part of a loan, before interest is added
"We can pay back the pincipal in 10 years, then we will only have to repay the interest."
process (verb) - get something ready.
"Please process his employement application, then send him to the accounting office."
profit - the money left over after all expenses are paid
"Our profits are lower this year, but at least we're not losing money!"
quarter - three months of the year, the usual time for planning and reporting financial reports
"Last quarter was our best ever, and I am confident next quarter will be even better."
recruit - search for and choose workers
"We'll need to recruit new employees before the factory starts operation."
refund - giving money back to the customer if there is a problem with the item you sell
"We cannot give you a refund after 90 days. Sorry!"
resign - quit a job suddenly
"Nobody knows why the CFO quit, but some people say he didn't get along with the CEO."
retail - selling to the final customer
"The retail price is 150 euros, but you can buy it for less if you bargain."
retire - finish work after a long career (at age 65 in the U.S., 60 in Japan, 55 in China...)
"I've saved enough money for my retirement, but if I want to retire to Hawaii, I have to save even more!"
sales tax - money paid to the government, based on sales made
"In most states in the U.S., sales tax is added on after the sale. It varies from state to state."
salary - a monthly or yearly pay to managers of important workers
"We will have a salary increase of 7% this year, just enough to keep up with inflation."
saturated - too many companies producing the same product
"The market for product A is already saturated. We need to diversify if we wish to increase our profits."
sluggish - when business is slow (opposite of "booming")
"In this sluggish economy, the best we can hope for is to break even."
supply - the total amount of a product available in a market
"The supply of computer parts is too high, so the price is falling fast."
target - the amount that you plan to sell in a month (also "quota")
"The salesman reached his target by the 24th. He'll get a larger commission on any sales after that."
tariff - a tax on imports from another country
"If the government puts a tariff on electronic products, sales will fall."
terms - the details of an agreement or contract
"The terms of this contract are quite good. I think we have a deal!"
trend - movement in one direction, especially about product becoming more and more popular
"The trend towards more colorful fashion is getting stronger. We need to develop new products."
unit cost - the average amount needed to produce a product
"If we can produce more of these, our unit price will fall, and we'll be able to make a better profit."
warranty - a promise that the things you sell will be of good quality
"This product has a one-year warranty, but if you pay a small fee, we can extend it to five years."
wholesale - selling to a salesman who will then sell to the final customer
"The wholesale price is generally 50% of the retail price."