Business English Vocabulary: 40 Essential Words to Get You Started

As you know, English is fast becoming a requirement for anyone to work, communicate and compete in the international market.

Here are 40 business English words that you will likely come across, from business administration vocabulary to PR and more!

Many of these words have general meanings, so I’ll only be discussing them in the business context. Plus, I’ll be giving you an example sentence with each new word.

Let’s get down to business! 


40 Business English Words You Need in Your Vocabulary Right Now

1. Implement

The verb implement means to put into action or to carry out a plan, decision, or system. It involves taking the necessary steps to make something happen or to make a plan effective.

Our team is ready to implement the new marketing strategy to boost sales.

2. Guidance

The noun guidance comes from the verb to guide, which means to direct or lead the way. Therefore, guidance refers to the act of giving direction or help. 

Martha, our manager, tells us we can go to her for guidance any time.

3. Expand

The verb to expand means to increase the size or amount of something. In business, we often talk about expanding a department or a business. The noun for this word is expansion

I hear that your company plans to expand to Europe and China next year.

4. Clause

In business law, the noun clause refers to a statement or term in the contract. 

Our legal team has raised some questions about a couple of clauses in the contract.

5. Null and void

The phrase null and void refers to a contract or clause that’s invalid, non-binding or which has no legal force. 

Our lease will become null and void in 30 days if we don’t renew it now.

6. Competitor

The noun competitor refers to another business that is trying to perform better than your business and others in the same market. You can also refer to all of your competitors as the competition

Management is concerned about the number of new competitors entering the market this year.

7. Invoice

The noun invoice refers to an itemized bill showing the list of goods sold or services provided, their prices and the total amount to be paid. 

Don’t forget that we need to pay within 45 days of receiving the invoice.

8. Counteroffer

A counteroffer is an offer you make in response to an offer made by another party or group. If you’re unhappy with an offer someone has made to you, you may make a counteroffer

John offered to sell me his used car for $15,000. It’s a nice car but that’s a little too expensive. So I’m going to make him a counteroffer.

9. Trademark

The noun trademark refers to an officially registered name, symbol or logo used to represent a product or firm. Trademark can also be used as a verb. It’s similar in some ways to a copyright or a patent, but not quite the same. 

One of the most famous trademarks in the world today is the Golden Arches, the symbol of McDonald’s.

10. Consensus

The noun consensus refers to an idea or opinion that’s been agreed on by everyone. 

After a four-hour meeting, the committee still couldn’t come to a consensus, so they’ll be meeting again next week.

11. Public relations

Public relations refers to the activities used to promote and create a good public image of your company so that people will view it in a positive way. It’s also common to use the abbreviation PR. 

I feel that sponsoring the Fitness For All program will be an excellent public relations move.

12. Agenda

The noun agenda refers to a list of things to be discussed or done at a meeting or business event. 

Are you sure we can cover everything on today’s agenda in 2 hours?

13. Visual aids

Visual aids are things like charts, pictures, maps, etc. that make it easier for your audience to understand something. You commonly use visual aids if you’re giving a presentation or when you’re in a meeting. 

Your visual aids really helped me get a better picture of this complex construction project.

14. After-sales service

After-sales service refers to the service, such as maintenance and repairs, that you continue to provide after your customer buys your product or service.

Our company’s after-sales service is considered one of the best in the electronics market.

15. Strategy

The noun strategy in business refers to a plan that’s been carefully put together to achieve a certain goal. 

Our corporate department is developing a strategy to place our company at the top of the tourism industry.

16. Estimate

The noun estimate refers to a general idea about the value, size or cost of something based on a rough calculation. To estimate can also be used as a verb, but the pronunciation is a bit different.

The finance team is requesting estimates from several information technology (IT) companies to get an idea of the project cost.

17. Equipment

The noun equipment is used to talk about a set of tools or devices you need for a special purpose. For instance, office equipment may include photocopiers, cabinets, etc. 

My manager thinks we should sell off the unused office equipment to create more space.

18. Branch

The noun branch refers to the local office or shop of a company. 

Our bank will be opening many new branches in smaller cities next year.

19. Dress code

The phrase dress code refers to a set of company rules about what clothing may and may not be worn at work. If you want to do business internationally, it’s definitely a good idea to do some research about the dress codes for the country you’ll be working in. 

Our company has a strict dress code that requires all customer service staff to wear a suit.

20. Guarantee

The verb to guarantee means to make an assurance, usually in written form, of the quality of your product or service. The noun guarantee refers to the assurance itself. If the guarantee also involves a physical document, that document is often called a warranty

Don’t worry, all our products come with a guarantee against major defects.

21. Market research

The phrase market research refers to the research you do to collect information about what your customers need or prefer in a certain product or service. 

New market research shows that food manufacturing is one of our country’s top income earners.

22. Authorization

The noun authorization comes from the verb to authorize, which means to give someone the legal or official approval to do something. Authorization refers to the approval itself. 

A manager’s authorization is required for refunds over $500.

23. Penalty

The noun penalty refers to an official punishment, usually through a fine or other payment, for breaking a contract. 

If you don’t pay your suppliers on time, there will be a penalty of 15%.

24. Headquarters

The noun headquarters refers to the head office where a company is controlled or managed from. It can be used with a singular or plural verb and you might see also written at HQ

Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley cost around $5 billion to build!

25. Commercial

The noun commercial refers to a paid advertisement on radio or TV. 

Our marketing department has a brilliant idea for our next Super Bowl commercial.

26. Partnership

The noun partnership refers to a business arrangement in which two or more individuals or companies work together. They share the profits and losses of a business project.

We are considering a partnership with a local supplier to expand our product line.

27. Budget

The noun budget refers to a financial plan that shows the revenues and expenses for a specific period of time. It helps in managing and controlling spending. To budget is also the verb.

We need to create a budget for the upcoming year.

28. Investment

The noun investment is the act of putting money or resources into a project or business with the expectation of generating a profit. You can also use it as the verb to invest

We are looking for investments and funding for our startup.

29. Negotiation

The noun negotiation is the process of discussing and reaching an agreement between parties who have different interests or opinions. The verb for this one is to negotiate

Successful negotiations with the suppliers resulted in significant cost savings for our company.

30. Profitability

Profitability refers to the ability of a business or investment to generate profit or financial gain. Profit is a noun on its own or to profit is also the verb. 

We need to analyze the profitability of our new product line.

31. Networking

Networking is the act of creating professional relationships, especially for the purpose of exchanging information, contacts and business opportunities. You can also use the verb to network

Attending industry conferences provides great networking opportunities to expand your professional connections.

32. Outsourcing

Outsourcing is the practice of hiring a third-party company or individual to perform certain tasks or services for your company. The verb for this word is to outsource

Our company decided to outsource our customer support services to a specialized call center.

33. Productivity

The noun productivity refers to how efficiently and effectively work is being accomplished.

Implementing better processes increased the productivity of our manufacturing plant.

34. Recruitment

The noun recruitment, from the verb to recruit, refers to the process of finding and hiring qualified individuals to fill job positions within an organization. 

The HR department is actively engaged in recruitment efforts to attract top talent for our company.

35. Stakeholder

The noun stakeholder refers to any individual or group that has an interest, involvement or influence in a project or organization. This can include shareholders, employees, customers and the local community.

We conducted a stakeholder analysis to identify key parties affected by our proposed expansion.

36. Revenue

The noun revenue refers to the income or earnings a company makes from its business activities, such as sales of products or services.

The company experienced a significant increase in revenue after implementing a new marketing strategy.

37. Target audience

The phrase target audience refers to the specific group of people or customers at whom a product, advertisement or message is aimed. It’s the group that will mostly like see or buy the product. 

The marketing team conducted market research to identify the target audience for our new fashion line.

38. Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) is how businesses evaluate the profitability or efficiency of an investment by comparing the gain or loss to the cost of the investment.

Our marketing campaign resulted in an increase in sales, providing a high return on investment.

39. Collaboration

The noun collaboration refers to the process of working together with others to achieve a common goal or complete a task. You can also use the verb to collaborate. It involves sharing ideas, resources and responsibilities. 

The collaboration between the marketing and design teams resulted in a successful product launch.

40. Innovation

The noun innovation refers to the process of introducing new ideas, methods or products that create value and create positive change in a business or industry. There is also the verb to innovate

Continuous innovation is key to staying ahead of the competition in the fast-paced tech sector.

Tips for Improving Your Business English Vocabulary Quickly

Now that you have all the words, you have to have to practice them and use them! Here are some ways you can do that, along with the other new business English words that you might find. 

  • Read and watch business news. One easy way to do this is to subscribe to a publication like the New York Times and try to read at least one article every day. Their business section includes articles on a wide variety of business topics, and covers both U.S. and international business news. 
  • Set a target to learn new words every day. One popular study option many learners like is to use flashcards or flashcard apps. An app like Quizlet makes it easy to create your own flashcards and sort them into decks, and you can even share your decks with others and search for existing ones.
  • Learn through authentic content. On the language learning program FluentU, videos are made by and for native English speakers, and include business-related options like speeches, news segments, close looks at specific careers, tips for business owners and more. You can watch the videos and then use the interactive subtitles for definitions, make flashcards and take personalized quizzes.
  • Use the words you’ve learned. Learning new vocabulary is a good thing. But what’s more important is learning how and where to use these words. To do that, you need to actually use these words in your daily work. Apply them to different situations and contexts until you’re comfortable using them.


Remember, if you want to master this business English vocabulary, you need to practice using the words in your daily work.

Apply the tips I mentioned and you’ll soon be adding even more new vocabulary to what you’ve just learned here.

Keep up your good work!

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