30 Important Business English Collocations You Need to Know in Today’s Working World

Have you heard of collocations in English?

Collo-what? I hear you say. But they’re actually pretty simple.

Collocations consist of English words that are often used together, like “make a decision,” “strong coffee” and “cause and effect.” 

I’ve got here the top 30 collocations used by professionals all over the world, with audio and example sentences included. I’ll also explain in more detail how collocations work exactly. 

So let’s get to the list of business English collocations that you can start using at your workplace right now!


Business Verb + Noun Collocations

1. Do business

To “do business” is to enter into a business relationship with another person or company.

According to an article in Entrepreneur, there are many risks to consider if you’re planning to do business in other countries.

2. Make money

To “make money” simply means to earn a profit from your business.

While waiting for a job offer, he’s trying to make money as a seller on Amazon.

3. Join forces

To “join forces” means to team up and work together with another person or business.

The sales and marketing departments will join forces to promote the next product campaign.

4. Go bankrupt

To “go bankrupt” is a situation where a company doesn’t have enough money to pay its debts.

The weak economy is causing many companies to go bankrupt.

5. Run a company

To “run a company” is to be in charge of the operations of a company. The verb run here refers to the act of managing a business activity or store.

So then, you could say “run a business,” “run a restaurant,” “run a flower shop,” etc.

After I retire, I plan to move to the countryside and run a small business.

6. Chair a meeting

To “chair a meeting” is to play the role of a chairperson at a meeting.

It’s your turn to chair the sales meeting this week.

7. Lead a team

To “lead a team” is to be the leader of a group of people working together on a business activity.

Robert doesn’t have enough experience to lead the team.

8. Attract investors

To “attract investors” is to promote a business in such a way as to encourage people and companies to invest in it.

This Forbes article shows you how to attract investors to fund your own startup company.

9. Suffer losses

In business English, to “suffer losses” means your costs are more than your earnings. It’s usually used to talk about business investments, markets, etc.

He suffered losses in the stock market recently. That’s why he follows the market news closely every day.

10. Build trust

To “build trust” is to develop a strong relationship with others, where you both expect the best of each other. You wouldn’t hear an English speaker say create trust, make trust, etc.

One way to build trust with our customers is by keeping our promises to them.

11. Discontinue a product

To “discontinue a product” is to stop manufacturing or selling the product.

Since this line of sportswear isn’t doing well, the company may decide to discontinue the products.

12. Meet a deadline

To “meet a deadline” is to complete a task or job by the scheduled date.

The whole team has been working long hours to meet the deadline.

Business Noun + Noun Collocations

13. Customer service

You may already know this one. “Customer service” is about providing your customers quality support and assistance, and ensuring they’re happy with your product or service.

Good customer service is one of the main reasons customers keep coming back.

14. Price war

A “price war” refers to a period of intense competition between businesses where they continually lower their prices to gain more customers and increase their market share.

The best time to book your plane ticket is when airlines are having a price war.

15. Brand name

A “brand name” is the name a company gives to its product that makes it easy for people to recognize it. It’s typically used to refer to very well-known products and indicate a certain level of quality.

I’m sure you know of famous brand names like Toyota, Kleenex, etc.

Many people will only buy brand name products.

16. Sales figures

“Sales figures” are used, in general, to refer to the number and amount of sales made by a business or industry over a period of time.

Don’t forget to include last year’s sales figures in your report as well.

17. Business model

A “business model” refers to a business plan of how a company intends to successfully make a profit. This includes many details such as the business goals, financing, products and services, market, etc.

Let’s review the success other companies have had using a business model like this one.

18. Customer base

A “customer base” is a group of customers who repeatedly buy your products and services.

The sporty design of this watch will appeal to a young customer base.

19. Market leader

A “market leader” is the company with the highest sales and largest market share in the industry.

We have to work much harder this year to maintain our position as the market leader.

20. Product launch

A “product launch” refers to the act of introducing a new product to the market for the first time. This usually involves marketing activities where the company draws attention to the new product.

It seems the best time for a product launch of beverages is in April, just before summer begins.

Business Adjective + Noun Collocations

21. Annual report

An “annual report” is a document a company makes every year to show its business progress, activities and money details.

Can you check the sales figures in the annual report before it’s printed?

22. Strategic plan

A “strategic plan” is a detailed roadmap a company creates to achieve its major goals in the coming years.

The management team will be meeting next week to draft our three-year strategic plan.

23. Strong competitor

A “strong competitor” is another company or person who is very good in the same business and could be hard to beat.

While we’ve made good progress this quarter, we shouldn’t underestimate any strong competitor in our industry.

24. Full-time employee

A “full-time employee” is someone who works the most regular hours at a job, usually about 40 hours in a week.

Health benefits and a retirement plan are offered for every full-time employee.

25. High demand

If there is “high demand” for something, it means a lot of people want it.

There’s always high demand for travel tickets during the holiday season.

26. International market

The “international market” is where businesses sell or buy products to or from other countries.

Before we expand into the international market, we need to understand local regulations.

27. Loyal customers

“Loyal customers” are people who keep coming back to buy from the same company or shop.

The marketing team is planning an exclusive event for loyal customers.

28. Tight deadline

A “tight deadline” means you only have a short time to finish something.

Please finish this task first because it has a tight deadline.

29. Flexible hours

“Flexible hours” mean that workers can choose when they start and end their work, within limits.

Flexible hours allow our team to work together well even across different time zones. 

30. Long-term plan

A “long-term plan” outlines a company’s vision and strategies for several years ahead.

The board of directors will review the long-term plan next month.

What are Collocations in English?

Collocations are combinations of two or more words that always go together. It’s just something English speakers do naturally. If you substituted one word for a synonym it might still be grammatically correct, but would sound strange.

Some of the most common collocations are made up of verb + noun, noun + noun and adjective + noun.

Let’s take a common collocation like “do business,” for instance. It’s natural for the verb “do” to be paired with the noun “business.” This is why you often hear people say “do business” but you won’t hear them saying “make business” or “have business.”

Business English has lots of its own collocations that are understood by professionals all over the world. 

To become familiar with collocations, you simply have to memorize them and their meanings. It might also be useful to keep a cheat sheet for reference until you’re very comfortable using them. Feel free to print out a copy of the list below and pin it up at your workstation.


So, you now have a pretty good list of collocations to get you started!

Collocations are so common in English, you’ll hear them in all sorts of contexts, from conversations with English speakers to TV shows in English.

You can learn more collocations in context with a program like FluentU, which teaches English using web videos like news segments and movie clips. There are hundreds of videos under the “business” category, and they all have interactive subtitles, flashcards and personalized quizzes. 

When watching English videos or hearing everyday conversations, take note of any new collocations. Then look up their meanings and add them to your list.

As always, happy learning and keep practicing!

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