“Think outside the box!” – Useful English Idioms For Business You Should Know

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One way to become a more confident English speaker is to learn English idioms for business. You may have heard someone say the English phrase “think outside the box“ at work, but weren’t sure what it means. 

What are English idioms? Idioms are “a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own.”

Definition of “idiom”

Because of their different meanings, idioms can be difficult to remember and use. Study the flashcards at the end of the post and use them in sentences to become familiar with them.

There are many useful idioms you can use in business to describe situations and actions in a better and more fun way. Read this text about entrepreneurship advice:

Get your foot in the door as early as possible. It’s a myth that you need an excellent idea to get your business started. Thinking outside the box is an important first step, but you need more to succeed. You won’t be successful unless you have a smart strategy, passion, and effort.

Successful entrepreneurs see the bigger picture when taking investment decisions. Cash cows are valuable for the financial health of your business.

The most effective type of marketing is word of mouth. That’s why you have to be ready to go the extra mile to make every customer happy. You have to hit the nail on the head when dealing with your customers and thinking about what they want.

Managing employees is especially difficult for new businesses. As a leader, it’s vital to keep your employees in the loop about new information. At the same time, it’s a challenge to make sure all employees are on the same page with your plans.

Networking is essential to get your business off the ground. It’s important to meet a lot of new people and to touch base regularly with business contacts. In a nutshell, being an entrepreneur is harder than a normal job, so you can’t just call it a day and go home at 5 p.m. like most employees.

Business English Idioms
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Useful English idioms for business

Here is the clarification of the most useful English idioms you can use in business.

Practice the pronunciation: Click on the speaker icon in the flashcards below to practice the pronunciation of each phrase.

1) Think outside the box

think outside the box

to think outside the box

Example: Thinking outside the box is an important first step, but you need more to succeed.

Meaning:

You need to think outside the box to get a new idea instead of traditional ideas. It means you are very creative and think in a different way than others. As a result, you come up with creative and unusual ideas.

2) Get your foot in the door

to get your foot in the door

Example: Get your foot in the door as early as possible.

Meaning:

This idiom means that you take an opportunity to start early. You might be at a low level at first, but you have a chance of being more successful in the future.

3) Be on the same page

be on the same page

to be on the same page

Example: It’s a challenge to make sure all employees are on the same page with your plans.

Meaning:

All employees should agree with your plans. They need to share the same point of view as you.

4) Touch base

touch base (2)

to touch base

Example: It’s important to meet a lot of new people and to touch base regularly with business contacts.

Meaning:

To build your network, you often have to briefly make contact with people who you know to catch-up.

5) In the loop

in the loop

in (or out of) the loop

Example: As a leader, it’s vital to keep your employees in the loop about new information.

Meaning:

Your employees are in the loop and are aware of new information. If they are out of the loop, they are unaware of important news in the company.

6) Call it a day

Call it a day - Business English idioms

to call it a day

Example: You can’t just call it a day and go home at 5 p.m. like most employees.

Meaning:

As an entrepreneur, you often work late and stop working for the day later than others. Normal workers call it a day and go home from work at around 5 p.m. every night.

7) Hit the nail on the head

hit the nail on the head

to hit the nail on the head

Example: You have to hit the nail on the head when dealing with your customers and thinking about what they want.

Meaning:

You have to do and say exactly the right thing when talking to your customers. It’s important to describe exactly why there is a situation or problem your customers have.

8) See the big picture

see the big picture

to look at/ see the big picture

Example: Successful entrepreneurs see the bigger picture when making investment decisions.

Meaning:

Entrepreneurs need to see the whole situation, instead of only small parts of it. They have to have a good overview of everything in the company.

9) Go the extra mile

go the extra mile

to go the extra mile

Example: You have to be ready to go the extra mile to make every customer happy.

Meaning:

Customers are happy customers if your company makes more effort than is expected and gives them a great service.

10) Word of mouth

word of mouth

word of mouth

Example: The most effective type of marketing is word of mouth.

Meaning:

The best promotion is when your customers recommend your services and products to other people. People talk about your product and recommend it.

11) Get off the ground

get off the ground

to get off the ground

Example: Networking is essential to get your business off the ground.

Meaning:

Once you build a network, your company will begin to be successful. If you want to have a successful start as an entrepreneur, you need to meet interesting people.

12) In a nutshell

in a nutshell

in a nutshell

Example: In a nutshell, being an entrepreneur is harder than a normal job.

Meaning:

To sum up, entrepreneurship is difficult. In short, a normal job is different from starting a new company.

13) Cash cow

cash cow

cash cow

Example: Cash cows are valuable for the financial health of your business.

Meaning:

A “cash cow” is a business, product or service that makes a lot of money for a long time. As a result, the company is in a good financial situation. This money is used to support other business activities.

Study the new vocabulary

To help you study the new English idioms for business, I have created these flashcards. Using Quizlet, you can study the flash cards, practice spelling and take quizzes to memorize the new words:

Study the vocabulary on Quizlet

Let’s practice

Choose one of the idioms that are new to you and write a sentence with this phrase in the comments. I look forward to reading your sentences

Happy learning!

Read more:

English Phrasal Verbs for Business – Part 1

English Phrasal Verbs for Business – Part 2


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