READ all about it - Business English Vocabulary Words, Idioms and the Fortune 500

I have written many articles about business English since I started TalktoCanada over 7 years ago.  In one of the posts I mentioned a great way of learning English was to study business announcements from international businesses.  So I set out to prove how true this was.

In reading some recent news releases about Exxon Mobil #1 ranked on the Fortune 500 Companies’ list, I found a good share of words.  Nope, these weren’t just the typical general terms.  You know words related to company structure, contracts, employment, marketing, presentations and sales. Our online teachers at TalktoCanada already teach hundreds of these business words to students on a daily basis.Actually these were phrases of business terms. Our online teachers teach these terms, too.

But, let me share 10 of these discoveries with you.  So no matter how you came to be involved with TalktoCanada, the bottom-line is we want to teach the English you need and will actually see in the 'real world'.

Just to prove a point.  

1. To meet increasing demand

When you have consumers wanting more of a product or service, it is important that your company provide this.  You may need to increase or change staff, add some resources or equipment, and even improve technology to output what the customer needs. Placing the customer first is always important.  Demands must be met. Customers must be served.

2. Development concept

When a vision is presented for something to happen in a company, then you have a development concept.  It is the structure and backbone of what you have to work from. In the book Good to Great – Why some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, author J. Collins describes eleven examples of development concepts for some of the “great” companies:

Abbott Laboratories:  Creating a product portfolio that lowers the cost of health care

Circuit City:  Implementing the “4-S” model (service, selection, saving, satisfaction) to big ticket items

Fannie Mae: Becoming the best capital markets player in anything that pertains to mortgages

Gillette: Building premiere global brands of daily necessities

Kimberly-Clark: Manufacturing paper-based consumer products

Kroger: Creating innovative super-combo storesNucor:  Harnessing culture and technology to produce low-cost steel

Philip Morris:  Building brand loyalty in cigarettes and other consumables

Pitney Bowes:  Messaging that requires sophisticated back office equipment

Walgreens:  Seeking the best sites for convenient drugstores

Wells Fargo: Running a bank like a business with a focus on the western US

3. On schedule

When any phase of development is happening at the time you estimated, then you say the project is on schedule. You can also use the expressions before schedule or behind schedule to imply that you are moving ahead of a timeframe or referring to something that should have been completed already. I don’t need to tell you what is better for business.  That’s a given.

4. Within budget

To have a project come within budget simply means that outflow or expenditure does not exceed income. This term can be used with any part of a project or when the project is completed. Easier said than done, it is important to stay within the projected costs. This is a given, too.

5. First phase

When you begin initially with whatever it is you have targeted as a first step for your industry then this is the first phase. Maybe it is to raise so much money in funds.  It might be to purchase certain supplies.  It could be to develop and administer a customer survey. It might be constructing a section of a building or even to make a series of buildings in a specific section of town.  After the first phase, the project moves into more phases usually categorized by ordinal numbers:  the second phase, the third phase, and so on until the final phase or last phase.

6. 50-50 joint venture

When you have two companies or two people (i.e. presidents or departments or industries, etc.) merge into one, then you can use the term 50-50 joint venture.  It means that both parties are equally responsible for the outcome of the business and that you share everything equally from expenses to profits. Everything divided like in the local restaurant’s namesake Soup to Nuts.  Of course, you could have different percentages to match how much each party is going to be involved, but 50-50 implies an equal involvement.

7. Forward looking statements

When Exxon is noted as saying they are going to project the expenses or the profits for a future time, then they are speculating and taking an educated guess on what that means.  They are not certain the exactness of costs and how much they will make, it is only based on an estimation.  Forward looking implies the future.  At any rate, it is good to have some goals in mind and to be moving towards that direction.

8. Actual future results

The actual future results would be the findings at a certain time.  Maybe these results are reported quarterly or mid-year or even annually. It is the exact amounts of whatever results were anticipated and recorded.  Perhaps it is the amount paid for supplies or marketing or for staffing.  Perhaps it is the amount taken in for sales.  Perhaps it is a break-down of the profits made for that month, etc.  It helps reshape future goals.

9. Market conditions

Market conditions are the factors that affect the sale and purchase of goods and services at a particular time for that industry or for the economy in general. It means how one industry is doing specifically or how that particular industry is doing overall (in general).  You could have favorable market conditions when people are buying. The flow of money, the access to credit and the stability of employment play a role in market conditions at every level from local and regional to national and global. If sales are good, you say the market is “up”.  You could have the opposite occurrence and say the market is “down" when purchases are below the mean or below your targeted goals, etc.

10. Timely completion

Timely completion means finishing something on time.  Just like you followed me in my last blog and when I met the 8:00 a.m. deadline in a timely completion. This term would be associated with any phase or the complete product-line ready at the outlined goals and time frames.  Timely completion refers to fulfilling the development concept and staying on schedule.

Whew!  There.  The blog is completed on schedule.

At least the first phase. I think I have proved a point.At least to myself.  But just to be sure, I could look up the rest of the 499 Fortune 500 Companies to report more actual factual results about how you can sharpen your business English skills by reading and studying business announcements from international businesses. Even by reading a few articles from this one company, I got a great feel of the flow, the choice of words, and the style used in a corporate setting.  And now on to #2 Walmart…  

Just to prove a point.

Don’t forget to write to me and share some business words you have learned or are practicing.  And remember, we at TalktoCanada want to teach the English you need and will actually use.  So, let us know any business word or phrases that you know and would like to share.

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