Here is business idioms most commonly used:
- A full plate – a lot of work to do or problems to deal with.
Example: The company accountant had a full plate completing the income tax forms by the deadline.
- Bang for the buck – value for money; performance for cost.
Example: Time Warner Cable, Co. gave more bang for the buck to the customer by bundling prices for their television, video and phone services.
- Belt tightening – the introduction of rigorous reductions in spending.
Example: When demand for computers decreased, the computer company had to do some belt tightening.
- Blew it all – to spoil your chance of achieving something because of what you say or do
Example: The marketing director spent his entire budget; he blew it all on digital advertising.
- Bounce back – to return to a good condition; to recover from a blow or defeat.
Example: The stock market will hopefully bounce back in the New Year.
- Bring home the bacon – to earn a living, especially for a family; to achieve desired results; have success.
Example: David was bringing home the bacon when his boss doubled his salary for being such a devoted employee.
- Compare apples to oranges – compare two unlike things to make an invalid comparison.
Example: You really shouldn’t think that sales in a rural area would equal sales in some of the largest urban regions of the world. That’s like comparing apples to oranges.
- Compare apples to apples – compare two similar things.
Example: In exploring options for expanding the company, the Board of Directors hired different architects to compare apples to apples about the cost of the expansion.
- Fast track a project – make priority; speed up the time frame.
Example: The boss said that we need to fast track the construction project and finish before winter.
- Keep our heads above water – to manage to survive, especially financially; to keep up with one’s work.
Example: In this economy, the hotel chain tried to keep their heads above water. They added an outdoor patio in hopes to attract more customers.
- Money to burn – to have a lot of money to spend on things that are not necessary.
Example: The manager had a lot of money to burn so he redecorated his office.
- On good ground – safe with; having big consequences; large in scope; great.
Example: We were on good ground with the adjacent company.
- Out of line with – not consistent with; not at the same level as.
Example: If your pay is out of line with your peers’ pay, it’s time to make an appointment with the boss.
- Pay top dollar – to pay a lot of money for something.
Example: The customer paid top dollar for the new car with all of the gadgets.
- Pick your brains – obtain information by questioning someone who is better informed about a subject than oneself.
Example: There was a brainstorming session to pick everyone’s brains for a new name for the company.
- Play it by ear – to do something by feel and instinct rather than with a plan, to improvise.
Example: The meeting would be held on Thursday or Friday but we would have to play it by ear.
- Price skyrocketed – increases quickly to a very high level or amount.
Example: The real estate prices seem to have skyrocketed this past year.
- Reality check – to think realistically about the situation.
Example: Let’s have a reality check and see if the company needs to cut back on its employees’ hours as the profits are just not there.
- Red tape – obstructive official routine or procedure; time-consuming bureaucracy.
Example: In order to get permission to expand the project, there was a lot of red tape to go through.
- Rule of thumb – a useful principle having wide application but not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable in every situation.
Example: The general rule of thumb was to wear more casual clothes on Fridays.
- To be hit hard by – to suffer losses due to something.
Example: We were all hit hard by the recent recession.
- To keep under wraps – to keep secret.
Example: We’re going to give Susan a 20% pay increase next month, but let’s keep that under wraps for now.
- To pay a premium – to pay a higher price for something because it’s a better quality or has a better brand, for instance.
Example: You’ll pay a premium for coffee at that shop, but I am sure you will enjoy it.
- Uphill battle – a difficult fight.
Example: It was an uphill battle to get the extra vacation day approved.