How to talk business

The first thing to say about the language of business is ‘handle with care’. There’s a lot of business bullshit around and, when it comes to business support, people may use jargon to bamboozle you into buying something you probably don’t need , so you need to learn the language. This applies equally whether or not you delegate a particular business domain to someone else within your enterprise.

Take marketing for example, a good marketing specialist is a real asset, particularly if you’re short of time rather than money. But after 40 years in marketing I believe that much of it is common-sense communication. Even so, whoever’s responsible for your marketing, as a business owner you still need to know your way around abbreviations like USP, SEO and SWOT, and decide whether content marketing (the current ‘big thing’) is for you.

Of course once you move on to business finance you’ll find there’s a whole new lexicon to learn. You’ve probably seen the Dragon’s Den pitches where entrepreneurs get tied up in knots over their gross and net profit, their margins and mark-ups, their cash forecast and turnover figures. You don’t need to learn your figures off by heart (although if you can memorise a few, that can impress in the right circles) but you need to know where to find them when asked. Once you’ve done your homework, you can share the mantra turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is reality” with authority (and know why it’s true).

Note: I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t pay for professional advice – objective and informed guidance from a trusted source is invaluable. I’m merely suggesting you find your way around the business lexicon first, so you better understand the conversations when they happen!

Finally, you should strive to be clear and concise in your communications with other entrepreneurs and would-be customers, avoiding the jargon where possible and explaining it when you can’t. Honesty and ‘straight talk’ can go a long way in building your reputation and, ultimately, making new sales. So, learning the language and using it well is good for both your business and your buyers. Or, as they say, a ‘win-win situation’.

Getting started:

www.startupdonut.co.uk/business-planning/start-up-business-jargon-buster

https://blog.invoiceberry.com/2018/09/revenue-vs-cash-flow-facts

https://blog.invoiceberry.com/2016/09/11-invoicing-terms-every-small-business-freelancer-know

For enterprises of the social variety here’s another jargonbuster  https://www.socialchangecentral.com/social-change-buzzwords/

For further free resources to help start and grow your business, go to Build Your Business  https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/build-your-business and Free Lunch https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/free-lunch-business-support

 

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