Business English Collocations

Doing Business
Doing Business in English. Getty Images

Business English collocations are commonly used combinations of words used when speaking about business in English. Collocations can be understood as words that usually go together. For example, in English we do business not make business. The business English collocation "do business" is a collocation that can make all the difference if you are trying to do business around the world. When decisions concern a lot of money, you can imagine it's important to get the phrase right!

 

Here are common business English collocations with verbs used in various business situations: 

We use do and make with common business operations:

Do

do the accounts Mary does the accounts in bookkeeping.
business We do business with countries around the world.
a deal  We did a deal with them last year.
due diligence Let's do due diligence before we begin the project.
paperwork First we have to do the paperwork.
research Let's do some research on the subject.

Make

an appointment I made an appointment for a meeting next week.
a calculation She has to make a calculation before she decides.
cutbacks The company made cutbacks at their stores in New York.
a deal We made a deal with the devil.
an investment She made an investment in a few stocks.
a loan The bank made a loan of $75,000.
money The company made a lot of money last year.
a profit The made a poor profit on the deal.

We use the following verbs when speaking about managing a business or company: 

Manage

a business / a company / a factory / a store, etc.  He manages two stores in California.
expectations Always manage your expectations during contract negotiations.
a project / a team / an account Susan manages five projects. She's amazing. 

Operate 

an airline The company operates an airline in Brazil.


a facility We operate facilities in Germany and Japan.
a service We operate a tourist service in Boulder, Colorado.

Run 

a business That's no way to run a business! 
a bar / a shop / a restaurant, etc.  My brother runs a bar in Boston.
a marketing campaign / an advertising campaign We ran our latest advertising campaign three months ago.

Business English collocations also combine with nouns. Here are important examples of collocations using nouns to speak about decisive moments in business.

Deal

cut a deal We cut a deal with our competition.
do a deal The company did a deal in Los Angeles.
give someone a deal Let me give you a deal on a new car.
close a deal Jake closed the deal yesterday. He's celebrating today.
work on a deal We're working on a deal with a new client.

Contract

sign a contract Make sure to read carefully before sign any contract.
write up a contract Let's write up a new contract for next year.
draw up a contract I'll have my lawyers draw up a contract.
negotiate a contract Accepting a first offer is no way to negotiate a contract.
offer someone a contract We'd like to offer you a contract at our company.
bid on a contract We're bidding on three contracts at the moment. Hopefully, we'll get a contract soon.

Adjectives also can modify nouns to create important descriptive collocations:

Customer

long-time customer We treat our long-time customers with great respects and even better deals.
regular customer He's a regular customer. He comes in every Friday afternoon.
prospective customer He's pitching the project to a prospective customer.
paying customer The only customer we need is a paying customer. 
domestic / international customer We have both domestic and international customers. 

Learn more about business English collocations concerning money, and equipment

Each type of business has its own collocations in English. Here are a number vocabulary pages dedicated to vocabulary used in each type of profession.

English for Specific Purposes Core Vocabulary Lists

English for Advertising
English for Banking and Stocks
English for Book Keeping and Financial Administration
English for Business and Commercial Letters
English for Human Resources
English for the Insurance Industry
English for Legal Purposes
English for Logistics
English for Marketing
English for Production and Manufacturing
English for Sales and Acquisitions