In Progress
Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress



Starting a business

  • To put forward: offered for people to consider (He went to his bank manager and put forward a business plan).
  • Business plan: a plan of how the business will operate.
  • Custom-built: specially made for a particular person or thing (to sell custom-built computers on the Internet).
  • To launch: started, perhaps with a special event to mark the beginning (He launched his business a year later…).
  • To roll out: make a new product available for the first time (Two years later, he rolled out an expanded range, including tablets and other hand-held devices).
  • Expanded: made bigger (expanded range).
  • Firm: company.
  • To manufacture: produce goods (His firm now manufactures around 200 machines a year and delivers to 26 countries around the world).
  • Customer care: looking after the customer’s needs.
  • Priority: something very important which must be dealt with first.
  • Market research (uncountable): Finding out beforehand what people want or need (We didn’t really do any proper market research and we weren’t sure if such machines would sell).
  • Recession: period of low economic activity and bad conditions for business.
  • Potential: possible when the conditions are right.
  • Risk: possibility of something bad happening (But I felt there were enough potential customers to make it worth the risk).
  • Order books: the list of orders waiting to be completed (Soon, designers, scientists, academics and other professional people were requesting personalised machines and our order books were full).
  • Going forward: going into the future (Going forward, Archer plans to expand the business further and a new range of machines will launch next year).

 Language tips

  • In business English, some verbs which usually need an object can be used with an object or with the real object acting as the subject.

With object


Real object as subject
We sold 200 instruments last year.

We didn’t know if the instruments would sell.


They are launching a new range.


The new range launches next year.

They are rolling out.


The new range will roll out next year.

Common business English phrases and collocations

  • CEO: Chief Executive Officer.
  • Corporation: a large company or group of companies that is controlled together as a single organisation.
  • To do business (with): to be involved in commerce.
  • To access new markets: reach and do business with new groups of customers or parts of the world where something might be sold.
  • Build contacts: expand your professional network.
  • To make a profit: to earn some profit.
  • Stiff competition (uncountable): other companies trying hard to be more successful than you.
  • Get (regular) feedback (uncountable): information/opinions about what people think of a product or service.

 Language tips

  • Profit is countable.

We made a profit last year.

Their profits have grown every year.

NOT Their profit has grown.

  • Business can be countable and uncountable.

We hope to do more business in Asia next year. (uncountable = the activity)

New businesses are launched on the Internet every day. (countable = enterprises/companies)

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