Business clichés you should stop using if you want to be taken seriously

Not everyone is born as a business owner or leader. Even some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world have had to learn and grow into the successful business owners they have become. While you may have to ‘fake it until you make it’ in the business world, there are some telltale signs that you’re not quite sure what you’re doing yet. If you open your mouth and people shut off, then it could be because you’re talking in business clichés. These are the kind of cringe-worthy words and phrases that can ruin a sales pitch or make an employee want to quit right there on the spot. If you’re using any of the following then might want to cut them out of your vocabulary to be taken more seriously.

Thought leader

What even is a thought leader? If you’re the kind of person who is calling themselves a ‘thought leader’ on LinkedIn, then you could be turning more people off than you once thought. In fact, it often tops the poll as one of the most hated pieces of ‘business lingo’ ever. If you are using the term thought leader, and not in an ironic way, then it is time to stop.


While this may have started off with the best intentions, it is now becoming one of the most annoying hashtags on Instagram. Many actual ‘Girl bosses’ find it to be belittling, as it makes it sound as though female leaders have something different than male leaders. At the end of the day, you’re a boss. With you’re a girl boss or a boy boss doesn’t matter. Just be proud to lead and drop the cliché.


This is a word that really seems to grind the gears of many business owners. What do you mean you’re giving it 110%? Why are you asking your staff for 110%? We understand if you say you go above and beyond for a client, or ask employees to do the same, but 110% is an impossible figure to measure. The only time you should use anything over 100% is if you’re talking about a return on investment. And, if you can provide a 110% ROI then sign us up!

Free consultation

How many people don’t offer free consultations nowadays? When it comes down to it, a consultation is a sales meeting. If you were to charge for this, then we can’t imagine you would bring in much business. Of course, if you are a business consultant and you charge for an actual consultation then this makes sense. However, a free consultation is just a fancy name for a sales pitch. Drop it.

The Uber of…

If you are a new company trying to make waves in the industry, then drop calling yourself ‘The Uber of your industry.’ Unless you really have a groundbreaking business that is going to change the whole industry, then you really shouldn’t be using this phrase. Plus, do you really want to be comparing your business model to one that is being heavily scrutinized by the press right now? Probably not.

Growth hacking

Unless you are using the term ‘growth hacking’ in the right way, this needs to be dropped from your vocabulary immediately. A growth hacker is not an SEO expert or a social media marketer – these people are marketers. Growth hacking involves marketing, sales, product development, distribution, and a whole lot more, to rapidly grow a business. If you’re a growth hacker, cool. If not, stop using this term.

As you can probably tell, there are plenty of business clichés out there – many of which have been slated by fellow business owners and leaders. If you want people to sit up and listen to you, you’re going to want to stop using these terms and phrases. Cut out the nonsense, tell it how it is, and people are way more likely to respect you.