Let’s take a look at some of the most common business idioms starting with C.

Don’t forget to click on the links at the bottom for the rest.

calculated risk

meaning – a risk that is worth taking as the result would be great
example – It’s a calculated risk partnering with Richards and Co., but the profits would be immense.

business idiom - calculated risk

call it a day

meaning – stop working on a job/task/relationship because you’re tired or it’s not working
example – Let’s work for another 15 minutes then we’ll call it a day.

business idiom - call it a day

call the shots

meaning – be in charge, make the decisions
example – Luke is in charge of the project. He’ll be calling the shots.

business expression - call the shots meaning

can’t see the wood for the trees

meaning – can’t see the whole situation as you are too preoccupied with minor details
example – I hate the people who run this country, they can’t see the wood for the trees.

business idiom - can’t see the wood for the trees

carve out a niche

meaning – develop expertise in a particular area
example – We need to carve out a niche for our business if we want to succeed.

business expression - carve out a niche

cash cow

meaning – something that generates income
example – Donald’s parents are rich! He has a constant cash cow.

business idiom - cash cow

cash in on

meaning – take advantage of/capitalise on
example – Every magazine in the country will be cashing in on the upcoming royal wedding.

business idiom - cash in on

cash in one’s chips

meaning – quit or exchange your winnings for money
example – The business isn’t making money, we should cash in our chips in and move on.

business idiom - cash in one’s chips

catch off guard

meaning – something/someone surprises you as you weren’t expecting it
example – I’ll tell the boss about my holiday at the end of the day. I want to catch him off guard.

business idiom - catch off guard meaning and example

chair a meeting

meaning – be in charge of a meeting
example – My boss has asked me to chair our annual pensions meeting.

business idiom - chair a meeting

change of pace

meaning – different from the normal
example – I’m moving to Canada, it’ll be a complete change of pace for me.

business idiom - change of pace

class act

meaning – a person/object that is impressive/outstanding/high quality
example – The new manager is a class act, we’ve seen vast improvements since he arrived.

business idiom - class act

climb the corporate ladder

meaning – the hierarchy of power in a big company
example – I work for a big company. Hopefully, I can climb the corporate ladder and earn mega bucks.

business idiom - climb the corporate ladder

clinch a deal

meaning – succeed in getting a deal
example – If we clinch this deal, we’ll need to employ lots more staff.

business idiom - clinch a deal

come out swinging

meaning – go immediately of the offensive
example – The young boxer came out swinging and knocked out his opponent in 30 seconds.

business idiom - come out swinging

come out/up smelling of roses

meaning – still have a good reputation despite being involved in something negative
example – It was Connor’s idea to rob the safe, but he still comes out smelling of roses.

business expression - come out/up smellin

come up short

meaning – insufficient, lacking what you need, unsuccessful
example – I keep coming up short on auditions, maybe I should quit singing.

business idiom - come up short

cook the books

meaning – illegally manipulate official financial records
example – I think someone has been cooking the books, the business looks much better on paper.

business english money idioms - cook the books

cream rises to the top

meaning – the best person/idea will always be recognised in the end
example – Tucker cheated and won the race. I’ll win next time, cream always rises to the top.

business idiom - cream rises to the top

cross the finish line

meaning – finish a job/task
example – After 3 years working on a high-profile case, I’ve finally crossed the finish line.

business idiom - cross the finish line

cut corners

meaning – take shortcuts to save time/money/effort
example – If we cut a few corners, we could finish the project by the weekend.

business idiom - cut corners

cut it fine

meaning – a very slight margin
example – If we leave at 6, we’ll be cutting it fine. We should leave earlier.

business idiom - cut it fine

cut one’s losses

meaning – withdraw from a losing situation
example – Gary and I have cut our losses, we’re getting divorced and selling the house.

business idiom - cut one’s losses


meaning – ruthless/relentless people or companies
example – The fashion industry is cut-throat.

corporate idioms/business idioms in English - cut throat meaning

cut to the chase

meaning – get to the point
example – She cut to the chase and asked me to lend her £1,000.

business idiom - cut to the chase meaning


meaning – the most modern/advanced
example – Cutting-edge technology means we can now go into space.

cutting-edge meaning and examples

Did you enjoy learning common business idioms? I thought so! Click the links below to learn some more.