Businessmen and women are (as the name suggests) busy people. The businesses they operate and work for are fast-moving places. Often, industry professionals are so short of time they can’t even manage their way through long phrases or several syllable words.

As a result, the business world created its own language. It is one of short acronyms, business slang and efficiently crafted phrases. Although it is a language designed for efficiency, the weird and wonderful words thrown around by company higher ups can get confusing.

That’s why we’ve created this glossary of terms. A how-to guide toward understanding what the office big-wigs are talking about.

Business as usual

SME – Small and Medium-sized enterprise

SMART – This acronym has a very specific purpose. It’s a goal-setting tool that managers will encourage you to adhere to when you start a new project. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

SWOT – Like SMART, this acronym helps those using it to break big decisions down. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s a four-part method for assessment. Apply this tool to a business, candidate or project and you’ll have a clearer picture of how to evaluate it.

PEST – PEST is another analytical tool. It is used specifically to assess the bigger-picture, longer-term factors affecting your business. The letters stand for Political, Economic, Socio-cultural and Technological. Assess all these things and you’ll know what threats and opportunities your business should expect.

Know your Chief Officers

Many of us know the easy acronyms used by business officials to describe the absolute authorities in a company’s different departments. CEO means Chief Executive Officer and a CFO is the Chief Financial Officer. But did you know what these acronyms stand for?

CAO – Chief Accounting Officer

CIO – Chief Information Officer

CMO – Chief Marketing Officer

COO – Chief Operating Officer

Making heads or tails out of financial terminology

Finance is a big part of every business and, the likelihood is, you’ve seen some of these acronyms written around your company spaces. With this shortlist you’ll be better prepared next time you see a seemingly random collection of capital letters.

COGS – Cost of Goods Sold

AGI – Adjusted Gross Income

AGR – Adjusted Gross Revenue

BGT – Budget

FIFO – First In First Out

LILO – Last In Last Out

ROA – Return On Assets

ROI – Return on Investment

Understanding the world of Digital Marketing

Most companies will have adapted to our changing world. One of those changes is likely to be the adoption of a digital marketing strategy.

With the growth of Facebook into business and the importance of search engines in the building of your brand it is important to know some of these terms.

CMS – Content Management System

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

SERPs – Search Engine Result Pages

SEM – Search Engine Management

EPC – Earnings per click

RFI – Request for Information

UI – User Interface

My personal favourite

MBWA – Whoever came up with this acronym likely did not know about the Swahili meaning of the word. This only makes it’s meaning even better. MBWA is shorthand for a management technique that makes the managers available to their teams.

It stands for Management By Walking Around. When there is an MBWA walk going on, most Kenyans will know to look busy.