Idioms and Phrasal Verbs to talk about Business Failure

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Hey guys!

Everybody knows the importance of learning some phrasal verbs, idioms and colloquial expressions, especially when you live in a foreign country. We always learn a lot of them by communicating with native speakers or watching movies and series. In this post, you learn some phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions to communicate in a more natural way when speaking English in a foreign country.

* miss the boat – miss an opportunity to do sth.

He could have gotten promoted, but he missed the boat by not showing up at the important meeting.

* delude yourself (in doing something) – choose to believe sth that is not true.

We deluded ourselves when we thought we would have profit in the first year of opening the business.

* flood the market – produce sth in such large quantities that competing products suffer.

A Chinese company flooded the market with a new device and we went bankrupt because we couldn’t compete with their prices.

* cut corners – undertake something in what appears to be the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, especially by omitting to do something important or ignoring rules.

There is always a temptation to cut corners when time is short.

* false economy – an action that saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being spent or wasted than being saved.

Some examples of false economies include: Purchasing cheaper products that don’t last as long or may require more maintenance than the more expensive alternatives (buying cheap shoes, cheap paint, cheap automobiles).

* be in / get sb into deep water – in a difficult or awkward situation.

The business seems to be in deep water, many employees have been laid off.

* cut your losses – avoid losing any more money than you have already lost.

Let’s cut our losses and sell the business before prices drop even further.

* fall off – decrease in quantity of quality.

Sales have been falling off recently.

* be in the doldrums – when the business or pesons is unsuccessful or is not showing any activity, growth or development.

Her career was in the doldrums during those years.

 * dash someone’s hopes – destroy someone’s plans, disappoint or disillusion.

The pandemic dashed their hopes of improving their business.

* be a recipe for disaster – when sth is very likely to have unpleasant consequences.

His poor management skills were a recipe for disaster, therefore the company shut down shortly after it had opened.

* be doomed to failure – something unpleasant is certain to happen, and you can do nothing to prevent it.

Their plans of making international partnerships were doomed to failure as they didn’t speak English.

* get off on the wrong foot – make a bad start at something, especially a task or relationship.

The brothers never got along. They got off on the wrong foot when they decided to open the business together.

* throw in the towel – abandon a struggle; admit defeat.

The company had so many debts that the CEO decided to throw in the towel and shut it down.

* fall to pieces – break up, come apart, or disintegrate.

After their father passed away, the family business fell to pieces.

* go down the toilet / the drain – be ruined, destroyed or wastefully discarded.

The project went down the toilet / the drain as they missed an important deadline.

* go belly up – go out of business because of financial problems.

Many businesses went belly up last year because of the pandemic.

* go up in smoke – if a plan or project ends in failure before producing a result.

After the closure of his business his dreams of being self-employed went up in smoke.

* wither on the vine – fail or cease to exist because of lack of support or encouragement.

Due to the lack of foot traffic the store is destined to wither on the vine.

I hope you learned some new phrasal verbs and idioms today, see you next time!

Source: Idioms and Phrasal Verbs – Advanced / Ruth Gairns and Stuart Redman – Oxford

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