cringe, overused words in business

Ten most overused words in small business

The words ‘mumpreneur’ and ‘hustle’ are the most overused and despised words in business according to a poll of 830 small business people.


Poll results

The most overused cringe-worthy word with 28% (mostly women in business) hates ‘mumpreneur’ seeing it as a derogatory term. One respondent said, ‘as if, when you reproduce, your prior qualifications, skills, and experience go back on the shelf. You become a ‘mum’, then to do anything entrepreneurial is an unusual variation of your true function of being a mum. Probably quite remarkable in itself because surely you have no brain cells left now. No one mentions ‘dadpreneurs’ do they?’

Coming up a hot second is ‘hustle’ with 22% seeing it as negative word conjuring images of people being forced to work hard or selling out.


What words annoy people

Business is full of buzzwords and jargon. There are some words that really annoy people. They get thrown around like confetti and lose their meaning.

Or words like ‘mumpreneur’, which divide people because of the connotations attached – some people wear the label like a badge of honor, while other women find it incredibility offensive.

It is interesting to see what words really irked people. There were 30 words that showed up in marketing and on social media posts. These words have the opposite effect of what the writer intends. Instead of enticing and drawing the reader closer, these words are repelling and turning people off.


The top 10 overused words are:

  1. Mumpreneur
  2. Hustle
  3. Authentic – used to convince people you are being real and relatable. If you are not being authentic, what are you doing? If you have to tell people you are authentic, chances are you are trying too hard. Just be you.
  4. Boss babe – this word swept through social media a few years ago like wildfire and is still lingering. If a man called a woman babe, the proverbial would hit the fan. It is meant to be an empowering term. It’s presence in the top five shows many women in business are over it.
  5. Influencer – brand influencers have their place in marketing but surely not everyone is an influencer?
  6. Live your best life – what does this really mean? No one really sets out to live their worst life, do they?
  7. Preneur with any prefix – add ‘preneur’ to almost any group of people running a business and you have a recipe for everyone is one – solopreneur, ecopreneur, multipreneur, socialpreneur, teenpreneur, greenpreneur, seniorpreneur …
  8. Expert – Ssgh …everyone is an expert these days. Do a course online for 40 seconds and you’re an ‘expert’ in whatever. A true expert is someone who has developed and honed skills in an area over time. They have runs on the board and superior knowledge about their topic.
  9. Guru – used to describe someone who is an ‘expert’. A label used to convince others to part with their hard-earned money. These people never really have to prove their qualifications as a ‘guru’. You know what a guru is? A Sanskrit word used to describe a Hindu spiritual teacher, not a person who runs a series of workshops.
  10. Tribe – makes me think of an exclusive club. The opposite effect of the intent of the word – to make people feel like they are part of something bigger.

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