Glossary of Too-Common Entrepreneurship Terms: Part 1

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM


You, as a smart and capable entrepreneur, are probably already familiar with most, if not all all, of the following terms. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to refresh one’s memory now and again, the following glossary also opens the door to discussing whether or not many of these terms are overused and/or completely ridiculous.

Please discuss just that in the comments!

Bootstrapping: What one might refer to as “winging it,” this term refers to starting a company without any funding or resources. In a sense, all companies start out this way to a certain degree, but that doesn’t sound as cool.  

“Crushing it”: Want to sound like an entrepreneur while simultaneously sounding like a California surfer bro? Use the phrase “crushing it,” which many entrepreneurs have taken to in an effort to explain how their company is doing without really explaining how their company is doing because their company is not doing well. Apologies to Gary Vaynerchuk.

Disruptive: A term that is used by entrepreneurs to let investors and customers know that they are “changing the game,” as it were. Other cliches you could use here might be “thinking outside the box,” “coloring outside the lines,“ and “upsetting the paradigm.”

Incubator: Also referred to as an accelerator, this is an organization or program that looks to help new startups. Providing resources such as capital or networking opportunities, incubators will often retain equity in a startup as it grows. In the physical realm, they are great places to cram as many jargony buzzwords into each one of your sentences as you possibly can and usually offer ample bike parking.

“Lean startup”: A business that believes in shortening product development cycles to appeal to the needs of a product’s early adopters as opposed to thinking too far down the road.

Leverage: One of the most overused entrepreneurship terms, leverage simply means “to use something to one’s advantage.” If you’re curious as to how overused this term is in the entrepreneurial sense, type “leverage” + “entrepreneur” into Google and behold the gloriously ridiculous results.

MVP: MVP stands for “minimum viable product,” a strategy wherein you find the least of what it takes to deploy a product and work from there.

Pivoting: This is when a company finds that their current way of doing things isn’t working and decides to radically change the course of their business in an attempt to find new customers. One might also refer to this as “trying again” or “owning a business.”

VC: Short for venture capitalist because that apparently is too many letters, a VC is a person who invests the money of others in new promising startups, then helps to raise more money and manage the business.


What are some other entrepreneurship terms you feel are overused or annoy you?