The internet and globalisation have made entrepreneurship so popular that there is now an entire subculture revolving around it. This culture has brought with it a slew of words and phrases, some of them completely new while others have been dug out from the least perused pages of your dictionary and had new life breathed into them.

Some of these words that regularly pass over the heads of novices are genuinely useful terms used to describe relatively new concepts while others are attempts to make old and commonsense concepts sound new, clever and exciting. The following least may also contain what may at first appear to be commonplace words but which have been included nevertheless because they have recently become buzzwords in their own right. Let us dive right in.


This is either the act of introducing something new or doing something in a completely new manner. It is also the term used to refer to the result of performing such an act. This is one of the most important metrics on which startup competitions love to evaluate their competitors on.

If the product or service offering of your startup is considered novel enough to be called an innovation you are going to have a smooth journey in getting blogs and even newspapers to write about it.


This buzzword has been used to the point of almost meaninglessness. It was originally used to describe a new product or service so innovative that it changes an entire industry. In some cases “changes” here basically means said industry is almost or completely destroyed. E.g Uber is slowly strangling the taxi industry in most of the countries in which it operates. This would then mean that Uber has “disrupted” the transport industry in those countries. Online services like Netflix have also disrupted the video rental services (in this case out of existence).

However please note that this world has been so overused that the editors of some publications like Forbes have banned their writers from using it.

Growth hacking

This is the modern, tech-savvy early-stage startup’s answer to traditional marketing. A growth hacker’s job is to attempt to increase the number of users or customers of the company’s products using as little resources as possible. Creative or innovative thinking is part of the job description. This means that you have to come up with usually novel ways of marketing and rapidly grow your company on a tight or nonexistent budget. The internet is full of countless examples of growth hacking.


Abbreviated as B2B this is used to refer to when your business is conducting business with another business. Marketing and selling to businesses is so different from selling to individuals that is why this term has found so much use in telling apart these two markets in business literature.


Abbreviated as B2C this is the opposite of the above entry and refers to the selling of goods and services to individuals instead of businesses.


This term is used to describe a business’s physical presence as opposed to its online one. This is frequently used to differentiate between a company’s online store and its physical one.


A business that uses a combination of both online and physical presences as a core part of its business model can be described using this term.

Content marketing

This is the production of content (usually written material) which your prospective clients might find useful. This allows you not only to alert or remind potential customers of your existence but also to build rapport. The marketing message itself may be implicit or explicitly attached to your content. This is considered to be one of the most acceptable marketing methods among consumers since you are giving away something for free which they may actually find useful.


This is someone hired to promote a particular technology. The term may also be used to refer to someone whose job includes promoting a firm’s products or services. Such people are especially important if a company has introduced a product or service based on new and relatively unknown technology. These people are crucial contributors to such a startup’s marketing efforts. Their job is to promote and educate on a certain topic very much like their religious counterparts.

Pain point

A specific problem or challenge faced by the market that a new product or service aims to address. This word is often used by prospective entrepreneurs who are pitching their startups.


These days people are constantly bombarded with so many marketing messages that it is increasingly difficult to get and keep their attention. Storytelling refers to the practice of wrapping your new company or product (or both) in a compelling narrative.

Proponents of storytelling argue that there is no need to cook up a story since your product or startup journey already has one, you just have to tell it in the most interesting manner. unfortunately, most founders take the call to tell a story a little too literally that is probably why a lot of stories about famous companies’ early days sound so dramatic.

Older examples of storytelling outside of modern entrepreneurship folklore include Newton ‘discovering’ gravity by getting hit over the head by an apple. You are free to judge the likelihood of that actually happening.


The ability of a business or business activity or process to be conducted on a larger scale. If a business can be grown much bigger and still be profitable then such a business is scalable. Of course, this word exists because not every business is scalable. Some businesses which are profitable at a smaller size cannot be expanded and still remain profitable or viable.


This is the transfer of a business function to an external service provider or freelancer. An example of this would be company X dissolving its IT department and hiring company Y to perform the functions and tasks which were performed by said IT department. This not only allows a business to streamline its operations and stick to its core competencies. Sometimes this can lower costs e.g large US companies outsource their customer support services to Indian call centres which are cheaper.

Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. But I have just one more honourable mention which has become almost ubiquitous in local job advertisements: “Self-motivated”. From what I can gather this is an unconscious admission by the advertisers that they do not think they know how to manage people or “motivate” them so to speak. What are your thoughts?