Four-Letter Words You Should Never Use in Business


You have to have a positive outlook to find success in business. In order to stay positive there are a few words that I think you should avoid using as a business owner. These are words that many throw around without realizing the repercussions. They are easy to use, but they often get a negative reaction out of people.

The first four-letter work is CAN’T.

Ninety-nine percent of the time when you say can’t, you really can. You just don’t want too or have not figured out a way to get the job done. But, is doing something new or hard going to stop you from succeeding as an entrepreneur? No. So, don’t make excuses, make plans. Start working on how you can accomplish that new or hard task. Remember where there is a will there is a way.

The second four-letter word is BUSY.

I think this word is good, if used in the right way! Of course, you want to be busy, but not to the point of being overwhelmed. Also, you should never let your client feel as though you are too busy for them. It’s never okay to imply that they are not the most important thing to you.

The third four-letter word is EASY.

People use this word to describe a task that they have mastered. But the same task many be hard for someone else. It is a real moral buster to say to someone “You can do it. It’s easy.” especially when the person is trying something new. We know how our clients may struggle to make a change or master a skill that may seem easy for us. We need to give ourselves the same support and encouragement when we are trying something new.

The forth four-letter word isn’t really a word, it is ASAP.

Think about it, everyone wants everything done as soon as possible. But if you insist on using this phrase at the end of every sentence you turn into the business owner who cried wolf. As Peter Walsh says “When everything is important, nothing is important.” Choose what’s important and prioritize the rest with deadlines.

The fifth four-letter word is SAME.

If you have been doing things the same way for years, you are probably doing something wrong. Times change, technologies change, you change and your clients change. Those changing clients are looking to you for leadership and guidance. If you are still doing things the same, you should question why.

The sixth four-letter word is SAFE.

In business, you must be prepared to take some risks. Yes, it’s a little scary. Things don’t always work out. But, to increase your level of success, you need to increase your level of risk.

In order to stay positive there are a few words that I think you should avoid using as a business owner. Click To Tweet

Set yourself up for success by eliminating these four-letter words from your business vocabulary. Replace these words with positive language. Your new vocabulary will help you to develop a positive outlook and success in business.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Amy on July 13, 2020 at 8:52 am

    CANT is one I need to remove from my vocabulary. While I don’t say it very often,I think it all the time. Great read.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      My 4-letter word used to be BUSY. I try not to say that anymore. It’s good to be busy, but when that is your only critical to a successful business, it’s not right. Now I look at why I’m BUSY. Then maybe I look at why I feel that way and how I can change it.

  2. Seana Turner on July 13, 2020 at 9:01 am

    What a terrific post! These are all so true. I can think of circumstances where these words have had negative implications for me and those I cross paths with. Someone I know has been butting up against a superior who is stuck in the “same” mindset. It is discouraging to her that this superior isn’t really interested in her input, only her rubber stamp of agreement. As a professional organizer, I think “ASAP” can be particularly dangerous. Sometimes a slow pace is exactly what a client needs to make progress, with no pressure. They may not get this from their friends and family, so we can be the ones to come alongside and enjoy hearing the stories.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      BUSY is my dangerous word. I used to say it all the time. I’m working on it.

  3. Hazel Thornton on July 13, 2020 at 10:06 am

    It’s so EASY to fall into the SAFE rut of doing things the SAME way, especially if you’re BUSY or think you CAN’T. Must reevaluate ASAP!

    • Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      BUSY is my dangerous word. I used to say it all the time. I’m working on it.

  4. Gina Weatherup on July 13, 2020 at 10:09 am

    My favorite on this list is to avoid the word SAME – whether for small business owners or others, we too often stick with what we know because it’s comfortable. It’s important to get out of the comfort zone sometimes! You may know what results to expect, but you can also get great results when you try something new. Great post.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Gina. I think of new things all the time and if I can’t figure out how to accomplish them I’ll hire someone to do it for me. Always move forward!

  5. Sabrina Quairoli on July 13, 2020 at 11:25 am

    The word “can’t” mentally blocks you from finding possibilities to succeed. It’s OK to say, you don’t know, but you will figure it out. Great four-letter words post! I definitely am going to share it.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks Sabrina. I think most successful business owner don’t often use the word can’t. They wouldn’t be successful if they did. You are right. It’s OK not to know something. You can always learn something new.

  6. Janet Barclay on July 13, 2020 at 11:25 am

    This is great, Janet!

    Sometimes we have to let our clients know how BUSY we are so they don’t have unrealistic expectations, but if we often feel we’re too busy for *anything* we might need to assess how we’re spending our time and if there are tasks we should delegate or even scrap.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      When I feel too busy, then it’s time to delegate work to someone else. It’s all about balancing your life and work.

  7. Linda Samuels on July 13, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    I love your four-letter words! Can’t and Busy are the two that resonate most with me. There’s something magical when you can shift your thinking from “I can’t” to “why not?” It opens up your thinking to be possibility-focused. When in the “I can’t” mode, it’s almost impossible to move forward because you’re getting in your way. With Busy, I notice how people use that as an automatic adjective to describe their situation or lives. For me, I like to say “full plate,” because to me it indicates an intentional choice of ingredients instead of something that is happening to me.

  8. Janet Schiesl on July 13, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I like your thoughts on BUSY. That was my word for a long time. Every time anyone asked me how I was doing I’d say busy. I decided that I didn’t want to define myself as busy. So I try not to use that word to describe my situation in life and work now.

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