The Worst Phrase in Entrepreneurship: “It’s Just Business”

A graphic showing arrows coming from the mouth of a businessperson and piercing the heart of another.

By Andrea Savard, Certified Two-Brain Business Mentor

I will never accept this sentence: “It’s just business.”

When I worked in the corporate world, I was invited to national sales meetings complete with lavish hotels, high-priced motivational speakers, open bars and endless parties. Not two months before the meetings, the company had laid off 75 staff members due to cutbacks. “It’s just business,” I was told. At that moment, I knew I was in the wrong place.  

Growing up, I also remember watching my parents in tears when they were given the line “it’s not personal; it’s just business” as someone was stealing their lives’ work and selling it for profit. 

I call bullshit. 

Business is not just business. It’s people and their families, your staff, your customers, your community and your reputation.  

“It’s just business” is the biggest cop-out. You aren’t explaining your position or intentions. And you aren’t being a decent human or trying to see the effects you are having on others. In my opinion, it’s a cold and heartless way to run your business. 

There is always a better way.  

Even if the outcome of a decision can’t be changed, you can choose to run your business with integrity, morals and care for relationships.

If you regularly say “hey, it’s just business,” please lose my number.