The 6 Most Expensive Words in Business

I saw this on Twitter yesterday, posted by Meghan Biro:

Remember that the six most expensive words in business are: “We’ve always done it that way.”–Catherine DeVrye

She makes a good point. In my 30+ years in business I’ve seen way too much of “we’ve always done it that way” and I’d like to think (maybe I’m kidding myself) I’ve hated that phrase since the very first time (in 1971) that I encountered it. In accounting and bookkeeping, marketing, product development, it’s widespread. That’s no reason to do anything.

And there’s also an important corollary: just because something didn’t work three years ago is no reason to not try it again.  

Always is almost always a suspect word. Things change.


  • Phil Richards says:

    Thanks Tim,
    I agree entirely, but just wanted to take your last line and add

    Things Always Change.



  • The 6 Most Expensive Words in Business says:

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  • Tanya Taylor says:

    Hello Tim, I’ve been officially in business[part time] for almost 3 years, and I have come to the conclusion that yes, I do need a business plan to guide me to the next levels of my small business. Which of your business planning products would you suggest that I purchase? Please help. Thanks.

  • Dan Levine says:

    In the non-profit world you hear those six words uttered a lot, unfortunately. Maybe not out loud, but certainly in actions not-taken. Change is difficult — no doubt. But if you don’t evolve and change with the times — if you don’t innovate — if you don’t keep learning and developing professionally — you and your biz will suffer. Great post — I hope those six words will help energize more people to engage, think and act outside of their comfort zone.

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