It’s easy to complain, but difficult to come up with solutions. Which explains why over-used business expressions are regularly splattered with well-deserved scorn, but rarely improved.

To take the road less travelled, and more treacherous, I’m writing a series of posts recommending alternatives to some of the worst business jargon and inviting my readers to add theirs.

Yes, that’s you. I know you hate low-hanging fruit, so stop whining and start thinking.

I’m kicking off with this marketers’ mainstay, which continues to fly off the shelves well after its best-before date.

4589168862_5da0556e67Low-hanging fruit won’t exit the vernacular because everyone relates to food and can visualize those juicy lemons just waiting to be plucked. Besides, there’s a comforting logic to marketing plans that start with the easy before progressing to the complex.

Ironically, this term does not make literal sense. Fruit pickers start at the top of the tree, where the fruit ripens first. Low-hanging fruit is picked last.

Worse still, it’s increasingly used to describe an easy sexual conquest or men’s balls, probably not what you want reflected in your brand.

Here are some alternatives you might like to try when you want to sound more tasteful, original and intelligent than the guy in the next cubicle.

I’ve broken them into three categories, based on my three favorite techniques for creating memorable expressions:

  1. visuals, echoing the appeal of low-hanging fruit
  2. similar sounds, as in alliterations or rhymes, which have similar enchantment power
  3. fruit substitutes for specific groups because targeted terms work for us self-centred people.


  • Easy pickings
  • A bird in the hand
  • Inbound money 
  • Wave and grab
  • Fish on the hook
  • The nearest shore
  • Little rocks before big boulders
  • Right in front of your eyes

Similar sounds

  • Near and clear
  • Grab, nab
  • Easy peasy
  • Available, attainable, amenable
  • Cheat sheet
  • Simple, smart and successful

Specific groups

  • First crocuses
  • Quick strike
  • Slam dunk
  • Fast hack
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Dessert first
  • Easy listening
  • Drag and drop
  • Target practice

I know what you’re thinking: I haven’t come up with anything strong enough to oust low-hanging fruit. Maybe we can simply persuade more people to say “start with the easiest.” Unfortunately, that would be too simple and clear for many of the people who love low-hanging fruit.

Fortunately, almost any improvement will make you appear more tasteful, original and intelligent than the guy in the next cubicle.

So give it a shot. Let’s hear your replacements for low-hanging fruit.

Thanks for the photo.

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Better ways to say: low-hanging fruit

One thought on “Better ways to say: low-hanging fruit

  • April 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Why do we need this awful jargon at all. What ever happened to using good commands of the English language.

    All this jargon makes me cringe. To hear intelligent successful people spewing out these terms, lowers my impression.

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