How to Recruit Intel Agents for Competitive Intelligence in a Small Business
Major corporations are likely to have a formal competitive intelligence department complete with a director, data-entry personnel, and one or more dedicated analysts, but you don’t need a separate CI department to achieve success. Instead, you can integrate CI with what management and employees are already doing by adding it as a job responsibility.
How to recruit readers for the intel team
A great way to gather data is to assemble a team of readers to produce a monthly CI report. Readers are simply employees who commit to remaining plugged in to certain sources of information (perhaps trade journals, news media, social media, and so on) and either entering it into the system or passing it along to another CI team member who enters it into the system.
Although readers are usually most involved in collecting information, they may also be involved in analysis, especially if your readers have expertise in certain areas of interest.
Adding readers to your CI team offers the following benefits:
Job enrichment: Readership gives employees the opportunity to contribute something of value to the future success of the organization, making them feel more important in the grand scheme of things.
Spreading the workload: By divvying up the intel sources (trade journals, social media, websites, white papers, and so on) or assigning topical areas, each reader has a small slice of the intelligence pie so nobody feels overwhelmed.
Specialization: Over time, each reader can work toward becoming an expert on a specific source or topic area.
Take the following steps to recruit readers and coordinate their efforts:
Find people in different departments who are willing to be a part of an intelligence team.
Get the right mix of people by forming your team around the five personalities of change (pathfinders, listeners, organizers, followers, and diehards). Be sure to include at least one pathfinder, because pathfinders are
Natural intelligence gatherers.
Unbiased — they tend to see data for what it is.
Motivated by variations in job responsibilities; pathfinders often get bored when restricted to a single job area, so allowing them to serve on the intel team benefits everyone.
Assign each person an area of responsibility.
Try to assign areas of responsibility based on each individual’s area of expertise; for example, someone in customer service or sales is probably best qualified to gather information about customer needs, and someone in product development may be best suited to monitor emerging technologies and processes/procedures. You may want to designate the following areas of responsibility:
Collaborate as a team to compile a list of resources for each area.
Consider both internal and external resources. Internal resources include information from other personnel. External resources may include industry journals, trade shows, social media, patent records, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, online discussion groups, and so on.
Work together to gather and analyze information.
To find out more about gathering information, see Part II. For more about analyzing information, turn to Part III.
As a team, compile the research and analysis into a monthly state-of-the-industry report (briefing document).
Your report should include the following:
A one-page executive overview that can be read in 120 seconds, max
Supporting analysis in the see-mean-do (SMD) format
Inform all team members to communicate urgent information to the CI team leader immediately so the team leader can report it to the designated contact person on the executive team (in most cases, the CEO).
Urgent information includes anything that could possibly affect the business positively or negatively in the next two to three months; for example, if a hurricane is threatening to delay shipment of materials needed for production, management needs to know as soon as possible to line up an alternative.
Publicly recognize the people who take on these duties in addition to their regular jobs. From a motivational standpoint, recognition is much more powerful than money. If you make selection for the intel team a big deal and continually recognize the members, serving on the team becomes a sought-after honor in the organization.
Although the competitive intelligence team is responsible for gathering and analyzing data, you should encourage everyone in the organization to contribute. To mine information from the various departments, take the following steps:
Draw team members from each department to ensure connectivity between the CI team and the department heads.
Having an inside person operating within each department helps get buy-in from department heads because they know that someone on the CI team is watching out for them. Another option is to assign each intelligence team member to a specific department and encourage them to spend time in their assigned departments once a week or every two weeks.
Coordinate with the department heads and make sure that they’re stressing to their staff the importance of passing on information to the intelligence team members.
Create a process for logging information from each department into the system.
The process can be as simple as having the CI rep from each department send an e-mail message to the person on the CI team who’s in charge of data entry on a regular basis.
Recognize, recognize, recognize! Recognize contributors and CI team members for a job well done. Recognition is the engine that drives CI success.
A strategic planning framework developed by business strategist Kenichi Ohmae that incorporates three factors for success: the corporation, the customer, and competitors.
A review and feedback model used for human relations purposes that includes input from a wide range of sources, including direct supervisors, subordinates, peers, and customers, as well as a self-assessment by the person being reviewed.
A plan sponsored by U.S. employers that allows eligible employees to defer receipt of a portion of their salaries and contribute the amount, which may be matched by the employer, into a retirement savings investment account that incurs no taxes until the funds are withdrawn.
Similar to a 401(k) plan, but sponsored by educational institutions and nonprofit organizations to allow their eligible employees to defer a portion of their salaries and contribute the amount, which may be matched by the employer, into a retirement savings investment account that incurs no taxes until the funds are withdrawn.
A section of the Internal Revenue Code that exempts organizations from federal taxes and allows them to receive tax-deductible contributions if none of their earnings benefit private interests; if their efforts do not attempt to influence legislation or political campaigns; and if they are organized and operated exclusively for approved purposes.
First observed by Vilfredo Pareto and sometimes called Pareto’s Principle; the theory that in any group 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of participants. For example, 80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of customers, as do 80 percent of problems. Economists refer to this as the law of maldistribution.
Prime media placement, originally referring to newspaper ads or articles placed on the top half of a page, and recently applying to Web copy that is visible on the screen without scrolling downward.
An approach for recording the decreasing value of a fixed asset over its useful life by expensing or writing off greater amounts in early years and lower amounts in later years; used most often for items likely to become obsolete and therefore require replacement earlier than items written off by the straight-line depreciation approach.
A professional responsible for reporting financial results following government and regulatory rules.
Recording, reporting, and analyzing financial transactions and economic activity in order to monitor financial performance, usually following the standardized set of rules and regulations called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
Examination and verification of the accuracy of accounting records by a professional such as a certified public accountant (CPA), often undertaken by businesses seeking investors, loans, or to sell their businesses.
Bills received but not yet paid, which are listed on financial statements as short-term liabilities.
Money owed to a business for products and services delivered by not yet paid for, carried on the balance sheet as short-term assets.
The process of adding periodically to an asset or debt, usually as a percentage over time.
An accounting method that uses double-entry bookkeeping to arrive at a snapshot of financial condition by combining current cash inflow and outflow with future cash inflow and outflow based on customer and business commitments, recording revenues when they’re earned and expenses when they’re incurred, and showing each transaction in two accounts. For example, a $100 purchase of inventory is recorded as an addition to the inventory account and a reduction to the cash account. Accrual accounting differs from cash accounting, which uses a single-entry bookkeeping approach. Considered the gold standard in financial record keeping.
Obligations of a business that are unpaid at the time a balance sheet is prepared, including salaries, insurance premiums, loan interest, and taxes owed.
To purchase a corporation, through either the purchase of its shares or its assets.
A detailed list of steps that must be taken for a program to be implemented or a goal to be achieved, including tasks to be accomplished, responsible parties, timeline to be followed, and available funds and resources.
A short-term single-purpose committee assembled to address a specific issue or objective and dissolved immediately after task completion, unlike a standing or long-term committee.
An audit opinion (usually presented by a CPA) concerning financial statements that says the statements as a whole don't present results fairly or don't conform with the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) of the United States.
Purchased announcements in mass media outlets including newspapers, magazines, television stations, radio stations, and Internet Web sites as a means for businesses, organizations and individuals to inform and persuade the thinking and actions of potential and current customers.
A business that plans, creates, and manages communications programs primarily focusing on advertising, but also handling promotions, digital communications, public relations, and brand image development for clients that contract services in order to obtain outside perspective and a level of expertise not available within the client’s own firm.
A program that projects a carefully coordinated series of marketing communications that share a common theme and are delivered over a finite period to prompt increased awareness, demand, and buying action from those in the advertiser’s target audience.
Text written to quickly seize attention, inspire interest, and prompt a desired consumer action, often based on the findings of research and typically employing a prominent motivating title statement, called the headline, followed by an easily understandable and often clever explanation of product benefits and purchase information.
The number of times an average person in an advertiser’s target audience is exposed to an ad over the period of an advertiser’s media schedule.
The estimated total number of target audience individuals or homes exposed to an ad at least once over the period of an advertiser’s media schedule.
Inexpensive items that carry an advertiser’s name and logo, often accompanied by contact information and a promotional message, given free to customers and prospective customers as a way to gain and maintain awareness.
An association of individuals or organizations who unite to actively support or defend an idea, usually to influence policies or resource allocations through media campaigns, public presentations, publicity, and legislative lobbying efforts.
Brand name for the highly targeted pay-per-click advertising program offered by Google through which an advertiser’s text-only message and Web site link appear on the same page as search results that contain the advertiser’s selected keywords. Every time a Web user clicks an AdWords ad, Google charges a predetermined amount up to a daily advertiser-determined maximum daily budget.
An Internet-based pay-for-performance or finders’-fee program through which a business rewards other businesses for referrals based on click-throughs, site registrations, sales, or other predetermined performance outcomes.
An agreement by which you contract to place ads on another business's Web site and pay that business when a visitor to the business's site clicks through to or purchases something from your site.
In business, a person authorized to represent a client, called the principal, in purchase or sale transactions for which the agent is typically compensated through a commission covering a portion of the transaction value.
An analysis of invoices that shows how long each has been outstanding.
To set aside for a specific purpose.
A tax calculation devised by the Internal Revenue service to prevent wealthy and upper-middle income taxpayers from claiming so many deductions, credits, and exemptions that they avoid paying at least a minimum amount of tax.
A style of men's suit that has two or three buttons, a center-vented jacket with natural shoulders, and pants with a straight line.
A U.S. law enacted in 1990 that makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability, and that also prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in government services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.
1. Gradual elimination of a liability, such as a loan, through installment payments. 2. An accounting process that decreases the value of an intangible asset over the period of its projected useful life through charges that are reflected as operational costs on financial statements. Amortization of tangible or fixed assets is called depreciation.
A wealthy individual willing to invest money, contacts, and expertise in startup businesses that are generally smaller than those seeking venture capital, often in exchange for an ownership stake in the business.
A person who applies for employment in a particular job.
A natural ability or talent.
A method for settling a noncriminal disagreement between two or more parties legally but outside the court system by employing an impartial referee, called an arbitrator, agreed to by all parties.
An impartial individual chosen by all parties involved in a noncriminal disagreement to referee and attempt to settle the dispute outside a court of law.
The relationship between your business and your brand that forms a single, understandable entity.
The geographic area that an American broadcast station’s signal covers, based on research by the Arbitron Company and used by marketers in the planning and buying of ad placements.
An item of economic value, listed on financial statements in categories that include current assets, which can be quickly liquidated for cash, and fixed or long-term assets, which may take a longer time to liquidate for cash. Intangible assets of value, such as contracts, exclusive licenses or permits, intellectual property, and the goodwill of a business, are not listed on financial statements unless the business paid to acquire them.
The most common form of small business sale, in which the seller keeps the legal business structure, called the business entity, and instead sells tangible and intangible assets of the business, which the buyer then transfers into a newly formed business entity. The alternative to an asset sale is an entity sale, which is also known as a stock sale.
The employment arrangement that U.S. law presumes applies to all employees who aren’t protected by employment contracts, giving employees the right to quit at any time or the employer the right to terminate the employment at any time for either no cause or for any reason that isn’t illegal.
1. The group of individuals targeted by an advertiser’s message or advertising campaign. 2. The total number of individuals reached by media communications.
Professionally produced, broadcast-ready material supplied by businesses and other marketers to radio, television, and Internet outlets for inclusion in full or in part in news programming.
A formal, often periodic examination and checking of accounts or financial records to verify their correctness.
A method of learning in which an instructor talks and the instructed passively listen.
A graphic representation of a person that’s presented in three-dimensional form in computer games, and either as a two-dimensional photo or one-dimensional graphic symbol on Web sites and throughout social media networks.
1. Legally, a remedy for wage violations that requires an employer to correct the difference between what an employee was paid and what the employee should have been paid, often based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other labor statutes. 2. Payment due for work done previous to the current pay period, sometimes unpaid for intentional reasons and often unintentionally unpaid due to such reasons as a back-dated or retroactive pay increase.
A review of confidential and publicly available information to verify an individual’s background and creditworthiness prior to employment, agreement to loan transactions, or issuing of security clearances.
The administrative, technology, and infrastructure aspects of a business that aren’t visible to customers but are necessary for smooth business operations; includes functions such as payroll, cash management, inventory purchasing and management, order processing, and day-to-day business administration.
A fraudulent but commonly employed tactic that involves achieving consumer response by advertising a lower-priced offering than what a business hopes to sell and then working to redirect the customer’s interest toward higher-priced products once the purchase process is underway, often due to the fact that the advertised offering was of extremely low quality or in extremely short supply.
1. An equal amount of debits and credits in an account. 2. The remainder in an account when debits are paid.
A statement that summarizes financial condition and worth by presenting the monetary value of everything owned, called assets, less the total amount of obligations owed to others, called liabilities, with the difference between assets and liabilities indicating the business worth, called owner’s equity.
A large payment made at the end of a series of smaller payments, usually to pay off a loan in one final lump sum.
1. The capacity of a communication line in a computer network to transmit data, with digital transmissions usually expressed as bits per second (bps) or bytes per second (Bps). 2. A measure of the width of a communication channel’s band of frequencies, usually measured in cycles per second, called hertz. 3. Colloquially, a synonym for available time, energy, or capacity.
An approach to funding business startup or growth that involves a traditional bank loan, an option most feasible for companies with established products, customers, and sales history.
When an individual or business is legally declared unable to pay his, her, or its debts.
A legal procedure for liquidating the assets of an insolvent business or individual, either voluntarily or forced by court orders requested by creditors, and resulting in the sale of assets, a fair settlement of legal claims by creditors, and a relief of liability for the debtor, who emerges unburdened by debt and able to rebuild a financial history from a clean slate.
A promotional message placed by an advertiser on a host Web page, typically to present an invitation to click to reach the advertiser’s Web site. Banner ads were one of the earliest forms of Internet advertising and have developed to include ads that pop up, pop under, or scroll across the host site, usually sold to the advertiser at rates based on the cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
Obstacles that challenge new contenders trying to enter a market or industry area, including high capital costs, difficult-to-attain raw materials, rarely granted licenses, stringent regulations, strongly established competitors, and difficult-to-replicate technology, processes, and distribution systems. Easy-to-overcome obstacles allow for high levels of competition while difficult-to-overcome obstacles help protect the activities of established businesses.
The exchange of goods or services instead of money to acquire like-value goods or services, often used when purchasing media advertising space or time.
A hotel employee who carries luggage and runs errands.
1. A standard by which a process or outcome can be measured or judged. 2. Interim performance goals against which progress toward an outcome is measured.
A program that a business offers employees to better those employees' lives, such as health insurance and a 401(k) retirement savings plan.
1. In the field of human resources, indirect and noncash compensation mandated by law or voluntarily provided to employees in addition to salary or wages. 2. In the field of marketing, the advantages a customer gains from the unique features and offerings of a business.
A procedure or approach currently considered the most effective based on its reliability and efficiency in generating the desired result.
Able to speak and understand two languages, usually with equal or nearly equal facility.
The outcome of arbitration in which the parties involved in a dispute agree to be bound by the decision of an unbiased, mutually selected arbitrator with no option for appeal and with the award to be enforced by courts, if necessary.
A term used to label the day after Thanksgiving, which is considered the launch of the Christmas shopping season, a holiday for many, and the annual point at which many retailers overcome annual losses to achieve profitability, commonly called black ink, a likely root word of the term Black Friday.
A term used as a synonym for profitability, as opposed to the term red ink, which derives from the once-common habit of recording negative balances in red ink. By some theories, black ink is the basis of the term Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when most retailers overcome annual losses to achieve profitability.
A form of online advertising that's similar to direct-mail collateral advertising; anti-spam regulations apply.
A promotional message (in which the identity of the advertiser isn’t revealed) requesting that responses be directed to a post office box or unidentifiable e-mail address, frequently used by employers to limit the need for direct communication with unqualified applicants, or by those seeking to sell their businesses in order to retain autonomy and confidentiality until prospective buyers are selected and pre-qualified.
Formed from the words Web and log. 1. (noun) An online chronicle, usually maintained by an individual, presenting news, ideas, facts, and opinions in a format that’s part editorial, part journal, and part dialog, but always with a distinct point of view and interest-area focus. 2. (verb) The action of maintaining or adding comments, called posts, to blogs, which as of 2010 numbered in the hundreds of millions.
The collection of hundreds of millions of blogs and those who maintain and contribute to them, who together form a grassroots, interactive, democratic media contingent increasingly viewed as a gauge of public opinion and a resource for traditional media, which frequently cites or links to blog entries.
A term used by those valuing businesses to describe the portion of estimated worth that exceeds the maximum value of goodwill that can be supported by established business valuation approaches.
An informal group of carefully selected individuals that meets periodically to provide insight and guidance to a small business or organization that doesn’t have a formal board of directors.
A group of individuals elected or appointed to serve as the governing body of an incorporated firm or nonprofit organization, often but not always paid in cash or stock, and usually meeting at least several times each year to set and oversee policy and overall direction, assume legal responsibility, and maintain a high level of oversight on behalf of the organization’s shareholders or stakeholders. The board of directors usually hires the organization’s president or chief executive officer (CEO) and other key management positions. It is headed by a board chairperson who may or may not be an employee of the organization.
A financial instrument that governments and corporations use to raise capital for defined projects by seeking funds from investors who loan money in return for a guaranteed rate of return that varies depending on the risk level of the project being funded. Called debt instruments, bonds are considered fixed-income securities by investors because they usually pay a fixed rate of interest or yield on the funds invested. The yield on bonds issued to investors by governments is often tax-exempt.
Describes goods, services, or service providers subject to or secured by a surety bond, which guarantees a payment of monetary compensation if one member of a party, called the principal, fails to perform to the terms promised to the other party, who is called the obligee. A surety bond differs from insurance in that the bond protects against a contract or promise default, while insurance provides protection from damages caused.
An accounting clerk who records day-to-day financial transactions using a double-entry bookkeeping system, bringing the records to the trial-balance stage, which ensures that entries are posted correctly by arriving at a total debit balance that matches the total credit balance.
The methodical way in which businesses track their financial transactions; rooted in accounting.
The use of an entrepreneur or small business owner’s own money to fund the startup of a business; as a result, the person self-funding the business owns all of the business equity.
1. (noun) A sudden and innovative idea. 2. (verb) The process of arriving at innovative ideas, usually through an anything-goes group meeting that encourages free association and imaginative thinking by eliminating evaluation or criticism of ideas and discouraging individual pride of ownership of concepts.
The belief consumers have about what a business, product, organization, or person is and stands for, and what unique benefits they trust it will deliver. Often confused with brand identity, a brand is not the trademark or logo, but the set of beliefs that reside in the consumer’s mind as a result of encounters and experiences with the brand’s name, packaging, price, advertising, publicity, and word of mouth.
The relationship between a brand and the business that owns it, usually falling into one of three categories: parent-dominated brands, which introduce new offerings under the brand identity of the parent organization (for example, General Electric); parent-endorsed brands, which introduce new offerings as individual brands but with the strong and visible endorsement of the parent brand (for example, how Apple introduces products such as iPod and iPad); and parent-silent brands, which are introduced as self-standing brands with little visible link to the brand owner (Proctor & Gamble is the most apparent example).
The economic value of a brand as an asset, based on the level of recognition the brand has achieved, the reputation it has earned, and the strength of consumer beliefs about the unique qualities it consistently delivers. An intangible asset that often accounts for up to half the sale price of a business that includes a valuable brand as part of the transaction.
The sum of all encounters with a brand, whether before, during, or after a purchase, and regardless of whether the interaction is through advertising, retail displays, product usage, sales, technical support, publicity, word of mouth, or any other controlled or uncontrolled contact that allows consumers to form impressions that affect what they believe.
An offering that carries the value of an established brand into a price, product, or market category new to the brand owner; for example, a chocolate chip brand stretches its brand to introduce frozen chocolate chip cookie dough. Successful brand extensions feature a new offering clearly linked but different from the original branded offering and of interest to customers who highly value the brand that’s being extended.
The name, symbols, and other marks that customers associate with a brand and that brand owners manage for maximum visibility in the marketplace. Identifying elements include brand names, logos, slogans, unique colors and typestyles, signature tunes or smells, and other unique differentiating forms of presentation.
A set of beliefs about the personality, attributes, benefits, and promises of a business, product, organization, or person that exists in consumer minds, for good or bad, as a result of all associations, interactions, and experiences with the brand.
Leasing a trademarked or copyrighted brand identity to a manufacturer, called the licensee, for use on products that appear to consumers either as offerings branded by the brand owner, called the licensor, or co-branded by the licensee and licensor, depending on the contractual agreement. Brand licensing is a widely employed method for brand extension because it allows brand entry into new product areas without additional operational effort.
The process of controlling how a brand’s identity, message, and experience is developed and conveyed across all points of interaction, including throughout an entire organization, across all points in the purchase process, and through all communication and distribution channels.
A summary of the positive difference a business, product, organization, or person pledges to consistently deliver, presented internally in a statement that guides development of all elements of a brand and externally as the basis of all marketing messages.
The perceptual value of a brand in consumer minds, based on beliefs acquired from all interactions and customer experiences with the brand which, if consistently positive, lead to a willingness to buy more readily, pay higher prices, demand fewer promotional offerings, and contribute to a higher brand equity, which is the economic value of the brand.
An Internet application that extends business presence, promotion ability, and customer service into the world of mobile commerce through software downloaded to mobile devices and used by customers for education, entertainment, or purchase and service assistance.
The process of building a positive collection of perceptions about a business, product, organization, or person in consumer minds as a result of all associations, interactions, and experiences with a branded business, product, organization, or person.
The term used to describe a physically sited retailer that welcomes on-site customers, in contrast to a business that operates exclusively online.
A short-term loan provided to a business or individual working to obtain necessary longer-term financing.
A flat, flexible case, usually of leather, for carrying papers, books, and so on.
A style of men's suit that has a side-vented or unvented jacket with square shoulders and a tapered waist, and pants that are relatively narrow.
A category of mass media that reaches large numbers of people through electronic audio and video signals transmitted by local radio and television stations, national and international radio and television networks, and cable systems, which are used by marketers to convey publicity and advertising to target market audiences.
A business opportunity in which you buy or sell products or services for a parent company, often acting as an agent.
Short for Web browser, a software program used to access and reach sites and pages on the World Wide Web.
An itemized financial forecast of costs for a particular purpose over a defined time period, accompanied by an estimate of forecasted same-period revenue and resulting in a pro forma or estimated income statement that summarizes anticipated financial condition based on cost and revenue assumptions.
Establishing a detailed projection of anticipated costs and revenues for a defined purpose over a defined time period to use as a plan for managing expenditures and monitoring performance.
When an employee experiences emotional exhaustion coupled with low job satisfaction.
Items of monetary value owned and listed on financial statements as either current assets, which include items that are liquid enough to be converted into cash within a year, and fixed assets, which include items of value such as real estate and major equipment that may take longer to liquidate for cash. Current and fixed assets are considered tangible assets. Additionally, businesses have intangible or non-physical assets such as contracts, licenses, intellectual property, and goodwill, all of which contribute to business value but are listed on financial statements only if the business paid to acquire them.
Key talents or abilities that a business employs to achieve success, generally itemized into eight categories: research and development (R&D), operations, marketing, distribution and delivery, customer service, management and leadership, organization, and financial strength. Business capabilities are the focus in assessments of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths called SWOT analyses, used as a framework for strategic planning.
A category of business dress that's less formal than business wear (such as a full suit) but more formal than casual wear (such as a t-shirt and sandals); usually consists of nice slacks or a skirt, and a button-down shirt or blouse.
A term describing the full range of forces that impact business success, including industry and market area conditions and growth trends, shifts in competition and consumer tastes and trends, and government, environmental, and economic factors affecting how a business operates and how consumers shop and buy.
All expenditures that are ordinary and necessary for business operation, which by Internal Revenue Service definition includes expenses that are common and accepted in an industry and helpful and appropriate for trade or business.
1. All skills, facts, technologies, processes, and practices employed by a business to make sound decisions and set successful strategies. 2. The method businesses use to store key information securely and reliably, keeping the information easily accessible to those within the organization seeking accurate and timely information.
A statement defining the purpose of a business and the approach it will follow to achieve success, usually created after careful internal examination and then communicated inside and outside the organization to explain what the business is, what it does, and the positive impact it seeks to make.
The method a business uses to generate revenues, earn profits, and protect its position in the marketplace, stated in business plans and funding requests to answer the fundamental business question, How do you plan to make money?
Any association of businesses, usually like-sized and with common interests, in which members work together by pooling resources and sharing information and other assets to accomplish goals that likely aren’t possible without collaboration.
An idea, product, system, or service that someone has developed and offers to sell to others to help them start their own, similar businesses.
The outline or roadmap a business follows to achieve its goals and objectives, used as a guiding document within an organization and for presentation to investors, lenders, partners, and key associates to describe what the business is and does, the business model it employs to make money, the target audience and customer profile, market and industry conditions, financial situation and projections, business opportunities and risks, and strategies for achieving success.
A written summary of the positive difference you deliver to all who deal with your business.
The legal framework under which a business is organized, whether as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a C corporation, an S corporation, or a limited liability company (LLC).
An estimation of the economic worth of a business including the value of all tangible and intangible assets and business goodwill, which is also known as going-concern value or business reputation.
What a business is worth, usually based on its fair market value, which is an estimate of what a buyer is likely to pay for it based on comparable business sales or standard pricing formulas.
A statement of the unique positive results customers can consistently depend on when doing business with an organization.
Describes businesses that sell primarily to other businesses, in contrast to business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses.
The patterns consumers follow when making purchases, including how they go about searching for, selecting, purchasing, and using products and whether they tend to buy independently or on the advice of others, impulsively or after careful consideration, in bulk or in small quantities, in response to promotions, through online, mail, or retail channels, and other behaviors that fit into a category called customer psychographics.
Verbal and nonverbal cues that inform a salesperson that a customer is ready to buy, including actions such as increased relaxation, eye contact, nodding, agreeing, leaning forward, uncrossing arms or legs, making calculations, or reaching for a pen or billfold, at which time selling ends and the process of closing begins.
The outright purchase of a company or the acquisition of a controlling interest in a corporation.
A form of marketing that uses high-profile entertainment or news to get people to talk about your brand.
A marketing approach that involves highly targeted communications with influential customers. Communications appear personal and limited in number rather than professionally produced and widely distributed, often aiming to inspire positive word of mouth leading to viral marketing communications.
A form of business structure that establishes a business as an entity separate from its owners, basically treating it as an individual that exists regardless of who owns it and that ceases to exist only if it is dissolved through a defined legal process. C corporations pay federal and state income tax on annual taxable income, and their stockholders or owners also pay tax on income received from the corporation’s profit distributions, unlike the profits of an S corporation, which are only taxed once.
An employee benefit plan that allows individuals to customize benefits by selecting from a menu of benefit choices, including options for purchasing benefits with tax advantages. When referred to as a Section 125 plan in association with the Internal Revenue Service code that allows such plans.
The portion of a marketing message that urges the audience to take a desired action, whether that’s to write, call, click, take a survey, or make a purchase, often accompanied by a consumer incentive in order to attain measurable results from a promotional effort.
A series of organized, planned actions for a particular purpose, such as promoting a business through advertising.
A person who seeks a particular job; a job applicant.
The commonly used name for U.S. federal law S.877, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, which penalizes businesses that fail to clearly label commercial electronic communications as advertising, to provide a legitimate return e-mail address and valid physical address, to provide a working opt-out option, and to process opt-out requests within 10 business days.
The ratio of your business's debt to assets or equity.
Money spent to replace and improve business facilities, not for operating expenses.
Money invested in purchasing, renovating, and maintaining fixed assets (also called capital assets) such as buildings, equipment, vehicles, computers, furnishings, and fixtures, with expenses deducted from business earnings over the years of the assets’ productive life through depreciation, rather than entirely during the year the cost is incurred.
The difference between the amount realized from the sale of a stock, bond, mutual fund or other major investment and the cost basis, or initial price, paid to acquire the asset.
Federal and state tax due upon the sale of a capital or long-term asset, applied to the positive difference between the sale price and the purchase price, or the cost basis, of the asset and taxed at varying rates depending on how long the asset was owned.
Funds invested in a business for the purpose of purchasing fixed assets rather than funding day-to-day operations.
A bookkeeping approach that uses single-entry bookkeeping to report each financial transaction once, entering income when it’s received and expenses when they’re paid, similar to how one keeps a personal checkbook. This approach differs from the double-entry bookkeeping approach used in accrual accounting, which records financial transactions as they’re incurred, regardless of whether money flows in or out at that time.
The transfer of funds from a central account to diverse accounts to effect more efficient cash management.
Funds that flow in and out of a business over a specified time period, summarized on a cash flow statement that details all movement of money, followed by resulting changes in cash position.
A financial statement that details how money flowed in and out of a business over a specified time period and how assets and cash position changed as a result. By summarizing actual cash generated over a specified time period, the cash flow statement is an important complement to other statements prepared using accrual accounting, since other reports reflect costs and liabilities that have been incurred but not necessarily realized, while the cash flow statement shows actual cash condition as a result of collections and expenditures.
The value of short-term assets owned by a business at a specified time, including cash on hand or highly liquid investments that can be easily converted to cash; a key indicator of liquidity.
1. Software that replaces a traditional cash register with a computerized system that can record and track purchases, process credit and debit cards, and manage inventory. Also called point-of-sale software. 2. Software used in e-commerce and by etailers to enable online purchases by allowing users to select merchandise, make and modify purchase requests, and finalize purchase transactions. Also called shopping cart software.
Distinct, hereditary Hindu social classes, each traditionally (but no longer officially) excluded from social dealings with the others.
A promotion strategy that directs a portion of sales revenue to a charity or cause with the aim of benefiting both the marketer, which uses the promotion to enhance its perception as a socially responsible business while also attracting purchases from customers who support the related cause, and the selected cause, which receives unsolicited and unrestricted donations.
Short for cellular phone; a kind of mobile radio telephone.
A designation of professional accounting achievement sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which isn't regulated by the government.
An accounting professional who has passed examinations certified by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and received state certification to practice accounting.
Written instructions documenting the nature and cost of client-authorized adjustments to a previously agreed-upon purchase order or contract, usually signed by both the client and the service provider or contractor to confirm the amendment.
Efforts to increase sales of product by adding, enhancing, or promoting new distribution routes, either by expanding direct distribution approaches (for example, by adding direct mail or Internet channels) or by enhancing indirect distribution by involving new intermediaries such as distributors, wholesalers, and resellers in order to increase sales.
Provides a means for a business to reorganize and refinance debts in order to avoid final insolvency, keep the business functional, and devise and implement a plan to pay creditors over a long period of time and often only a portion of what they were otherwise owed. Similar to Chapter 13, but applies to businesses instead of individuals.
Provides a means for an individual to reorganize and refinance debts in order to avoid final insolvency by working out a schedule to pay creditors over a long period of time and often only a portion of what they were otherwise owed. Similar to Chapter 11, but applies to individuals instead of businesses.
The most common form of bankruptcy, which is either declared by an individual or business unable to pay debts or requested by creditors in an attempt to obtain at least part of what they are owed through a process that involves the collection and sale (called liquidation) of all nonexempt property of the debtor, with proceeds divided among creditors.
A site on the Internet where multiple users can communicate in real time, usually about a particular subject.
Along with the president and the chairman of the board, one of the highest-ranking individuals in the management of a business or organization, often hired by a board of directors and reporting to the chairman of the board, and usually responsible for overall strategic direction and organization and accountable for the success or failure of the enterprise.
An executive with financial authority who is responsibility for fiscal planning and recordkeeping, financial reporting, and management of the financial risks of a business or organization, usually reporting to the chief executive officer (CEO).
A title for the senior executive responsible for all information technology and processing functions in an organization, including planning, designing, and managing policies and computer systems and often reporting directly to the chief executive officer (CEO).
A title for the senior executive responsible for an organization’s technical systems and operations, often including scientific and technical research and development.
To organize a balance sheet's assets and liabilities into basic classes, or groups, for external reporting.
A term describing a business that conducts sales and service both online and in a traditional physical establishment.
A record of the route a Web site visitor takes to navigate to, through, and away from a Web site, indicated by the user’s series of mouse clicks which are collected and analyzed to help develop site adjustments that improve the user’s experience while also prompting desired marketing or purchasing actions.
A computer user’s voluntary click on an online ad to reach an advertiser’s Web site, often used as a measurement of the ad’s success and the basis for how much the advertiser pays to the site for hosting the ad placement.
The number of times an online ad is clicked divided by the total number of impressions, or times the ad appeared online, resulting in a measurement of the ad’s success.
In sales, the final phase of the selling process, which usually begins when the customer issues verbal or nonverbal buying signals and the salesperson asks for the order or purchase commitment, followed by the completion of the transaction.
In business, a training approach through which an experienced, impartial third party provides guidance, motivation, and performance-monitoring to an individual or group seeking to accomplish a defined outcome. Similar to mentoring, but with a greater emphasis on short-term outcomes than on general support.
An alliance between two or more complementary brands to market a single product that bears the brands’ identities and leverages the brand esteem of all partnering brands that, ideally, have equally positive reputations within the target audience.
Unsolicited contact with a prospective customer, usually for sales purposes and by phone or in person, without prior introduction or referral by a mutual acquaintance.
The act of working jointly with mutual commitment to achieve a common goal.
1. When referring to marketing materials, the term for brochures, fliers, sales folders, posters, and other sales literature that carry the name, brand identity, and message of a marketer into the marketplace. 2. When referring to financial assets, the term for valuable owned items, often called security, pledged by a borrower to a lender, who can seize the items as recourse should the borrower not make payments as promised.
The formal steps a company puts in place to ensure it gets paid for its goods and services in a timely fashion, often set forth in a terms and conditions document that defines steps to be taken in the case of delinquent or non-occurring payment and presented to customers as part of an agreement to do business.
Authorization granted to a business to borrow from a lender up to a predetermined limit, with funds available upon request to pay for operations up to the maximum allowable amount, after which borrowed funds are repaid and made available to draw upon again for the duration of the pre-negotiated term.
A loan made by a bank to a business, usually for a short-term period to fund approved operational expenses or a specific capital expenditure, which often serves as the loan’s security or collateral.
In business, a term defining a fee paid to or charged by an agent for services rendered to facilitate a transaction, usually based on a percentage or portion of the transaction value and commonly used in the sales of securities, real estate, and advertising, as well as in other sales.
A formal document provided by a lender to a borrower confirming a loan commitment and outlining the terms by which the loan will be made, often used as proof of financing in real estate and other investment dealings.
1. Bulk goods and raw materials used to produce consumer products that are priced based on supply and demand and purchased for cash or traded in future markets. 2. A produced good that is indistinguishable by consumers from similar offerings because all seem to serve the same need, solve the same problem, and deliver the same value, and therefore one is selected only if it is the least expensive or most available at the desired time of purchase.
A statement summarizing the profile of a business, including descriptions of such information as the firm’s mission and vision, size, history, products and services, unique points of difference, organizational and management structures, reputation, and current and anticipated market performance. Often included in executive summaries of business documents and as a concluding portion of materials distributed to media outlets.
The approach a business takes to deploy its resources and direct its capabilities to seize opportunity. The company strategy is usually formed by assessing the business environment, analyzing business capabilities including strengths and weaknesses, and developing a plan that adjusts practices and redirects resources to achieve desired growth and long-term goals.
An approach used primarily in setting the asking price for real estate property including houses and businesses by identifying the selling prices of similar recently-sold offerings.
The contest between businesses to offer the most attractive products and favorable sales terms in order to win the most customers and sales.
What a business possesses when it consistently earns higher profits than similar competing businesses due either to a cost advantage that allows the business to deliver like-quality offerings at a lower, and therefore more attractive, price to customers, or due to a point-of-difference advantage that allows a business to charge a higher price for what customers perceive to be offerings of distinctly higher value.
Achieving market dominance by focusing specifically on the specialized interests of consumers that comprise an overlooked or narrow segment of the overall market, whether selected by geographic or unique needs, often allowing a business to incur lower operating and marketing costs and follow a premium pricing strategy.
A hotel employee who assists guests with activities such as booking theater reservations or arranging for transportation.
A formal meeting of a number of people to discuss or consult on a specific agenda.
A meeting over a phone line in which all participants can talk and hear each other.
A contract designed to protect confidential or proprietary information, often used by companies negotiating partnerships or alliances in order to outline specifically what information, knowledge, processes, or materials can be revealed to whom and what information is off limits to other parties, and also used to restrict the use or dissemination of confidential information by employees.
A situation or condition where responsibilities and loyalties of a individual to an established relationship or business dealing may affect ability to act impartially in other dealings; for example, a judge would be faced with a conflict of interest in a case involving a relative or friend.
Broad description of the range of methods used to ease or eliminate a source of a conflict, often involving negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or diplomacy.
Agreement by all parties involved in a negotiation or decision-making process.
A measurement of price changes from the consumer’s perspective, published by the U.S. Commerce Department to reflect the rate of inflation for consumer goods.
Web sites that provide comparisons of features and prices of various products in a category, often accompanied by input from site visitors whose opinions greatly influence site readers, making the sites of great interest to marketers and business owners.
1. An information technology-enabled strategy used by businesses to consolidate, manage, and develop interactions and relationships with prospective and established customers in an organized manner that increases effectiveness. 2. Software and applications that collect and organize customer information and interactions throughout the selling, fulfillment, customer support, and loyalty development phases.
Information contained in media, including visuals, video and audio material, text, or script.
An employee who works in your business for a temporary basis.
A legally binding and enforceable agreement between two or more parties, usually describing an offer, an acceptance, and terms of the rights and responsibilities of participating parties and usually subject to court action and damage awards if one of the contract parties fails to meet the agreed-upon obligations.
A written, mutually agreed-upon change to an established contract.
An individual hired through a staffing agency that contracts its employees to various businesses, usually on a temporary basis and under an arrangement where the staffing agency pays the salary, provides benefits, and withholds taxes for work performed under direction of the third-party business.
The part of a contract that gives one or both parties the right to terminate the agreement under certain and carefully defined circumstances which vary from contract to contract but typically describe how a party may exit the contract, what notice is required, and how assets and responsibilities will be apportioned in the event of termination.
The chief accounting officer of a business or organization, sometimes also the chief financial officer (CFO).
1. A business designed so that customers who purchase from it actually own a portion of the business. 2. An agreement in which many suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors of various major products and goods offer advertising money to their retailers.
Text prepared for printing or to be read as a script, usually to sell, promote, or raise awareness. In online contexts, copy is often referred to as content, and usually includes not only text but also graphics presented to build awareness and prompt discussion.
The exclusive right of authors or producers of writings, music, and works of art to control reproduction of their creations once the work is produced in tangible form, with protection strengthened by including in the work a line that carries the word copyright (or the symbol ), followed by the date of first publication and the name of the copyright holder. Copyrights can also be registered through the U.S. Copyright Office.
The primary focus or purpose of a business that best capitalizes on the company’s capabilities and expertise and that contributes most significantly to its success.
A business structure that establishes the business as a separate legal entity, which protects its owners' personal assets from claims against the corporation.
The amount of money and resources needed to create or obtain something.
The process of itemizing, establishing a budget for, and tracking all costs involved in producing a good, delivering a service, or operating a part or all of a business.
A total of the complete investment in an asset, including purchase price, commissions, and other costs, including costs for improvements, less any depreciation expenses; used for tax purposes upon sale of the asset, at which time cost basis is subtracted from sale price to arrive at the total capital gain, upon which the capital gains tax is calculated.
The approximation of all fees and expenses necessary to produce a product or deliver a service; used for internal planning and budgeting, for presentation of estimated costs for customer consideration, or for inclusion in a contract that also defines the scope of service covered by the estimate and how overages will be addressed through change orders or other approaches.
The category on financial statements that includes all expenses involved to purchase materials or fund other necessary costs involved with producing goods for sale by a business.
The price an advertiser pays each time its online ad is clicked by a Web user, which varies depending on the search engine through which the ad is purchased and the keyword query to which the ad placement is linked; popular keywords are in higher demand and therefore priced at a higher price per click (PPC). Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter are the largest PPC ad providers.
A means used to compare the cost of impressions made by the same ad placement in various media outlets by using a formula that divides the cost of each ad placement by the number of impressions made and then multiplied by 1,000 to arrive at what’s called the CPM (the M represents the Roman numeral for 1,000).
An increase in wages, retirement, or government payments to offset the negative effects of inflation on consumers, workers, retirees, and persons with disabilities, usually made at a rate that corresponds to changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
An offer made in response to an initial offer, reflecting rejection of the initial offer and replacement with an alternative offer that either becomes a point of negotiation or a final offer.
A discount or add-on offer that a customer can redeem at the time of purchase, traditionally distributed for free by marketers and more recently sold through online daily deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social.
A letter attached to the front of a resume that offers the applicant's contact information and a brief message about his or her reasons for applying to the job and what he or she can offer.
An accounting entry that increases liabilities or income, and decreases assets or expenses.
A record provided by a bank or credit reporting agency that presents a summary of the borrowing and repayment history of an individual or business, often compiled into a credit score used by a bank or lender when assessing an applicant’s ability to assume and repay debt.
A person or business that is owed money or another debt, which may or may not be secured by assets pledged by the borrower should repayment not occur as promised.
A measure of the ability of an individual or business to borrow and repay money, based on a demonstration over time of financial accountability and prudence and verified by a review of credit reports and reference checks.
A pre-planned set of steps that a business can quickly activate in the event of a natural or manmade disaster or an accident that threatens either consumers or the reputation of the business. Examples may include a lapse in social responsibility, a breach of corporate standards or law, inappropriate behavior by a top executive or spokesperson, sudden death or departure of a high-profile leader, or a product failure.
1. A time-sensitive event or marketing campaign that involves two or more advertisers who jointly provide marketing funds, consumer incentives, and staff energy to generate attention and inspire action by consumers who fit the target-audience profile of all involved advertisers. 2. Generating interest in or traffic to a media outlet through communications in other media outlets that are often owned by the same entity.
A means to improve overall staff performance by teaching employees to perform different tasks or skills so they may be used interchangeably in the performance of required work tasks across the organization.
Activities that invite widespread consumer input into business decisions that aim to result in programs, projects, or products that benefit those who helped make the resulting decisions or innovations possible.
A brand that consumers have adopted, taking ownership of that brand, and its product or service.
1. The environment in which your employees work (as in "the company culture"). 2. The ideas, customs, skills, arts, and so on of a group that are passed along through generations.
Used by advertisers, media outlets, and researchers to describe the number of unduplicated individuals or households reached by a print or broadcast medium over a specified period of time, with higher numbers indicating larger audiences.
A balance sheet category that shows the sum of all cash, cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, work in process, and other assets that can be quickly converted to cash, and doesn’t show fixed or long-term assets, which may take a longer time to liquidate for cash.
A balance sheet category that shows the sum of all money owed by a business and due within one year.
A formula used to test the ability of a business to pay its debts over the next 12 months by dividing total current assets by total current liabilities, with a ratio of 2:1 considered the sign of a business in good short-term financial health.
One who purchases the goods and services of a business. This individual may or may not be the end-user or consumer of the purchase. Sometimes referred to as the client.
The portion of the entire customer list of a business that can be most reliably counted on for future purchases based on a history of repeat business and demonstrated loyalty. Individuals within the customer base usually share common characteristics that form a profile of the ideal customer of the business.
A factual description of the characteristics of a business’s customers, including their gender, age, household composition, education, income level, occupations, religions, and ethnicity, which, when complemented by geographic and psychographic descriptions, create a customer profile used for marketing purposes.
A new trend facilitated by social media networks through which customers share concerns, interests, and demands with others, initiating marketplace conversations and, sometimes, uprisings that result in changes to a marketer’s products, services, advertising, pricing, and promotions.
Repeated interaction that takes place between customers and a business or brand, often through social media networks, resulting in increased business responsiveness to customer concerns, interests, and demands and, as a result, increased customer communication, emotional attachment, and loyalty.
Facts about customers that businesses use to target marketing efforts in specific geographic areas, called clusters, that are selected because the demographic profiles and psychographic or lifestyle tendencies of residents make them a geographically concentrated audience of likely buyers of the products or services of the business.
A factual description of the geographic location of the customers of a business, whether they’re consolidated within a local area or spread throughout a statewide, regional, national, or international area, with findings complemented by demographic and psychographic descriptions to create a customer profile used for marketing purposes.
A term used by marketers to define the importance of a customer to a business not based on a single purchase but on the value of all purchases made and proceeds realized as a result of establishing and maintaining an ongoing, long-term customer relationship.
A description of the characteristics of the customer of a business, including factual information, called demographics; information about the person’s location, called geographics; and personality characteristics including beliefs, values, and attitudes that affect lifestyle and purchasing behavior and patterns, called psychographics.
A description of personality characteristics of the customer of a business, including such information as beliefs, values, and attitudes that affect purchasing behavior and patterns.
Collection and analysis of information about customers and prospective customers gathered to understand needs, desires, and purchase motives and preferences based on input obtained through direct observation, surveys, interviews, and available studies and data with the intent to test interest, understand buying behaviors, improve products or processes, or develop competitive marketing strategies.
Activities undertaken by a business to optimize, ease, and enhance a customer’s experience throughout the sales, product use, repeat business, and service and support stages of interaction, usually supported by staff training, complaint resolution, and loyalty development programs aimed to result in strong customer relationships.
Activities undertaken to establish and fortify relationships between a business and its customers from the point of first contact through the rapport-building and product presentation stages, the sales transaction, product delivery, and after-sale follow-up, including monitoring and confirming of customer satisfaction and future purchases.
Any marketing effort that uses Internet-based communications to spread promotional messages, whether through a company’s own Web site, e-mail, social media networks, postings on bulletin boards or blogs, or inclusion in online stories or on any site customers can access to reach information about the products or services of a business.
Offers sold online for deeply discounted purchases at local retailers. Many Web sites offering these coupons present only one retailer’s offer per city per day and sell a particular coupon for only one day, with the disclaimer that the offer is invalid unless a minimum number of coupons is purchased, which encourages customers to share the offer with friends to ensure activation of the discount. Groupon and Living Social are examples of these coupons’ retailers.
1. A graphic presentation of key performance indicators in a single chart or table used to monitor, analyze, and manage the status of business finances or operations. 2. A software tool used for viewing and monitoring performance information from one or more applications, network devices, or machines.
Using data generated by an organization’s marketing and sales efforts to compile detailed information about customers and prospective customers, and then using that information to create and send targeted marketing messages focused on the specific needs of unique customer groups.
A measure of the efficiency of a business to collect money due from credit sales, calculated by dividing current accounts receivable by total daily credit sales, with a result of 30 or less considered acceptable and a result of 45 or higher considered a reason for concern. (Total daily sales are calculated by dividing total annual credit sales by 365.)
A business opportunity in which you represents lines of products, which are purchased from a parent company and sold directly to consumers.
A legally enforceable, written promise to repay a debt that can be sold, traded, or bartered among investors and, if backed by a government agency, can be listed in financial documents as an asset. Often referred to as a bill, bond, note, promissory note, certificate of deposit, guaranteed investment contract, commercial paper, or banker’s acceptance.
To take away or subtract from a given quantity.
The amount removed or subtracted from a given quantity.
1. Failure by a borrower to meet a legally defined financial or other obligation. 2. Failure of a party in a contract agreement to comply with agreed-upon terms. 3. In legal proceedings, failure to do something required by law; for example, failure to appear in court at a specified time and place.
The portion of a loan agreement that defines the legal and practical remedies a lender will employ if a borrower defaults on a loan by failing to make promised and scheduled payments, including actions such as demanding immediate repayment of the full loan or seizing assets pledged as collateral against the loan. In binding contracts, default remedies are typically outlined in a contract default clause.
An agreement between an employer and an employee that the employer will pay a portion of the employee’s compensation at a time after the income was actually earned, generally to postpone the employee’s tax liability to a future date, with deferred payments commonly used to fund retirement benefits.
An agreement to allow postponement of payments due, offered as customer incentives or conveniences, offered as a feature in loans (such as graduated-payment mortgages), or authorized by courts as part of debt-workout plans designed to help insolvent individuals and businesses avoid bankruptcy.
An employer-sponsored plan under which an employer promises specific benefits to employees in support of their retirement. These plans are titled defined benefit plans because they’re determined by detailed formulas known in advance, usually based on employee title, salary history, length of service, age, and other factors that contribute to the computation of monthly or annual retirement benefits.
An employer-sponsored program under which an employee, the employer, or both contribute to a retirement plan at what may or may not be a set rate, with contributions invested on the employee’s behalf in an account that will fluctuate in value. Defined contribution plans include 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), and profit sharing plans.
The product, either tangible (in the case of goods) or intangible (in the case of services), to be delivered by a seller to a buyer, usually defined as part of a cost estimate, scope-of-service description, memo of understanding, sale agreement, or contract.
The factual characteristics of human populations including gender, age, household composition, education, income level, occupations, religions, and ethnicity, which, when applied to target market audiences and complemented by geographic and psychographic or behavioral descriptions, contribute to a customer profile used by marketers to focus efforts only on those most able and likely to purchase a business’s goods and services.
To allocate a fixed asset's cost over three or more years, based on its estimated useful life to the business.
The decrease in value of a tangible asset over the period of its useful life. Comes as a result of age and wear and tear, and is reflected on financial statements as a noncash operational expense called a write-off. When referring to declining value of loans or intangible assets, called amortization.
An electronic form of identification for an individual or business conducting transactions on the Web, issued by a certificate authority and containing the name, serial number, expiration date, and public key copy used to encrypt the certificate holder’s messages and digital signature so that the message recipients can ensure the validity of the transmission.
An encryption code attached to files to identify the transmitter and verify the authenticity of electronic documents, considered a legally acceptable signature in the U.S. by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, known as the E-sign Act, which ensures the validity and legal effect of contracts entered into electronically.
Software that holds credit card data and passwords either on the user’s computer or on the server of a wallet service to allow for payment of purchases made online.
Suppliers that offer similar products or services and that appeal to the same customers in the same market areas, as opposed to indirect competitors that address the needs of the same customers but with significantly different offerings.
Marketing materials in the form of letters, postcards, brochures, fliers, or packages sent directly to the homes or offices of targeted prospects.
Marketing communications that are designed to generate a direct exchange between a seller and a buyer without involvement by retailers, agents, or other intermediaries. Direct mail, direct-response advertising, database marketing, and telemarketing are means of direct marketing communication.
Sales of goods or services that take place directly between a buyer and seller outside a retail establishment, usually employing personal presentations, direct mail, or Web sites to reach and communicate directly with buyers without the need for intermediaries.
A business format in which you sell consumer products or services in a person-to-person manner, away from a specific retail location.
A Web search tool similar to a search engine but categorized not by web-searching software programs, called spiders, but by people who read Web sites and index searchable information in response to online user queries.
Ads that prompt customers to take an immediate action either by making a purchase directly from the advertiser or to start the purchase process by requesting additional information. Used by businesses that market products directly rather than through intermediaries.
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Information provided in a financial report, in addition to the information in the financial statements.
Promotional messages appearing in print media or online that combine space, art, a headline, copy, visual elements, and the advertiser’s logo in a design created to quickly and simultaneously capture viewer attention, pique interest, and communicate to viewers benefits, a sales proposition, and a call to action.
The means by which a business gets a product to the end user. A major factor in marketing success, since the means of distribution affects pricing, availability to consumers, and, in the case of perishable items, product quality.
The route a product takes to reach the point of purchase, generally falling into two route categories: direct channels involving no agents or middlemen, and indirect channels involving wholesalers and retailers.
The approach a business devises to move products and services from the point of origin to the point of sale, whether directly through retail or direct sales or indirectly through intermediaries such as wholesalers, agents, or other retailers.
An agent or entity that sells or resells noncompeting products on behalf of businesses that employ indirect marketing strategies to move products to consumers.
A business strategy that involves adding product or business lines outside the established core business of the company, often by creating new business units or acquiring other businesses in order to gain new customers and achieve revenue growth.
The string of characters and letters that form the unique name of a Web site, often spelling a personal, business, organization, or product name followed by a dot (.) and a top-level domain, which is the term for the final letters in a domain name, such as com, net, or org. The domain name is part of the URL (uniform resource locator) that defines the address of a Web site.
The period from 1995-2000 during which information technology companies, almost all with online addresses ending in dot-com, were founded, funded, and valued based on revolutionary innovations instead of traditional price-earning ratios, pushing the NASDAQ stock exchange to new highs until March 13, 2000, when a lack of financial performance combined with other factors triggered a massive stock sell-off, known as the dot-com bust.
A method used by e-mailers to assure that a recipient has granted permission to receive promotional messages twice: first by registering or filing a request, and then by confirming that permission was granted, usually by responding to an automatically generated confirmation request.
The system used in accrual accounting in which every transaction is reflected as both a debit and a credit. For example, when a piece of equipment is acquired, the amount is credited to fixed assets and debited from cash; when a bill is paid, the amount is credited against accounts payable and debited from cash, with the transactions always resulting in a sum of zero.
A cutback in the size and cost of a company’s operations that usually involves temporary or permanent employee layoffs as part of an effort to overcome financial challenges stemming from economic conditions, a lack of profitability, heightened competition, and other detrimental changes facing a business.
A term used by radio broadcasters for the primetime periods of 6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 6 p.m., during which advertising rates are most expensive and listening audiences largest because most drivers are in their cars commuting to or from work.
An employment environment, as described by the U.S. Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, in which employees are prohibited from engaging in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance.
The investigation, verification, and evaluation undertaken by investors to confirm facts about an asset before a purchase is finalized.
A deposit provided by a buyer to a seller to bind a contract until final conditions are addressed and the sale is finalized.
The term used by financial managers and accountants for earnings before interest and income taxes, calculated by totaling revenue from all sales and subtracting the cost of goods sold and all operating expenses, but not including any deductions for income taxes or interest expense on debt, therefore providing a measure of operating earnings or operating profit.
The term used by financial managers and accountants for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization have been subtracted. This calculation provides an important indication of operating cash flow for companies whose balance sheets reflect significant write offs for depreciation of capital assets or amortization of intangible assets.
The basis for stock valuation, equal to the share price divided by earnings per share.
1. An executive compensation approach that ties pay to the financial performance of the business. 2. An approach used in business sales to base a portion of proceeds on a defined percentage of future business net profits or earnings, often accompanied by a clause that the buyer must pay a minimum amount annually.
A business that conducts all activity electronically over the Internet. Often used interchangeably with the term e-commerce, which describes selling over the Internet, sometimes as the only means of conducting business transactions but often as an extension of a traditional bricks and mortar company.
Promoting and conducting sales online, using credit cards or PayPal for financial transactions and eliminating the need for physical interaction between the seller and buyer; a function of an e-business.
An extended decline or contraction of business activity, a condition which, when extended for more than a few months, may be officially declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research to be a recession.
The rate of change in consumer purchases of goods or products following price increases or decreases. Significant decreases in sales following increases in price indicate high elasticity, also called price sensitivity. Little to no change in sales volume following increases in price indicates low elasticity, known as inelasticity.
The completion of paperless financial transactions from one bank account to another using computer-based systems.
A list of e-mail addresses categorized by target audience and used to distribute promotional or informational e-mails to those on the list.
A quick, compelling statement that answers the question What do you do? or describes a person, product, service, project, or new business idea in a way that makes the listener want to know more. Named in the 1990s by high-tech entrepreneurs because they believed their ideas could be communicated in the time span of an elevator ride with a venture capitalist.
Short for electronic mail, computer-to-computer messages sent and received by Internet users worldwide.
A closing block of type that can be automatically inserted at the end of e-mail messages to present the name of the sender, contact information including the sender’s Web site URL, and a brief message, which might include a title, business or personal slogan or tagline, or other statement the sender wants to consistently convey.
A form of fraud that involves the illegal use of funds by a person who controls those funds.
A representation of a facial expression (such as a smile or frown) created by typing a sequence of characters in sending e-mail or text messages; :-( and :-) are emoticons.
A person hired by a business to work for wages or salary.
The part of an employee benefits program designed to help with problems that could adversely impact work performance, such as substance abuse, an unsafe work environment, emotional distress, healthcare issues, and financial or legal concerns. The program generally includes problem assessment, counseling, and referral services to address issues.
Noncash compensation mandated by law or voluntarily provided by an employer to an employee in addition to salary or wages, including Social Security payments, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation insurance, and such benefits as health insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, paid vacation days, and retirement contributions.
A manual provided by an employer to an employee containing the company’s basic operating guidelines, policies, and procedures along with an outline of employee benefits and the behavior requirements employees individually and collectively are asked to adhere to as a condition of employment.
Paid or unpaid permitted absence from work for family emergency, sickness, personal time, vacation, or other reasons as outlined in a company’s employment policy.
A U.S. federal law enacted in 1974 that governs most defined benefit and defined contribution plans including health insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, and other employee benefit and retirement programs.
A tax-qualified, defined-contribution employee benefit plan through which employees accumulate shares of their employer’s business. Sometimes used by business owners to sell stock quickly or over time to employees and almost always intended to motivate employees by allowing them to personally benefit from business performance and value appreciation.
The person or business that hires someone to work for wages or salary.
An agreement between an employer and employee outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party and the terms and conditions of employment, including a description of the business relationship and the compensation that will be paid in exchange for the defined work to be performed.
The person for whom a product or service is designed. This individual may or may not be the person who authorizes, orders, or purchases the item. In case of software purchases, called the user.
1. A document confirming modification to the provisions of an existing insurance policy; also called a rider. 2. Instructions written by the sender of bulk mail to inform the U.S. Postal Service of how undeliverable mail is to be handled. 3. A product or service recommendation provided by a prominent person or organization for inclusion in advertising and marketing materials. Similar to a testimonial but usually provided by well-known organizations or celebrities who are often compensated by the advertiser, who must follow Federal Trade Commission guidelines. 4. A formal approval. 5. A signature that validates a check or other document.
In business, something that exists as a particular and discrete unit for legal purposes.
Transfer of a legal business entity and all non-excluded assets and liabilities through the sale of corporate stock or interest in a limited liability company (LLC). Entity sales differ from asset sales, which transfer only defined assets and liabilities to a buyer who then forms a new business entity, leaving the seller with the original entity (which likely has no remaining value and is usually formally dissolved following legal and tax guidelines).
An individual who starts, operates, and takes the risk for an innovative new business that the entrepreneur believes has the potential to generate high levels of wealth at a rapid rate.
Obtaining equipment to be used for a business purpose on a rental basis, either from a financial institution or a leasing company that owns the equipment. Items that are regularly leased include vehicles, aircraft, railroad cars, computer systems, medical equipment, and store fixtures.
All the money and assets invested in a business by its owners.
A provision in a contract that specifies the conditions and terms under which a party can withdraw from the agreement.
Earnest money held by a neutral third party called an escrow agent until all the conditions of a purchase agreement are addressed.
To perform calculations that generally determine the time and resources required to perform a task or job in order to prepare a firm cost estimate or price quotation.
A retailer that sells goods exclusively online; the opposite of a physically sited business.
Of a population subgroup that has a common cultural heritage or nationality, distinguished by customs, characteristics, language, and so on.
The forms, manners, and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in personal and professional relations.
In business, an individual who strongly supports a business, product, or technology and proactively shares his or her support through talks, articles, blog posts, online ratings and reviews, comments, and other communications that share enthusiasm and influence the opinions of others.
Developing and hosting an occasion or gathering as a means to promote a product or cause.
1. In insurance, a loss or risk not covered by a policy. 2. In contracts, items or conditions that are expressly not included in a purchase, such as certain assets or liabilities.
A brief, clearly stated, nontechnical overview of a business document’s key points, often included in reports that run more than ten pages to quickly convey key facts, findings, issues, and conclusions.
A salaried employee who is exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This excludes the employee from collecting payment for overtime, either because of the employee’s salary level or the employee’s job description.
A final formal meeting between and employer and a departing employee, often conducted by a human resources executive to obtain candid input from the employee about reasons for leaving and thoughts about the work environment, and how it might be improved.
A term used by business investors to describe how they plan to profit from and conclude involvement in a business-financing effort.
1. The means by which an investor plans to conclude participation in a business-financing venture, whether through loan repayment or acquisition of the business through an outright sale or sale of stock to the public. 2) The long-term plan for a business founder to someday leave the business.
The amount of money or resources spent by a business to meet a particular cost.
An account to which an employee may charge reimbursable travel, entertainment, and other expenses incurred while performing business-related duties.
1. Costs incurred in the process of generating business income, which is deducted from revenues before income taxes are assessed. 2. Costs incurred by an employee on behalf of an employee that are refundable, or reimbursable, under pre-defined terms.
The number of times a consumer has the opportunity to see an advertisement.
Unusual, nonrecurring profits or losses not likely to happen again in the near future, which are sometimes shown separately on statements so they can be easily backed out for viewing financial performance on a normalized or pro forma basis.
A person who directs his or her interest to things outside him- or herself, and to other people; a person who is active and expressive.
The most popular social networking site (SNS), attracting more than 550 million registered users in 2010 and forming an audience highly attractive to businesses that place paid ads or create fan pages to promote brands, generate leads, stage promotions, and connect with target audiences at no cost beyond the effort involved.
U.S. legislation passed in 1938 establishing a minimum wage standard, a maximum 40-hour work week, overtime pay laws, business recordkeeping standards, child labor laws and definitions of full- and part-time workers.
A social responsibility movement and certification program that includes evaluation of the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the production and trade of agricultural products and seeks to ensure fair market prices for farmers and all other participants in the agricultural supply chain.
Accelerating a process or task in order to achieve completion more rapidly than normal. In manufacturing, fast-tracking usually involves reducing the number of sequential steps and increasing the number of parallel steps.
A social blunder, usually an error in etiquette.
A marketing technique that converts every feature or attribute of a product or service to a benefit that addresses the wants or needs of a customer, thereby shifting message emphasis from the product to the value it delivers.
A U.S. federal agency whose duty is to investigate unfair methods of competition in business, fraudulent advertising, and so on, and to restrain or prosecute those charged with such practices.
Communication designed to reinforce or encourage good work habits, in which you impart praise or constructive criticism.
Relating to the money resources and income of a business, as well as managing those money matters and credit.
A visually simple snapshot of key information from financial reports, compiled using computer programs and Web-based applications to present key performance indicators that managers can monitor, analyze, and use to manage toward business objectives. When showing performance over a period of time, called a financial scorecard.
An estimate of future financial position based upon anticipated revenues and expenses generated by planned business activity.
A term that generally signifies one of three financial reports that can be compiled monthly, quarterly, or annually: a balance sheet showing assets, liabilities, and net worth; an income statement, also called a profit and loss statement, summarizing revenues and expenses; or a cash flow statement showing the inflow and outflow of cash.
1. An order from a customer that is not subject to cancellation or other changes except under specified terms. 2. An order to buy or sell from the account of a broker or dealer’s own firm.
Initial investment made by outside investors to fund production and marketing for an entrepreneur building a business around a proven product or service.
Items of value that may take time to liquidate for cash, such as real estate and major equipment.
Recurring costs that remain unchanged from month to month, including such costs as rent, equipment leases, utilities, and salaries.
1. A price that cannot be negotiated. 2. A price that is constant for a specified period of time. 3. A type of contract that defines an agreement to provide goods or services for a firm price that is not subject to adjustment.
A contract in which the amount of payment is determined and fixed at the time the contract is signed and is not subject to adjustment should time or resources expended exceed estimates. Under such an agreement, the contractor is subject to maximum risk and full responsibility to perform as promised.
Time-limited steep discounts on goods offered by retailers to offload surplus stock either directly or, more commonly, through members-only flash sale sites.
A work scheduling practice permitting employees to vary the times they come to and leave work within limits set by the employer, as opposed to all employees working the same hours.
Being even, or on the same line or plane.
A qualitative research tool that involves assembling a moderated group of 8-12 people who are asked to share their opinions, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about a product, service, concept, issue, or idea in order to test the viability or likely effectiveness of the subject being discussed.
A complete assortment of type in one size or style.
Information attached to primary financial statements included in an external financial report, presenting detailed information that can't fit directly in the body of the statement.
1. A right granted to an individual or group to operate and market defined goods and services within a certain territory or location for a specified period of time. 2. A form of business organization in which a firm with a successful business model (franchisor) and standardized procedures grants rights to other businesses (franchisees) to operate under the franchisor’s name and guidance in exchange for a fee. Franchising is a model widely used in the fast food, financial services, auto, health and fitness, and package delivery fields.
An intentional deception to cause a person or business to give up assets or some lawful right.
Named after a contest hosted by venture capitalist Fred Wilson, this sales approach involves giving products or services away for free to acquire customers through word of mouth, referrals, search engine marketing, and other nonpaid means, and then offering premium-priced, value-added services or an enhanced version of the product to the acquired customer base.
A term often used interchangeably with employee benefits, but fringe benefits usually include reimbursement of a wide range of employee expenses. This reimbursement could include assistance with education, dependent care, moving expenses, and other costs.
The term used to describe employees who work between 35 and 40 hours a week and who usually are provided with employee benefits. This term has no legal definition, as governments prefer to allow employers to make such distinctions through their respective policies and procedures.
An increase in wealth or earnings; profit.
A business planning technique that compares current, actual performance with future desired performance, and then identifies the gaps between the two positions and evaluates what steps need to be taken to eliminate the gaps and attain the desired performance.
The widely accepted standards and methods for recording and summarizing financial transactions and preparing financial statements in order to achieve consistency in how businesses and organizations recognize revenue, classify balance sheet entries, and measure financial performance.
A product labeled with a name that has little or no brand image that sells at a lower price than that of similar products featuring the labels of known brands.
Detecting a person’s geographic location by determining the latitude and longitude of the Internet-connected computer or mobile device the person is using, often achieved by analyzing online activity or, increasingly, by asking consumers to share their locations by checking in via mobile apps and social media sites.
1. Marketing efforts concentrated in specific geographic areas selected because they contain many buyers that match the advertiser’s customer profile. 2. In online advertising, the process of deducing a site visitor’s location and displaying relevant ad content.
A term for the upper-level barrier beyond which a qualified employee seems unable to pass due to illegal but entrenched attitudes that obstruct the promotion of employees on the basis of age, ethnicity, political or religious affiliation, and gender.
The term used to define a broad process that has fostered integration of national and regional cultures and economies into a global economy made possible by advances in technology, communication, transportation, and standardized policies, and resulting in increased levels of worldwide communication, trade, investment, migration, and technology exchange and progress.
A statement of the outcome an individual or business seeks to achieve over a specific time period, after which the question of whether or not the accomplishment was attained can be addressed by a simple yes or no answer.,
A term used by strategic planners and project managers to define the general outcome or final aim a business seeks to accomplish over a specific time period, called the goal, and the measurable results it must take in order to achieve success, called objectives.
A currently operating business that's expected to continue to function as such and remain viable for the foreseeable future.
A package of financial incentives designed to keep an employee from seeking employment elsewhere, sometimes by offering benefits that won’t vest or become fully accessible until years into the future, and sometimes by including compensation that must be returned should the employee depart to another company.
An agreement between an employer and a senior executive, often included as a clause in an employment contract, that guarantees a package of substantial benefits such as cash, stock options, severance pay, or other compensation should the executive be terminated without cause because the company was acquired or for some other reason.
The positive value of a company’s name and reputation in the marketplace, which forms an intangible asset that adds to business value but isn’t carried on a balance sheet unless the goodwill was acquired as part of a business purchase. Often erroneously confused with the term blue sky.
A set of style guidelines that define how a brand can be presented graphically, including how the logo can be reproduced, allowable color treatments, limitations on typestyles or fonts, and other stipulations enforced to maintain a strong and consistent visual identity quickly recognizable by consumers.
Activities designed to move a company, space, or process to a more environmentally friendly or sensitive state, often resulting in a competitive advantage, operating efficiencies, a healthier work environment, and a more positive reputation.
1. A cause for resentment or complaint stemming from an injury, injustice, or real or perceived wrongdoing. 2. A formal notice of complaint expressing employee dissatisfaction related to working conditions, employment issues, wages, or a claimed violation of a union or collective bargaining agreement.
The difference between sales revenue and cost of sales (also called cost of goods sold) for a certain period; a necessary starting point for achieving bottom-line profit.
Total income generated by business activities, usually from the sale of products and services over a specific time period before subtracting expenses required to produce the offerings sold.
1. A person or business that makes a legally enforceable promise to deliver quality, durability, or performance. 2. In an agreement, the third party who guarantees that promises made by the first party to the second party will be upheld, or that, in the event of default, the third party will fulfill the obligation.
The approach to achieving conventional marketing goals by investing energy instead of money, using unconventional tactics that generate awareness and interest without using paid media. The term was coined in the 1980s by Jay Conrad Levinson.
To bargain about the terms of an agreement or the price of a product or service.
A greeting that involves two people gripping and shaking each other's hand (usually the right hand).
1. (verb) To publicize widely or to be the main attraction of a performance. 2. (noun) The title or major introductory statement in an advertisement, usually appearing in type larger than any other in the ad and created with the intention to grab the attention of target audience members and convey a message that entices them to continue through the ad and to the desired call to action. 3. (noun) A heading in a newspaper set in larger type to introduce a story, photograph, or illustration.
A group of people who don't use a lot of verbally explicit communication and have strong boundaries that define "outsiders" to the group.
The first page of a Web site and the page that automatically loads when a URL is entered into a Web browser or when a site visitor selects Home from any page within the site, typically serving as an introduction to a site and its contents.
An emotional trigger in a piece of advertising that attracts buyers by appealing to their self-image and affirming that your business provides what they're looking for.
A small portion of a food served as an appetizer before a meal or at a cocktail party.
A definition of those who want and have the ability and authority to purchase the unique offerings of a business, a standard against which customer leads and prospects are measured in order to prioritize efforts during the lead-management process.
A motivational program used by management to stimulate sales or inspire employees by offering bonuses, merit-pay increases, and other defined rewards in exchange for attaining specific goals over a specified period.
All the earnings of a business.
A financial statement that summarizes money earned and spent over a specified period and up to the date the report was created, including all revenues minus all costs and expenses to arrive at the bottom line (net profit).
A business or facility that shares resources and expertise to aid entrepreneurs and startup companies often in the technology sector to grow and succeed.
A person or business hired by a business to perform services not as an employee, but on a project basis under an arrangement that the Internal Revenue Service describes as independent if the employer has the right to control only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result. Sometimes called a freelancer.
Businesses that serve the needs or wants of a marketer’s customers with a similar but not identical offering; for instance, a tea shop is an indirect competitor of a coffee shop.
1. A personal account called a Traditional IRA established and self-directed by an individual to save money for retirement by contributing a limited amount of annual tax-deferred earnings that accrue safe from taxation until they are withdrawn at age 59.5 or later, at which time ordinary income tax applies, with a penalty if withdrawn earlier. 2. A personal account called a Roth IRA which differs from a Traditional IRA in that contributions are not tax-deferred and withdrawals of contributions and investment gains taken after age 59.5 are not subject to taxation.
A person who may or may not be a buyer or consumer of a product or service, but who sways the opinions of others and therefore is targeted by marketers in an attempt to gain awareness, interest, and support that will be passed through the buyer chain.
A televised direct marketing ad that usually lasts 15 or 30 minutes and appears during non-primetime viewing hours, usually formatted to resemble a talk show and almost always requesting viewer action in the form of toll-free calls to make immediate purchases or to register information requests. Infomercials usually present demonstrations of desirable, easy-to-achieve solutions backed by consumer testimonials, followed by a presentation of affordably priced products not usually available through bricks and mortar retail outlets.
The industry or discipline involving the collection, dissemination, and management of data through the use of computers, software, and computer systems.
To violate the terms of an agreement or disregard others' rights, such as with a copyright or patent.
The first sale of stock shares by a private company to the public, often offered by smaller companies with highly attractive growth potential, as share purchasers base buying price on future growth and income projections, allowing the business offering stock to raise significant funds for expansion.
The process that converts a new idea, method, device, or process into a new product or service.
A legal agreement specifying that payments, delivery of goods, or the performance of services will be spread over time and completed on specific future dates, with failure to meet agreed-upon actions generally considered a breach of the agreement, which can result in a defined liability or penalty.
The exchange of an asset for the promise of a series of future payments made over a specified time period during which the seller retains an interest or stake in the asset until all payments are made; sometimes employed as a means to obtain tax advantages by deferring recognition of income from the sale until future taxable years.
Any asset a business owns that has value but can't be touched, such as licenses, patents, and trademarks.
Non-physical assets of value such as contracts, franchise ownership, exclusive licenses or permits, intellectual property, and goodwill or going-value concern, which are only carried on a balance sheet if a business has paid to acquire them.
Intangible assets that result from creativity and result in trademarks, patents, licensing agreements, copyrights, proprietary information and trade secrets that have value, though they aren’t reflected on the balance sheet unless they were purchased from a previous owner.
The money a business needs to pay back, in addition to the amount it borrows from a bank or other institution, based on a percent of the amount borrowed.
Systems, procedures, and precautions established by a business for the express purpose of minimizing errors and preventing fraud, including such requirements as multiple approvals or signatures for financial transactions over a certain dollar amount, surveillance cameras, surprise inventory inspections, and entry restrictions.
The bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department responsible for tax collections.
The global system that links computer networks worldwide, allowing users to send and receive e-mail and browse the World Wide Web, among many other functions.
A person whose interest is more in oneself than in external objects or others.
1. An itemized list of all goods of value held by a business including raw materials, supplies, and finished and unfinished products. 2. The cash value of all raw materials, supplies, and products held for production or sale by a business, reflected on financial statements as a current asset.
An estimate of the number of times the inventory of a business is sold or used in a year and a measure of manufacturing efficiency. Calculated by dividing annual cost of goods sold (also called cost of sales) by average annual inventory value, which is determined by adding the cash value of inventory at the beginning of the year with the value of inventory at the close of the year and dividing by two.
Put money into a business, stocks, and so on for the purpose of obtaining an income or profit.
A person who provides funds by taking an ownership position or providing a loan to a business or other venture with the intention of achieving a financial return with manageable risk, as opposed to a speculator who assumes high risk in return for the potential of high rewards.
Money provided by individuals or firms to a business or other venture, usually in exchange for an ownership share or the promise of a portion of profits.
1. (noun) A bill or itemized statement detailing money owed for goods delivered or services rendered. 2. (verb) To send a bill for goods delivered or services performed.
A Chinese phrase that means the quality and integrity of a business relationship.
A style of men's suit that has an unvented jacket with padded shoulders and relatively full pants.
A detailed outline for a proposed journey.
The specialized vocabulary and idioms of those in the same field of work.
A short, catchy tune used consistently by a business, mainly in broadcast ads, to create memorable impressions and to establish a sound associated with the advertiser’s brand identity, an outcome achieved by frequent play over a prolonged period.
Calculating of costs incurred to produce a specific job or order. An approach used by custom manufacturers of large-scale projects in the construction, motion picture, advertising, and ship-building industries, among others, that involves tracking direct costs for labor, materials, subcontractor fees, and equipment, and then combining them with indirect costs including overhead and other operational expenses. Finally, calculations are summarized in a trial balance before preparing the final statement or bill.
An employment arrangement in which two people employed by the same business each work on a part-time basis to perform tasks usually undertaken by one full-time employee.
Unsolicited, unwanted, impersonal, and often irrelevant promotional materials, usually mailed third class and addressed generically to occupant or resident.
An inventory management and production control approach used by manufacturers that view warehoused inventory as a waste. This approach eliminates over-ordering, overproduction, and excess warehousing through systems assuring that only necessary materials are in the right place at the right time and in amounts precisely necessary to meet current manufacturing and market demands.
An employee of extraordinary significance to the success and operation of a business; often a highly compensated officer, owner, or executive who manages critical processes, possesses unique skills and knowledge, controls a high proportion of customer relationships or sales, is deemed likely to be very difficult to replace, and who is often given incentives to remain with the business.
Life insurance that protects a company against the loss of business or revenue likely to result from the death of a key officer or employee.
A word or phrase that people use in online searches to describe the type of information they’re seeking. Web site owners try to use keywords throughout their sites in an effort to optimize the chance that they’ll appear high in relevant search results; search engine owners sell high search placement to marketers so their ads will appear on keyword search result screens.
Hands-on learning in which the instructed is allowed to use the item they're learning about.
The page a Web user reaches when clicking an ad link, often created specially by online advertisers to feature a sales pitch related to the ad that triggered the visit.
1. (verb) To widely publicize a business, product, or brand for the first time. 2. (noun) The event or situation in which a business component is launched.
The process of developing a list of prospective customers who are likely to be responsive to a company’s offer of goods or services, usually generated as the result of marketing programs involving personal contact, direct mail, e-mail, telemarketing, and use of search engines and database programs.
A business system designed to manage sales leads from initial contact through purchase and closing with the intention of heightening conversion of leads to customers, a process often supported by specialized contact-relationship management (CRM) software used to track prospective contacts and aid in evaluating the efficiency of a company’s sales and marketing efforts.
An individual, institution, or organization that makes money available for others to borrow for defined purposes and with the understanding that the funds will be repaid, with interest, following the schedule and terms outlined in a loan agreement.
A written summary of a verbal agreement to provide defined goods and services at agreed-upon prices, terms, and timeframes and, when signed by all parties, becomes a legally binding contract.
High-quality, standard-size paper with all relevant business information (business name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address or Web site) printed on it.
The purchase of a business or the acquisition of a controlling interest in a corporation through significant use of borrowed money for which the acquired company’s assets are offered as loan collateral.
1. Any money or other debt owed to others. 2. On financial statements, money owned by a business. If due within the year, called current liabilities.
False, disparaging, and reputation-damaging statements written about a person. When such statements are verbal, the act is called slander.
1. (noun) A legal document giving official permission to do something. 2. (verb) Providing a license to an individual or business.
A business opportunity in which you buy the right to sell, market, produce, or use established product brand names, technologies, or systems.
Giving permission to use intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents, or processes under defined conditions.
A legal document that secures a loan by providing the creditor with a conditional right to an asset of the debtor, called loan collateral. A lien bars the loan recipient from selling or transferring that asset without first paying off the creditor. Liens are limited to a defined time period and must be registered with the appropriate governmental jurisdiction in order to be valid and enforceable.
A type of business entity that combines features of corporations and partnerships. Income and losses are passed through to owners and therefore subject to tax only once, as in a partnership, but owners, who are called LLC members, have limited liability for the LLC’s debts and obligations, similar to the status of shareholders in a corporation.
A business structure used by many venture capital firms that involves one or more active general partners who manage and assume debts and obligations for the business, and one or more limited partners who are liable only to the limit of their investments.
The introduction of a new offering under an established brand name and in the brand’s established product category, but targeting different customer needs or market segments. For instance, the introduction of mouthwash by an established toothpaste brand.
A pre-approved amount of credit that a borrower can draw upon as needed. Unlike a loan, which is given to the borrower in a lump sum, a line of credit involves money available to borrow as needed until the maximum approved amount is reached, after which the borrowed funds are repaid and made available to draw upon again for the duration of the pre-negotiated credit term.
Assets that can be easily converted into cash, including cash accounts, investments, securities, accounts receivable, the cash value of inventory, and the value of items pre-purchased but not yet received, such as insurance premiums or service retainers.
1. Conversion of assets to cash, often undertaken voluntarily by investors in securities or by closing businesses. 2. In law, the mandated process of winding down or closing a company involved in bankruptcy proceedings by selling unsecured assets or inventory and using cash proceeds to pay the firm’s unsecured creditors.
1. When related to investments, the ability of an asset to be converted to cash quickly and at full value. 2. When related to accounting, the ability of current assets to cover current or short-term liabilities. 3. When related to business or personal financial condition, the ability of cash on hand, or assets that can be quickly converted to cash, to cover all immediate and near-term debt obligations.
A measure of how quickly a business can liquidate assets and pay current short-term obligations. Calculated by dividing the total value of cash and marketable securities by current liabilities.
The manufacturers’ suggested retail price for a specific item.
A program used to automatically send messages to addresses on an e-mail list, with the capability to automatically remove addresses when recipients ask to unsubscribe.
A process for dispute settlement that involves legal action through a lawsuit that is tried and settled in a court of law.
Assets, usually money, provided to an individual or business with expectation that it will be repaid, usually with interest.
Collateral pledged by a borrower to secure a loan from a lender, with the agreement that rights to the pledged property will be assigned to the lender if the borrower fails to meet agreed-upon obligations, at which point the lender can seize and sell the collateral.
A contract between a lender and borrower specifying which assets are pledged as security or collateral against the value of the loan. The lender may seize or foreclose on these assets if the borrower fails to repay the loan as promised.
A unique graphic design featuring type, a symbol, or both used consistently by a marketer to achieve quick recognition of a business or brand in its marketplace; a key element of brand identity.
A debt that extends more than one year into the future, including any long-term loans.
A decrease in the amount of money a person or business possesses, or a decrease in the financial value of something.
A popular retail item priced at a very low, often below-cost price in an effort to draw customers into a store where they are likely to also purchase other higher-profit goods.
A group of people who relate to others in a task-centered way, following established and easily expressed rules.
A strategic marketing approach by which a business seeks to stimulate consumer demand and gain market share by offering its products for sale at a lower price than otherwise available in the competitive market area; most often associated with products in high demand with few competitive advantages that can be produced and sold in high volumes.
A program that focuses on retaining and growing profitable relationships with established customers based on the assumption that keeping existing customers is less expensive than acquiring new customers, and that loyal customers will share their satisfaction with others, attracting new customers to a business.
A plan that inspires established customers to increase use of a company’s products and services by rewarding repeat purchases with discounts, added-value offers, or other incentives.
Presentation of an all-inclusive, single-figure price estimate for delivering requested goods or services with no detail of how expenses are itemized or allocated. Usually rewarded by a lump-sum contract that requires delivery without requiring a cost breakdown.
An agreement stipulating that the buyer will pay a specified amount without requiring a cost breakdown in return for delivery of an agreed-upon quantity of goods or a product that matches the contracted scope of service.
A branch of economics that monitors broad performance indicators and economic systems to understand how the economy works as a whole. Macroeconomics covers subjects like the Gross National Product (GNP), unemployment rates, balance of payments, trade deficits, inflation and deflation, fiscal and monetary policy, economic growth, consumption, and investment levels.
1. The group of individuals who supervise or control a business, project, or event. 2. The skills employed to organize and lead a business to accomplish desired goals efficiently and effectively. 3. The act of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and directing a project or business.
1. Aligning organization-wide effort by setting and prioritizing agreed-upon measurable objectives that are monitored periodically, with compensation and other rewards allocated on the basis of successful performance. 2. An employee performance-appraisal approach that involves assignment of measurable actions to each manager who then assigns related measurable tasks to staff, with evaluation of the manager and staff based on progress made toward the defined targets.
Organizational tools, usually computer-based, that gather, process, and report information used to help manage a business effectively at every level, including finance, resource and people management, enterprise planning, supply chain management, customer relationship development, and project management, among others.
1. The difference between revenue and the cost of goods sold. 2. A type of investment account that allows the investor to borrow against account holdings to purchase securities, known as buying on margin. 3. The portion of the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage over and above the adjusted index rate. 4. The difference between the face value of a loan and the market value of collateral offered to secure the loan. 5. A term used in commodity training to describe the difference between the current or spot price of a commodity and the forward or predetermined selling price. 6. The blank space bordering text in an ad or document.
A reduction in price in order to stimulate a buyer to purchase goods, often used as an inventory reduction device.
1. (noun) The group of consumers who are likely to buy the products or services that your business offers. 2. (verb) To advertise your business to consumers in a structured way.
An indicator of the competitive strength of a business, product, or brand in an overall or niche market, usually determined by comparing the market share of all competitors to determine which one controls the greatest percentage of business, with a 60 percent market share generally considered a reflection of market dominance.
Conditions that impact the performance and direction of a free market. These conditions alter the behavior of buyers and sellers, affect the prices of goods and wages, and shift supply and demand trends without any influence from the government.
A measure of the degree to which a business or industry has achieved recognition and sales within a target market, calculated by dividing the number of customers or sales of the business by the number of customers or sales in the target market area over a specific time period. For instance, if the market area is comprised of 50,000 households and the business serves 5,000, its penetration is 10%.
1. How a business, product, or brand is perceived by consumers to be unique and meaningfully different from all other providers of similar solutions. 2. The market share ranking of a business, product, or brand in terms of sales volume within its competitive arena.
The process of collecting and analyzing information about markets and consumers to provide a basis for business and marketing decisions about new products and services, distribution channels, pricing and competitive strategies, and other factors relevant to customer wants and needs.
The point at which a business has captured close to a majority of the potential sales in its target market and is no longer able to generate sales increases due to factors such as competition, an aging product, changing market tastes and trends, or other reasons.
Within the full roster of customers of a business, a subgroup of individuals sharing at least one unique common need, want, or characteristic that is different from all other customers and that the business can target through precisely aimed marketing campaigns.
The portion of sales that a single business within a product category and target market captures over a specific time period. Calculated by dividing total sales volume by the sales volume of a particular business and used to give an indication of the size and competitive rank of the business.
A snapshot of the size, dynamics, and trends of the market in which an individual, business, or organization operates, including a description of changes affecting the industry, market area, and customer base.
An approach used primarily in setting the asking price for houses and businesses for sale by identifying the selling prices of similar recently sold offerings.
The process through which an individual, business, or organization reaches, influences, prompts purchases and repeat business from, and develops loyalty from those in the target market audience.
Messages and media that deliver information about the features, benefits, and value of a product, business, or brand, distributed through sales literature, print and broadcast mediums, the Internet, and other forms of advertising, direct mail, social media, and personal presentations.
The overall sales or brand awareness target that marketing programs seek to achieve.
The combination of efforts a business employs to achieve its marketing goals and objectives. Devised by adjusting product, price, promotion, and place (commonly known as distribution) strategies in order to arrive at a unique plan that balances market interests with business profitability.
A measurable result a marketer aims to achieve within a defined time period in order to support a business’s overall marketing or business goal.
A document that details how a business, organization, or individual will achieve marketing success over a period of time. This plan includes a statement of goals and objectives; definitions of the current market situation, positioning statement, and brand promise; and detailed descriptions of the product, pricing, distribution, and promotion strategies to be followed in order to reach the defined target audience, prompt desired consumer actions, inspire initial and repeat business, and build customer loyalty.
The product, pricing, promotion, and distribution (also called place) approaches a marketer uses to address the interests of customers and prospective customers and the realities of the business, industry, and market environment.
The four categories that cover the functions marketers employ to achieve marketing goals and objectives. These categories address the marketer’s product, price, promotions, and distribution, which is referred to as place.
An amount added by a seller to the cost of an item being resold or used in production; computed as a percentage of either the cost or the selling price. Added in order to make a profit.
The process of a single person or organization transmitting a message to a large segment of the population, usually using mass media outlets such as print publications and broadcast media as opposed to targeted communications to individuals or precisely defined market segments.
The collection of established communication outlets reaching large numbers of people in broad cross-sections of the general public, primarily including newspapers, radio, and television networks.
All the means of communication that provide the public with news and entertainment, usually along with advertising; include newspapers, radio, TV, and the Internet.
An individual or business that represents a range of media outlets and assembles plans and makes ad buys that reach target audiences and fit the marketing objectives of an advertiser.
The title of a person who plans media schedules and arranges media placements, called buys, directly for a client or through an advertising agency or media planning firm.
A media plan that uses more than one form of media (for example, a newspaper and television) to gain greater and more frequent advertising impressions.
A schedule of ad placements designed to match an advertiser’s budget while achieving multiple impressions on a target audience that corresponds to an advertiser’s customer profile.
The process of establishing editorial contacts and relationships, distributing news releases and story ideas, and becoming a trustworthy news source in order to gain favorable, unpaid editorial coverage, called publicity.
A list of media outlets in which an ad will appear, including dates, costs, and size or length of the scheduled ads; the result of a media plan.
An informal process that involves assisted negotiation between parties of a disagreement, usually entered into voluntarily as an alternative to arbitration or litigation. Led by an impartial third party and resulting in a negotiated settlement when successful.
A U.S. national health program through which certain medial and hospital expenses of the aged and the needy are pair for from federal (mostly Social Security) funds.
A document describing a mutual agreement between negotiating parties, including guidelines for how the parties agree to work together and any next steps necessary to implement the agreement, which may include development of a formal legal contract or agreement.
An informal and public written communication within a business that makes an announcement, discusses procedures, reports on business activities, or disseminates employee information.
An experienced person who agrees to serve as teacher, counselor, guide, or advisor to another, often younger or less experienced, person.
Educational or professional guidance provided by an experienced, influential, and more senior individual who counsels, teaches, and supports a promising junior-level individual who is seeking to develop increased ability and achieve increased stature or responsibility in the future. Similar to coaching, but with a greater emphasis on personal involvement and support than on short-term outcomes.
1. Selling goods in exchange for money. 2. Practices and operations promoting commercial activity. 3. Activities that stimulate in-store sales, including how goods are displayed, priced, and promoted in order to make them visually apparent and appealing.
To combine two or more corporations by transferring all property to a single corporation, which continues to function, having absorbed the other corporation.
The combining of two businesses into one new entity.
1. A term used to refer to the consolidation of companies either by combining the two into a new entity, called a merger, or by one purchasing and subsuming the other, called an acquisition. 2. An area of specialty in the investment banking and financial communities that features the management, financing, and strategy involved in buying, selling, and combining companies.
Basing an employee’s compensation and pay increases on achievement of goals and objectives over a specified time period according to agreed-upon and measurable performance criteria.
Coded data in hypertext markup language (HTML) that provides information about a Web page that isn’t visible to site users but that search engines and browsers can access to see a short description and keywords for the page, which are used when adding the page to a site index.
Venture capital invested in a business during the period preceding a company’s plans to sell its first shares of stock to the public through an initial public offering (IPO), structured so that proceeds from the stock sale will repay what is also called late-stage financing.
The study of how economic indicators reflect consumer and business behavior, in contrast with macroeconomics, which studies performance of the economy as a whole.
To extract useful, often previously unknown, information from a large amount of data.
A description of what a business is and what it does to achieve its vision, which is the ultimate purpose or aspiration of the business.
Short for mobile application; software designed to be downloaded to portable devices including smartphones, for free or at a price, to provide extreme usefulness or entertainment to users.
Businesses and customers transacting sales via smartphone, often using mobile apps; considered the intersection of traditional retail with e-commerce because it removes any distinction between online and offline channels, allowing customers to use either approach to access the same goods, services, and information, supported by the same business operations.
High-quality paper that's slightly smaller than standard-size paper, used for personal business letters with the employee's name and the business's address printed on it.
A business environment in which a single entity has complete control of an industry, business category or service offering; the opposite of a competitive marketplace.
A word, phrase, or sentence chosen to express the goals and ideals of a business.
Providing customers with multiple channels of access in order to facilitate the purchase of goods and services. For example, selling through a company’s retail store, Web site, and mail order catalog.
A direct sales system through a pyramid shaped organization where participants receive commissions on their own sales as well as on the sales of those they recruit into the business. This model results in a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation, thus the term multilevel marketing.
Having or involving several different forms.
A method of business valuation that involves multiplying the historical or projected annual earnings of a business by a number of usually 1 to 5, with higher multiples determined by the attractiveness of the business as an easily transferable, financially strong, and well-regarded enterprise with good future prospects.
The world’s first electronic stock market, which lists thousands of companies from dozens of countries in all industry sectors, and handles more IPOs than any other U.S. stock exchange. Originally an acronym for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, NASDAQ is now used as a proper noun.
A program sponsored by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission designed to give consumers the choice to reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls they receive. Once telephone numbers are registered, telemarketers covered by the law have 31 days to remove the registered numbers from their call lists. Numbers can be registered at www.donotcall.gov.
Determining a customer’s current and future needs based on direct contact by a service provider and resulting in insights that contribute to development and marketing of services that fulfill the customer’s needs in an efficient and effective manner.
1. (verb) To develop contacts or exchange information with others to further a career or business. 2. (noun) The people who constitute your networking contacts.
A meeting staged to share an announcement with reporters and editors from a wide array of media outlets; used for news that should be shared in person and simultaneously rather than sequentially.
The unauthorized public disclosure of confidential information through the news media, often to the detriment of an organization's public reputation.
A written document or audio or video piece delivered or sent electronically to news outlets to present information that the sender hopes will be included in print, broadcast, or online news or feature coverage; a tool used to generate publicity.
When a buyer requests extras or discounts on a purchase that he or she has already officially made.
Targeting a narrow market segment comprised of consumers with specialized interests and needs, and focusing all product development and marketing efforts precisely on that audience. An approach that is successful if the segment is small enough to have been overlooked by other businesses but large and accessible enough to deliver sufficient sales volume.
Generally found in employment contracts, noncompetition agreements between an employer and employee are intended to restrict the employee from competing against the employer for a certain period of time when the employment relationship is ended. Such agreements often also prohibit the employee from using or revealing proprietary information gained while working for the employer.
Items of value that a company may sell without threatening the strength of its operations and profitability; often called nonoperating assets and included on the balance sheet under the category of assets.
A nonsalaried, often nonprofessional employee who is paid for each hour worked and who is subject to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provisions including payment for overtime.
A legal corporation founded with a purpose other than the creation and distribution of profits to its owners; typically granted tax-exempt status by relevant taxing authorities.
One of a group of organizations that include charities, churches, trade unions, and education, recreation, and public arts organizations that do not seek or produce profit, instead using surplus funds generated to pursue organizational goals. Usually organized under the Internal Revenue Code and tax-exempt.
Adjusting actual earnings of a business to account for nonrecurring events or cyclical conditions that resulted in unusual gain or loss not likely to be repeated in the future.
A definition of the measurable result an individual or business aims to achieve within a defined time period in order to support an overall goal.
Relationships within a business that affect how employees do their jobs and how people are treated.
Marketing communications transmitted directly to the mailboxes, telephones, or computer screens of individuals who are prospective customers for the products or services of an advertiser.
Promotional messages placed on Web sites in an effort to prompt visitors to the ad-host site to click through to the site of the advertiser; usually placed in the form of banner ads, pay-per-click ads, and pop-up ads.
An Internet marketing program linking a seller of products, called a merchant, with affiliate sites presenting merchant offerings to site visitors who, if they click to purchase, are redirected to the site of the merchant, who completes the transaction and splits the revenue, usually through a commission payment to the merchant. Amazon is the best-known example of an affiliate program merchant.
1. The way a person, business, or brand is perceived on the basis of online search results. 2. The consistent manner in which a person, business, or brand is presented online, which may or may not be different from offline identity in order to be more easily found and recognized in Web search results. For instance, a person known as Sue Brown in her personal life might consistently use a unique invented name online, or a version of her proper name that includes a distinctive middle name or title as a way to be more easily found and recognized.
The transfer of funds from customer to merchant through the Internet, ideally using a secure electronic system, with funds coming through a customer’s digital wallet, credit card, or a Web payment processing system such as PayPal, rather than paying by check or money order.
A section of a company Web site where journalists can go to find the electronic version of a traditional media or press kit, including company contacts, a factual profile of the business and its products and people, current news releases, an archive of news coverage, high-definition images available for download and reproduction, and links to media spokespeople who are committed to prompt query responses.
Software used by online merchants to present merchandise for sale and to allow customers to select items for purchase, review their orders, make adjustments, and complete their purchase transactions without leaving the site.
A Web site selling goods or services that customers can visit anytime to view offerings or complete entire purchase transactions.
1. A proposal, presented unsealed and available for public viewing, submitted in response to a request for competitive offers to perform a scope of work that will be awarded to the lowest bidder. 2. A proposal to deliver a contracted service or product for a specific price with the right to reduce that price to match the quotes of competing bidders.
The normal timeframe that covers the complete process involved with purchasing inventory, holding products, producing goods, selling products, billing, and collecting payment; this timeframe varies from business to business.
General and administrative expenditures necessary to operate a business. Includes costs for salaries, research and development, marketing, travel and entertainment, rent, office supplies, and other overhead.
The term used by financial managers and accountants for earnings before interest and income taxes, calculated by totaling revenue from all sales and subtracting the cost of goods sold and all operating expenses. Doesn’t include any deductions for income taxes or interest expense on debt, thereby providing a measure of profit from operations.
The processes and resources a business uses to create products or services as efficiently as possible, usually divided into four operational categories: location, equipment, labor, and processes, which includes systems for quality control and improvement.
A company-provided document that details the company’s policies, procedures, and employee guidelines. Designed to cover all areas relating to business operation in order to ensure uniformity, consistency, and accountability.
A document or small book that explains how to assemble, install, and control a technical device or another piece of equipment.
Members of a community, group, industry, or society whose opinions are respected by others. Such people, who often have desirable social positions, titles, businesses, or life experiences, are seen as shapers of public opinion and therefore are targeted by marketers who hope to win their support to hasten broader acceptance of the marketer's products or services.
Advance permission, granted by a customer or potential customer to a marketer, to become the recipient of advertising and promotional messages until the time when the recipient cancels the permission by opting out of future contact.
1. Instruction issued to a marketer by a customer or potential customer to stop sending advertising and promotional messages. 2. An option required by the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, which stipulates that email containing a commercial message must include a clear explanation for how the recipient can request no further mailings, or unsubscribe, from the sender’s mailing list.
Listings that appear in response to a Web user’s query for information because the listings contain the same keywords as those contained in the user’s request. Results are itemized by how well the site appears to be relevant to the keyword, a feat accomplished through the process of search engine optimization (SEO).
A diagram that shows the structure of a business or organization and the relationships of its parts and positions; used to graphically define authority, responsibility, information flow, and departmental structure.
The formal or informal hierarchy of individuals or groups within a business or association that dictates how tasks are delegated and how people interact to work efficiently and effectively.
A manufacturer whose products or components are purchased by another company and integrated into another product for sale under the reseller’s brand name.
Promotional messages posted on billboards and signs, on transit vehicles, or even via skywriting to reach consumers when they’re going about their daily activities.
Transferring business functions that were once performed internally to an external third-party provider that is often located in a distant country.
Hours worked that exceed the period defined as a normal workweek and that must be paid to nonexempt, nonsalaried employees at a higher-than-normal rate, as stipulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The total of all assets minus all liabilities of a business.
A product category comprised of nondurable consumable products bought through retail outlets. Includes food and beverages, clothing and footwear, tobacco, cleaning products, and any other items purchased relatively frequently at a low unit price.
A term indicating a single visit to a Web page by a user. Used to monitor site traffic.
Achieving online visibility by placing paid ads in search engine results and on Web pages containing keywords matched to the ad content.
1. An unincorporated legal form of business structure that involves multiple individuals, called general partners, who manage the business and share profits and responsibility for debts, sometimes in addition to limited partners who serve as investors responsible for debt only to the limit of their investments. 2. A formal or informal agreement between individuals to collaborate and cooperate to achieve mutually agreed-upon goals and objectives.
A government document issued to a citizen for travel to another country, certifying identity and citizenship.
The legal structure of a business entity that isn’t subject to taxation because it’s allowed to pass annual taxable income straight through to shareholders in proportion to their ownership, thereby avoiding double taxation; tax-through entities include partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and S corporations.
Exclusive property rights granted by the U.S. government to inventors in order to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the patent owner’s invention throughout the U.S., or importing the invention into the U.S., for a defined period of usually 20 years.
The means by which a seller agrees to accept payment from a purchaser, sometimes in an all-cash payment at time of purchase, but often with payments over time or a closing-day down payment followed by seller-financed loan payments, balloon payments, or earn-out payments.
The most common form of online advertising. Displayed ads are charged to the advertiser only when clicked by a Web user; paid for at a pre-negotiated per-click rate.
A process by which performance or quality of work is evaluated by individuals who are experienced in the same field and equivalently qualified as those creating the work under evaluation. Used frequently in academia, medicine, and software development.
A fixed retirement benefit amount, based on salary level and length of service, that an employee receives if he or she stays at the same business until retirement.
A market research technique in which consumer perceptions and attitudes are surveyed, plotted, and graphically displayed on a chart that helps companies understand consumer experiences and impressions; used in the planning and design of future product development or improvements.
A meeting with an employee in which you review that employee's performance over the past period (usually a year) and give feedback.
A process designed to evaluate an employee’s job performance by analyzing accomplishments, shortcomings, strengths, and weaknesses and to communicate the employee’s suitability for continued employment and advancement.
An amount of time that business documents cover, such as annually or quarterly.
A term commonly used to describe employee benefits and fringe benefits.
A term coined by marketer Seth Godin to define a marketing approach that requires customers’ advance approval before advertisers directly contact them, implemented by inviting people to subscribe to newsletters, join mailing lists, or otherwise request information to launch a customer-initiated business relationship.
An official document granting consent to a certain activity.
The set of beliefs about who an individual is and what he or she stands for and does best; the reputation of an individual that is communicated and reinforced across all forms of media and in all online and offline interactions.
An agreement by an individual to assume liability and responsibility for a debt held by a business or other individual and granting a lender claim to the guarantor’s assets in case of default.
Time off without pay granted by companies to employees who must leave work to attend to unexpected needs or events not addressed by other leave policies such as vacation or sick leave.
A legal agreement between an employer and employee that outlines and clarifies the terms of work to be performed. Typically includes the scope of the work, the time period over which the work is to be performed, compensation and payment schedule, billing and payment procedures, grounds for termination, and any other information defining the working arrangement.
Writing the speech sounds in a word or words, disregarding accurate spelling.
A discounted rate for ad placement in a newspaper, which newspapers give in return for running the same ad two or more times in the same week.
1. Within the sales process, the system of developing a list of qualified prospects who have been introduced to and indicated interest in an offering but who aren’t yet ready to make a purchase. 2. Within the production system, work in process but not yet completed. 3. In the transfer of goods or information, a distribution vehicle.
The period of time addressed by a business, marketing, strategic, or action plan.
A sound file that can be accessed online and downloaded to personal digital audio players.
A statement of the beneficial attributes that positively distinguish a product or service from competing offerings. Used by marketers as the underlying message in advertising and sales communications.
A term used interchangeably for the point of sale, where the buying transaction takes place, and the point of selection, where the buying decision is made and customers view in-store promotional tools such as counter, window and aisle displays, banners, shelf promotions, and take-one coupons.
A retail space where purchase transactions occur and where retailers and product marketers employ promotional tools in order to stimulate impulse purchases.
A document that provides a guide to the policies followed and procedures used by a business in its day-to-day operations; often used as a training guide.
An ad that may appear on a Web user’s computer screen when a new Web page is opened, often covering part of the content the user is trying to reach and, as a result, making pop-up ads one of the least popular forms of online advertising. When the ad becomes visible only when the user navigates away from a Web page it’s called a pop-under ad.
A retail location in a short-term selling space in available mall or street locations, usually opening with very little advance notice, offering high-demand consumer offerings, and then quickly closing or transitioning to provide a different retail offering.
A term used by marketers to describe the process of determining what meaningful and unfilled niche a business, product, or brand is designed to fill, filling it, and working to perform so well that customers have no reason to allow any competitive offering into the same market position.
An accounting term for items or services that have been purchased but not yet received, such as insurance premiums or service retainers, that are reflected on a balance sheet under the category of current assets.
A folder containing background information that helps editors, writers, and reporters produce stories. A business’s press kit usually includes information such as company history, product and service fact sheets, high-quality artwork, copies of brochures and other sales literature, the most recent annual report or financial summary, and contact information of executives and those who can be reached for additional information. More recently, the contents of press kits have been posted on business Web sites in an online press room.
The ability to raise prices while retaining high consumer demand, usually as a result of high brand value and often leading to a premium-price strategy.
An period of intense competition during which businesses seeking to gain market share progressively lower their prices until either one or more leaves the market or all participants determine that the practice has reached a point where there’s nothing to be gained by further price reductions.
Planning, determining, and presenting the price of a product or service with an aim to optimize the likely success and profitability of the product while also supporting the goals and objectives of a business and addressing opportunities and constraints of the marketplace. A key function of strategic marketing.
The hours when broadcast audiences are greatest. Usually between 7 and 11 p.m. for television audiences and during morning and afternoon drive times for radio audiences.
The face value of a loan or other financial obligation excluding any interest owed, which declines over the repayment period and is stated as the amount due.
Printed forms of communication that carry information and, usually, advertising. Primarily newspapers and magazines, but also directories, newsletters, booklets, pamphlets, and other materials.
Products manufactured by one company to be sold under the brand name of a second company, an approach used by large retailers to offer groceries, cosmetics, clothing, and packaged goods produced by others but presented under the retailer’s own brand; examples include Kirkland for Costco and Archer Farms for Target.
Preparation of financial statements using best-estimated projections for the period ahead. These projections may reflect anticipated changes such as additional staffing, business or equipment acquisitions, or projected sales increases. Pro forma statements are prepared to compare previous, actual performance with projected future performance.
The money or profit derived from a sale or business venture.
The detailed and complete process employed by many businesses to obtain goods and services. Includes procedures for purchase planning and standards, supplier research and selection, purchase requisition, negotiation and financing procedures, item delivery and receipt, invoice approval, payment, and other similar purchasing and inventory control functions.
An economic and inflation indicator based on a family of indexes compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure price changes for goods and services at the produce or wholesale level.
A good offered for sale. If the good is intangible, it’s usually called a service.
The stages a product passes through from initial development to withdrawal from the market. Reflected by an increase, crescendo, and decline in sales during the periods of introduction, sales growth, product maturity, market saturation, and, finally, sales decline that prompts either withdrawal or reinvention of the offering.
The variety and nature of products or product lines a company produces or a retailer stocks.
Planning related to the offerings of a business through the introduction of new products; the communication of different uses, benefits, or distinctions of existing products; shifting marketing emphasis from one product to another; or renaming or relabeling products to best address the wants, needs, tastes, and trends of customers. A key function of strategic marketing.
1. An economic term for the rate at which goods or services are produced. 2. A measurement of the efficiency of a person, machine, system, workforce, nation, or other entity, calculated by dividing output over a specific time period by input, which includes costs or resources invested in the production effort.
A high degree of competency and skill.
Sales revenue (and other sources of income) minus expenses (and losses) for a period.
A commonly used term for an income statement, which is a financial statement that summarizes money earned and spent over a specified period and up to the date when the report was run. Includes all revenue minus all costs and expenses to arrive at a bottom line called net profit.
The amount of profit a business hopes to clear from the sale of its products or services; often a negotiating point between a buyer and seller.
A key business financial indicator calculated by dividing net income by total sales.
A motivational program through which employees receive a share of a business’s generated profits based upon a predetermined formula for allocation and distribution. The share may take the form of stock or cash, and may be paid immediately or deferred until retirement.
An estimate of the timing and amounts of cash inflow and outflow over a specific period. Usually used to determine if a business will need to borrow funds to sustain operations and, if so, how much cash will be required and when the loan can be repaid.
A legal term found in contract law defining a person who makes a promise to another, the promise, to fulfill an obligation that is often detailed in a promissory note, loan note, or note payable.
A written promise that a borrower (the promisor) will pay a sum of money to a designated person (the payee or promisee) at a fixed time or on demand, outlined in a document that defines the borrower, lender, principal amount being loaned, interest rate, and repayment terms. An unsecured promissory note includes no path of recourse if the buyer defaults on the repayment obligation, while a secured promissory note gives the lender a legal right to collateral that can be seized as recourse in the event of default.
A marketing program aimed at increasing sales over a short time period by offering an incentive that prompts customers to take immediate action.
The way a business plans to communicate its marketing message. Defines the target customer, market area, marketing message, creative approach, and marketing channels to be used to achieve sales goals within the confines of an allocated budget. A key function of strategic marketing.
Private information that is confidential within a business and not intended for public dissemination because it contains trade secrets and financial, production, client, or other facts that give the company a competitive edge. Proprietary information is often protected by policies that prohibit disclosure outside of the business or for personal gain.
1. (noun) A potential customer, or a job candidate with positive attributes. 2. (verb) To search for opportunity; in sales, to search for potential customers.
The accepted or expected way to behave in a certain situation.
The study of how people use and structure space or spatial arrangements.
A study of personality characteristics that affect consumer behavior and patterns. Used to segment customers into groups based on such information as beliefs, values, and attitudes.
An accounting professional who may prepare financial statements but who, in most states, is not permitted to provide public attestation of financial statements or conduct formal accounting audits because he or she has not completed certification requirements to attain the designation of certified public accountant.
Property available for copy or distribution without permission or payment of royalties either because it is ineligible for copyright protection or because copyrights have expired.
Activities that aim to establish, maintain, and improve a favorable relationship with those upon whom the success of an organization depends, conducted through programs that develop media relations, employee relations, community relations, industry relations, government relations, and issue and crisis management plans.
As part of a public procurement program, a bidding process open to all qualified suppliers that generally requires sealed bids which are subsequently opened and discussed in public before a contract is awarded.
A communication approach that results in unpaid mentions in print, broadcast, or online news or feature coverage; usually the result of public relations, media relations, and news releases.
A strategic marketing approach that aims to heighten consumer interest in and knowledge of a product in order to develop a level of demand that pulls products and services through distribution channels and into the marketplace.
A strategic marketing approach focused on distribution channels aiming to inspire wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to promote one offering over the offerings of competing products in order to push the product toward consumers. Often inspired by discounts, kickbacks, and other types of incentives.
An unsustainable and fraudulent business model that promises financial benefits to those who join by paying an entry fee to the person who recruited them, with each recruit enticing more people into the program with the understanding that income from payments made by new recruits will accrue to the early joiner. Such schemes rarely sell anything of value and ultimately collapse when the demand for recruiting income outstrips the supply of new recruits.
An audit opinion that states, except for the effect of a matter to which a qualification relates, the financial statements are fairly presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
A contractor, supplier, or vendor possessing the experience, financial ability, managerial and organizational capability, and reputation to meet the minimum standards defined by a business, organization, or agency seeking suppliers through a competitive process.
An inquiry process that involves unstructured interviews with individuals or small groups to obtain and assess their experiences and beliefs about a topic, product, or service, resulting in a subjective understanding that aids future decision-making but that cannot be used to make generalizations about the target population in general. In direct contrast to qualitative research, which obtains results from a randomly selected sample of the target audience to arrive at objective generalizations.
Processes used to set and maintain product and service standards. Involves reviewing and assessing all steps involved in product manufacturing or service delivery with the intent of finding and eliminating defects, monitoring and evaluating production and delivery systems and activities, and ensuring optimum efficiency for the purpose of meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
A research method that uses structured surveys such as online questionnaires or face-to-face, mail, or phone interviews to measure opinions from a randomly selected sample of individuals of sufficient number and appropriate characteristics to represent the researcher’s target audience. The interviewees’ responses permit statistical analysis leading to results that allow for predictive conclusions about future consumer behavior or attitudes by the target market in general.
A formula for measuring a business’s capability to pay its short-term liabilities with cash or near-cash assets. Calculated by dividing total cash, accounts, receivables, and any marketable securities by total current or short-term liabilities.
A distinction of the different varieties of human beings, distinguished by physical traits, blood types, genetic code, and all unique inherited characteristics.
The current or published rate for a room in a lodging establishment before any discount is applied.
A measure of the percentage of the potential target audience reached by a broadcast ad. If an ad airs during a time projected to reach 15 percent of the audience, it’s assigned 15 rating points.
The formula used to evaluate the exposure and effectiveness of an advertiser’s media schedule. Calculated by multiplying the number of target audience households exposed to the schedule by the number of times each household is reached.
An offer a customer can redeem following a purchase, usually redeemed by completing and submitting a rebate form.
1. The process of completely replacing an established brand identity, often following a brand merger or a major change in business direction. Rebranding could also be an attempt to overcome a highly negative established image. 2. Significantly updating a brand identity to make it more contemporary, more competitive, and a clearer reflection of the business or products it represents.
Adjusting financial statements of a business to reflect the actual earnings of owners. Accomplished by creating a pro forma or projected income statement that backs out certain expenses for owner benefits, one-time nonrecurring costs, and expenses for purchases that are considered discretionary.
An economic condition usually accompanied by high rates of unemployment, stagnant or falling wages, and a decline in consumer spending, officially declared in the United States by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
1. (verb) To enlist new people to participate (usually, to work for) a business. 2. (noun) A person newly hired by a business.
A colloquial term for a financial loss or deficit. An amount by which the cost of a project, event, or business exceeded its revenues. The term’s origins tie back to earlier times when financial statements were prepared by hand, and red ink was employed to signal losses while black ink marked gains or profits.
The name and contact information, supplied in a resume, for a person who can offer information about or a recommendation of an applicant.
Research undertaken by a prospective employer to verify information supplied by a job candidate; involves contacting provided character references and previous employers to confirm facts and learn more about job performance, compensation, responsibilities, attendance, skills, and accomplishments.
When a person directs another person to a particular thing; usually a business with which the referring person has had a good experience.
A word, phrase, symbol, or design registered with and protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; indicated by use of the federal registration symbol .
A government body with authority over a designated area of activity (for example, transportation, law enforcement, or pharmaceuticals manufacture and distribution) and with responsibility for the oversight and administration of complex rules or laws, including investigating, auditing, issuing permits, and enforcing compliance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is one example.
To repay or compensate a person or business for expenses, damages, losses, and so on.
A clause included in most purchase and sale agreements in which the seller promises that information provided is honest and accurate. If the information is deemed otherwise, that can be interpreted as misrepresentation and a reason for buyer default.
An approach used in procurement that involves issuing an invitation or soliciting qualified suppliers to submit a bid or proposal to provide clearly specified goods or services.
1. The use of basic and applied scientific techniques to gain knowledge used in the design and development of products, procedures, systems, materials, processes, or services. 2. A fiscal line item detailing the amount of money a company has invested or reinvested during a period to find or develop new products.
Stock given or sold at a discount to an employee that can be resold by the employee for an allocated period of time, but with defined conditions set by the employer.
1. A condition that defines limits on how stock given or sold at a discount to an employee can be resold by the employee for an allocated period of time. 2. A condition attached to stock sold as part of a business sale that also involves a seller-financed loan, stipulating that shares won’t become outright property of the business buyer until the loan debt is fully repaid.
A statement of a job applicant's previous employment experience, education, and other relevant information.
A form of business in which you sell directly to the consumer from a fixed business location.
The amount charged to customers for an item in a retail establishment, reflecting the wholesale price and all other expenses plus the retailer’s markup.
A merchant who buys goods in large quantities from manufacturers, wholesalers, or distributors and resells them in small quantities directly to the general public, usually from a shop or store.
Earnings generated by a business that are left in the business rather than paid out to the owners, reflected on the balance sheet under the category of owner’s equity.
A fee paid upfront to a service provider, usually as part of a work-for-hire contract through which one secures the services of a professional by paying in advance for work to be specified later. Attorneys frequently employ retainers when committing to provide services before the either the attorney or client are certain about the full scope of work.
A measure of how effectively a business uses its assets, calculated by dividing net income for the period by average assets for the period.
A measure of how well a business provides earnings to owners in relation to their investment in the business. Calculated by dividing net profit after taxes by shareholder's equity.
1. A measure of the efficiency of one investment in comparison with others. Calculated by dividing funds generated by the investment (called investment return) by total cost of the investment. 2. Profit or loss from an investment of time, energy, or money, usually calculated by comparing the beneficial outcome to the total cost involved.
To update a brand identity and reputation.
A term used to describe a variety of actions taken by businesses to reduce, restructure, or reorganize in order to reduce costs and achieve profitability.
An approach for comparing the potential return on an investment of time, energy, or money with the potential downside if the investment opportunity fails to materialize. Usually calculated by dividing anticipated profit (reward) by possible loss (risk).
A term used by banks, angel investors, and venture capital investors to describe financing made available to private companies from the seed idea and startup phase to phases titled first-round, second-stage, third-round, and mezzanine or pre-IPO, which is the phase at which a private business sells stock to the public.
A share of the proceeds or product paid to the owner of a right (such as a patent) so that you can use that right or operate under it, such as in a franchise.
Compensation paid to an author, artist, or other owner of intellectual property or natural resources. Usually calculated as a percentage of profits received from products sold over a defined period.
Abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication; a system in which you subscribe to newsfeeds from various Web pages and automatically receive updated information from these sites through your RSS newsreader.
An abbreviation for the French phrase "réspondez s'il vous plaît," meaning "please reply."
An advertisement that airs in whatever time slot a radio or television station has available rather than at a specific, and often more costly, time requested by the advertiser. In newspapers, called a run-of-paper placement.
A business structure that provides the corporate benefits of limited owner liability while also allowing the benefits of a partnership; profits are passed through to owners, called shareholders, without first being taxed at the corporate level. S corporations are limited to 75 owners and can issue only one form of stock.
The pay given to employees who receive a set amount per set period, no matter how many hours worked.
A matrix of job types and grades used to define compensation and benefits in the administration of a company’s pay philosophy, providing managers and employees with a visual map of the compensation structure.
The process during which a product is offered, the case for purchase is made, the purchasing decision occurs, and the business-to-customer exchange takes place.
A contract outlining the terms of a sale, transferring ownership and possession of goods from seller to buyer in exchange for money or other specific value.
A prediction of future sales of a product over a specific time period based upon past product sales history, current and evolving market conditions, competitive circumstances, seasonality, and production capability.
Informational materials, often contained in a folder, designed to explain a product, service, or company to a prospective customer. May include printed matter, videos, DVDs, demonstration materials, or samples that are usually to a prospect by a salesperson, though sometimes appearing instead on business Web sites.
Informational materials used as selling aids. May include brochures, catalogs, charts, manuals, data sheets, price lists, press clippings, news releases, and customer testimonials.
A company function or process designed to attain sales goals through planning, staffing, training, leadership, and allocation and management of company resources.
The act of personally presenting a product to a customer with the aim of stimulating the purchase decision. Usually the salesperson shows or demonstrates the offering; describes how it will deliver benefits, solve problems, or provide opportunities; makes a price proposal; and responds to questions or concerns, all while attempting to hold the interest and enthusiasm of the prospective buyer.
Sales targets assigned to sales staff, dealers, distributors, regions, or territories that establish sales value or volume to be attained over a specified time period. For example, telling employee John Smith that his sales quota is to sell 200 units this coming quarter.
A salesperson or agent employed by a company to sell its products or services to customers and prospects for what’s normally commission-based compensation, though some sales representatives may earn a combination of salary and commission.
A component in business planning that focuses on how to generate qualified leads, close sales, compensate sales staff, and profitably manage order processing in support of the firm's larger business goals. Among elements often included in sales strategies are definition of target markets and customers, differentiation of product attributes, identification of the most efficient and effective tactics for selling, completion of an action plan, and design of measurement tools to monitor the plan's success.
A tax on the sale of a product or service, usually levied as a percentage of, and added to, the price paid by the consumer.
A wide-ranging U.S. corporate reform legislation act, which lays down stringent procedures regarding the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures, places restrictions on auditors providing non-audit services, and obliges top executives to verify their accounts personally.
A precise and chronological definition of the services or products to be provided in order to complete an agreed-upon task, usually included as part of an agreement or contract.
An acronym for Service Corps of Retired Executives, SCORE is a national volunteer organization of 13,000 working or retired business owners, executives, or leaders with a wide range of business skills who offer free online or face-to-face business counseling, mentoring, training, and support for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
A site that collects information from Web sites by using a program called a spider, which crawls around the Web reading information and compiling keywords into an index that is searched to match the queries of Web users with sites that best fit their requests.
A request filed with a search engine to notify a Web user by e-mail when a requested name or phrase appears in new Web postings; used by marketers to monitor online news about themselves and their competitors.
Marketing efforts undertaken by a Web site owner in an effort to achieve high visibility in search engine results through a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) programs and paid advertising that appears alongside organic search results.
Techniques designed to gain a Web site a top or high ranking in search engine results for queries that include targeted keywords or phrases related to the site. Accomplished through the careful use of Web page titles, repeated use of keywords throughout site content, descriptive META tags, site indexing, code editing, and the establishment of a network of Web backlinks (links on other Web sites that point to the optimized site).
Cyclic variation in consumer demand for which businesses plan, stock, and staff differently. Caused by seasonal factors such as weather or length of days or by a recurring period of the year such as back-to-school or holidays. For example, a hardware store stocks and markets snow shovels during winter months and barbeques during summer months, each in response to seasonal demand.
Funding provided, often by venture capital investors, to established businesses already producing and shipping product but lacking the cash flow necessary to expand marketing, increase production, and achieve growth potential. Second-stage financing is often preceded chronologically by seed financing and startup financing, and is followed by third-round financing, and mezzanine or pre-IPO funding.
A system developed by Visa, MasterCard, and major computer manufacturers to protect the security of online financial transactions by using encryption and authentication methods and by employing digital certificates and digital signatures to protect privacy between the purchaser, merchant, and bank.
A Web server armed with security software that encrypts and decrypts messages to protect them from being tampered with and to ensure the privacy of commercial transactions, typically using major security protocols such as secure electronic transaction (SET) and secure socket layer (SSL).
A Web site resident on secure servers that provides protected and private exchanges of data, usually of a financial nature, encrypted for transit over the Internet.
A financial instrument that shows ownership, such as stocks or bonds.
Funds invested during the earliest, often conceptual, stage of a company’s development by the business owner, family, friends, or other outside lenders.
A business or project that generates all necessary funds from its own income instead of calling upon outside investors or lenders.
A recast income statement that includes adjustments to back out all expenses that represent owner benefits, one-time nonrecurring expenses, and discretionary expenses that another owner may not choose to make. This statement results in a report of how much a business actually makes for its owner or owners annually and is a key factor in business sale valuations.
A common approach to funding the purchase of a small business through a loan made by the seller to the buyer, usually after the buyer makes a significant cash down payment and always accompanied by the buyer’s agreement to repayment terms outlined in a seller-financed note, also called a promissory note.
A promissory note required by the seller of a business who agrees to finance a portion of the buyer’s purchase price under a loan agreement detailed in a contract, or note, that clearly defines repayment terms.
A document provided by the seller of a business to serious prospects after the prospects sign a confidentiality agreement. Answers buyer questions about what the business is and does, why it’s for sale, the attributes that make it an attractive investment, growth opportunities, a summary of financial condition, and asking price.
Conditions a seller places upon a buyer as part of an agreement to deliver goods or services on credit. These generally define the period during which credit is extended, the timing and size of scheduled payments, and possible remedies if the buyer fails to pay in full upon the designated deadlines.
An advertising campaign that encourages immediate sales.
A formal presentation by one or more experts in which the attendees are encouraged to discuss the subject matter.
The highest-ranking executives of a business or organization who share responsibility for overall strategy, day-to-day management, and long-term success of the enterprise. Appointed by a board of directors or senior shareholders, the senior management team plans for, leads, directs, and inspires the organization. Typical senior management team members include chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), and chief financial officer (CFO).
1. An intangible product sold by a business, such as tax return preparation or landscaping. 2. The way a business interacts with its customers.
A protected trademark for a service rather than a product. Indicated by the letters SM in superscript. SM
1. In court orders, the process of separating issues and trying each part individually, sometimes called bifurcation. 2. In property, the separation of a portion of a land track through condemnation or other means, usually accompanied by compensation for the value of the separated parcel and the resulting decreased value of the remaining portion. 3. In employment situations, the act of separating with or terminating an employee, often with an offer of compensation called severance pay.
Salary and benefits paid in addition to those already owed to an employee whose employment with a company is terminated, often because of a lay-off and typically based on the employee’s length of service, pay level at time of departure, and agreement to sign a separation or severance agreement that waives the employee’s right to future lawsuits against the employer. Severance pay is often offered to employees asked to leave their positions immediately instead of following a usual notice-of-termination period. A severance package typically includes pay based on months of service to the employer, unused vacation time or sick leave, retirement benefits, interim medical insurance coverage, and other forms of compensation.
Any unwelcome physical, visual, or verbal sexual advance, or a request for sexual favors, that interferes with the victim's job performance.
The percentage of radio or television sets tuned to a particular broadcast station or channel, or the percentage of target market consumers that read a particular newspaper or magazine, used to determine how effectively a media outlet reaches the desired audience of an advertiser.
Those who own shares of stock in a corporation or mutual fund and who are, therefore, entitled to a legal claim on a proportionate share of earnings, declared dividends, and assets, as well as a proportionate share of the liabilities. Share ownership also entitles owners to vote on certain matters including membership of the board of directors.
A small printed sign affixed to a retail shelf to draw attention to and prompt selection of a product at its point of purchase.
A principal religion of Japan, with emphasis on the worship of nature and of ancestors and ancient heroes, and the divinity of the emperor.
What occurs when online shoppers click to place an item in their online shopping cart but never complete the checkout process, often because of product uncertainty, insecurity about sharing credit card details, confusion over the checkout process, or a Web site error, all necessitating site owner concern and improvements.
The text at the bottom of an e-mail that contains information about the sender.
An investor who provides capital without any involvement in or responsibility for management and who participates in tax and cash flow benefits while sharing liability only to the extent of the amount invested.
A bookkeeping approach used in cash-basis bookkeeping that reports each financial transaction once, entering income when it’s received and expenses when they’re paid, similar to how one keeps a personal checkbook; in contrast to double-entry bookkeeping, which is used in accrual accounting to record financial transactions as they’re incurred, regardless of whether money flows in or out at that time.
An alternative to pay based on job title or duties performed, skill-based pay permits employers to compensate employees based on the value they contribute to the company due to the number and type of skills they possess, therefore inspiring employees to acquire greater skills while also allowing companies greater flexibility in assigning skill-based employees to tasks throughout the company.
A vertical banner ad.
False, disparaging, and reputation-damaging statements spoken about a person. When the statements are made in writing, called libel.
A short, memorable phrase that helps consumers link a business name to its marketing message and brand image.
Money frequently paid by product manufacturers or suppliers to retailers in exchange for presence on retail shelves; widely used to achieve premium product placements and to get new products into supermarket distribution.
An independent agency of the U.S. government created by the Small Business Act of 1953 to protect the interests of small businesses and offer Americans management, technical, and financial support to help start, run, and grow them.
A loan made by an American lending institution, usually a bank, with the assurance that the Small Business Administration (SBA) stands behind the loan, basically as a cosigner. SBA guarantees are available only for loans and borrowers that meet detailed requirements. In the event of default of an SBA-guaranteed loan, the borrower remains obligated for the full outstanding balance due, but the SBA guarantees lender repayment of 50-80 percent of the loan amount, significantly reducing the lender’s risk.
Signed into law September 27, 2010, by President Barack Obama, the law extends established Small Business Association (SBA) loan provisions by billions of dollars of additional lending support while providing tax cuts and other resources to help small businesses create jobs and drive economic recovery.
Light conversation about common, everyday things.
Opinion-sharing Internet tools that people use to spread ideas. Includes social networking Web sites, blogs, online forums, photo and video sharing, and instant messages.
Written policies that define the social media strategy and objectives of a business, empower employees to participate in social media networks, reward social media participation and beneficial problem-solving and interaction, and outline what to include and what not to include in personal and professional social media engagements.
An online community formed through a Web site that attracts individuals who join, create online profiles, list their interests, and issue invitations to connect with friends, colleagues, relatives, and friends of friends with similar personal or professional interests.
The approach a business follows to reach and interact with its target audience through social media channels. The strategy establishes objectives, success indicators, realistic timelines, a method for tracking effectiveness, and commitment to an ongoing program to achieve defined outcomes.
Using social media to connect and communicate with others.
Web sites that invite and enable users to join, create online profiles, list interests, and issue invitations to connect with friends, colleagues, relatives, and friends of friends with similar personal or professional interests in order to form a unique community of people.
In the U.S., a federal system of old-age, unemployment, or disability insurance sinanced by a fund maintained jointly by employees, employers, and the government.
An ability, such as conflict management or team building, that's defined in terms of expected outcomes, rather than as a specific method or technique.
An acronym standing for small office, home office; a market segment comprised of small businesses of usually 1-10 employees that operate either in small offices or home offices and often rely on high-end technology to achieve a competitive edge.
The person who owns and runs a business structured as a sole proprietorship; this individual is directly responsible for the business, its debts, and taxes on its income.
A business structure under which the business has no separate existence from its owner or owners, who are personally liable for business losses and for taxes on business income; the simplest form under which to operate a business.
1. An individual or business that is the one and only source of supplies, services, or materials. 2. An individual or business considered uniquely qualified to provide the services required by a contract, and therefore granted business on a no-bid contract rather than as part of a request for proposals.
A healthy financial condition that allows an organization to use its current assets to cover its current liabilities and fund continued growth. Solvency is often measured by a current ratio, which is calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities. If current assets are double current liabilities, then the business is considered not only solvent, but also in good short-term financial health.
Evidence (such as a deposit slip or invoice) of a business dealing; critical in constructing an audit trail.
Unsolicited electronic commercial messages sent in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, delivered primarily to large lists of e-mail addresses and increasingly to instant message addresses and newsgroups. Spam accounts for the majority of all e-mail sent.
The term for generally inexpensive items imprinted with an advertiser’s name, logo, and marketing message to be given to customers and prospective customers for free as a way to gain and maintain awareness of the product or brand.
A software program that scans Web sites and Web pages to read content, scan META tags for keywords and descriptive information, and follow all site links in order to gather and index information used by search engines in page-ranking formulas and search query results.
A particular emphasis or slant imparted to information in order to create a desired effect.
1. An independent company created from an existing part of another company. 2. Divestiture by a corporation of a unit, division, or subsidiary by issuing stockholders a proportionate number of shares in a new entity. 3. A leveraged buyout (LBO) by management of an existing business unit, subsidiary, or division. 4. Something derived from an earlier work, as in a television series whose lead character transitioned from another series as a minor character.
1. An ad that airs on television or radio channels. 2. The timeslot during which an ad runs. 3. Ad time purchased on specific channels rather than through an entire network, referred to as a spot buy rather than a network buy.
Anyone or any organization that holds a stake in how well your business performs.
Individuals or groups with an interest in the success of an organization. These people are affected by and impact the organization’s actions, decisions, policies, or activities. Generally, stakeholders are divided into groups: internal stakeholders (such as owners, directors, and employees) and external stakeholders (such as creditors, suppliers, governments, and communities).
Written, step-by-step, detailed instructions to be followed precisely in carrying out a task or function. Such procedures are used by companies to ensure quality control, uniformity, and consistent performance.
A privately owned online database for use by marketers and media planners to plan marketing, advertising, and product management strategies by comparing current demographics, market segmentation, and consumer targeting data by interest or geographic area.
A new business venture.
A new business venture.
A business in its earliest stage of development. A term popularized in the late 1990s signifying a business that opens with a new product or service idea and hopes of raising funds and attracting clientele, most often backed by high-growth plans and high risk to reward ratios.
Nonrecurring initial expenses incurred while starting a new business. Includes costs for items such as licenses, property acquisition, equipment purchases, and required fees.
Funding often provided by angel and venture capital investors, and sometimes in return for an equity or ownership stake, to young businesses that are beyond the initial, conceptual phase but that need additional money to fund marketing, increase production, and achieve growth potential.
Coordinated writing materials; specifically, paper and envelopes used for letters.
Businesses that compete with a marketer in an indirect fashion by serving the same customers but in different, unexpected ways; for example, weight-loss programs are stealth competitors to bakeries.
A term that refers to online information that either keeps users on a site for long periods of time or that brings them back to the site repeatedly, or both. Often this content is created through frequently updated posts of relevant news, interactive material that draws user involvement and comments, and devices for amusing and entertaining site visitors.
The part of an overall employee compensation program designed to reward exemplary job performance through direct awards of company stock and/or an option to purchase company stock at preferred pricing.
1. An organized financial marketplace where bonds, notes, and shares, called securities, are bought and sold through a regulated process of competitive bidding. Stock exchanges are a primary means for raising capital for corporations, governments, and municipalities, and also serve as a clearinghouse for private investors seeking to sell securities for cash. The three largest stock exchanges are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). 2. Payment for the purchase of a business by exchanging stock in the purchasing corporation.
An incentive program that rewards employees who have met predetermined performance goals with the option, but not the obligation, to make future purchases of common shares of stock in the employer’s business at the stock price as of the date the award was made, which may be significantly less than the selling price on the date the employee chooses to exercise the option to purchase.
A series of illustrations used in preliminary planning of films, television ads, interactive media sequences, and other visual communications to show proposed scenes, copy, shots, and motion sequences; also used as flow sheets when planning computer programming projects.
An approach for recording the decreasing value of a fixed asset in equal amounts during each year of its useful life; used for long-term assets such as buildings that aren’t likely to quickly lose value.
An agreement between two or more individuals or independent firms to work collaboratively toward mutually beneficial business goals or objectives.
In larger companies, elements of an organization structure that isolate product lines or services into divisions with their own profit objectives that operate almost like businesses within the larger business.
A plan devised to reach a business goal. Begins with a definition of the end to be achieved and works backwards to define all the approaches, steps, resources, and actions necessary to move the organization from its current situation to its desired future.
A practical, action-oriented plan devised to prompt change and achieve a business objective. Developed through a process involving examination of a current situation, development of new approaches, roles and functions, integration of established and new policies, practices and resources, and the outline of tactics to be used and actions to be taken in order to realize the desired outcome.
A brand that’s closely tied to a parent brand but that is distinguished by its own identity and values, often introduced as a means to extend the market potential of the primary brand into a lower-price category without harming its established brand image and esteem.
A secondary contractor who agrees to perform all or part of the work outlined in another contractor’s large-scale contract following specific, mutually agreed-upon terms regarding scope of service, timeframe, quality of work, compensation and payment schedule, billing and payment procedures, grounds for termination, and other information that defines the working arrangement.
Advertising and other promotional messages delivered without the recipient’s awareness through use of techniques that are considered scientifically unproven and ethically deceptive, such as low vocalization or rapidly flashed images that are below the threshold of conscious perception.
A secondary claim to the security assets pledged by a borrower as part of a promissory note agreement, a condition that occurs when a borrower requires more than one loan, uses the same valuable assets as collateral in each loan agreement, and pledges senior rights or first claim to other lenders.
The formal process an organization employs for identifying and preparing successors for key executive, managerial, and operational positions, typically by identifying suitable candidates, exposing them to well-defined developmental experiences, and generally supporting their development until they are able to assume the position for which they have been prepared.
Key components of the free market system economic model. The concept of supply and demand determines pricing; economic theory suggests that the price of an offering will vary until it reaches a point where the quantity desired by buyers, called demand, equals the number of units available in the marketplace, called supply, thus achieving what is called market equilibrium.
A contract that guarantees compensation to cover resulting losses if one member of a party, called the principal, fails to perform to the terms promised to the other party, called the obligee. Surety bonds required by governments are called license and permit bonds, which differ from insurance in that the bond protects from a contract or promise default, while insurance provides protection from damages caused.
The family name, or last name, as distinguished from a given (or first) name.
1. In terms of ecological and social impact, the capacity to maintain or support an activity or process over an extended period without creating negative impact on the environment or depletion of the natural resources required to support such activities. 2. In terms of a business growth strategy, the ability to achieve ongoing development, growth, flow of goods, and stakeholder value at a constant or decreasing cost.
The value contributed to a company, organization, or cause by people freely donating their productive time and effort. In startup companies, sweat equity is often valued and compensated via stock awards.
An acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; an analytical tool used as part of a larger strategic planning process to help a company assess the internal and external conditions it faces and to plan actions that build upon established business capabilities to take advantage of opportunity and avert potential threats.
The arrangement of eating utensils and dishes on a table for both serving and eating.
A means by which a strategy is carried out; an action taken to achieve an objective.
Any asset of value that has a physical form. Tangible assets are one of the two forms of assets reflected on financial forms, the other being intangible assets, which include licenses, intellectual property, and goodwill.
The group of people matching the profile a marketer’s customer.
The type of person most likely to respond to the marketing message of an advertiser because the person needs or wants the product or service offered, has the means and ability to make the purchase, and can easily purchase the product in person or over distance.
The portion of a market that is comprised of consumers with the need, want, interest, and ability to purchase a business’s products or services.
A term applying to invested income for which taxes are deferred until the investor withdraws and takes possession of the funds, at which time the invested amount and any accumulated earnings are taxed at applicable rates.
An organization not required to pay taxes by virtue of an exemption issued by a taxing authority, most often referring to organizations determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt due to their charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes and the non-commercial benefits they provide to the society at large.
A term applying to retirement plans that allow the participant’s contributions to be deducted dollar-for-dollar from taxable income in the year of contribution and that permit earnings to accumulate on a tax-deferred basis, meaning no taxes are due until the funds are withdrawn.
A term describing investment plans that meet Internal Revenue Service eligibility requirements for favorable tax treatment, offering benefits such as employer deductions for employee contributions and employee tax-deferrals on contributions and earnings until the time that funds are withdrawn.
An organization, generally with a charitable mission, determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as qualified to receive donations, a portion of which may be deducted from the contributor’s tax burden.
A page from a newspaper or magazine used to provide verification to an advertiser that a purchased ad actually ran as requested.
Communicating with prospective customers over the telephone, either during calls made by consumers to toll-free numbers presented through advertising and sales materials, or during calls made by a business to the homes or offices of customers and prospective customers.
An employee hired to work for a predetermined period of time to meet short-term, often seasonal business demands and usually released from employment at the conclusion of a specific time period, project, or task. The term is used to reference contractual, seasonal, interim, or freelance workers.
1. (noun) In economics and finance, legally valid currency that may be used to settle an outstanding debt or other performance obligation. 2. (noun) In competitive bidding situations, a sealed proposal submitted in response to a request for tender and providing detailed information and proposed terms associated with a prospective contract. 3. (verb) In personal and business exchanges, to formally offer; for example, to tender an explanation.
The conditions outlined in an employment contract specifying such details as job description, compensation, hours to be worked, vacation time, sick leave, and paid holidays.
A device used as part of a product development program to expose a proposed product and its marketing plan to a small, controlled sample of the target consumer population for a defined test period in order to judge reaction to the product and its marketing approach before making the final decision to distribute the product broadly to the marketplace as a whole. This technique is used most often with packaged goods.
A written or recorded recommendation from a satisfied customer confirming the performance and quality of a product and providing a first-hand report that serves as a powerful marketing statement.
Funds loaned by a party other than the two primary parties involved in a sales agreement; usually a bank or other outside lender.
A commitment by a third party other than the two primary parties involved in a contract to make good on terms of the contract in the event of a default. This guarantee occurs either by paying money or providing the performance of the service due from the defaulting party.
Funding provided by investors to businesses with established products, production processes, and sales to allow for market expansion, additional product development, and growth, including business and major equipment acquisitions.
A small present of money given for some service; a source of income for workers such as waiters and concierges.
A proposal to drink to a certain person, or a sentiment expressed just before drinking to that person.
The portion of a URL that forms the last portion of the domain name and indicates the site purpose or geographic origin. Common top-level domains include .com for commercial or company sites, .gov for U.S. government sites, .org for nonprofit organization sites, .net for network organization sites, .mil for U.S. military sites, .int for international organization, and .edu for educational institution sites. Examples of top-level domains indicating geographic origins include .ca for Canada, .us for United States, and .uk for United Kingdom.
A publication targeting the interests of a specific industry, trade, or type of business. Serves the interests of a vertical market.
An industry-specific gathering that brings together businesses, suppliers, customers, and media representatives for what is usually a multiday event featuring product previews and demonstrations, sales presentations, socializing, and an opportunity to learn about industry changes, competitive moves, media interests, and customer tastes.
A word, name, symbol, sound, or color that distinguishes the goods and services of a business. If accompanied by the symbol , the mark is officially registered with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office and protected by law from infringement, so long as it’s used in commerce. If accompanied by the symbol (or SM for a service mark), the mark’s owner has established common-law trademark rights limited to the geographic areas in which it has been used, but lacks the protection of registered trademarks.
A check or draft, usually as part of a set, issued by a bank and sold to a traveler who signs it when it's issued and again in the presence of the person cashing it.
A process undertaken in double-entry bookkeeping systems to ensure that debits equal credits before financial statements are prepared.
The process of reversing poor performance and returning a business to profitability.
An independent consultant or executive called upon by an existing management team to analyze, assess, and recommend steps to return a poorly performing business to profitability.
An agreement stipulating that a product being purchased will be delivered to a buyer at an agreed-upon cost and in a completed state that is ready for immediate use. Different from lump-sum or other contracts that involve buyer interaction, oversight, and changes. Construction projects often involve turnkey contracts under which a builder or developer provides land, construction, and materials resulting in a fully completed home for purchasers.
When employees leave your business to work elsewhere.
Marketing communications that invite those in the target audience to engage with the marketer by sharing ideas and product or service reactions online, that others can see and react to; a major shift in strategy resulting from the ascent of social media networks.
A legally prohibited workplace action undertaken by a company or union in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA), usually triggering an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) that may order specific remedies or sanctions.
A detailed disclosure statement that the FTC requires the franchisors to provide to the franchisees.
The address that identifies and locates a Web site. The URL begins with a protocol (for instance, http, which stands for hypertext transfer protocol), often followed by a wiki, which is the name of the server that stores the file (most often www). The wiki is followed by a dot, and then the site’s domain name and top-level domain (such as .com or .net). Customized information that precedes the domain name, such as blog/ or video/, is called the sub-domain. Information following the domain name, such as /blog, is called the sub-directory name, which leads to a specific page within a host site.
An organization or confederation uniting various individuals who work in the same field; short for labor union.
A legal contract that outlines and defines employment and working conditions including compensation, benefits, scheduling, conflict resolution procedures, and other details agreed upon by the management of an organization and its employees who are represented by an independent trade union.
The cost per item or measurement (such as pound, kilogram, or dozen) of an item being purchased individually or in small quantity by a consumer, or in bulk by a wholesaler who uses unit price as a point of contract negotiation.
A 12-digit label presented on manufactured goods by a series of vertical, parallel bars, known as bar codes, that are read by electronic sensors affixed to cash registers that automatically search for, find, and apply the correct price, providing an electronic means for facilitating retail purchases and tracking inventory. UPC codes are assigned by the Uniform Code Council (UCC).
An audit opinion that the auditor may issue only when the business being audited has no identified material weaknesses and the scope of the auditor's work hasn't been restricted.
A business appraiser certified or accredited by and following the professional code of ethics of a reputable trade association such as the American Society of Appraisers, the Institute of Business Appraisers, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the consultant’s job is to determine the market value of a business.
A statement of the unique benefits an individual, business, product, or service promises to deliver to customers as a combined result of features, performance, cost, and reputation. All of these benefits put together create customer appeal and competitive advantage.
1. In economics, the difference between the cost of goods sold (COGS) and total sales revenue, reflecting the manufacturer’s profitability. 2. In marketing, the extra features and perceived benefits of a product or service that go beyond standard consumer expectations, resulting in a competitive advantage rewarded by greater customer purchases, acceptance, and loyalty.
A retailer that adds to, modifies, augments, or repackages goods or services to meet the needs of a target audience. Widely used in the computer industry, VARs frequently bring together hardware and software solutions from disparate producers to create turnkey solutions for a specialized audience.
A market research system owned and trademarked by Strategic Business Insights that uses proprietary technology to categorize consumers into eight types defined by demographics, attitudes, buying behaviors, and preferences, with findings compiled annually and available on a national or regional basis.
A definition of core principles of an individual, business, or organization, often describing basic beliefs about environmental, financial, or social responsibilities that guide decisions and actions.
Expenses for labor, material, and overhead that change according to the volume of goods and services produced. Examples of variable costs include expenses for raw materials, energy usage, labor, and distribution. Businesses with high variable costs experience large increases in expenses in order to generate large increases in sales, while business with low variable costs increase sales with little increase in expenses, therefore generating higher earnings.
Official permission to bypass regulations, usually in regards to zoning laws.
A manufacturer, producer, or other business that promotes and sells goods or services to other businesses.
Funds and resources usually invested by individuals or groups of wealthy investors in early-stage businesses with highly attractive growth potential, usually in exchange for an ownership stake in the business.
An investor who provides funds and resources to early-stage privately owned businesses with highly attractive growth potential.
A grouping of similar businesses, vendors, and customers conducting transactions within a narrowly focused industry or interest area, known as a niche market.
A meeting held by individuals or groups in different locations, using television transmissions.
A form of marketing that creates entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion, often electronically.
A marketing technique seeking to increase brand or product awareness by distributing a highly interesting, unique, or controversial message, image, or audio or video clip that consumers want to pass along to one another quickly, like a virus, through social media networks and word of mouth.
An organization of individuals who appear to generate goods or services out of a single physical workplace but are actually geographically dispersed and connected by process and purpose via telephone and computer connections. Telecommuting, flex-time and virtual teams are by-products of the virtual workplace.
A description of a business or organization’s aspirations generally prepared as part of the strategic planning process to aid in making decisions that increase the likelihood that the ultimate purpose will be realized in the future. Often created in tandem with a mission statement, which defines what the business is and does in order to achieve its vision.
A form of learning in which information is presented in a graphical format, such as charts, graphs, photos, and illustrations.
A form of learning in which a person gains knowledge by reading documentation, such as brochures, manuals, and white papers.
A video log with content similar to a blog but instead produced in video format. Distributed online and through Web syndication for playback on personal computers and mobile devices.
An electronic system that uses telephones and a computer to store and then deliver recorded voice messages.
The amount paid by the hour to hourly employees.
A device employed by governments and businesses to hold employee wages at current levels for a specific period, usually as an attempt to overcome negative economic circumstances.
An assurance from the seller of a product or provider of a service specifying the quality and performance the buyer can expect from the purchase; clearly outlines the conditions under which the product can be returned, replaced, or repaired.
A translucent mark in paper, produced by pressing a projecting design during manufacture.
A company that makes its servers available to provide the systems and services required for clients to present their own Web sites on the World Wide Web. Such firms generally provide consultation, computer servers, hard disk space, maintenance support, security, credit card processing, and high-speed connectivity to the Web.
An electronic document with its own URL address that’s posted on the World Wide Web and is accessible via a Web browser to computers and mobile devices connected to the Internet. A Web page may feature text, graphics, data files, audio, video, and links to other Web sites.
A Web page or collection of Web pages generally under the control of a single individual, company, organization, or publisher and reached on the World Wide Web using a URL. The home page is the site’s first page.
The processes and choices allowing a user to move easily from one Web page to another within the same site through the use of menus, submenus, icons, graphics, page design, type selection, and hyperlinks that can be clicked to access new site areas.
A video or audio program that uses streaming media technology to broadcast business briefings, seminars, or events over the World Wide Web to a widely dispersed audience who can sometimes participate interactively in a two-way exchange of information.
An interactive conference, workshop, or seminar transmitted live or on-demand to attendees who remain at their respective home or office computers and are connected via the Internet to the speaker or panel.
A measure of the relative importance of a factor when compared to other factors.
The price of goods sold by a wholesaler who usually purchases the goods directly from a producer and who, in turn, sells to a retailer who adds a price mark-up to arrive at the retail price, which is the price consumers pay for goods in a retail store.
An economic measure of changes in wholesale prices based on an index of more than 2,400 commodities monitored on a monthly basis to provide a composite picture of whether pricing on critical goods is rising or falling; used in many countries as a measure of inflation, but now replaced in the U.S. and other countries by the Producer Price Index (PPI).
A business opportunity in which you buy products directly from manufacturers, mark up the price, and sell them to retailers.
A type of logo that features the name of the business in a unique type presentation.
Person-to-person communication through which individuals freely share the experiences, good or bad, they had with a business, product, or service. Originally, word of mouth was generated primarily by verbal exchanges, but it increasingly takes place online through blog posts and social media-enabled commentary.
A legal designation stipulating that a work created by an employee or commissioned by a third party is owned, controlled, and copyrighted by the hiring party and not by the person who created or helped create the work.
Uncompleted work for which a business has incurred costs but not yet invoiced to a customer, usually recorded as an asset on the balance sheet.
State and federal laws designed to ensure predetermined financial awards for employees injured or disabled on the job or dependents of workers killed due to work-related accidents or illnesses, eliminating the need for litigation against the employer in order to collect damages.
A process or series of tasks designed to produce a product or outcome involving participation by more than one person. Workflow studies may be used for scheduling purposes, resource management, quality control enhancement, or efficiency gains.
Cash available for day-to-day operations. Calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets.
Abbreviated as WWW and commonly known as the Web, a searchable global collection of Internet sites that usually use hypertext markup language (HTML) and browsing software to allow users to enter through a linked server to access and jump between documents called Web pages.
To reduce the book value of an asset, usually because of depreciation of a decline in market value.
Discharging an employee for an unlawful reason, in violation of the employee’s employment contract, or in a manner that fails to follow the employer’s termination procedures.
How the government regulates the approved uses for land.