Small Business Glossary: F

Facebook: 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.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Wages and Hours bill : 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.

fair trade: 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.

fast-tracking: 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.

faux pas: A social blunder, usually an error in etiquette.

features and benefits: 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.

Federal Trade Commission; FTC: 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.

feedback: Communication designed to reinforce or encourage good work habits, in which you impart praise or constructive criticism.

financial: Relating to the money resources and income of a business, as well as managing those money matters and credit.

financial dashboard: 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.

financial forecast : An estimate of future financial position based upon anticipated revenues and expenses generated by planned business activity.

financial statement: 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.

firm order: 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.

first-stage funding: Initial investment made by outside investors to fund production and marketing for an entrepreneur building a business around a proven product or service.

fixed assets; long-term assets: Items of value that may take time to liquidate for cash, such as real estate and major equipment.

fixed expenses; fixed costs: Recurring costs that remain unchanged from month to month, including such costs as rent, equipment leases, utilities, and salaries.

fixed price: 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.

fixed-price contract: 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.

flash sale: Time-limited steep discounts on goods offered by retailers to offload surplus stock either directly or, more commonly, through members-only flash sale sites.

flextime: 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.

flush: Being even, or on the same line or plane.

focus group: 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.

font; typestyle: A complete assortment of type in one size or style.

footnote: 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.

franchise : 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.

fraud: An intentional deception to cause a person or business to give up assets or some lawful right.

freemium business model: 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.

fringe benefits: 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.

full-time employee: 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.

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