Small Business Glossary: O

objective: 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.

office politics: Relationships within a business that affect how employees do their jobs and how people are treated.

one-to-one marketing: 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.

online advertising: 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.

online affiliate marketing: 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.

online identity: 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.

online payment: 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.

online press room: 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.

online shopping cart: 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.

online storefront; digital storefront: A Web site selling goods or services that customers can visit anytime to view offerings or complete entire purchase transactions.

open bid: 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.

operating cycle; cash-to-cash circle: 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.

operating expenses: 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.

operating profit; operating income: 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.

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.

operations manual: 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.

operator manual: A document or small book that explains how to assemble, install, and control a technical device or another piece of equipment.

opinion leaders: 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.

opt-in: 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.

opt-out: 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.

organic search results: 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).

organization chart: 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.

organizational 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.

original equipment manufacturer (OEM): A manufacturer whose products or components are purchased by another company and integrated into another product for sale under the reseller’s brand name.

out-of-home advertising; outdoor advertising: 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.

outsourcing: Transferring business functions that were once performed internally to an external third-party provider that is often located in a distant country.

overtime: 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).

owner’s equity; net worth, shareholders’ equity; net assets: The total of all assets minus all liabilities of a business.

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