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Small Business Glossary: V

valuation consultant: 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.

value proposition: 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.

value-added: 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.

value-added reseller (VAR); value-added retailer: 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.

Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles (VALS): 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.

values statement: 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.

variable costs: 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.

variance: Official permission to bypass regulations, usually in regards to zoning laws.

vendor; vender; supplier: A manufacturer, producer, or other business that promotes and sells goods or services to other businesses.

venture capital: 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.

venture capitalist (VC): An investor who provides funds and resources to early-stage privately owned businesses with highly attractive growth potential.

vertical market: A grouping of similar businesses, vendors, and customers conducting transactions within a narrowly focused industry or interest area, known as a niche market.

videoconference: A meeting held by individuals or groups in different locations, using television transmissions.

viral: A form of marketing that creates entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion, often electronically.

viral marketing: 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.

virtual workplace: 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.

vision statement: 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.

visual-nonverbal: A form of learning in which information is presented in a graphical format, such as charts, graphs, photos, and illustrations.

visual-verbal: A form of learning in which a person gains knowledge by reading documentation, such as brochures, manuals, and white papers.

vlog: 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.

voicemail: An electronic system that uses telephones and a computer to store and then deliver recorded voice messages.

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