Small Business Encyclopedia

About Encyclopedia

No matter what business topic you're interested in, you'll find our category list is an easy way to navigate our small-business encyclopedia. From Accounting and Advertising to Location and Operations, every topic offers information on the terms that matter most. And if you can't find what you need here, our "Terms A - Z" list makes tracking down terms a snap.

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Terms starting with: i

Image

Definition: The perception people have of your business when they hear your company name. A business's image is composed of an infinite variety of facts, events, personal histories, advertising and goals that work together to make an impression on the public.

Importing

Definition: The process of bringing goods from one country for the purpose of reselling them in another country

Income Statement

Definition: A document generated monthly and/or annually that reports the earnings of a company by stating all relevant income and all expenses that have been incurred to generate that income. Also referred to as a profit and loss statement.

Incorporation

Definition: To legally form a corporation

Independent Contractor

Definition: A person hired to do work for another but who is not an employee or agent of that person. Control is subjected to the end result and not as to how the work is performed as opposed to an employee who receives direction on what, when and, to some degree, how to do a job.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Definition: An interest-earning retirement savings account in which the allowable contributions and earnings aren't taxed until the funds are withdrawn, after age 59 1/2.

Infomercial

Definition: A program-length TV commercial (also done sometimes on radio) that's very similar in appearance to a news program, talk show or other non-advertising format that provides consumers with in-depth information on a product or service

Information Technology

Definition: A term that encompasses all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange and utilize information in its various forms including business data, conversations, still images, motion pictures and multimedia presentations

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

Definition: The first sale of securities (almost always as stock) in a corporation under the regulations governing a public company

Insurance

Definition: Protection against loss for which you pay a certain sum periodically in exchange for a guarantee that you'll be compensated under stipulated conditions for any specified loss by fire, accident, death, etc

Intangible Assets

Definition: The assets you cannot touch or see but that have value. Intangible assets include franchise rights, goodwill, noncompete agreements and patents, among others.

Intellectual Property

Definition: The ownership of ideas. Unlike tangible assets to your business such as computers or your office, intellectual property is a collection of ideas and concepts.

Interns

Definition: A person, usually a student, participating in a program of temporary, supervised work in a particular field in order to gain practical experience

Invention

Definition: An object, process or technique that displays an element of novelty. In certain circumstances, legal protection may be granted to an invention by way of a patent.

Inventory

Definition: An itemized list or catalog of the stock of a business

Invoices

Definition: An itemized list of goods shipped or services rendered, stating quantities, prices, fees, shipping charges, etc. Also known as a "bill."

Free Business Tools

Forms

Forms

Download and customize these free forms:

Partnership Agreement

Cashflow Worksheet

Employment Application

Calculators

Calculators

Evaluate and analyze your financials:

Cash Flow

Starting Costs

Discounted Cash Flow

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