Small Business Encyclopedia
Letter: S

Sales Force

The division of a business that's responsible for selling products or services

Sales Letter

A form of direct mail in which an advertiser sends a letter to a potential customer

Sales Records

The information you have on your customers, including but not limited to their contact information, how often they purchase from you, what they purchase and how they pay their bills

Sales Tax

A tax collected by all retailers and certain service providers when they make taxable retail sales. Sales taxes could include state, county and local taxes.

Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees (S

An individual retirement account for owners of businesses with 100 employees or less that's similar to a 401(k)

SBA Loan

Term loans from a bank or commercial lending institution that the SBA guarantees as much as 80 percent of the loan principal for


A resource partner of the U.S. SBA that offer free counseling and resources to people interested in starting or growing a small business

Search Engine Optimization

The process of increasing the amount of visitors to a website by ranking high in the search results of a search engine

Secondary Market Research

Market research that's already compiled and organized for you. Examples of secondary information include reports and studies by government agencies, trade associations or other businesses within your industry.

Self-Employment Tax (Schedule SE)

A social security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It's similar to the social security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners.

Selling Your Business

The process of putting your business up for sale by an individual or other company

Severance Pay

Money in addition to wages and any other money that employers owe employees when their employment ends, such as through a layoff or firing. Severance pay is a form of what's generally called "separation," "termination" or "final pay."


The business of sending or transporting goods

Short-Term Loans

A loan scheduled to be repaid in less than a year

Signage and Sign Permits

Any publicly displayed information that's presented in the form of words, symbols and/or pictures and is designed to advertise your business. Sign permits provide legal permission to post such information.

Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP)

A retirement plan that allows you to contribute and deduct up to 20 percent of self-employment income (25 percent of salary if you're an employee of your own corporation)


A catch phrase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company

Small Business Administration (SBA)

A federal government agency created to foster and protect the interests of small business

Small Business Development Centers

University-based centers sponsored by the SBA for the delivery of joint government, academic and private sector services for the benefit of small business.

Social Responsibility

Acting with concern and sensitivity, aware of the impact of your actions on others, particularly the disadvantaged

Social Security Tax (FICA)

A tax paid by workers and employers on wages earned that supports the benefit programs under the Social Security System

Sole Proprietorship

A business that legally has no separate existence from its owner. Income and losses are taxed on the individual's personal income tax return.

Special Coverage Insurance

An insurance policy expressly designed to offer a guarantee of protection in the event of specific circumstances

Subchapter S Corporation

A special form of corporation that allows the protection of limited liability but direct flow-through of profits and losses

Succession Plan

The process of planning for the day a business owner decides to step down from their leadership role

Supplier Relationships

Affiliations with the companies that supply your business with goods and services

Popular Articles

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Business Ideas

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


While you have to earn respect, you don't have to deal with disrespect in the meantime.