Encyclopedia

Small Business Encyclopedia
Letter: I

Image

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

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

Income Statement

A financial document generated monthly and/or annually that reports the earnings of a company by stating all relevant revenues (or gross income) and expenses in order to calculate net income. Also referred to as a profit and loss statement.

Incorporation

To legally form a corporation

Independent Contractor

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)

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retirement savings account in which the allowable contributions and earnings aren't taxed until the funds are withdrawn, after age 59 1/2.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

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

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)

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

Insurance

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

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

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

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

Invention

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

An itemized list or catalog of the stock of a business

Invoices

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

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