Small Business Encyclopedia

Category: Operations

Capital Equipment

Definition: Equipment that you use to manufacture a product, provide a service or use to sell, store and deliver merchandise. This equipment has an extended life so that it is properly regarded as a fixed asset.

Fulfillment

Definition: The process of receiving, packaging and shipping orders for goods

Importing

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

Depreciation

Definition: An expense item set up to express the diminishing life expectancy and value of any equipment (including vehicles). Depreciation is set up over a fixed period of time based on current tax regulation. Items fully depreciated are no longer carried as assets on the company books.

Distribution Models

Definition: The manner in which goods move from the manufacturer to the outlet where the consumer purchases them; in some marketplaces, it's a very complex channel, including distributors, wholesaler, jobbers and brokers.

Business Cycle

Definition: Periods during which a business, an industry or the entire economy expands and contracts

Economic Development Agency

Definition: An agency whose goal is to help develop and support economic growth within a specified city, region or state by providing necessary resources and assistance

Inventory

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

Packaging

Definition: The wrapping material around a consumer item that serves to contain, identify, describe, protect, display, promote and otherwise make the product marketable and keep it clean

Permits

Definition: A legal document giving official permission to do something

Private Label Sales

Definition: Licensing your product to another company to sell under its own name, rather than under yours

Exporting

Definition: The selling of goods and services produced in one country in another country

Product Development

Definition: The overall process of strategy, organization, concept generation, product and marketing plan creation and evaluation, and commercialization of a new product

Relocation

Definition: The movement of a business from one region or location to another

Return on Investment (ROI)

Definition: A profitability measure that evaluates the performance of a business by dividing net profit by net worth

Outsourcing

Definition: The practice of having certain job functions done outside a company instead of having an in-house department or employee handle them; functions can be outsourced to either a company or an individual

Overhead

Definition: The indirect costs or fixed expenses of operating a business (that is, the costs not directly related to the manufacture of a product or delivery of a service) that range from rent to administrative costs to marketing costs

Shipping

Definition: The business of sending or transporting goods

Vehicle Fleet

Definition: Vehicles owned by a company and used for business purposes

Signage and Sign Permits

Definition: 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.

Supplier Relationships

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

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

Latest Articles

Elon Musk Outlines Plans to Put Humans on Mars
Make More Happen

Elon Musk Outlines Plans to Put Humans on Mars

Though he said he envisions humans living in a large colony on Mars, he added that the key will be getting the cost down low enough to attract willing volunteers.
If You're Building a Niche-Media Platform, You Don't Have the Time to Read This
Niche marketing

If You're Building a Niche-Media Platform, You Don't Have the Time to Read This

Instead, you should be out building strategic relationships. They're everything to your bottom line.
Derek Riedle
5 Essential Tips for Networking in Real Estate
Make More Happen

5 Essential Tips for Networking in Real Estate

Networking is fundamental to the success of any real estate business.
Mohan Kailas
The Online Response to the Big Debate Reveals Just How Influential Social Media Is
Social Media

The Online Response to the Big Debate Reveals Just How Influential Social Media Is

While social media played a role in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, the influence of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in previous election cycles pales in comparison to this year.
Samuel Edwards
5 Things We've Learned Competing Against 800-pound Gorillas
Customer Experience

5 Things We've Learned Competing Against 800-pound Gorillas

Let being small be your thing. Specialize in doing a few things extremely well, and forget the rest.
Nellie Akalp
How to Develop a Social Media-Crisis Strategy
social media hacks

How to Develop a Social Media-Crisis Strategy

It happened to Kitchenaid. It happened to Burger King. A crisis could happen to your company, too. Here's how to prepare.
Pratik Dholakiya
How Mobile-Friendly Is Your Website? If You Don't Know, You're Missing Out on Sales.
Marketing Bootcamp

How Mobile-Friendly Is Your Website? If You Don't Know, You're Missing Out on Sales.

Mobile isn't an option any more. Your customers are on the move and you'd better be, too.
Sherry Gray
4 Reasons You Should Host a Philanthropic Event
Philanthropy

4 Reasons You Should Host a Philanthropic Event

Hosting an event for a great cause is a fantastic way to bring communities together.
Tonya Lanthier
Three Critical Realities All Leaders Must Face
Managing Employees

Three Critical Realities All Leaders Must Face

Leaders must create a strategy for change so that employees can stop losing ground and organizations can start winning again.
Glenn Llopis
Online Reviews Are the New Social Proof
Marketing Bootcamp

Online Reviews Are the New Social Proof

Star ratings and testimonials from strangers influence behavior and buying habits. It's time to start managing the conversation around your brand.
Chris Campbell
How to Keep Your Organization on Its Toes
Marketing Bootcamp

How to Keep Your Organization on Its Toes

Roy Chomko, CEO of Adage Technologies, explains how to stay ahead despite constant change.
7 Crucial Money Tips to Failure-Proof Your New Business
Business Optimization

7 Crucial Money Tips to Failure-Proof Your New Business

Time is money, and both are especially critical for startups. Practice these skills until they're second nature so your launch doesn't crash and burn instead.
Iman Jalali
This Entrepreneur Is Building a Matchmaking Service for Pen Pals
Etiquette

This Entrepreneur Is Building a Matchmaking Service for Pen Pals

Kate Dobie wants to create a hub for letter-writers. Can it work? We asked her ... by letter, of course.
Jason Feifer
Steve Case on Opportunity Outside Silicon Valley: 'There's Still Work to Be Done'
Startup Anywhere

Steve Case on Opportunity Outside Silicon Valley: 'There's Still Work to Be Done'

Ahead of his startup tour of the American West, the AOL co-founder talks about momentum outside major startup hubs.
Linda Lacina
Use SEO to Create a Strategic Advantage for Your Website
Growth Strategies

Use SEO to Create a Strategic Advantage for Your Website

Create a website that stays effect for years and provides your consumers with a memorable experience.
John Jantsch
More Articles

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.