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Glossary Terms & Economic Concepts

Accounts Payable: An unpaid balance of money owed by your business, generally referring to amounts owed for inventory, supplies, and other such ongoing expenses.

Accounts Receivable: An unpaid balance of money owed to your business by customer accounts.

Accounting Period: Regular period of time, such as a quarter or year for which a financial statement is produced.

Action Plan: A detailed plan used internally, which includes objectives, actions and a budget for the next year.

Address: Internet users encounter two important types of addresses: Web page addresses (more properly called URLs) and e-mail addresses (for sending e-mail to someone). One example of an e-mail address is:

Address Book: A feature of an e-mail program, or a stand-alone application, that stores and organizes a list of e-mail addresses and other contact information a computer user frequently uses.

Adobe Acrobat Reader: A helper application that makes PDF files viewable on the Web.

Advertising: Paid, on-going mass communication from a business to customers. It communicates messages about a product, service and a company’s mass media plans for television, radio, magazines, and newspapers.

Adware: Any software application in which advertising banners are displayed while the program is running. The authors of these applications include additional code that delivers the ads, which can be viewed through pop-up windows or through a bar that appears on a computer screen. The justification for adware is that it helps recover programming development costs and helps to hold down the cost for the user.

Agricultural Diversification: To add new crops, new livestock or other farm-related businesses to farms or ranches. Examples of these would include cabbage, carrots, bison, elk, a Bed and Breakfast Inn and a dude ranch.

Annual Work Plan: A detailed document which is the result of operational planning. Highlights from this plan are included in the business plan.

Application: A software program that performs specific tasks, such as Microsoft Power Point.

Appreciation: An increase in the value of an asset.

ASCII: A plain text file in a file format that can be read by any program that reads text.

Assets: Any items of value owned; items on the balance sheet that reflect value owned include cash, accounts receivable, notes receivable, property and property rights.

Attachment: A computer file electronically “paper clipped” to an e-mail message and sent along with it.

Audit: Inspection and verification of financial accounts records and accounting procedures.

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Backup File: Duplicate of an existing file, usually saved in a different location.

Balance Sheet: An itemized report which lists assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity at a given point in time. The standard balance sheet formula is: Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ Equity.

Balloon Payment: Last payment on a loan, significantly larger than previous installments, which pays the loan in full.

Bankruptcy: Condition in which a business cannot meet its debt obligations and petitions a federal district court for either reorganization of its debts or liquidation of its assets.

Barter: Trade in which merchandise is exchanged directly for other merchandise without the use of money. Bartering is an important means of trade with countries using currency that is not readily convertible.

Blog: (short for Weblog) Writings similar to a journal or diary by individuals that are posted to the Internet. Someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger”.

Boilerplate: Standardized “fine-print” language in a contract or other agreement detailing terms and conditions.

Bottom Line: The last line of a financial statement used to show net profit or loss.

Bookmark: A reference to a file or Web page you plan to frequently visit. Most Internet browsers let you maintain and organize a list of bookmarks (also called “favorites” when using Microsoft Internet Explorer) to make it easy to return to them again.

Boolean: Refers to ways words may be combined in order to find information on a specific topic that contains more than one concept. Typical Boolean operators include AND, OR and NOT.

Boot: To load the first piece of software that starts a computer.

Brand: A name or symbol that represents a product.

Break-even point: Volume of sales at which total costs equal total revenues. Sales above this volume generate profits.

Broadband: (Broad Bandwidth) A high-speed network connection capable of supporting a wide range of frequencies.

Broker: Individual or company authorized to buy or sell something for another party without ever owning the goods.

Browser: Software for navigating the World Wide Web, retrieving documents and other files, and displaying them on the user’s screen. Two major browsers include Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Business Concept: A brief but compelling description of why a business exists.

Bulletin Board System (BBS): The cyberspace equivalent to the office bulletin board, a BBS is software that allows users to dial in with a modem, post and read messages left by other users. Most bulletin boards serve specific interest groups.

Business Plan: A detailed description of a new or existing business, including the company’s product or service, marketing plan, financial statements and projections, and management principles.

Byte: A group of eight bits that represent a character. Computer memory and disk capacity are measured in bytes. (A bit is the smallest unit of measurement for computer data).

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Cache: A place on a computer’s disk where files are temporarily stored. When Web sites are visited they are stored in cache for a while so that if they are re-visited they can be retrieved more quickly from the computer’s cache. Cache is cleared periodically by default but can also be cleared manually. (Check your browser’s HELP feature.)

Capital: Property of a business, including money, used to conduct its business.

Capital Expenditure: Purchase of long term assets, especially of equipment, used in manufacturing a product.

Capital Resources: Goods made by people and used to produce other goods and services (also called intermediate goods).

Case Sensitive: Most search words are entered in full lower case because most search engines are only sensitive to capital letters. Words entered in full lower case will always retrieve those words when found at a site, regardless of whether they appear as upper or lower.

Cash Flow: Incoming cash less outgoing cash during a given period.

CPU (Central Processing Unit): The CPU is the brains of the computer. Sometimes referred to simply as the processor or central processor, the CPU is where most calculations take place. In terms of computing power, the CPU is the most important element of a computer system.

Chat: When two or more people exchange text messages in near real time over the Internet. This is unlike e-mail, in which you send your message and wait for the recipient to receive, read and then respond. Newer technology allows voice chatting.

Chat Room: A system where people can “chat” on a website through their Internet browser.

Circular Flow: A model of an economy showing the interactions between households and business firms as they exchange goods and services and resources in markets.

Client: A computer or piece of software that requests information or services from a server. Your computer becomes a “client” when you connect to your ISP for a service such as surfing the Internet or using e-mail.

Clip Art: A pre-created, usually copyright-free, graphic image that can be inserted into a document to illustrate a point or to add visual interest. Clip Art often comes in large collections.

COLA-”Cost of Living Adjustment”: Periodic change in wages or benefits designed to compensate for the effects of inflation.

Collateral: Property that is offered to secure a loan or other credit and which becomes subject to seizure upon default.

COM: When these letters appear as the last part of a Web address, it indicates that the host computer is run by a commercial organization, probably in the United States.

Command: An instruction to a computer or device to perform a specific task. Commands come in different forms. They can be: keywords that a program understands, function keys, choices in a menu, or other buttons on your screen.

Commerce: Trade between states or nations.

Compatible: Indicates that a product can work with or is equivalent to another, better-known product.

Compensating Balance: Money required by a bank to be left in a deposit account as part of a loan agreement.

Competition: Techniques used by businesses to gain more customers and to earn higher profits.

Compound Interest: Interest earned on previously accumulated interest as well as the principal.

Compression: A method by which data, images and text can be stored using less disk space. After a file is compressed into a smaller file size, it will require less time to transmit over a network.

CompuServe: The oldest online service, started back in 1984, which caters to business users.

Configuration: The way a system is set up, or the assortment of components that make up the system. Configuration can refer to either hardware or software, or the combination of both.

Consumer: The final user of a product or service.

Consumers: People whose wants are satisfied by using goods and services.

Contact Group: A group of e-mail addresses specified by a user. A contact group allows one to easily send a message to multiple recipients by entering the group name into the “TO:” field.

Contract: A formal agreement or a promise or set of promises between two or more parties that is legally enforceable.

Cookie: A piece of information sent by a Web server to be stored by your Web browser. Whenever the browser makes additional requests to that server, the server is able to use the information stored in the “cookie” to customize a response based on data from a previous connection.

Copyright: The exclusive right to reproduce, sell, publish, or distribute literary or artistic work; i.e., works of authors, composers, etc.

Corporate Mission: A broad statement of what business or businesses the company should be in.

Corporation: Form of business ownership that is a legal entity on its own in which stockholders and the board of directors are in control.

Cost of Production: All resources used in producing goods and services for which owners receive payment.

Courseware: Software designed to be used in an educational program.

Credit Bureau: Company that compiles and maintains information on consumer credit and provides the information to potential creditors for a fee.

Credit Rating: Evaluation of an individual or corporation’s history of repaying past loans. Credit ratings are used as a benchmark to assess the future ability of a creditor to pay back loans.

CSS: (short for Cascading Style Sheet) A specification for the presentation of html documents that allow Web developers to easily control the style and layout of single or multiple web pages.

Culture: The implied beliefs, norms, values, and customers that define a society. Culture leads to common patterns of behavior. Like countries, businesses can have cultures also.

Currency: Paper money issued by the government.

Current Ratio: Calculation of current assets divided by current liabilities, measuring the ability of a company to pay its current obligations from current assets.

Current Assets: Cash or other assets that the business expects to use in the operation of the company within one year.

Current Liabilities: Debts that the business expects to pay within one year.

Cyberspace: A general term for a broad range of resources and communication options available through computer networks.

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Database: A system for storing, organizing, and retrieving information in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data. You can think of a database as an electronic filing system.

Debenture: Debt secured by the creditor based on the general credit-worthiness of the debtor, as opposed to security based on specific assets.

Debt Ratio: Calculation of total liabilities divided by total liabilities plus capital, measuring the debt level of the business (leverage).

Decision Maker: The individual in a family or business who is ultimately responsible for the final selection of a product or service.

Default: Failure of a borrower to make interest and/or principal payments when due.

Defaults: Predefined settings for variable items such as page margins, tab spacing, and shortcut key assignments; these can be changed when necessary.

Demand: A schedule of how much consumers are willing and able to buy at all possible prices during some time period.

Demographics: The statistical study of population characteristics. Demographics can also refer to a list of objective characteristics about an individual consumer like age, income, occupation, marital status, education, or location.

Deposit: To put money in a bank or other financial institution.

Depreciation: The portion of the cost of tangible operating assets, such as buildings or equipment, recorded as expense for the accounting period; results from spreading out the cost of long-lived assets over several years.

Depression: A time of economic crisis or bad times in commerce, finance, and industry, characterized by falling prices, restriction of credit, low output and investment, many bankruptcies and a high level of unemployment (many people without jobs). A less severe crisis is usually known as a recession.

Desktop Computer: A non-portable personal computer that is designed to rest on the top of a desk.

Desktop Publishing: A desktop publishing system allows you to use different typefaces, specify various margins and justifications, and embed illustrations and graphs directly into the text.

Dial-up Access: This type of Internet connection requires a computer to use a modem to connect to a host computer, which in turn is directly connected to the Internet.

Direct Loans: Financial assistance provided through the lending of federal monies for a specific period of time, with a reasonable expectation of repayment. Such loans may or may not require the payment of interest.

Disaster Loans: Various types of physical and economic loan assistance are available to individuals and businesses who have suffered loss due to natural disaster. This is the only SBA loan program available for residential purposes.

Disbursement: Payment made to satisfy a debt or other financial obligation.

Distribution: The supplying of goods and services to retailers and others so that people’s needs can be met.

Dividend: Distribution of earnings to shareholders.

Division of Labor: The process whereby workers perform only a single task or very few steps of a major production task, as when working on an assembly line.

DNS: (Domain Name Server) A computer which translates a domain name into a set of numbers called an IP address.

Domain: The part of a URL that describes its ownership type, such as “edu” for an educational institution.

Domain Name: A “domain name” is a unique name that is used to represent and help locate a specific Web server on the Internet. For example, “” is a domain name. Each domain name corresponds to a set of numbers called an IP address.

Dot-Matrix Printer: A printer that arranges printed dots to form characters and images.

Download: To copy a document onto our own computer from a remote computer.

Drive: The mechanism is a computer that reads recordable media (such as a disk or tape cartridge to retrieve and store information. Personal computers often have one hard disk drive labeled C, a drive that reads floppy disks labeled A, and a drive that reads CD’s labeled D.
DSL: (Digital Subscriber Line) Allows users to download and upload data over standard telephone lines. It provides a constant Internet connection over which users can receive voice and data simultaneously. It isn’t available in many areas because it requires a short distance to the DSL provider’s origin.

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E-Book: (short for Electronic Book) A book in digital format that can be read on a computer or other digital device.

Economic Systems: The way a society organizes the production, consumption and distribution of goods and services.

Economics: The study of choice and decision-making in a world with limited resources.

EDU: When these letters appear as the last part of a Web address, it indicates that the host computer is run by an educational institution, usually in the United States.

Electronic Business: Includes the exchange of information net directly related to the actual buying and selling goods. (E-Business)

Electronic Commerce: (E-Commerce) The use of electronic transmission mediums to engage in the exchange, including buying and selling, of products and services requiring transportation, either physically or digitally, from location to location.

Electronic Mail: (E-mail) Enables Internet users to send and receive messages.

Emoticon: (or Smileys) Short for emotion icon. Symbols composed of punctuation that help convey how an e-mail message should be interpreted by the reader. Ex. :-) = Happy, :-( = Sad.

Employer Identification Number: A number obtained by a business from the IRS by filing application form SSA. This number is to be shown on all business tax returns, documents and statements. Wholesalers often request this number when offering wholesale prices to retailers.

Entrepreneurs: One who creates and grows enterprises. There are six types of entrepreneurs.

Aspiring Entrepreneur: Those who are attracted to the idea of creating enterprises, including young people.
Growth Entrepreneurs: Those who are motivated to develop and expand their businesses that create jobs and wealth.
Lifestyle Entrepreneurs: Those who create enterprises in order to persue a certain lifestyle or live in a particular community.
Serial Entrepreneurs: Those who go on to create several growth businesses.
Social Entrepreneurs: Those who create and grow enterprises or institutions that are primarily for public and community purposes.
Survival Entrepreneurs: Those who resort to creating enterprises to supplement their incomes.

Entrepreneurship: The process through which entrepreneurs crate and grow enterprises. This process includes four critical elements: opportunity recognition, idea creation, venture creation and operations, and creative thinking.

Entrepreneurial Communities: Those where there is significant economic and social entrepreneurial activity and where there is an effective system of entrepreneurship development.

Entrepreneurship Development: Refers to the infrastructure of public and private supports that facilitate entrepreneurship.

Equilibrium Price: The market clearing price at which the quantity demanded by buyers equals the quantity supplied by sellers.

Equity: In banking, the difference between the market value of an asset and the amount of claims (such as mortgages) against it. In in-vesting, equity refers to financing by means of shareholders investment in a venture, usually through stock. Equity financing is the major alternative to debt financing (borrowing).

Escrow: Temporary deposit with a third party of assets by agreement between two parties to a contract. The money is released when the conditions of the contract have been met.

Establishment: A single location business unit, which may be independent, called a single-establishment enterprise or owned by a parent enterprise.

Ethernet: A Networking technology to connect computers over a local area network.

Expense Account: Account often used by salespersons or executives for travel and entertainment expenses.

Expenses: The outflow or other use of assets by an entity in order to sell goods or services; expenses are subtracted from revenues to determine net income.

Export: Allows you to save database objects into other databases to be used there.

Export: To send and/or sell goods and services outside of one’s country.

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Factoring: Type of accounts receivable financing in which receivables are assigned to a factoring company which is responsible for collecting the receivables.

Factors of Production: Resources used by businesses to produce goods and services.

Favorite: See Bookmark.

Fiduciary: Person or company entrusted with assets owned by another party (beneficiary), and is responsible for investing the assets until they are turned over to the beneficiary.

Field Searching: Limiting a search performed through a search engine by requesting that certain words appear in a particular part of the document or page, such as in the title.

File: A document that has been created and saved under a unique file name.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP): A way of sending and receiving large text and data files over the Internet. FTP is often used to download software programs.

Financial Projections: Estimates of the future financial performance of a company.

Find: This is a feature under the Edit button on the browser. When clicked on, the browser will look for the desired word(s) within the current document. Most browsers offer a “find words in the page” feature.

Firewall: A specially programmed computer that connects networks (usually a local network to the Internet) and for security reasons lets only certain kinds of data in and out.

Firewire: (Also known as IEEE 1394) A fast type of computer connection – similar to USB 2 – that allows for high rates of data transfer.

Fiscal Year: Any 12-month period used by a company or government as an accounting period.

Flash: A multimedia program, by Macromedia, for viewing and creating interactive and animated content on the Web.

Folders: Subdivisions of a disk that function as a filing system to help you organize files.

Forum: A section of a website where users post and read topics of common interest.

Frames: Some sites have more than one window (or frame) within the entire screen. Navigation and printing often can be restricted to a single frame.

Freeware: Software provided at no charge by its originator.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): A list of common questions and answers pertaining to a specific group or topic.

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Gateway: A program that gives access to different networks from a single location or site.

GIF: (Graphics Interchange Format) A file format that uses compression for saving and viewing images.

Gigabyte: A measure of computer storage capacity equal to 1,000 megabytes, or 1 billion bytes.

Goods: Objects that can be held or touched that can satisfy people’s wants.

GOV: When these letters appear as the last part of a Web address, it indicates that the host computer is run by a government body, probably in the U.S.

Grace Period: Time allowed a debtor in which legal action will not be undertaken by the creditor when payment is late.

Graphical User Interface (GUI): Uses images and icons along with text to display information.

Gross Profit: Revenues of the business before consideration of operating expenses, calculated by subtracting cost of goods sold from net sales.

Guarantee: Pledge by a third party to repay a loan in the event that the borrower cannot.

Guaranteed/lnsured Loans: Programs in which the federal government makes an arrangement to indemnify a lender against part or all of any defaults by those responsible for repayment of loans.

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Hacking: Illegally breaking into remote computers that you are not authorized to access.

Handheld PC: Any personal computer that can be held comfortable in a person’s hand.

Hard Disk: A magnetic disk on which you can store computer data. The term hard is used to distinguish it from a softy, or floppy, disk. Hard disks hold more data and are faster than floppy disks.

Hardware: Refers to objects that you can actually touch, like disks, disk drives, display screens, keyboards, printers, boards, and chips.

Helper Application: Special programs that work with a browser to display or work with pages that the browser cannot handle.

History: A browser button which lists all the sites visited within a period of time (usually several days) up to the current site.

Home-Based Business: A business where the primary activity of business or primary operating office is in one’s own home.

Home Page: A special Web page which is the beginning, or starting point for a particular Web site.

Host: Just like a party’s host is responsible for all the guests, a computer host takes care of any other computers visiting over a network.

Human Resources: The quantity and quality of human effort directed toward producing goods and services (also called labor).

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): A software format in which World Wide Web pages are written so that they can be linked to and viewed by the searcher.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): A set of instructions on how Web browsers and servers talk to each other.

Hypertext: A special type of database system, in which objects (text, pictures, music, programs, and so on) can be creatively linked to each other.

Hyperlink: A place on a site (usually underlined colored text or could be an image) that the searcher can click on and be transported to that site.

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Import: To bring in and/or buy goods and services from another country.

Incentives: Factors that motivate and influence the behavior of households and businesses. Prices, profits and losses, act as incentives for participants to take action in a market economy.

Income Statement: Financial statement that provides an historical perspective about a company’s revenues, costs, and profitability for a specific time period. Also called profit and loss statement.

Incubators: Incubators encourage entrepreneurship and minimize obstacles to new business formation and growth, particularly for high technology firms, by housing in one facility a number of fledgling enterprises which share an array of services. These shared services may include: meeting areas, secretarial services, accounting, research library, on-site financial and management counseling, and computer word processing facilities.

Indemnity: Obligation of one party to reimburse another party for losses which have occurred or which may occur.

Industry: The manufacturing (making) and selling of a particular type of good or service; for example the auto industry.

Inflation: Increase in the overall level of prices over an extended period of time.

Ink-jet Printer: A non-impact printer in which the print head contains independently controlled injection chambers that squirt ink droplets on the paper to form letters and images.

Innovations: Products or services that are new to both customers and to the business.

Input: Whatever goes into the computer.

Intellectual Property: Ownership or exclusive rights to processes or other products resulting from intelligent thought, such as trade secrets, copyrights, patents, or trademarks.

Interdependence: Dependence on others for goods and services; occurs as a result of specialization.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): A company which allows subscribers (for a fee) to connect to the Internet through their computer.

Internet: A network of computer networks, plus the tools that allow users to communicate, search, retrieve, and execute programs around the world.

Inventory: The supply of materials owned and held by a business, including new raw materials, intermediate products/parts, work-in-progress, finished goods (including merchandise purchased for resale), intended for internal consumption or for sale; an asset listed on a business balance sheet.

Invest: To commit money or capital in order to gain a financial return; to put one’s money into a business or project to make more money.

Investor: Individual who takes an ownership position in a company, thus assuming risk of loss in exchange for anticipated returns.

Invoice: An itemized listing of goods or services sold; given to the buyer for payment purposes, usually detailing costs, discounts, payment terms, freight charges, shipping dates and any other information pertinent to the sale.

IP Address: A numeric address unique to each computer that is connected to the Internet.

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Java: Software that allows special applications, particularly animation and unusual effects, on Web pages.

Javascript: A programming language used to add interactive and dynamic features to web pages. It shares some characteristics with Java, but is independent.

Joint Liability: Where one joint debtor has the right to insist that a co-debtor be joined in the liability. The liability is required to be apportioned among the debtors.

JPEG: (or JPG) Named after the committee that created it, the Joint Photographic Experts Group, this is a file format that uses compression for saving and viewing images.

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Keystone: A retailing term referring to doubling the cost of an item of merchandise to determine its retail selling price.

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Laptop: A microcomputer small enough to be very portable and can operate without an external power source.

Laser Printer: A page printer that uses laser technology to produce the image.

Leverage: The process of incurring debt in order to continue or expand the scope of a business operation. An enterprise is said to be highly leveraged if it relies heavily on debt financing as opposed to equity financing.

Liability: In business, any obligation to pay another party now or in the future.

Lien: Legal right to hold property of another party or to have it sold or applied in payment of a claim.

Limited Liability Company: This is a new form of business entity which is a hybrid between a partnership and a corporation. They are highly flexible, provide limited liability to their members, and avoid double taxation.

Limited Partnership: A partnership (two or more individuals jointly owning a business) which allows for general partners and limited partners; limited partners are usually financially liable for debts only to the extent of their investment, and have limited or no control over management of the company.

Line of Credit: A predetermined amount of short-term financing (generally from a bank) available for a business to borrow against on an “as needed” basis and repay during the specified life of the line.

Link: (short for Hyperlink) A hypertext connection that can take you to another document or another part of the same document. On the World Wide Web, links appear either as underlined text or as pictures/icons. To follow a link, double click on the underlined text or on the corresponding icon.

Liquid Assets: Those assets of a business which are easily convertible into cash.

Liquidation: Sale of the assets of a business to pay off debts.

LISTSERV: A mailing list program designed to copy and distribute electronic mail to everyone who has subscribed to it; each LISTSERV facilitates discussion about a specific topic in which the subscribers are interested.

Local Area Network (LAN): A group of computers, usually all in the same room or building, connected for the purpose of sharing files, exchanging email, and collaboration.

Local Development Corporation: An organization, usually made up of local citizens, designed to improve the economy of the area by inducing business and industry to locate there. A local development corporation usually has financing capabilities.

Login: The process of attaching to a network using a unique username and password.

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Mail Server: A computer or application that stores, sends and receives e-mail over a network.

Mailing List: A special type of e-mail address that remails all incoming mail to a list of subscribers. Mailing lists specialize in specific topics so Internet users can subscribe to the ones that interest them.

Mainframe: A very large computer system which was used in the early days of computers; a mainframe allows many users to simultaneously connect and run programs or retrieve data.

Manufacture: To make or process a raw material into a finished product, especially by means of a large-scale industrial operation.

Marginal Cost: Additional cost associated with producing one more unit of output.

Market Economy: An economic system where most goods and services are exchanged through private transactions by private households and businesses. Prices are determined by buyers and sellers making exchanges in private markets.

Marketing: The sum of all activities that influence commercial movement (sale) of goods and services from the provider to the consumer.

Markets: Any setting where buyers and sellers exchange goods, services, resources and currencies.

Megabyte: A measure of a quantity of data. (A million bytes or, technically, 1024 kilobytes). A megabyte is large when referring to files containing only simple text messages. A megabyte may not be much when referring to files containing complex color photographs.

Memory: Internal storage areas in the computer.

Merger: A combination of two or more businesses into one.

Mini-Marketing: The practice of marketing strategies on individual customers.

Mission Statement: A written statement, in the broadest terms, describing what the business hopes to do and become.

Modem: A modem is a device or program that enables a computer to transmit data over telephone lines.

Money: A medium of exchange; a good that can be used to buy other goods and services.

MP3: (short for MPEG Audio Layer 3) A file format for compressing and storing digital audio files. MP3 gives you near CD-quality sound and requires roughly 1MB (megabyte) for every minute of sound.

MPEG: (short for Motion Picture Experts Group) A file format that uses compression for sending and viewing audio/video files.

Multimedia: The use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way.

Multitasking: The ability to execute more than one task at the same time, a task being a program.

Multi-user PC: A microcomputer that can serve more than one user at any given time.

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Natural Resources: “Gifts of nature” that are present without human intervention (also called land).

Navigation: Movement within and between a software application’s work areas.

Net: These letters that appear as the last part of a Web address originally indicated that the host computer run by a networking company, usually an ISP in the United States. Today “.net” is commonly used since there are no restrictions who can register for a “.net” domain name. Net can also refer to a network or, when capitalized, the Internet itself.

Net Income/Loss: The result after subtracting all expenses and taxes from total revenue.

Net Profit: Sales minus variable costs and fixed costs. Net profit is used as a starting point to measure return on investment for specific products or businesses.

Net Worth: The total assets of a business minus its total liabilities.

Netiquete: The common term to describe the etiquette of the Internet.

NetWare: A software product that runs on a variety of different types of LANs, from Ethernets to IBM token-ring networks.

Network: The connection of two or more computers together so that they can share resources results in a computer network. Connect two or more networks together and you have an Internet.

Networking: Making contact with a variety of people in related fields to foster communication with additional contacts or provide information which goes beyond the reason for the initial contact.

Newsgroup: A discussion group for sharing information on an area of interest.

Niche Market: A special segment of a market, often defined in terms of particular buyer characteristics for which a business feels particularly well-suited to target.

Non-Bank Lenders: Any commercial lender not classified as a bank. Examples include investment companies, savings & loan associations, credit unions, lending units of major corporations (e.g., AT&T Capital, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, GE Capital, etc.), mortgage companies, venture capitalists, development corporations, insurance companies, and independent lenders (i.e., The Money Store).

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Online: You are online if you are working on your computer while it’s connected to another computer. It is mainly used in reference to the state of being connected to the Internet itself.

Operating Expenses: Costs associated with the day-to-day activities of the business.

Operating Profit/Loss: Income (or loss) before taxes and extraordinary items (resulting from transactions other than those in the normal course of business) are deducted.

Operating System: The most important program that runs on a computer. Every general-purpose computer must have an operating system to run other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devises such as disk drives and printers.

Opportunity: Appropriate time; favorable position or chance.

Opportunity Cost: The next best alternative that must be given up when a choice is made, not all alternatives, just the next best choice.

ORG: When these letters appear as the last part of a Web address, it indicates that the host computer is run by a non-profit institution, usually in the U.S.

Organizational Chart: A chart diagramming the managerial structure of a business, designating specific areas of responsibility.

Outsourcing: The buying of parts of a product to be assembled elsewhere or the hiring of independent contractors to assist with business operations.

Overhead: Business expenses not directly related to a particular good or service produced. Examples are insurance, utilities, and rent.

Owner’s Equity: The amount owed by the business to the owner.

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Partnership: A company owned by two or more people, who are jointly and personally liable for debts and assets of the company. General partners, who have control, have unlimited liability; limited partners have limited liability.

Password: A combination of letters and numbers a person chooses and then is required to use when logging in to a computer program or system.

Patent: Governmental granting of exclusive rights for a specified period or time to the inventor for his/her invention or process.

Personal Computer: A small, relatively inexpensive computer designed for an individual user.

Plug-In: A piece of software that extends or enhances the capabilities of another program. Browser plug-ins commonly add features such as audio, video, animation, etc. One of the most popular plug-ins is Macromedia’s Flash Player.

POP: (Post Office Protocol) A protocol by which a mail server lets you retrieve your e-mail and download it to your computer. A POP server uses this protocol to enable users to download e-mail.

Pop-Up Ad: Advertising that appears in a window that appears over the browser window of a site that a user has visited. Most pop-up ads can now be easily blocked thanks to the increasing popularity of “pop-up blockers”.

Population: The largest possible market for a product; the broadest starting point for segmentation strategy.

Portable Document Format (PDF): Files placed on the Internet that retain their original appearance and can only be retrieved via a special reader such as Adobe Acrobat.

Posting: A message placed on a Usenet or discussion group site for others to read.

PPP: (Point-to-Point Protocol) A communication protocol for connecting a computer to the Internet through a phone line.

Price: The value of a goods or service stated in money terms.

Principal: The dollar amount originally borrowed or financed on which interest is paid; also referred to as the “face amount” of a loan.

Prime Rate: The interest rate that banks charge their best commercial customers. Rates charged to other borrowers are often expressed in terms of the prime rate plus a specified number of percentage points.

Principal: The currently unpaid balance of a loan, not including interest owed.

Product: All of the tangible and intangible features and benefits offered by a business. This can be a physical product or a service offering.

Product Line: The collection of products or services that a business offers.

Production/Producers: People who use resources to make goods and services; also called workers.

Productivity: The ratio of output (goods and services) produced per unit of input (productive resources over a period of time).

Profit: The financial gain resulting from revenues after all business expenses have been paid.

Profit Sharing: Compensation arrangement whereby employees receive additional pay or benefits when the company earns or increases profits.

Program: A software application that performs specific tasks, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel.

Proprietorship: The most common legal form of business ownership; about 85 percent of all small businesses are proprietorships. The liability of the owner is unlimited in this form of ownership.

Protocol: A format or set of rules for communication, either over a network or between applications.

Public-Domain Software: Refers to any program that is not copyrighted. Public-domain software is free and can be used without restrictions.

Public Goods: Goods and services that are provided by the government. They often are too expensive or not practical to be obtained by individuals.

Public Offering: A general solicitation for participation in an investment opportunity. Interstate public offerings are supervised by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Public Relations: Methods by which a business seeks to promote a favorable relationship with the public; marketing examples: positive publicity (news story), community event participation, customer service, civic organization membership.

Publicity: A free promotional tool which communicates product or company information to mass audiences through the media. Publicity media includes newspapers, press magazines, and/or radio. Publicity often begins with a press release by a business.

Push Technology: A service available at some Internet sites whereby predefined information is automatically sent or “pushed” to a subscriber on a regular basis. It is essentially an updating tool.

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QuickTime: A multi-platform software format and program developed by Apple for viewing video or listening to audio. It supports over 200 kinds of digital media.

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RealAudio: A streaming audio file format that lets you listen to audio over the Internet.

RealPlayer: A software application for viewing and listening to RealAudio and RealVideo over the Internet.

RealVideo: A file format for viewing and listening to audio and video over the Internet.

Receivable Financing: Type of financing in which a business borrows money with the expectation of repaying it quickly upon the receipt of certain receivables. The receivables are pledged as collateral on the loan.

Receivables: Unsettled claims and transactions representing money owed to a creditor, usually the result of a sale of the creditor’s product or service. Also referred to as Accounts Receivable and listed as a current asset on the balance sheet.

Refresh: (also Reload) A feature in Web browsers that lets you load Web pages again to see if the content has been updated or changed.

Remote: In networks, remote refers to files, devices, and other resources that are not connected directly to your workstation. Resources at your workstation are considered local.

Resources: All natural, human and human-made aids to the production of goods and services; also called productive resources.

Retained Earnings: Net profits kept to accumulate in a business after dividends are paid.

Revenues: The earning activities of a business; usually the act of performing a service or selling a product. Revenues result in something of value being received by the business.

Router: An electronic device that connects two or more networks.

RSS: (short for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) An XML-based format for syndicating Internet content. RSS “feeds” are gathered and read using an RSS reader commonly referred to as an aggregator.

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Scarcity: The condition of not being able to have all the goods and services that we want.

Search Engine: A program accessible on the Web which has a catalog of scanned Web sites in a large database. The user enters a list of keywords or search parameters, and the search engine creates a list of matches for the user to choose.

Seasonality: Changes in business, employment or buying patterns which occur predictably at given times of the year.

Secure Server: A Web server which uses encryption to prevent others from reading data sent to or from your browser. Online shopping sites normally use secure servers so that others cannot intercept credit card ordering information. You can usually tell if you are on a secure server if the “http” section of the domain name is followed by an “s”. Example: “”.

Seed Money: Funds used to start a new business or to finance a new venture by an existing firm.

Server: A computer, or software package, that provides a specific service to another computer, known as a client, over a network. The term can refer to a particular piece of software or to the machine on which the software is running. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.

Services: Activities that can satisfy people’s wants.

Shareware: Software distributed on the basis of an honor system: Most shareware is delivered free of charge, but the author usually requests that you pay a small fee if you like to program and use it regularly.

Shut Down: To turn the power off. In Windows 95 and Windows 98, the normal way to turn a computer off is to select Start->Shut Down…

Shortages: The situation resulting when the quantity demanded exceeds the quantity supplied of goods, service, or resource.

Short-Term Debt: Loans that are due within one year.

Simple Interest: Interest paid only on the principal of a loan. No interest is paid on interest accrued during the term of the loan.

Site: A location on the Web.

Site Map: A directory, outline or guide to a particular site designed to help the searcher understand the site’s arrangement.

SMTP: (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The method by which Internet mail is delivered from one computer to another. An SMTP server is the computer to which you send outgoing e-mail.

Sole Proprietorship: Unincorporated, one-owner business, farm, or professional practice.

Speculation: Purchase of an asset with the expectation of selling it quickly for a large gain.

Specialization: The situation in which people produce a narrower range of goods and services than they consume.

Spooling: Refers to putting jobs in a buffer, a special area in memory or on a disk where a device can access them when it is ready. Spooling is useful because devices access data at different rates. The buffer provides a waiting station where data can rest while the slower device catches up.

Spreadsheet: A table of values arranged in rows and columns. Each value can have a predefined relationship to the other values. Used a lot for budgets.

Spyware: Any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. On the Internet (where it is sometimes called a spybot or tracking software), spyware is programming that is put in someone’s computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program.

Spam: The act of sending unrequested e-mail to uninterested recipients or of posting inappropriate message’s to many uninterested newsgroups or mailing lists.

SSL: (Secured Sockets Layer) A protocol that transmits Internet communications in encrypted form. Information can be sent between your computer and server privately and unaltered.

Streaming: A technique where audio or video transferred over a network immediately begins to play while the rest of the file is still downloading. Streaming was developed so users wouldn’t have to wait on lengthy download times to view or listen to larger files.

Supply: A schedule of how much producers are willing and able to produce and sell at all possible prices during some time period.

Supply and Demand: Supply is the amount of goods available at a given price at any time. Demand is how many consumers desire the goods that are in supply.

Surety Bands: Surety bonds provide reimbursement to an individual, company or the government if a firm fails to complete a contract. SBA guarantees surety bonds in a program much like SBA’s guaranteed loan program.

Surf: To move from place to place on the Internet searching for topics of interest. Web surfing has become a favorite pastime for many Internet users.

Surge Protector: A device that protects a power supply and communications lines from electrical surges. All computers come with some surge protection built into the power supply, but it is a good idea to purchase a separate device.

Surplus: A term used when the quantity of goods supplied exceeds the quantity demanded at the existing price.

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Target Market: The specific group of individuals who are chosen as most likely potential customers for the goods/services of a business and to whom the business wishes to appeal.

Tariff: A tax on imports.

Taxes: Required payments of money made to governments by households and business firms. These include:

Income Taxes: Taxes paid by households and business firms on the income they receive.
Property Taxes: Taxes paid by households and businesses on land and buildings.
Sales Taxes: Taxes paid on the goods and services people buy.

Telecommuters: Employees who work for a company by using a computer terminal set up in an employee’s home. This terminal is linked, by means of a computer modem, to the company’s central computer.

TELNET: Telnet allows a user at a remote computer to log on to another computer over a network and enter commands at a prompt as if they were directly connected to the remote computer. (Terminal Emulation)

TeraByte: A measure of computer storage capacity equal to 1,000 gigabytes or approximately a thousand billion bytes.

Terms: The conditions or provisions specified for repaying loans or paying invoices; usually includes the time limits, amounts to be paid, discounts.

Text File: A file that contains only textual characters with no graphical information, video, sound clips, etc. Often sent as an attachment in e-mails, these files can be opened by most word processing programs.

Thread: A series of replies to a particular subject. Threads are commonly found in forums, newsgroups and e-mail programs.

Total Revenue: The total amount of money generated through the sale of a product or service.

Trade/Exchange: Trading goods and services with people for other goods and services or for money; when people exchange voluntarily, they expect to be better off as a result.

Trade Name: The name of your business, registered with the Secretary of State’s office, also referred to in some states as “fictitious” or “assumed” name.

Trade-Offs: Giving up one thing to get some of another.

Trade Secrets: Confidential methods, processes, customer lists, and similar business information which are not of common knowledge.

Trade Shows: Large events at which different manufacturers, product and service providers set up booths to share information and promote their offerings to potential buyers.

Trademark: A symbol, letter, device, or word that identifies a product; it is officially registered, generally in a Secretary of State’s office, and by law grants exclusive use to the owner or manufacturer.

Troubleshoot: To isolate the source of a problem and fix it. In the case of computer systems, the term troubleshoot is usually used when the problem is suspected to be hardware-related.

Truncation: Replacing the ending part of a term with a symbol that signals the search engine to also locate and retrieve variant forms such as plurals.

Tax Number: A number assigned to a business by a state revenue department that enables the business to buy wholesale without paying sales tax on goods and products. Contact the state government’s department of revenue.

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Uniform Resource Locator (URL): An address specifying where a particular piece of information can be found. A web address is a kind of URL. A URL has three components, specifying the protocol, server domain name, and the file location.

Upgrade: A new version of a software or hardware product designed to replace an older version of the same product.

Undercapitalization: Having too little capital (money or other resources easily converted to money) to carry a new venture through early development stages.

Unemployment: The situation in which people are willing and able to work at current wages but do not have jobs.

Upload: To copy or transfer a file from your computer to a remote computer, usually a Web server.

USB: (Universal Serial Bus) USB is designed for low- to mid-speed peripheral devices such as keyboards, mice, printers, joysticks and modems. It supports up to 127 devices connected in a “chain” to your computer. These devices are automatically recognized as they are plugged into the chain. A newer version, USB 2.0, allows peripherals to communicate with your computer up to 40 times faster than the original version of USB.

Usenet: The part of the Internet that is comprised of discussion groups and mailing lists.

Username: The name which a person uses when they log in to the network; the username is also the first part of an Internet e-mail address.

Utility: A program that performs a very specific task, usually related to managing system resources. Operating systems contain a number of utilities for managing disk drives, printers, and other devices.

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Value Added Agriculture: Taking farm products such as wheat, corn or sunflowers and increasing the value by processing into products such as flour or corn meal or by packaging in products such as sunflower seeds or birdseed.

Variable Cost: Any costs which change significantly with the level of output.

vCards: Digital “business cards” that can be attached to e-mail messages. They usually contain information such as contact and business names, phone numbers and website addresses. vCards appear as attachments to e-mail messages with a .vcf file extension name.

Venture Capital: Money used to purchase an equity stake in a new or existing enterprise; equity, risk or speculative investment capital. This funding is usually provided to new or existing firms that exhibit potential for above-average growth.

Virus: A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Most viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are manmade.

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Wages: The payment for work or services to workers; the money people are paid at their jobs.

Wall Street: The controlling financial interests of the United States. Wall Street itself is located in New York City.

Warranty: A promise or representation about goods which is part of the deal and which creates an expectation that the goods will conform to that promise.

WAV: (Pronounced “wave”) This is a Microsoft Windows sound file.

WebCam: (or Cam) A cameral that sends live or recorded video or a series of still pictures over the Internet.

WebMail: A system where a user can access e-mail through a web page using an Internet browser. Webmail can be easily sent, read and organized from any computer with an Internet connection.

Web Pages: On the World Wide Web, these include hyperlinks and present information in a graphical format that can incorporate text, graphics, sounds, and digital movies.

Web TV: A general term for a whole category of products and technologies that enable you to surf the Web on your TV. Most Web TV products today consist of a small box that connects to your telephone line and television.

WI-FI: (short for Wireless Fidelity) A term for a high-frequency wireless local area network (WLAN).

Windows Media: A multi-platform software format and program developed by Microsoft for viewing video and listening to audio.

Wireless Network: A network that allows devices to communicate using radio or light transmissions instead of wires.

Word Processing: The creation, input, editing, and production of documents and texts using computers.

Working Capital: Resources available in a business to cover short-term expenses determined by subtracting current liabilities from current assets.

World Wide Web (WWW): A major component of the Internet, which is a vast global network of smaller networks. The Web is a network of server and client computers that exchange information via Web Pages.

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XML: (eXtensible Markup Language) Similar to HTML, XML is a programming language that enables Web developers to create their own customized tags. XML enables the definition, transmission, validation and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

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Zip: A format for data compression. (Not to be confused with a Zip Disk, a name used by Iomega for a removable storage device that typically holds 100-250 MB).

Zone: The last part of an Internet domain name. If the zone is three characters long, it’s a code indicating the type of organization that owns the domain. If the zone is two letters, it’s usually the country code in which the organization that owns the computer is located. Some common zones are: .com, .net, .edu, .gov and .org.

Zoning: The division of an area into zones as to restrict the number and types of buildings and their uses.

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Portions reprinted courtesy of Braddock Communications, Reston, Virginia
Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 September 2007 )

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