Important Terms To Improve Your Business IQ

Important Terms To Improve Your Business IQ

As an entrepreneur, it is critical to stay abreast of business terminology in order to make sound decisions and communicate effectively with partners, investors, and other business professionals. In this article, we have compiled 23 key business terms every entrepreneur should know – terms that are essential for success.

As Warren Buffet famously said: “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” By learning business terminology, you can sharpen your knowledge of the industry and ultimately reduce risk. This will grant you the expertise and assurance needed to take on any endeavor with confidence.

Read on to learn more about these important business terms and enhance your business IQ.

Improving your business IQ

Learning key business terms that are related to your industry is a fundamental part of developing yourself into an effective and successful entrepreneur. Fortunately, through the Assorted World blog and other online resources, you have the opportunity to learn and master these concepts without needing an MBA to do so. Lets get started on improving your business IQ.

How do you define Business terms?

Business Terms are words and phrases used to describe the activities taking place in a business environment. They are used to define and explain the financial, economic, and legal aspects of running a successful enterprise. Some common business terms every entrepreneur should know have been compiled and explained below.

Benefits of understanding business terminology

Understanding business terminology can be a tremendous advantage for any entrepreneur or investor. Having a healthy business vocabulary is essential in order to identify and solve business challenges quickly and effectively. Having a deep understanding of business terms allows business people to quickly recognize opportunities, craft effective business plans, negotiate confidently, and make the most of their investments.

Knowledge of business terminology also helps entrepreneurs communicate assertively and articulate their thoughts more clearly with colleagues, partners, customers, and investors.

From a long-term perspective, mastering business terminology facilitates entrepreneurship because it allows business people to think strategically when creating products and services that meet customer needs.

A Charlie Munger quote

As Charlie Munger said, "the real key is not just knowledge but the ability to connect different pieces of knowledge into useful grids."

This quote speaks volumes about the importance of understanding business terminology for entrepreneurs. Ultimately, having an extensive command of business vernacular enables entrepreneurs to unlock the full potential of their ideas.

Key Business Terms

These are the terms we've put together for you. If you feel something else belongs on this list that was left off, let us know on social or leave us a comment!

Accounts receivable

Accounts receivable is a business term that refers to money customers owe to a business. It is an important metric for any business as it has a direct impact on its current level of profit and future margin. Without customers paying efficiently, cash flow can become stagnant for a company, resulting in increased expenses and potentially shutting them down before they have had the chance to reach their full potential.

Accounts payable

Accounts payable helps businesses keep track of what bills need to be paid and when, so entrepreneurs can have a thorough understanding of their financial situation at any given time. It is one of the key players in creating strong and successful businesses.

Accounts payable is an intricate part of the cash flow for any business. Cash flow isn't just about having money come in, it's also about managing the outflow of money - and accounts payable provides the perfect tool to help entrepreneurs do just that.

Accrual VS. Cash-based Accounting

Accrual accounting recognizes financial transactions when they occur rather than when cash changes hands; the method reflects the company's overall financial operations accurately, including all its debts and assets.

Cash-based accounting, on the other hand, records financial activities only when a company receives or pays out money, making it more useful for smaller businesses without multiple sources of income or that experience little variation in cash flow over time.

In order for any business owner to truly judge their company's health and overall success, it is important to understand both accrual and cash-based accounting so that the appropriate measures can be used in the right situation.


Assets refer to anything a business owns that has value. This includes tangible items like property, vehicles, and equipment, as well as intangible items like intellectual property, copyrights, customer relationships, and trademarks. Assets are an important metric for businesses because they can be used to finance operations or secure loans.

» Related Article: 23 important investment terms to know

Balance sheet

A balance sheet is a detailed financial statement that provides an overview of a company's assets, liabilities, and equity. It serves as an important tool for entrepreneurs to understand the current state of their business. The balance sheet can also be used to identify potential issues with cash flow or other areas of the business that need attention.

Business Model

A business model is a plan that describes how a company will generate revenue, provide products or services, operate, and grow. It serves as the foundation of any business and is key to understanding how the company intends to make money.

Breakeven Point

The breakeven point is the amount of revenue a business must generate to cover its costs and start making a profit. Knowing the breakeven point for your business is essential for forecasting future profits and determining where you need to make changes in order to remain profitable.


Bootstrapping is a way for entrepreneurs to start and finance their businesses without outside investors or loans. This can be done through savings, family and friends' funds, or even with credit cards. By bootstrapping, entrepreneurs are able to maintain control of their company's operations while minimizing spending and limiting debt.

Business Credit

Business credit is a type of credit that is used to finance business operations, such as purchasing equipment and supplies. Business credit can be obtained from banks or other financial institutions, but unlike personal credit, it has stricter requirements for approval and repayment terms.

Business Structure

The business structure of a company refers to the legal framework it is organized under. Different structures provide varying levels of protection for the owners and give businesses access to different types of financing, tax benefits, and other incentives.

4 of the most popular business structures include:

  • Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business structure that provides the owner with full control over the business but also exposes them to unlimited personal liability.

  • LLC (Limited Liability Company): An LLC is a business structure that provides limited personal liability for the owners and flexibility in management. As with Corporations, LLCs can be taxed as separate entities, providing them with access to different tax benefits.

  • C Corporation (C-Corp): A C corporation is a business structure that allows the company’s profits and losses to be passed on to its shareholders. This type of business structure also has more complex filing requirements but offers greater protection for its owners from personal liability.

  • S Corporation (S-Corp): An S corporation is a business structure that provides the same limited personal liability protection as LLCs but with pass-through taxation, meaning the company’s profits and losses are passed on to its shareholders.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is the movement of money within an organization. It is important for entrepreneurs to track their business’s cash flow, as this will provide insight into the financial health of the business. Knowing where your cash is coming from and going to will help you identify when additional funding may be needed or potential areas of opportunity.


Expenses are the costs incurred by a business in order to generate revenue. This includes things like labor, materials, rent, and any other cost associated with running the business.


Ultimately, fixed costs and variable costs are the two main components in understanding cost. Fixed costs refer to expenses that don’t change from month-to-month, such as rent or salaries, whereas variable costs can vary depending on changes in output or demand.

Having a thorough understanding of fixed and variable costs helps with cash flow management. The ability to effectively discern fixed and variable costs is an essential trait for any business leader attempting to run an efficient operation.

Owner's Equity

Owner's equity (or Shareholders' equity) is the right to assets of a company. It is the sum of money that is left to the owners of a business after all liabilities have been paid. It serves as an indication of what portion of the business the owners actually own and is calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets.


'Liabilities' is a term that refers to all of the financial obligations owed by a company within its given time frame.

Short-term liabilities refer to those obligations that are due within 12 months, such as accounts payable, accrued payroll expenses, and taxes or lines of credit. Long-term liabilities are those debt obligations spanning longer than 12 months, including long-term mortgage financing and any other outstanding loans the company has taken out.

All liabilities deplete the resources available to a business and must be thoughtfully managed in order for a company to remain solvent.


Revenue is the income generated by a business through its various activities. It can come from the sale of services, products, or other resources like interest earned on investments. Revenue represents the total amount of money that a business has within its given time frame, minus any taxes owed and expenses associated with generating such income.


Profit is the total amount of money that a business has after deducting all expenses and taxes from its revenue. It is important for businesses to calculate their profits in order to get an accurate representation of their financial performance and make informed decisions about investments, operations, and more.

Companies measure success in their financial records by reporting gross profit, operating profit, and net (or "bottom line") profitability.

  • Gross Profit: Gross profit is the total amount of revenue minus the cost of goods sold.

  • Operating Profit: Operating profit is calculated by subtracting operating expenses from gross profit.

  • Net Profit: Net profit is calculated by subtracting all taxes owed from operating profits. This is the final figure reported by a company and reflects the total amount of money the business has at its disposal.

  • Profit Margin: Profit margin is the ratio of net profits to total revenue. It reflects how much money a business is making per dollar earned and can be used to evaluate its performance against competitors in the same industry.

Net Lost

Net loss is the amount of money that a business loses over its given accounting period. It occurs when total expenses exceed total revenue and can be dangerous for businesses trying to remain financially solvent.


KPI stands for "Key Performance Indicator". KPIs are measurable values that businesses use to monitor and evaluate their performance. Typical KPIs include sales, customer satisfaction, website traffic, employee retention, and profitability, among others. Your specific business model and target goals generally highlight the most important KPIs to track.

By tracking these key metrics, business owners can identify areas of success or improvement and make adjustments accordingly.


B2B, B2C and B2G stand for Business-to-Business, Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Government transactions.

  • B2B: This type of transaction is focused on the exchange of services or products between businesses.

  • B2C: This type of transaction involves the sale of goods or services from a business to an individual consumer.

  • B2G: These types of transactions involve the purchase and sale of products or services between businesses and government entities.

These three concepts are important for entrepreneurs to understand when considering different customer segments and marketing plans.


Capital is the money a business has available to use in funding its daily operations and long-term growth strategies. It can come from a variety of sources such as loans, investments and grants, or the company's profits.

Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that outlines the goals and objectives of a business, as well as how they plan to achieve them. It includes financial projections, industry analysis and marketing plans, among other sections.

It's important for entrepreneurs to develop effective business plans in order to communicate their vision and strategy clearly to potential investors or partners.

Target Market

The term Target Market simply refers to the niche demographic a business is looking to target. Understanding who your target market is essential for any startup or business; knowing where to direct your resources and focus your efforts will be integral to the success of any venture.

By aligning a brand's messaging with its target niche, it can create an audience of loyal supporters that can take a product or service all the way from initial concept to full-fledged execution.


While there are more business terms to learn, this list has hopefully provided you with some insight into what vocabulary is necessary for mastering the basics. Knowledge of these terms will allow you to have easier conversations about any business topic and strengthen your ability to develop as an entrepreneur.

Taking time to familiarize yourself with industry-specific terminology will give you the necessary tools for success. A great way to enhance your business IQ further is by not only staying up-to-date on these business terms but seeking out new information surrounding them.

What terms do you think are missing from this list? Share and Follow me on Social media for more business insights!

Note: this article was originally posted on my blog Assorted World on 01/17/23