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Business jargon can be one of the most confusing things about starting a new venture – that’s why we put together this little glossary for you.

Starting in any new job there are always a whole host of terms, words and phrases that you have to learn.

Some make sense straight away – while others seem to have been created by throwing some scrabble letters on a table.


The world of startups is no different and, if anything, a more difficult proposition. If you are in an office you can always ask Dave in accounts what exactly Steve the CEO is going on about in the weekly team meeting.

But fear not! We have a put together 11 of some of the most common terms that could well do with some explanation. So read on and if you have any words you are struggling with leave them head over to our Facbook or Twitter pages and ask away!


A term that can mean a number of things but in its most basic forms it means the assets of the company. It can also be used to refer to money that is invested in a company to purchase assets.

Seed funding

The initial capital used to start a business. Often coming from the business owner, or from close friends or relatives. Sometimes, depending on how generous your family and friends are, this will give the funder an equity stake in the business – meaning they own a percentage of the business.

Startup loan

A startup loan (in the UK at least) is a Government backed scheme that offers loans of between £500 and £25,000. They are a personal loan with a fixed rate of 6% and are repayable over one to five years. In the Midlands we offer Virgin Startup loans, which are part of the scheme, you can apply here.

Capital grants

A capital grant is cash that is used to buy capital items for your business – and doesn’t have to be paid back! For businesses in Staffordshire that are less than 12 months old can get a grant of up to £5,000 to help with items like machinery or IT equipment. For more information, and to start your application, click here.

Non-disclosure agreement

Very important for those with new and innovative products – a non-disclosure agreement is a legal agreement between two parties to keep anything that is spoken about is kept secret. For more information about NDAs you view Government advice here.


It is a guarantee that if you are asking an investor for some cash they will want to know what the ROI is. What they mean is Return on Investment – simply what can they expect to get back for the cash they put in. The term can also be used in other ways, for instance if you are going to start an online marketing campaign with an external company then you will want to know what you are getting for your cash!



A simple term for any business that does business with other businesses. Think of a builders merchant as a typical example.


The other term that you will hear is business to consumer. These are retail stores, cafes or anything that sells a product to non-business customer.


A newly emerging term that allows a company to enter into a new business relationship with a B2C company whose expertise is generally in online selling or with help building recognition of the company.


This business model has become a massive success. The idea is that the basic features of the business are given away for free and then more advanced features are available at a price.


Search Engine Optimisation is absolutely essential for any new business. In basic terms this is a process that helps make your website rank better in search engines like Google. For more information about it and how it can help your business visit our partners Cocoon FX Media