Business Is Not A Dirty Word: And 15 Other Important Definitions

The words “business,” “sales,” and “marketing” sometimes get a bad reputation. All of a sudden it seems off-putting if you look for sales or you talk about strategy. Sometimes I just say the word “strategy” and people’s eyes glaze over – like it’s boring. The common response goes something like this:

Blogging should be about your love of writing, and nothing else. Oh well, geeez, Marketing means trying to get someone to do something they don’t want to do – I don’t want to do that! Or, I don’t want to try to sell anything, I just want to do what I love and support myself. It will work out, somehow.

This is naive. I think each of these words are not only useful – they are incredibly important. Here’s a quick list of the terms as I understand them (no business school here) – in simple language. Business terms re-defined for the rest of us to use and understand. Although I will throw in a few books here and there that I found useful – for your reference.

Business: Making something that other people want.  AND ideally exchanging that something (time, value, stuff, information) for something else of value (often time or money). A business is just an exchange of goods.

Marketing: Telling your story to the people who want to hear it.

Psychology: How your mind works.

As in, I want to understand the psychology behind why people spend money on things they don’t want, and why we make bad decisions in predictable fashions.

Further reading: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer, The Art of Choosing.

Corporation: An entity that we love to hate. Wait, Really? It’s just a group of people with a structure.  Some Many of them are really great. People make companies, after all.

A corporation is a group of people that have common visions, goals and behaviors. It’s an organization or structure of a business. We consider ‘corporate’ a dirty word because it represents something that doesn’t fit with our own personal visions — the time, the goals, the structure, the way it works, it’s focus on profitability over people — and so it’s our responsibility to change the corporation we dislike, or leave and start a better one.

Entrepreneur: Someone who builds new things that didn’t exist before. A person who builds thing that need to be built.

Entrepreneur is just a fancy word for people who make stuff and do things. 8-year olds who sell neighborhood services from a wagon are entrepreneurs. Moms who host start-up knitting programs or online services are entrepreneurs. Bloggers who sell e-books (oh yeah!) are entrepreneurs. 

Further reading: Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Change by Design, by Tim Brown. The Big Moo, by Seth Godin. The Art of NonConformity by Chris Guillebeau. 

Intra-preneurs: (one of my favorite terms!) People who change things within the existing systems. People with existing jobs and systems that learn the rules to break them.

Someone who creates a new job at a company that exists is an intra-preneur. I consider myself and intra-preneur and an entre-preneur: I make new things, I do new things, and I have a ‘typical’ 9-5 job that I constantly challenge, change, and try new things with. Last year we created a new position here within the company. Voila. Intrepreneurship.

Further reading: The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier. Mastery by George Leonard. Linchpin by Seth Godin.

Goal: A tangible, check-able thing that you want to do.

Goals are great because you can look back at what you’ve done over time, and figure out whether or not you got there.

Plan: ideas about how you’re going to get there (loosely, because you haven’t done it yet).

Further reading: Getting Things Done by David Allen, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey.

Strategy: a plan of attack. A strategy is a means to an end. It’s how you think you’re going to get ‘there,’ wherever ‘there’ is.

Alternatively, I sometimes define strategy as: Knowing what NOT to do.

Business Plan: what you want to do and how you’re going to do it.

Uncertainty: The feeling that you’re about to do something cool.

Further reading Uncertainty, by Jonathan Fields.

Deadline: A measure and tool for accountability. An short-term anxiety inducer for (on the whole) long-term stress-reduction. See also, “Discipline.”

ROI – Return on Investment. Aka, getting paid for your hard work. Or all that dang time you spent learning.

Communications. Telling your idea or story in a way that makes sense to the audience/observer.

This is important. Telling your story in a way that makes sense to the recipient, not to you. It doesn’t matter if you understand it. It matters if they understand it.

A little more complex: Telling the story of your idea in a way that achieves your goals and objectives. Communications isn’t an end – it’s a means to an end. Perhaps you want to promote a positive, happy culture – so you create an internal newsletter to highlight the achievements of your team members.  This is an internal communications tool used with an objective.

Brand: The idea you want in people’s heads when they think about your business. (Or, alteratively, the idea that is in people’s heads when they think about your business. This idea can come in all shapes, colors, visuals, or words. Sometimes it’s a catch phrase or jingle; other times it’s an image or a logo; other times its a feeling. More often than not, it’s a bit of all of these elements.

Creativity (or Imagination): Courage to believe in something that doesn’t yet exist, and using your ideas, tools, visuals and media channels to tell the story of this idea in a way that matters, to the people who can do something about it.

 

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