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You may understand the concepts but aren't familiar with all of the terms, or vice versa. Knowing these business terms will keep your knowledge current and relevant. — Getty Images/PeopleImages

Like any specialized industry, the business world is filled with terminology that often only makes sense to those within it. Whether you’re just starting out in the business sector or are branching out into a new specialty within it, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the lingo. To help, here are 10 commonly-used business buzzwords — and what they really mean.

Earned media

Earned media refers to any publicity a company gains from methods beside paid advertising, typically through online, word-of-mouth advertising. Shared or reposted content, reviews and recommendations, mentions and content picked up by third-party sites are all examples of earned media. This is in contrast to paid media (any paid marketing or advertising efforts) and owned media (any web property a business controls, such as a website or blog).


The concept of 10x growth, developed by entrepreneurial coach Dan Sullivan, is a mindset designed to help companies grow exponentially. According to Sullivan, it is both easier and more effective for businesses to aim for a future that is 10 times larger than their current situation, rather than thinking in terms of smaller-scale growth.


Stemming from the world of project management, the term deliverable refers to a quantifiable good or service that must be provided when a project is complete. Deliverables can be either tangible, such as a physical product that must be obtained or developed, or intangible, such as the implementation of a program.


In the SEO sphere, indexing is the process by which search engines collect, organize and process internet data. Search engines are constantly scanning the web for new and updated content, also known as crawling. Once a search engine finds a page, it then stores that information in its index, allowing users to find that information when they search for a related keyword.

[Read:10 Important SEO Terms for Beginners]

Regardless of its current financial situation, it’s best for a business to have a burn rate that ensures at least six months of survival.

Ranking factor

Another commonly-used SEO term, a ranking factor is any element a search engine uses to determine how a page is ranked in its result pages. Properly-used keywords, optimized title tags and the number of inbound links from high-quality “authority” sites can all increase a page’s ranking factor.

Expenses (fixed, variable, accrued, operational)

Expenses are any costs a business owes for acquiring something and can be broken down into four major categories: fixed, variable, accrued and operational. Fixed expenses, such as rent and salaries, stay the same over a given time period. Variable expenses, on the other hand, are based on a company’s production and can fluctuate based on production of sales. Accrued expenses refer to any costs that are calculated and reported but not yet paid. Finally, operational expenses are those that are necessary to run the business, such as overhead costs.

[Read: 17 Accounting Terms to Know (Even if You Have an Accountant)]

Burn rate

A business’s burn rate refers to how long it can continue operating with only its current available cash without turning a profit. This rate indicates how long a company can sustain itself without a steady income. Regardless of its current financial situation, it’s best for a business to have a burn rate that ensures at least six months of survival.

Landed cost

In inventory management, landed cost is the total cost associated with getting new products into inventory. Potential costs include shipping, manufacturing fees, taxes, insurance, handling fees and currency conversion. Businesses with physical inventory, especially when working with items that are shipped internationally, should pay close attention to landed cost for budgeting purposes.

[Read: 6 Inventory Management Terms You Should Know]

Batch tracking

Batch tracking is a quality control system used to group similar sets of stock. This process makes it easier for businesses to track expiration dates and identify any defective items. Some common batch tracking strategies include FIFO (“first in, first out”), LIFO (“last in, first out”) and FEFO (“first expired, first out”).

Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting refers to the process of estimating future customer demand by looking at previous quantitative and/or qualitative data. Quantitative forecasting is done when analyzing data from financial reports, previous sales and website data. Qualitative forecasting results from looking at current industry trends, product life cycles and any emerging technologies.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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