The Small Business Scene


Today small businesses are the heart of the market economy. There are a great number and variety of small businesses. People become owners and operators of small business firms in one of three ways: start a new firm, buy a franchise, buy or inherit an existing firm.

Small firms have been established to do just about any kind of business imaginable. They have been established to manufacture and distribute goods, to sell them at retail, and, of course, to provide all kinds of needed services. Some serve only the local community, while others function in national and international markets.

The vast majority of small firms concentrate on selling material products, although an increasing number of firms provide a service. Although an increasing number operate in local markets, services, too, are exported. In recent years there has been a great increase in the export of services, such as management consulting, medical, and technological services.

The existence of a strong, healthy small business community has always been recognized as the best way to preserve competition, prevent monopolistic control of any industries, and thus assure the population of the benefits of competition through better prices and quality products. Incentives1 have been provided to assist small firms. The government of the US created the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1954 to provide financial, management, and procurement assistance2 for small firms.

There are some facts that illustrate the importance of small business. According to the Small Business Administration:

99 % of all businesses in the US can be classified as small;

43 % of the gross national product3 is contributed by small business;

While large business has been cutting back employment, small business has been creating new jobs:

Many of new products and services in the US are created by small businesses.

Numerous definitions of the term "small business" exist. A small business is one which is independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field of operation. A small business is one which possesses at least two of the following four characteristics: 1) management of the firm is independent. Usually the managers are also the owners; 2) capital is supplied4 and the Ownership5 is held by an individual or a small group; 3) the area of operation is mainly local, with the workers and owners living in one home community. However, the markets need not be local; 4) the relative size of the firm within its industry must be small when compared with the biggest units in its field. Of the characteristics cited, most scholars believe that the fourth, relative size, is the most important.

The SBA traditionally uses the following criteria for defining small business: retailing6 (sales volume), service (sales volume), wholesaling7 (sales volume), manufacturing8 (number of employees).

The following is a list of terms that can be used to describe a business. Each term tells something about the size of a business.

Total assets9 – all that a business owns.

Net worth10 – business assets less what is owed.

Gross profits11 – money left from sales after all expenses (except taxes) have been paid.

Net profits12 – what is left from gross profit after business income taxes are paid.

Employees – total number of workers and managers listed on the payroll13.

Income – net receipts14, the total sales15 less returns16, allowances17, And discounts.

It is necessary to keep records18 of a business for tax purposes and as a measure of growth. Some businesses fail because they are improperly expanded. Other businesses are unsuccessful because they expand too quickly and cannot handle problems that come with rapid growth.

Many businesses remain small and provide excellent income throughout their lifetime.

Business operations are subject to review by local, state, and federal authorities. These reviews insure that rules and regulations are being obeyed and standards maintained. Some of the operations subject to review arc listed here.

Income. Business income must be reported for income tax purposes. Other reasons for reporting business income include providing information for bank Loans19, attracting investors, making equitable distribution of profits in partnership20, and as a measure of business growth. The records are usually subject to an audit.

Working conditions. Clean and safe working conditions must be provided for employees and if required, medical and safety equipment must be provided.

Wages and hours. Work regulations and announcements must be posted where employees can read them. Employers must pay at least the minimum wage that applies to their employees.

Advertising, labeling, and packaging. Businesses must not be guilty of false advertising, mislabeling, or providing less than the labeled weight in a package.

Unfair practices. Laws prevent business persons from engaging in various unfair practices, such as price fixing and other means of restraining trade.

Discrimination. Federal and state regulations prevent an employee from being discriminated against because of colour, race, sex, religion, or national origin.

Liability and compensation. Employers are required to carry insurance and provide adequate compensation for workers injured on the job and customers injured on the business premises.

Notes: 1. стимул, побудительный мотив; 2. материально-техническая помощь; 3. валовой национальный продукт; 4. снабжать, поставлять; 5. собственность; 6. розничная торговля;

7. оптовая торговля; 8. производство; 9. общая стоимость имущества, сумма баланса;

10. стоимость имущества за вычетом обязательств, собственный капитал (предприятия);

11. валовая прибыль; 12. чистая прибыль; 13. платежная ведомость; 14. чистая выручка, чистые доходы, чистые денежные поступления; 15. общий объём продаж, товарооборот;

16. возмещение; 17. начисление (напр. сумма накладных расходов); 18. вести учет;

19. банковская ссуда; 20. партнерство


1. Match the words with their definitions


1) The entire resources of a person or business, tangible and intangible, such as accounts and notes receivable, cash, inventory, equipment, real estate, good will, Etc.

2) The act of operating a retail business.

3) The capital investment an individual or partners have in a business after the liabilities have been subtracted from the assets, that is, the capital value of the business.

4) A surplus that remains after the cost of goods is subtracted from the total receipts.

5) A surplus after all the expenses have been paid, including operating expenses such as heat, light, rent, and wages, but excluding taxes.

6) A list of employees who are paid periodically by a firm, along with other information; also includes the money to pay employees.

7) A bookkeeping term referring to the amount of income derived from the sale of merchandise or services, both for cash and on account, less taxes returns, and allowances.

8) An amount of money that is borrowed and must be paid back by a certain date or on demand; usually interest is charged on the money borrowed.

9) A business owned by two or more people.

2. Supply the sentences with required words. If necessary, change their grammatical forms.

1) The chemical in the... was too harsh for her, and she lost most of her hair.

2) Most large towns are... with electricity.

3) She persuaded the Cabinet to agree to 1.2 million pounds... for the industry.

4) Money is being used as an... .

5) ... includes the sale and all activities directly related to the sale of products or services to those who are buying for business use.

6) With the introduction of the computer, large manufacturers applied the electronic advances to the... process.

7) The law of warranties also applies to... .

8) Remember that the time business owners spend on... ... takes the owners away from other aspects of their business.

9) Transfer of... is probably not the most important aspect of privatization.

10) ... ... ... is the basic measure of the total output of goods and services in the economy.



3. Complete each sentence with the correct form of the word in capital letters. In some cases you will have to make a negative by using the prefix -il- Or -un-.


1) In an area of high people are desperate to find jobs.

2) Every of the firm is entitled to a 10 % discount.

3) Her gets very angry if she uses the phone too much.

4) I'm looking for temporary during the summer holidays.


1) The line is so I'll have to try again later.

2) Cancel all my for the rest of the day, please.


1) Her adviser is convinced the project will be a success.

2) If the company is sound we might consider taking it over.


1) There is a awareness of the need to improve productivity.

2) The government is worried about the in public expenditure.

5. legal

1) It's to sell such goods without a proper permit.

2) They questioned the of the company's action.


1) I had in my a portion of money.

2) I am a proud of two kiosks in Plekhanov Street.

3) A small business is one which at least two characteristics.


1) The is held by an individual or a small group.

2) Julie's father a business that dealt in bulk orders.

3) The of the bookstore was sitting at his desk.


1) British Leyland their cars throughout the world.

2) His job is to organize the of money to students.


1) We need somebody with a good working of French.

2) Our company is virtually abroad.

3) She's obviously very as far as marketing is concerned.


1) There he had set out to his own business.

2) The of legal minimum pay is one of the objectives.


1) These institutions do not come into except as a result of state policy.

2) We have to find ways of making the system work better.

3) Numerous definitions of the term "small business" .


4. CoMplete each of the sentences by using the past form if one of the verbs on the left and combining it with one of the words on the right. Use each verb once only. Some words on the right are used more than once.

Give rely pay back forward

Bring lay on out to

Leave stick in off

1) They... the meeting... from Friday 7th to Monday 3rd.

2) Unfortunately we ... a supplier who was not able to supply us with the components he had promised.

3) They... to consumer pressure and redesigned the packet.

4) In his speech he ... the most important detail. How much is it all going to cost?

5) Last year Firmin's ... half their workforce because of a lack of orders.

6) He... his original demand. We couldn't get him to change his mind.

7) They... the money they had borrowed only after we had threatened to take them to court.

5. Combine a noun from the list on the left with a preposition from the list on the right to complete each sentence. You must use each noun once only, but each preposition can be used more than once.

Congratulations intention increase result on

Emphasis point experience of in

1) We need to put more... improving staff morale rather than buying more equipment.

2) Have you had any ... this type of work?

3) There seemed to be little... continuing the discussion.

4) They have been offered a considerable... salary in return for more flexibility.

5) I have no... resigning. It's up to them to dismiss me if they aren't satisfied.

6) By the way, ... winning the Waverley contract.

7) As a... the adverse publicity, their sales went down.

6. Verb + Preposition

Look at the following sentences taken from the reading passage

"While large business has been cutting back employment..."

"Business must not be guilty of false advertising..."

Now complete the following sentences with the correct preposition.

1) They put a lot of money... the project.

2) The project had to be put... due to production delays.

3) Once we had got ... the joint venture, it was very difficult to get... of it.

4) Companies are often unwilling to give... their independence.

5) I'd like to take ... your offer of collaboration.

6) The company was put... by the size of the investment. They decided instead to go... partnership with a local firm.

7) They made... for their lack of financial investment by doing a lot of the ground work.

8) We could only pull ... of the joint venture if they gave... their position in the market.

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