9 acronyms every business owner needs to know

When it comes to running a business, knowledge is power. And what greater knowledge is there than some niche tech acronyms?!

Like them or loathe them, acronyms are a prominent part of business life, regardless of business size or industry. Employers and employees across all departments need to be aware of acronyms and their meanings in order to keep communication channels open and save precious time when deadlines are looming.

What is the difference between B2B and B2C? Is your business an LLC? What is UGC and how can you make use of it? These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself as a business owner (whether you’re an SME or an NGO), and the kinds of questions we’re here to answer.

Whether you work in finance, marketing, technology or management, there are numerous acronyms you’ll need to get familiar with. We’re here to help you expand your business vocabulary with some of the most commonly used – and useful – business acronyms, from KPIs and PPC to SEO and IDP. Let’s take a look. 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is a marketing term referring to how well your website is playing the algorithm game and how you are faring in search engine results. In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site and its content in order to increase your visibility, so that more people who need your products and services can find them when searching on sites like Google and Bing.

SEO is multi-faceted, but a large part of successfully using SEO is creating quality relevant content that contains the right search terms and keywords. Depending on your business niche, there will be terms that potential customers use to seek out businesses like yours. You should try to include these terms in your web content, but without simply spamming them. Google and other search engines can tell when content is written to a high standard.

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)

IDP, which stands for Intelligent Document Processing, takes advantage of modern computer technologies in order to make some of the most menial and time consuming business tasks obsolete. Using AI functions such as natural language processing (NLP), IDP is able to transform unstructured and semi-structured information into usable data. It captures, extracts and processes data from various sources – including emails, images, PDFs and more – in order to bring clarity and productivity to an organisation. 

With NLP, deep learning, machine learning and computer vision in its arsenal, IDP is able to classify, categorise and extract relevant information. This can save businesses huge amounts of time on tasks that can all too easily eat into your schedule, freeing up your working hours for more innovative work.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A key performance indicator, or KPI, is a measurable value that many businesses use to demonstrate how effectively they are achieving their main company objectives. Across all industries and sizes, businesses make use of KPIs to evaluate success at reaching various targets. High level KPIs often focus on the overall performance of the business and its revenue or growth, while low level KPIs might focus on processes and progress across individual departments like marketing, sales, support or HR.

Setting KPIs can give you a clearer idea of what your business is aiming for, and how you plan to get there. As you iterate, develop and track your KPIs, you’ll gain a better understanding of how your business is operating and whether you’re performing at the desired level. This, in turn, can give you a better idea of how to improve your current practices.

Business to Business (B2B)

B2B stands for Business to Business, which is a form of transaction between one professional organisation and another. This may be a transaction between a manufacturer or wholesaler, or a wholesaler and their retailer. In short, it is business that is conducted between companies, rather than between a company and a consumer.

B2B transactions are important when dealing with a company’s supply chain, keeping the manufacturing process as smooth as possible. Businesses that involve property management, housekeeping or industrial clean up will only often engage in B2B transactions. Employers from different companies can engage with each other easily to promote better transparency and smoother processes for everyone involved, including the customer.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

Speaking of the customer, B2C transactions are those between the consumer and the business. It refers to a retail model where products move directly from a business to the end user or customer, who has purchased the goods or service for their own personal use. This is in contrast to B2B business models, through which the focus is transactions between organisations.

Restaurants, retail stores and even doctor’s offices are all examples of B2C business transactions. In recent years, it is most often associated with e-commerce business transactions, during which consumers buy products and services from businesses via an online platform.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC stands for pay per click, which is a model of digital advertising in which the advertiser pays a fee each time one of their advertisements is clicked. In other words, businesses pay for targeted visits to their website, landing page or app.

When PPC is successful, the fee you pay is trivial because the click is worth more than the fee you’re paying. For example, you might pay £2 for a click, but it results in a £250 sale, leading to a hefty profit. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the cost of clicks is determined by the search engine – e.g. Google – and they are perfectly within their right to increase the cost per click (CPC) whenever they choose.

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

A limited liability corporation is a kind of business structure common both in the UK and overseas. It protects its owners from personal responsibility when it comes to debts or liabilities. They are hybrid companies that combine the characteristics of a corporation with those of a sole proprietorship. 

If you are looking to set up an LLC, it’s important to look up the various regulations involved in governing them. What kind of business you are can impact how likely you are to be accepted as an LLC.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPN is one of the many cybersecurity terms that businesses must familiarise themselves with in order to operate safely and efficiently online. It stands for virtual private network, and is designed to protect your internet connection and your privacy online. It does this by creating an encrypted tunnel for you data and protecting your online identity by hiding your IP address.

This is particularly useful for remote working, as VPNs can also make it possible for you and your team members to access public Wi-Fi hotpots safely.

User Generated Content (UGC)

User generated content, or UGC, is – as the name suggests – any content created by people rather than brands. This can be text, videos, images, reviews, or something entirely different. This original, brand-specific content is created by customers and is usually published on one of the many social media platforms.

Some examples of UGC might be unboxing videos on Tik Tok or praise filled posts on Instagram. They can come from a variety of sources, whether it’s a brand loyalist who is genuinely sharing their love for the products, or employees discussing their favourite products from the business they work for. In recent years, influencer content is one of the most common forms of UGC. Customers enjoy hearing about brands from other customers, rather than from the brand themselves, as it feels more authentic.