Vision: What do you imagine?

Innovation: How do you imagine your vision working?

Creativity and Imagination: Intelligence having fun (Albert Einstein)

Ideation: Brainstorming

Pain Point: What problem needs solving?

Value Proposition: What problem does your idea solve?


Mission: A written declaration of your company’s core purpose

Purpose: What is the meaning of your company in the world

Feedback: Response from others in answer to your questions

Industry Analysis: Research on the industry your business is in.

Market Opportunity: How does your business fit into the industry, and how does it serve consumers?

White Space: An empty space for your business to fill in the industry and in the greater market.

Network: The group of people you know who can help you develop your business.

Business Plan: The outline you will write to help others understand your vision for your business, and how it works in the world.

Iteration: Changes to your plan that move it forward.

B to B: Business to Business: relates to your target audience and how you make money. Does your company serve other businesses?

B to C: Business to Consumer: relates to your target audience and how you make money. Does your company serve consumers?

Spreadsheet: an Excel Worksheet that helps organize data you collect.


Elevator Pitch: Your vision, its mission and purpose, articulated in 30 seconds or less

Market Research: Research you conduct to support your business’ value

Feedback Loop: The exchange of feedback and how it affects the business you are building.

Primary Research: The obvious, direct impact research that tells you key things about your business and the market you are entering.

Secondary Research: The next level of research which helps you answer less obvious, but important questions for your business’ growth.

Data Analysis: How you understand the research you have conducted as it applies to your business.

Synthesis: How you connect that understanding of the research you have conducted to the actual build of your business.

Scale: The potential for your business’ growth.

Pivot: A change in direction for your business.


Operating Agreement: Legal Document that supports the way your company operates

Corporate Organization: Is your company an LLC or a Corporation?

LLC: Limited Liability Corporation

Corporation: A company in which you have shares and for which you have a board

Trademark: Helps to protect your vision and company mission

Equity: The Shares that represent the investment in your company

Shares: The value of that equity

Shareholders: Investors

Executive Team: The leaders of your company

Early Employees: Employees that join your business early in its formation, who are sometimes granted profit shares in your business.

Board of Advisors: The advisors to your company

Financial Model: the spreadsheet that shows expenses, income, cash flow, and a balance sheet for your company over a 3- 5 year period

Assumptions: Best guesses on expenses, income, and cash flow.

Pro-forma: The summary of expenses and income for each year that you have modeled. You use this in your investor power point presentation.

Capital: The money you use to build your business

Cap Table: The current value of your business and how many shareholders are invested.

Prototype: a tangible example of the product of your business.

Assets: The items of value that generate the business of your company.

Liabilities: your company’s debt

CAPEX: The business building block items on which you expend capital.

COGS: the cost of goods sold

EBITDA: Earnings before interest, taxes, debt are adjusted

P/L: Profit and Loss

Exit: What happens for your shareholders and for your founders when you sell your company.


Brand Voice: This is your company’s personality in the world

Brand Promise: This is how every action your company takes lines up with its personality

Brand Brief: A document that communicates the do’s and don’ts of your brand.

Target Market: The audience and consumers you hope will have affinity for your brand

Corporate and Brand Culture: How your brand translates into the way your company works inside and out.

Public Facing: Using your brand and culture to serve as the basis for your interaction with your target market and the greater economy.


Pitch Deck: the 10 -12 page document you present to investors to make the case for your business.

Angel Investor: an investor who is part of a network of other angels investing in early stage companies

Convertible Note: a low risk type of debt for early investment that converts into equity when a company gets fully capitalized.

Friends and Family: the first people you approach for investment (usually with a convertible note).

Series Seed: the very first round of funding after a Convertible Note, which includes outreach to individual and angel investors. The average contribution to a seed investment is approximately $50,000.

Series A, B, C: These are more formal rounds of investment wherein you can begin to take institutional funds from venture and family offices.

Venture: The most expensive, institutional investment you will take for your company.

Dilution: As more investment comes into your company, the pieces of the pie are made smaller and smaller to accommodate the influx of capital. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Wouldn’t you rather have 5% of $100 million than have 50% of $5 million? The answer is YES.

Crowd funding: popular online funding (think kickstarter)

Revenue: The money your company makes

Expenses: The money your company spends

Preferred Return: This investment is paid back first, before other investment is paid back.

Units: Equity broken into equal shares or units of stock

Strategic Investment: an investment by a person or entity seeking a majority share of your company

Oversight: How decisions are made according to your Operating Agreement

Board of Advisors: The people who make the big decisions for your company (usually fiduciary and planning)

Subscription Documents: the investment papers required for the Series A, B, AND C

Members: Shareholders

Managing Members: The co-founders and owners of a company organized as an LLC.