Business|Adults|Intermediate|19. Business ideas

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Give definitions to some of the following words for your teacher to guess

Wordlist

  1. interest rate 
5. tax incentives  9. balance of trade 
  1. exchange rate 
6. government bureaucracy  10. state-owned 
  1. inflation rate 
7. GDP  11. denationalise 
  1. labour force 
8. unemployment rate  12. expenditure 

Read and listen to the articles and complete the chart

whiz-kid — a person who is very good and successful at sth, especially at a young age

to be about to do sth — to be going to do sth very soon

voucher [ˈvaʊtʃə(r)] — a ticket that can be used instead of money for a particular purpose

bidding [ˈbɪdɪŋ] — the act of offering prices, especially at an auction

valuation — a professional judgement about how much money sth is worth; its estimated value

to expire [ɪk’spaɪə] — if an official document expires, it can no longer be legally used

healthy profits — good money gained from selling something

to dig into your deep pockets — to give away money


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Listen to the audio and do the exercise.

Internet whiz-kid’s discount idea makes billions in two years

by Jonathan Birchall

Andrew Mason studied music at university, where he dreamt about making his riches as a rock star. Instead, the 29-year-old decided to set up an Internet business that offers discounts on everything from restaurant meals to hair transplants and yoga classes. The big idea is about to turn him into the latest web billionaire. Google is preparing to buy Groupon, his two-year-old company, for $5.3 billion, according to reports. The proposed deal will put Mr Mason in a group of young Internet billionaires including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and the Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The site offers vouchers named «Groupons» that can be spent at participating retailers. Every user gets a discount offer based on his or her location and profile, but these huge discounts expire unless enough people sign up. The trend, described as «social buying», has spread rapidly across the Web, and Groupon was described by Forbes as «the world’s fastest-growing company».

Its explosive growth and healthy profits have convinced Google to dig into its deep pockets. It is believed to have started its bidding at $3 billion, a price that has been steadily rising over the past few weeks. Mr Mason appears to be a man who knows his worth. In April, it was reported that he turned down a $2 billion offer from Yahoo, because the valuation was too low.

Groupon employs about 1,000 people, mostly based in Mr Mason’s home town of Chicago. It is active in more than 80 countries and is growing at the rate of 10 per cent a week by adding new users through Facebook and Twitter.


Internet whiz-kid’s discount idea makes billions in two years

by Jonathan Birchall

pic3_BusinessIntL19 Andrew Mason studied music at university, where he dreamt about making his riches as a rock star. Instead, the 29-year-old decided to set up an Internet business that offers discounts on everything from restaurant meals to hair transplants and yoga classes. The big idea is about to turn him into the latest web billionaire. Google is preparing to buy Groupon, his two-year-old company, for $5.3 billion, according to reports. The proposed deal will put Mr Mason in a group of young Internet billionaires including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and the Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The site offers vouchers named «Groupons» that can be spent at participating retailers. Every user gets a discount offer based on his or her location and profile, but these huge discounts expire unless enough people sign up. The trend, described as «social buying«, has spread rapidly across the Web, and Groupon was described by Forbes as «the world’s fastest-growing company».

Its explosive growth and healthy profits have convinced Google to dig into its deep pockets. It is believed to have started its bidding at $3 billion, a price that has been steadily rising over the past few weeks. Mr Mason appears to be a man who knows his worth. In April, it was reported that he turned down a $2 billion offer from Yahoo, because the valuation was too low.

Groupon employs about 1,000 people, mostly based in Mr Mason’s home town of Chicago. It is active in more than 80 countries and is growing at the rate of 10 per cent a week by adding new users through Facebook and Twitter.

 


scattered [‘skætəd] — spread over a wide area

craft items — things made using hands

eager [‘iːgə] — very excited about something that you want to do

to handle — to do all the necessary things



Listen to the audio and do the exercise.

Scattered around the world are many thousands of «micro-manufacturers» of craft items such as jewellerу and handbags, often offering high standards of design and quality. Most, however, have little idea of how to sell their products in international markets.

At the same time, retail outlets are eager to get their hands on products that look new and different — but find it difficult to discover them.

Just over a year ago, Sandra Felsenstein, a 27-year-old former industrial engineer, decided to start a business that would try to link these two groups. Her approach was to find a series of high-quality manufacturers in her native Argentina — a country with a good reputation for design, yet poor connections to the rest of the craft trade worldwide — and link them with shops and distribution companies elsewhere.

Dinka, the four-person company she founded in Buenos Aires, is now showing signs of success. Ms Felsenstein has organised links with 30 Argentinian companies that have agreed to let Dinka promote their goods in export markets. Under these deals, Dinka will find buyers for their products and handle shipments and customs formalities in exchange for a proportion of sales revenues.

She has laid the foundations, too, for establishing a network of retail outlets in other countries, arranging connections with retailers in Chile, Peru and Ecuador as a first step, while signing up a distributor in Austin, Texas, that she hopes will help them enter the potentially large US market.

Ms Felsenstein says she is also «exploring several opportunities» or finding retailers in Europe — particularly in Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland — where she thinks sizeable sales could be established for Argentinian-made goods.


Help with exports

by Peter Marsh

Scattered around the world are many thousands of «micro-manufacturers» of craft items such as jewellerу and handbags, often offering high standards of design and quality. Most, however, have little idea of how to sell their products in international markets.

At the same time, retail outlets are eager to get their hands on products that look new and different — but find it difficult to discover them.

Just over a year ago, Sandra Felsenstein, a 27-year-old former industrial engineer, decided to start a business that would try to link these two groups. Her approach was to find a series of high-quality manufacturers in her native Argentina — a country with a good reputation for design, yet poor connections to the rest of the craft trade worldwide — and link them with shops and distribution companies elsewhere.

Dinka, the four-person company she founded in Buenos Aires, is now showing signs of success. Ms Felsenstein has organised links with 30 Argentinian companies that have agreed to let Dinka promote their goods in export markets. Under these deals, Dinka will find buyers for their products and handle shipments and customs formalities in exchange for a proportion of sales revenues.

She has laid the foundations, too, for establishing a network of retail outlets in other countries, arranging connections with retailers in Chile, Peru and Ecuador as a first step, while signing up a distributor in Austin, Texas, that she hopes will help them enter the potentially large US market.

Ms Felsenstein says she is also «exploring several opportunities» or finding retailers in Europe — particularly in Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland — where she thinks sizeable sales could be established for Argentinian-made goods.



Think about a business you could start. Consider these questions

  1. What kind of business would it be?
  2. Which country and city would you like to locate your new business in? Think of the following factors: skilled staff, a healthy economy, easy access to credit, a stable political situation, low taxes, etc.
  3. What do you already have? Think about skills, experience and contacts.
  4. What other strengths do you have? What about your gaps?
  5. What difficulties do you think you may face? How will you overcome them?

Read the rules



Match the sentence halves to make appropriate sentences

Complete these sentences with when, while, before, after, until or as soon as. More than one answer may be possible in some sentences

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Click on the wrong options. Listen and check



I remember when I first thought about quitting my job and you advised me to gain some experience before I started a new business. I need to earn some profit as soon as possible, as I don’t have much spare cash. Or do I have to accept that I won’t have much money while I’m starting up my new business? Do I need to have some savings while I get my new business off the ground? I’m just not sure how I’ll survive until my company starts earning money. Please advise me as soon as you can.

Say these numbers. Listen and check after each group

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1.

a) Three hundred and sixty-two

b) One thousand eight hundred and forty-one

c) Thirty-six thousand five hundred and three

d) Six hundred and eighty-four thousand three hundred and twenty-one

e) Four million five hundred and thirty-seven thousand two hundred and ninety-five

2.

a) Three point five

b) Two point eight nine

c) Nine point eight seven five

3.

a) Three quarters

b) An eighth

c) Six sevenths

d) A half

e) Two thirds

4.

a) Fifteen per cent

b) Fifty per cent

c) Ninety-seven percent

d) A hundred per cent

5.

a) Eighty pounds

b) Five thousand eight hundred dollars

c) A hundred and fifty thousand euros

d) Twenty thousand euros


1.

a) 362

b) 1,841

c) 36,503

d) 684,321

e) 4,537,295

2.

a) 3.5

b) 2.89

c) 9.875

3.

a) ¾

b) ⅛

c) 6/7

d) ½

e) ⅔

4.

a) 15%

b) 50%

c) 97%

d) 100%

5.

a) £80

b) $5,800

c) €150,000

d) €20,000


Useful language

Saying large numbers

912,757,250 =

  • 912 = nine hundred and twelve million,
  • 757 = seven hundred and fifty-seven thousand,
  • 250 = two hundred and fifty
  • 252 = about/roughly/approximately two hundred and fifty
  • 2.044 = just over two thousand
  • 39% = just under 40 per cent

Fractions

  • 5/7 = five-sevenths
  • ⅖ = two-fifths
  • ½ = a half
  • ¼ = a quarter

British and American English differences

  • 320 = three hundred and twenty (BrE); three hundred twenty (AmE)
  • 0 = nought / oh (BrE) / zero (AmE)

Decimals

  • 1.25 = one point two five
  • 0.754 = nought point seven five four (BrE) / zero point seven five four (AmE) / point seven five four (BrE/AmE)

Percentage

  • 65% = sixty-five per cent

Currencies

  • £ 3,000,000 = three million pounds
  • € 16,000 = sixteen thousand euros

Try to answer these questions

Example:

— What is the population of your country?
— It’s about 45 million people.


1. What is the population of your

a) country?

b) city?

2. How many people work for your company / study at your school/university?

3. What is the average salary in your country?

4. What is the current inflation rate?

5. Approximately how many people are unemployed?

6. What is the interest rate for savings?

7. What fraction of their income do you think people spend on living costs?

8. What percentage of your income do you spend on transport?

Choose the numbers you hear

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News 1


And here is the business news. This month inflation is up by 1.2 per cent. The unemployment rate is now five per cent, giving an overall figure of 1,258,000.


News 2


Laser plc, the supermarket giant, reports that profits rose 12 per cent to just over $1.8 billion, with sales increasing a healthy 18 per cent.


News 3


General Engineering said it would reduce its workforce by one third over the next five years, resulting in the loss of 5,000 jobs.


News 4


The Central Bank has reduced interest rates by 0.5 per cent. Turning to the world economy, this will grow by 2.8 per cent next year.


Ask questions to complete the chart

You work for a marketing department, which is launching a new range of mobile phones in an overseas market. You are gathering statistical information. Discuss which markets would be the best for the launch of the new range of mobile phones.


Example:

Student | Teacher

S: What’s the population of Mumbai?

T: Eleven point ninety-eight million or eleven million, nine hundred eighty thousand.


Make one sentence from the two sentences given


Listen to the recording and choose the number you hear



  1. Thirteen pounds
  2. Forty per cent
  3. Three hundred and fifty million
  4. One thousand, four hundred and sixteen yen
  5. Eighty thousand dollars
  6. One thousand, two hundred euros
  7. Two-fifths
  8. One point seven four



Match the questions with the answers. Listen and check your answers

Footsie index: the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 index — the main measure of the amount by which the Ieading 100 shares sold on the London Stock Exchange have gone up or down in value. It is updated once every minute of the working day.


- Did the unemployment rate decrease?
About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

Unselect

Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, I'm not sure but I thought one euro is about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I'll check.

Unselect

Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

Unselect

Well, I guess it must be around about 20 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, just over 62 million, I'd say. So that's over 250 people per square kilometre.

Unselect

- What's the basic rate of income tax in the UK?
About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

Unselect

Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, I'm not sure but I thought one euro is about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I'll check.

Unselect

Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

Unselect

Well, I guess it must be around about 20 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, just over 62 million, I'd say. So that's over 250 people per square kilometre.

Unselect

- What's the population of the UK?
About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

Unselect

Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, I'm not sure but I thought one euro is about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I'll check.

Unselect

Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

Unselect

Well, I guess it must be around about 20 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, just over 62 million, I'd say. So that's over 250 people per square kilometre.

Unselect

- What's the euro-dollar exchange rate?
About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

Unselect

Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, I'm not sure but I thought one euro is about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I'll check.

Unselect

Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

Unselect

Well, I guess it must be around about 20 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, just over 62 million, I'd say. So that's over 250 people per square kilometre.

Unselect

- Do you know the latest Footsie index?
About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

Unselect

Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, I'm not sure but I thought one euro is about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I'll check.

Unselect

Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

Unselect

Well, I guess it must be around about 20 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, just over 62 million, I'd say. So that's over 250 people per square kilometre.

Unselect

- And what percentage of all income taxpayers pay the basic rate?
About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

Unselect

Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, I'm not sure but I thought one euro is about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I'll check.

Unselect

Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

Unselect

Well, I guess it must be around about 20 per cent.

Unselect

Mm, just over 62 million, I'd say. So that's over 250 people per square kilometre.

Unselect


 



1.

— Did the unemployment rate decrease?
— Yes. It went down by 0.5 per cent to reach 7.9 per cent.

2.

— Do you know the Footsie index?
— Hold on. Yes. It closed 114.2 points higher at 5,833.9 points.

3.

— What’s the basic rate of income tax in the UK?
— Well, I guess it must be round about 20 per cent.

4.

— And what percentage of all income taxpayers pay the basic rate?
— About 75 or 80 per cent, I think.

5.

— What’s the euro-dollar exchange rate?
— Mm, I’m not sure but I thought one euro was about 1.3 US dollars. Hold on, I’ll check.

6.

— What’s the population of the UK?
— Mm, just over 62 million, l’d say. So that’s over 250 people per square kilometre.

Listen to the economic profile and complete the summary with the numbers you hear

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And now in our business programme, here is The Country in Figures. The growth rate of the economy last year was 3.1 per cent and the GDP per capita was $26,200.

The inflation rate was 2.3 per cent. The labour force is estimated at 2.967 million; 81 per cent are employed in the services, 14 per cent in industry and 5 per cent in agriculture. The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent. Finally, let’s turn to the budget. Revenues totalled $54.7 billion and expenditure $53.1 billion. With me in the studio is Professor Gary Myers of the National Institute of Economics. So Professor Myers, what are the prospects for the next six months?


Revise the economic terms


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