Someone new to the world of entrepreneurship will notice right away that entrepreneurs have an interesting way of speaking. From “unicorn” to “bootstrapping” to “foodpreneur,” entrepreneurs use a lot of strange language to describe what they do. By combining words, or by assigning new meaning to old ones, they have created a whole new vocabulary to better communicate their needs and ideas in an ever-evolving ecosystem. The EntrepreLingo Series is an effort to fill our readers in on some of the weirder—or less straightforward—terms you’re sure to hear in an entrepreneurial environment. So far, we’ve covered: A, B, C, D and E, F through H, and I through L. This week, we’re taking a look at M and N.
A makerspace is a co-working environment specifically for craftspeople. Makerspaces usually feature designated work areas and provide members with access to expensive equipment—such as woodworking tools, CNC routers, 3D printers, etc.—for a more affordable membership fee.
Market penetration—part of the Ansoff Matrix—is a low-risk method of business growth; it occurs when a company successfully enters a market in which similar products or services already exist.
A mentor is an experienced businessperson who offers his or her knowledge and advice to less experienced entrepreneurs. Mentors are volunteers and do not have a vested interest in your business.
Mezzanine capital is a type of financing in which the lender is given the right to convert any debts into equity interest or ownership in case of default. Mezzanine capital ranks higher than equity, but is still subordinate to bank loans and secured loans.
Microfinancing is for low-income entrepreneurs who do not qualify for, or have access to, traditional financial services like loans or insurance. In microfinance, entrepreneurs receive funding in small increments from multiple lenders. The loans are then paid back over time, much like with a traditional loan. Kiva is one example of a microfinancing platform.
Micropayments are digital payments that are so small, credit card companies cannot process them; they can range from fractions of pennies up to several dollars. Micropayments are made through micropayment processors in exchange for online apps or services.
MoM (Month over Month)
Month over Month comparisons reflect changes that occur from one month to the next; comparisons are calculated by subtracting the previous month’s numbers from the current month’s numbers, then multiplying that value by 100 to get the percent change.
Multi-Sided Platform (MSP)
Multi-sided platforms facilitate direct interactions between two or more sides of the market—the vendor and the customer, for instance. Etsy, eBay and Facebook are all examples of multi-sided platforms.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
First introduced in The Lean Startup by Eric Reis, the minimum viable product is the product with just enough features to allow you to learn the most about your customers with the least amount of effort.
NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)
This is a legal document between two or more parties that outlines confidential materials or information that the parties wish to withhold from outsiders. NDAs can protect anything from proprietary information to trade secrets.
Your niche is a subset of the market in which your company exists. Market niches are specialized and form as a product changes to satisfy a certain need in the market, or as the price range and production quality change to better serve the target demographic.