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Businesses

Part 3

This episode's vocabulary


  • Get off the ground (idiom) - to start.
  • Organization (noun) - the way in which something is done or arranged.
  • Well-organized (adj.) - working in an effective and successful way because of good organization.
  • Vision (noun) - an idea or mental image of something.
  • Resilience (noun) - the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened.
  • Widespread (adj.) - existing or happening in many places and/or among many people.
  • Financial freedom (noun) - having enough savings.
  • Muddy the waters (idiom) - to make a situation more confused and less easy to understand or deal with.
  • Be responsible for sb/sth/doing sth - to have control and authority over something or someone and the duty of taking care of it, him, or her.
  • Trait (noun) - a particular characteristic that can produce a particular type of behaviour.
  • Autonomy (noun) - the ability to make your own decisions without being controlled by anyone else.
  • Finances (plural noun) - the money that a person or company has.
  • Megacorporation (noun) - a large company or group of companies that is controlled together as a single organization.

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Questions and Answers


M: What do you think are the key factors that contribute to the success of a business?

R: Probably the right people, relationships and systems in the right place at the right time. And all that is based on being able to use information in a way that benefits the company to the maximum extent possible. So for example, I doubt Virgin would have gotten off the ground without Richard Branson's unique connections and opportunities.

M: What kinds of qualities do people need to run their own business?

R: He-he-he, quality. Initially, I wanted to say that it comes down to organization and managing information. But really, it's probably about having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and your strengths and weaknesses, and how to compensate for the latter while maximizing the former, you could be the most well-organized person in the world. But without a vision, you're probably better suited to administrative work and positions.

M: What skills are important for success in business?

R: Well, I think that will depend entirely on what part of business you work in, wouldn't it? If it's administration, then like I said, you should be organized. If it's more about marketing, then creativity and up to date knowledge of the market or how to sell things will be important.

M: But what about personal skills?

R: Well, being organized is a personal skill. But so is resilience, being able to cooperate with others if it's a large company, for example. So all of this is context-dependent, though.

M: What kinds of businesses are popular in your country?

R: I'm not sure if it's tremendously different from elsewhere, if I'm honest, everyone needs to get food. So supermarkets and suppliers are necessary and widespread. The same is true for clothes and clothing outlets, those would be the areas they cater to but if we talk about other ways of categorizing companies, we could talk about small, medium and large companies. But the vast majority of those are on the small side of things that's not much different from anywhere else. Maybe there are more souvenir shops for Scottish goods. But it's not a major shift to what's true for everywhere else as well, except for the fact that would be connected to the country they're in.

M: Will the businessman continue to work hard after he has succeeded?

R: I suppose that comes down to how one defines success and how ambitious one is. Some people are quite fixed in terms of setting the goals and sticking to them, while others are more flexible. And once they reached a certain point, they might change their minds and be happy to settle for what they've got.

M: But do you think most business people stop trying or stop working hard after they've achieved success? Or for example, like if we take like Google or Facebook, or they keep going?

R: I don't know is the honest answer to that question. If we talk about large companies, with founders who have a really ambitious vision for what they want to achieve, then probably they would keep going. But if they're just someone like starting a family business, and maybe they don't want to take over the world, then they probably just settle for what they have.

M: Why do some people set up their own business?

R: I imagine they wish for a certain degree of greater financial freedom. They have an idea that they could make out a lot of money, or they would prefer to work for themselves. It could even be a combination of all three now that I think about it.

M: What are the differences between being a boss and working for others?

R: Well, if you're the boss, then there's a clear line of communication and control, and you know who is responsible. On the other hand, it could be quite pressuring. By contrast, if you work for others, then you might be more comfortable giving up power, but if there are lots of people then it might muddy the waters in terms of who's responsible for what.

M: Would you agree that not everybody can be their own boss?

R: Yeah, some people are absolutely hopeless at making decisions or they don't have the right Ideas are the right character traits. So that's fine.

M: Is it better to have your own business, or work for a boss?

R: Well, better for whom? Some people are quite comfortable giving up a degree of autonomy for the security of not having to take responsibility for everything, or anything. And others might want more control or freedom over their finances and actions. So that will come down to a person's character or personality rather than something that could be said to be universally right or wrong.

M: Do you think that in the future, we'll have more businesses, and more people will set up their own businesses?

R: Oh, I think that's probably impossible to say. I'd like to think that more people will set up their own businesses, because the technology that we have, allows that to be done more easily than before. But I can see lots of things happening that might prevent that, like the rise of, sort of megacorporations that might just flood the market with cheap goods that push smaller people out.

M: Thank you very for your answers! This is the end of the speaking test!

R: Hooray!

M: We can go wild and crazy!

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Discussion


M: So an interesting topic, businesses, successes, your own business. So what are the keywords and synonyms here? We'll have topic related vocabulary about, well, business. So first of all, a business or a company, an enterprise, a startup. Or you can also say, organizations, huge corporations.

R: Megacorporations.

M: Yes. Then, when the question was what kinds of businesses are popular in your country, you can enumerate types of businesses. So Rory said, supermarkets, suppliers. Suppliers are companies which deliver food to supermarkets or products to supermarkets, right?

R: Yes.

M: So supermarkets, suppliers, then you said clothing outlets, outlets, like shops. Clothing outlets, or stores. And then you can talk about small, medium and large businesses. Then people who do business, do business, we do business. And then make money. People who do business, what do you call these people? Businessmen?

R: Business people, businesswomen, entrepreneurs, owners.

M: Entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs. We can also say run your own business. So people prefer to run their own business, or set up their own business, manage their own business. And then when we speak about qualities, which are necessary to...

R: Quality.

M: Quality. Which are necessary to run your own business, Rory, you said, we should maximize our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses.

R: Yes, so that's just a way of saying focusing on your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses.

M: Right. And also, we can talk about being organized, creative, having up to date knowledge of the market. So people should have up to date, current knowledge of the market, and they should have resilience. Rory, could you tell us what resilience means. A nice word.

R: Isn't resilience, basically, your ability to deal with adverse situations? So if something bad happens to you, then you don't fall to pieces completely.

M: Yeah. So business people should be resilient.

R: Everybody should be resilient.

M: Oh, yeah. Especially business people. Yeah. Especially Elon Musk. Richard Branson.

R: You're obsessed, woman.

M: No, I'm okay with Elon Musk. I don't, you know, I'm not into him. It's just a very nice example that you can give when you talk about business people. Yeah, but if the examiner is against Elon Musk, and if the examiner doesn't like him, oh, then you're in trouble. Right. So qualities. Yeah, different qualities, right? So the knowledge of marketing and also what? Personal qualities, right? So character traits, we call them character traits. So could you name three character traits, which a successful businessman should have? So resilience is number one, two more.

R: I don't know, organization and charisma?

M: Oh, yes, very good. Charisma, a businessman should be charismatic and should have advanced organizational skills. So you didn't say anything about whiskey distilleries in Scotland. So like what kinds of businesses are popular in your country? Come on, Scotland, whiskey? What else do you have?

R: Well, but very few Scottish people are focused, like very few Scottish people are taking IELTS exam, so I thought I'd focus on things that could be more universally applied.

M: Ah, okay. Could you tell us now the truth about Scotland. So which kinds of businesses are popular in Scotland? So whiskey is number one. Making whiskey, selling whiskey, drinking.

R: You have a better grasp of this then I do. I don't know what's popular here.

M: But what kind of businesses are like close to your house? Do you have souvenir shops? Or do you have... What do you have up there?

R: Not close to my house. They're in the town center. We live in like, a way outside of the town center.

M: So you are in the middle of nowhere.

R: I'm not in the middle of nowhere. I just live outside of the town center because I'm not completely insane.

M: Oh, that's nice. Oh, what about sheep? Like sheep.

R: Why did your voice change?

M: Okay, okay, so I have life insurance, travel and tourism, banks, soft drinks are quite popular. Then you have banks again and hotels, water, brewers. Brewers. So Caledonia Brewing Company in Scotland. Dear listener, this is over important. Okay?

R: It's not important. Find out what, you know, the major businesses are in your country. Why should anyone care about mine?

M: I think because it's the same everywhere. It's like banks, travel and tourism. Then we have defence, hotels, banks again. Then we have marine transportation, electronic equipment. There we go. Businesses. Yeah. So no, they're kind of like sectors, sectors of business. Airlines, transportation, clothing, businesses, or again clothing outlets. Now, a very good construction for you to use, dear listener, is when you connect your ideas with while. While is a similar thing as but. For example, some people are quite fixed in terms of their goals, while others are more flexible. You see, a contrast here. So while Maria is very fixed on her goals buying new shoes, Rory is more flexible with his activities. You see, contrast. Beautiful. A good collocation is to make money. Can I say earn money?

R: Make money, earn money, generate income. Create wealth.

M: Yes. And also people who set up their own businesses could have a greater financial freedom.

R: But that's just being able to spend money on whatever you want.

M: Yeah, and perhaps making more money. Paying more taxes. Rory, you did use an idiom. Muddy the waters.

R: Yes. But muddy the waters just means to make things unclear.

M: We need an example.

R: Having many complex lines of communication muddies the waters.

M: yeah, or if you have too many people in your company, too many irresponsible people in your company, this could muddy the waters. Yes? Correct?

R: Mm-hmm.

M: Making things complicated. And then surely you talk about taking responsibility for everything. So if you run your own business, you take responsibility for everything. So if somebody messes it up, who is responsible? You, the owner, is responsible. But you have freedom over your finances and actions, usually, right? So yeah, you can kind of talk about control or freedom over your finances and actions. Rory, would you like to run your own business? Rory business?

R: No, absolutely not.

M: My Rory business. No, come on. But you remember, we've been talking about a Rory Museum? You're gonna have your solutions shower. We'll have all the energy drinks cans that you've drunk over the course of your life. Then we'll have something else was there in this Rory Museum. Rory Museum could be a business. I'm telling you.

R: No.

M: Why not?

R: Boring.

M: It's boring? Oh, come on. Dear listener, do you think that Rory Museum is boring? I don't think so.

R: I think you're off your nut.

M: There we'll have all your photos. To be off my nuts, to be off once nut. Some businessmen could be off their nut, meaning crazy. But some of them are not. That's the end of this episode. Okay, dear listener, so make sure that you do know some stuff about business people in your country and successful businesses in your country to be able to talk about this topic, because it's one of the current topics in the exam. We wish you a lot of money, health, wealth. What else? Resilience.

R: And organization!

M: Hmm. Yes. And success with IELTS! Thank you for listening!

R: Bye!

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