Describing a business you know is a Part 2 topic you might receive on test day.
With only 60 seconds to prepare, it would be a good idea to consider now which business you would talk about. The below will give you some ideas about what you could say and some vocabulary you could use.
Read the following speaking-style questions, paying close attention to words you don’t know and the words in bold.
There are definitions for the words in bold at the end of the page.
Before you read the conversation, you might like to download this free PDF quiz and have a go at completing the blanks.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: What do you do?
Candidate: I’m a travel agent. I give customers a reprieve from the complexities of organising their holidays and do it all for them. The other part of my role is securing favourable deals on tickets for flights, accommodation and excursions.
Examiner: Do you think you will still have this job in 5 years time?
Candidate: Travel is one of the most volatile industries at the moment; the pandemic has exposed our businesses to more risk than ever before. So it’s difficult to forecast how my career trajectory will play out – but I’m certainly optimistic!
Examiner: What are the advantages of having your own business rather than working for someone else?
Candidate: The thing I like most is the unpredictability from a fiscal perspective. When you work for yourself, rather than in a salaried role, there’s no real ceiling on the revenue you can bring in. It’s all down to you and your own tenacity!
Describe a successful small business that you know about.
You should say:
what the business is called
what this business does
how you know about this business
and explain why you think this company is successful.
A very successful small business near my home is Nam Song, an authentic Vietnamese cafe in Leeds. They sell fragrant, piquant Banh Mi sandwiches, which originate from the colonial era of French occupation in South East Asia. The cafe is clearly inspired by the owner’s travels around the region, and you’d be hard pressed to find Vietnamese food anywhere else in Leeds that tastes so close to the time-honoured flavours you find in Vietnam itself.
I came across the business when I saw it had opened in a vacant property; it’s in very close proximity to where I live. It’s probably so successful because the interior is styled just like a real Vietnamese cafe; there are beautiful lanterns hanging everywhere in sight.
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: What makes some businesses more successful than others? [Compare]
Candidate: Some businesses are seeing seemingly unstoppable growth because they understand the vagaries of their market environment, and they can respond accordingly. Others might be less prepared to weather the kind of storm we saw in 2020, so they’re less likely to succeed.
Examiner: Do you think some industries will become obsolete in our lifetime? [Evaluate]
Candidate: Certainly. We live in a time of flux; the labour market is changing quickly as some types of jobs are created at scale, and others become slowly redundant, whether because of automation or other forces driving change.
Examiner: Do you agree that technology has made it easier for more people to start their own business? [Agree/Disagree]
Candidate: I definitely agree that technology has made it easier for people to be entrepreneurial. It’s never been easier to access the capital and insight you need to launch a startup. It’s also easier to reach your initial customer base, too, thanks to social media and other forms of digital marketing.
Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary
Reprieve —a break from something
Complexities — complicated things
Favourable – better
Excursions – trips
Volatile – unpredictable
Forecast – predict
Trajectory – direction (up or down)
(how something will) play out – what will happen
Unpredictability – something being hard to predict
Salaried – a job with a regular monthly wage
Revenue – the money a business gets from sales
Tenacity – being determined
Authentic — just like the real/original thing
Fragrant (food) — Having a gentle smell
Piquant (food) – spicy or sharp
Originate – come from
Colonial – from the time when European countries built empires around the world
Occupation (of a country) – when soldiers from one country take control of another country
Hard pressed (to do something) – you’ll find it difficult
Time-honoured – when a tradition has been happening for a long time
Vacant – empty
Interior – inside
Vagaries — unexpected changes
Market environment — the factors that determine how easy it is for a business to sell its products or services
Accordingly – in a way that is appropriate
To weather (a storm) – to deal with a difficult situation without much damage
Labour market – the total number of people who can work
At scale – in a large number
Redundant – no longer needed
Automation – when things are done automatically rather than by people doing it themselves
Entrepreneurial – able to make money from opportunities which other people don’t see or don’t use
Capital (business) – money
Insight – information
Customer base – the people who buy a business’s product or service
Marketing – promoting and selling goods or services
Practice Your IELTS Achievement/Goal Vocabulary
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