IELTS Speaking Practice Test 28 Topic: To Start A Small Business

Speaking Part 1

1Why do some people decide to set up their own business?

Sometimes people set up their own business because they have new ideas to execute. Moreover they feel confident enough to understand the pros and cons of the situation. Some cases it’s just an emergency and in some it is just an experiment.

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2What are some of the dangers involved in starting a business?

There are many dangers one should keep in mind before opening a business. First and foremost is the probability ratio of how much the business will be successful. Because spending a bag full of money on a startup and failing it for lack of strategy is a waste of time and money.

3What are some of things you have to do when running your own business that might not appeal to everyone?

One has to be selfish enough to not share their own strategies. Never start a business in partnership. Also, one should not keep any dues.

Speaking Part 2

Here is an audio of the sample answers given below. Please listen to it for more clarity on the Speaking Test.

Describe a small business that you would like to own/open

You should say

  • what this business would be
  • how you would start/open this business
  • how you would run this business and explain why you would like to run this kind of business

Sample Answer

I’ve always been interested in different kinds of handcrafted jewellery, such as macrame, beading, Chinese Knot tying, and other kinds of knotting and stitching with cord or wire. So I’m thinking I’d like to go into business, selling and making that kind of jewellery.

It wouldn’t even have to be a big production, just a few people making and selling bracelets, necklaces, and other accessories. Maybe if we become popular and more people start buying our products we could even open a small shop and take special orders. We could also have classes, where we teach people how to make their own jewellery. I was thinking that my cousin could help me since she is quite good with her hands; I think she has some friends who are good at macrame so they could help also. We could put an ad in the newspaper or on the Internet and sell our wares that way. During holidays we’d travel around China and sell our jewellery at famous parks and places that tourists frequent. We’d each just make the things that we’re best at so that we get a bunch of quality products in as short an amount of time as possible.

The main reason I’d start a business like this is that it’s something that I enjoy doing, and I don’t think I could work at a job that I don’t like.

Vocabulary for Cue card

  • Knot tying: tie ropes into knots
    Eg: They are tying knotS for designing the clothes
  • Handcrafted: handmade
    Eg: She has passion for handcrafted articles
  • Accessories: articles for makeup
    Eg: She is carrying her accessories with her
  • Macrame: the art of knotting string in patterns to make decorative articles.
    Eg: She is good at macrame

Speaking Part 3

1What challenges and difficulties do people face when they try to open a small business?

One of the main challenges for small businesses is just staying open. Most small businesses close within a year after they’re open, so if they get past that hurdle the next most important thing that they’ll have to tackle is getting long-term customers. Depending on what kind of business they’re starting, they’ll also have to advertise their products and services. A good advertisement is really what makes the difference between the success and failure of their business.

2What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of small businesses compared to large companies?

One advantage of having a small business is that you don’t have to be lied down by company rules, regulations, and protocols. You are free to operate as you please and don’t have to worry about getting the approval of the CEO or some other person higher up on the ladder than you. There are some disadvantages, though, to having a small business. The main one is that if you’re not careful, the big businesses will put you out of business by slashing their prices or advertising heavily. You see, they can afford to make their prices lower than yours simply because they have more money.

Small businesses can cater to the whims and wishes of the people that they are near. They get to know their customers and can specialize in taking care of them. Small businesses can even watch out for community members: if they are used to seeing them and they notice a change in their routine, the business could report this to someone who would lie concerned about them. Having a small business, like a restaurant, for instance, creates a family-like feeling in the neighbourhood, as opposed to going to McDonald’s for instance, where they don’t know you from Adam.

4Compare small shops with big international department stores and supermarkets.

I really don’t think there is any comparison. Small shops retain a personal touch and give you the feeling that the owners are more than people who just want to make money. Small businesses make you feel that you are contributing to keeping the community going by shopping there. Of course, the big stores have a lot more variety and are able to have sales and cut their prices when they need to.

5What kinds of small business are the most popular in China?

Well you see them everywhere and new ones pop up almost daily, what are they? Well, you guessed it, beauty salons and hairdressers and haircutters. If you walk down any given street you will see one or two on each corner. People are much more interested in style and being in fashion, so that is why these businesses are so popular. If you look around you will see so many new hairdos.

6Why do some people open their own business?

People want to be able to say, “this is mine.” They want to be able to do something on their own. They want to see something grow that they had a direct part in. People also want to make money, of course, and this might even be the main reason.

7What qualities does a small business owner need to have?

A small business owner would have to be diligent with his business, wanting to make sure that things are done right, he would need to have patience, the ability to wait until the business starts succeeding. He would have to have plenty of capital to get his business off the ground. A small business owner would also have to have a sense of humour, to laugh when he feels like crying.

8How have small businesses changed in recent years in China?

There is a lot more freedom here in China to start your own business and make it succeed. There are a lot more small businesses than in the past. Because of China’s entry into the WTO, there are a lot more products and therefore more businesses. As I mentioned before, style is becoming more popular so more businesses open to keep up with it.

9How do you think small businesses will change in the future in China?

I think that people are working together more and want to get their small businesses going and progressing so that they can branch out and grow. You will see small businesses flexing their muscles in the rural areas and expanding their support base. You will see small businesses affecting life much more than they do now. Small businesses are the future of China and will continue being so as time goes on.

10Compare owning and running a small business to being an employee in a large company.

I think that I am passionate about this. I feel that owning and operating a small business is everything good and working as a cog in a wheel for a large company is everything bad. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to experiment and try new things and when you have your own business you can do this. I’ve got to feel like I am making a difference; owning a small business would do this for me.

Vocabulary for Speaking Part 3

  • Hurdle: Difficulties
    Eg: You must overcome the hurdles to succeed
  • Tackle: make determined efforts to deal with (a problem or difficult task).
    Eg: She is tackling difficult issues
  • Long-term: very long time
    Eg: It’s a long-term project
  • Protocols: Rules
    Eg: Follow the protocols


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