Business

Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors." The term is also often used colloquially (but not by lawyers or public officials) to refer to a company, but this article will not deal with that sense of the word.

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1. Forms of business

A business entity is an entity that is formed and administered as per corporate law in order to engage in business activities, charitable work, or other activities allowable. Most often, business entities are formed to sell a product or a service. There are many types of business entitiesdefined in the legal systems of various countries. These include corporations, cooperatives, partnerships, sole traders, limited liability companyand other specifically permitted and labelled types of entities. The specific rules vary by country and by state or province. Some of these types are listed below, by country.


  • Sole proprietorship
    A sole proprietorship, also known as a sole trader, is owned by one person and operates for their benefit. The owner operates the business alone and may hire employees. A sole proprietor has unlimited liability for all obligations incurred by the business, whether from operating costs or judgments against the business. All assets of the business belong to a sole proprietor, including, for example, computer infrastructure, any inventory, manufacturing equipment, or retail fixtures, as well as any real property owned by the sole proprietor.
  • Partnership
    A partnership is a business owned by two or more people. In most forms of partnerships, each partner has unlimited liability for the debts incurred by the business. The three most prevalent types of for-profit partnerships are: general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.
  • Corporation
    The owners of a corporation have limited liability and the business has a separate legal personality from its owners. Corporations can be either government-owned or privately owned. They can organize either for profit or as nonprofit organizations. A privately owned, for-profit corporation is owned by its shareholders, who elect a board of directors to direct the corporation and hire its managerial staff. A privately owned, for-profit corporation can be either privately held by a small group of individuals, or publicly held, with publicly traded shares listed on a stock exchange.
  • Cooperative
    Often referred to as a "co-op", a cooperative is a limited-liability business that can organize as for-profit or not-for-profit. A cooperative differs from a corporation in that it has members, not shareholders, and they share decision-making authority. Cooperatives are typically classified as either consumer cooperatives or worker cooperatives. Cooperatives are fundamental to the ideology of economic democracy.
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)
    Limited liability partnerships, and other specific types of business organization protect their owners or shareholders from business failure by doing business under a separate legal entity with certain legal protections. In contrast, unincorporated businesses or persons working on their own are usually not as protected.
  • Franchise
    A franchise is a system in which entrepreneurs purchase the rights to open and run a business from a larger corporation. Franchising in the United States is widespread and is a major economic powerhouse. One out of twelve retail businesses in the United States are franchised and 8 million people are employed in a franchised business.
  • Company limited by guarantee
    Commonly used where companies are formed for noncommercial purposes, such as clubs or charities. The members guarantee the payment of certain (usually nominal) amounts if the company goes into insolvent liquidation, but otherwise, they have no economic rights in relation to the company. This type of company is common in England. A company limited by guarantee may be with or without having share capital.
  • Company limited by shares
    The most common form of the company used for business ventures. Specifically, a limited company is a "company in which the liability of each shareholder is limited to the amount individually invested" with corporations being "the most common example of a limited company." This type of company is common in England and many English-speaking countries. A company limited by shares may be a
  • Company limited by guarantee with a share capital.
    A hybrid entity, usually used where the company is formed for noncommercial purposes, but the activities of the company are partly funded by investors who expect a return. This type of company may no longer be formed in the UK, although provisions still exist in law for them to exist.
  • Limited liability company
    A company—statutorily authorized in certain states—that is characterized by limited liability, management by members or managers, and limitations on ownership transfer", i.e., L.L.C. LLC structure has been called "hybrid" in that it "combines the characteristics of a corporation and of a partnership or sole proprietorship". Like a corporation, it has limited liability for members of the company, and like a partnership it has "flow-through taxation to the members" and must be "dissolved upon the death or bankruptcy of a member".
  • Unlimited company with or without a share capital.
    A hybrid entity, a company where the liability of members or shareholders for the debts (if any) of the company are not limited. In this case doctrine of a veil of incorporation does not apply.
  • Companies formed by letters patent
    Most corporations by letters patent are corporations sole and not companies as the term is commonly understood today.
  • Charter corporations
    Before the passing of modern companies legislation, these were the only types of companies. Now they are relatively rare, except for very old companies that still survive (of which there are still many, particularly many British banks), or modern societies that fulfill a quasi-regulatory function (for example, the Bank of England is a corporation formed by a modern charter).
  • Statutory corporation
    Relatively rare today, certain companies have been formed by a private statut

2. Industry classification

Industry classification or industry taxonomy is a type of economic taxonomy that organizes companies into industrial groupings based on similar production processes, similar products, or similar behavior in financial markets.


3. Administration

Business administration is administrative anagement of a business. It includes all aspects of overseeing and supervising business operations and related fields which include accounting, finance and marketing.


  • Accounting
    Accounting is the measurement, processing and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. The modern field was established by the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli in 1494. Accounting, which has been called the "language of business", measures the results of an organization's economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors, creditors, management, and regulators. Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants. The terms "accounting" and "financial reporting" are often used as synonyms.
  • Finance
    Finance is a field that deals with the study of investments. It includes the dynamics of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of different degrees of uncertainty and risk. Finance can also be defined as the science of money management. Finance aims to price assets based on their risk level and their expected rate of return. Finance can be broken into three different sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.
  • Manufacturing
    Manufacturing is the production of merchandise for use or sale using labour and machines, tools, chemical and biological processing, or formulation. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale.
  • Marketing
    Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." The term developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to a market to buy or sell goods or services. Marketing tactics include advertising as well as determining product pricing. With the rise in technology, marketing is further divided into a class called digital marketing. It is marketing products and services using digital technologies.
  • Research and development
    Research and development refer to activities in connection with corporate or government innovation. Research and development constitute the first stage of development of a potential new service or product. Research and development are very difficult to manage since the defining feature of the research is that the researchers do not know in advance exactly how to accomplish the desired result.
  • Safety
    Safety is a key business concept that is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss”. Injuries cost businesses billions of dollars annually. Studies have shown how company acceptance and implementation of comprehensive safety and health management systems reduces incidents, insurance costs and workers’ compensation claims. New technologies, like wearable safety devices and available online safety training, continue to be developed to encourage employers to invest in protection beyond the "canary in the coalmine" and reduce the cost to businesses of protecting their employees.
  • Sales
    Sales are activity related to selling or the amount of goods or services sold in a given time period.

4. Management

Business management entails the general management of a business. It includes all aspects of overseeing and supervising business operations. Management is the act of allocating resources to accomplish desired goals and objectives efficiently and effectively; it comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal.


5. Organization and regulation

Most legal jurisdictions specify the forms of ownership that a business can take, creating a body of commercial law for each type.