What Is a Business?


Business is any activity that involves providing goods and services to satisfy a need or want. It may be for profit or not-for-profit and can be organized in many ways – from simple partnerships to complex corporations. The one thing that all businesses have in common is the pursuit of profit, which is a necessary condition for the existence of the entity. While profits may be in the form of money, they can also be other forms of value such as reputation, prestige or social status.

The activities of a business are broadly divided into categories based on their purpose, product or service offerings and organizational structure. These include manufacturing, retail, transportation and trading. Some of these activities are not considered to be part of the business if they do not involve a regular exchange of goods or services. Manufacturing refers to the production of commodities on a large scale while trading means the purchase and sale of goods and/or services. Transportation refers to the movement of goods and people on a regular basis.

While these are broad categories, a business can be classified further according to its type and size. A small enterprise can have up to 10 employees while a larger corporation can have many different departments and levels of authority. Businesses can also be divided into three different types based on their structure – general and limited partnership, joint ventures and corporations. The latter is the most complicated and has a separate legal identity from its owners. Its ownership is represented by shares of stock and it operates under the guidance of a board of directors elected by shareholders.

A company can be for-profit or not-for-profit and is governed by commercial laws. Its operation is usually governed by a board of directors which is responsible for setting its goals and policies. The board is also accountable for ensuring that the company complies with all regulations. The company is usually owned by its shareholders and it can be structured as a limited liability firm, partnership or corporation.

It is not uncommon for people to lose faith in the way that a business operates. They are suspicious that the people at the top of a business are only interested in their own personal gain. This can be due to greed, insufficient scrutiny of the company’s affairs or an insensitivity to public opinion.

Many companies try to regain people’s trust by increasing the transparency of their operations and instituting new measures to prevent employee injuries and deaths. But these changes can only go so far. If the fundamental underlying objective of a business remains to be profit, it will always be difficult to restore people’s trust.