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Historically, the term business referred to activities or interests. By extension the word became (asrecently as the 18th century ) synonymous with "an individual commercial enterprise". It has also taken on the more general meaning of "a nexus ofcommercial activities".

People establish businesses in order to perform economic activities. With someexceptions (such as cooperatives , corporate bodies, non-profit organizations and institutions of government ), businesses exist to produce profit . In other words, the owners and operators of a business have as one of their main objectives to receive orgenerate a financial return for their time, effort and capital .

One can classify businesses in many different ways. Service businesses offerintangible products and typically have different, usuallysmaller, capital requirements than manufacturers . Distributors will have different inventory control needs than a retailer or manufacturer.

Most legal jurisdictions specify the forms that a business can take, anda body of commercial law has developed for each type. Some common typesinclude partnerships , corporations (also called limited liability companies), and sole proprietorships .

An industry can consist of a group of related businesses, such as the entertainment industry or the dairy industry. This definition resembles one of the more general meanings of "business", and the terms business andindustry sometimes appear interchangeable. Thus a fisherman might sayeither (more colloquially) that he is in the " fishing business" or (somewhatgrandiosely) that he works in the "fishing industry". Similarly, the word " trade " mayserve as an equivalent of both "business" and "industry": Victorians might despise those "in trade", and one can still refer toworking "in the rag trade", for example.


"Business is in itself an evil."— Saint Augustine

The webster dictionary defines business in def. 9a as "devastating assault" which relates to Saint Agustine but also givesalternatives: definition 1 : "purposeful activity" 5 : "CREATION" 2 a : ROLE, FUNCTION <how the human mind wentabout its business of learning -- H. A. Overstreet> b : an immediate task or objective : MISSION


Business topics

Wikipedia includes over 1600 business and economics articles, so not allappear listed here. This lists some of the main branches of business. For more specific topics, look at the various sublists.

If you have an interest in the Economics and Business section of Wikipedia, drop by at The Business and EconomicsForum .

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