The Business of Business

A business is an economic activity in which a person engages regularly to earn profits. This can include any trade, commerce, and manufacturing activity as well as a profession and the pursuit of hobbies. People who engage in a professional pursuit such as medicine, law or journalism are engaged in the business of earning money by using their skills and knowledge. The business of making money is often a competitive endeavour and requires careful planning and execution.

In recent times, the term business has come to refer to a range of economic activities and enterprises. These can vary from sole proprietorships to large companies that are considered a ‘corporation’ in the legal sense of the word. The structure of a business can also be varied with different types of ownership including partnerships, joint ventures and private corporations.

Starting a new business is complex and requires market research, market information, business plans and financial projections. Choosing the right location, registering the business and selecting a name are all part of the process. Once a business is established, it needs to obtain the necessary licenses and permissions to operate. It also needs to establish a system for managing finances, inventory and distribution. This can be done by establishing a bank account or opening a special business account with a lender.

Traditionally, businesses were thought to be created to make money for their owners. However, many businesses today have a more social mission that includes community service and environmental protection. The type of business that a company is classified as depends on the type of product or service it provides and the industry it operates in.

The business of business has always been a difficult one to define. Whether it is due to personal greed, insufficient scrutiny of corporate affairs or an indifference to public opinion, the image of business has suffered in recent years. It is tempting to blame the people at the top, but the problem goes deeper than that.

It is a cultural problem that stems from the way we think of business and how we treat those who work in it. In America and Britain, the concept of a business as an object of property subject to laws of ownership, with its workers treated like cost centres to be trimmed rather than assets to be nurtured and cherished, simply does not fit modern life.

A few changes could help restore the public’s faith in capitalism and in its instruments, corporations. More honesty and reality in the reporting of results would help, as would reversing the way we look at a company’s financial picture, restoring the idea that it is not just its financiers but its employees as well who are its real owners. Those are the changes that will cure capitalism’s cult of selfishness. Then we can all get on with the job of building a better world.