A business (also called a company, enterprise or firm) is a legally recognized organization designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers. Doing business means being busy either as an individual or society as a whole, doing commercially viable and profitable work.
Basic forms of ownership are:
Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a business owned by one person. The owner may operate on his or her own or may employ others. The owner of the business has personal liability of the debts incurred by the business.
Partnership: A partnership is a form of business in which two or more people operate for the common goal which is often making profit. In most forms of partnerships, each partner has personal liability of the debts incurred by the business. There are three typical classifications of partnerships: general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.
Corporation: A corporation is either a limited or unlimited liability entity that has a separate legal personality from its members. A corporation can be organized for-profit or not-for-profit. A corporation is owned by multiple shareholders and is overseen by a board of directors, which hires the business's managerial staff. In addition to privately-owned corporate models, there are state-owned corporate models.
Cooperative: Often referred to as a "co-op", a cooperative is a limited liability entity that can organize for-profit or not-for-profit. A cooperative differs from a corporation in that it has members, as opposed to shareholders, who share decision-making authority. Cooperatives are typically classified as either consumer cooperatives or worker cooperatives. Cooperatives are fundamental to the ideology of economic democracy.
There are many types of business entity defined in the legal systems of various countries. For a country-by-country listing of legally recognized business forms, see Types of business entity here .