Welcome to SmallBusiness-Pedia™ -- The Small Business Encyclopedia
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In economics, a small business (also called firm or enterprise) is a legally recognized organizational entity designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers. Small Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, most being privately owned and formed to earn profit to increase the wealth of owners. The owners and operators of a small business have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for work and acceptance of risk. Notable exceptions include cooperative small businesses and government institutions. Socialistic systems involve either government, public, or worker ownership of most sizable small businesses.
The etymology of "business" relates to the state of being busy either as an individual or society as a whole, doing commercially viable and profitable work. The term "business" has at least three usages, depending on the scope — the singular usage (above) to mean a particular company or corporation, the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector, such as "the record business," or the broadest meaning to include all activity by the community of suppliers of goods and services. However, the exact definition of business, like much else in the philosophy of business, is a matter of debate.
Small Business Studies, the study of the management of individuals organizing to maintain collective productivity toward accomplishing particular creative and productive goals (usually to generate profit), is taught as an academic subject in many schools.
Although forms of small business ownership vary by country and local government, there are several common forms of business ownership:
1. Sole proprietorship/Sole Trader: A sole proprietorship is a small business owned by one person. The owner may operate on his or her own or may employ others. The owner of the small business has total and unlimited personal liability of the debts incurred by the business.
2. Partnership: A partnership is a form of small business in which two or more people operate for the common goal of making profit. Each partner has total and unlimited personal liability of the debts incurred by the partnership. There are three typical classifications of partnerships: general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.
3. Corporation: A small business corporation is a for-profit, limited liability entity that has a separate legal personality from its members. A corporation is owned by multiple shareholders and is overseen by board of directors, which hires the business's managerial staff.
4. Cooperative: Often referred to as a "Co-Op Small Business" or "Co-Op", a cooperative is a for-profit, limited liability entity that 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.
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