A business is an institutional entity that is lawful and aims at producing profit. This exists in an economically free nation and may sell goods or services to customers or businesses.

Manufacturers convert raw materials or component parts to produce physical goods like cars or pipes. Service businesses charge for labor or other services offered to government, customers or other businesses such as house decorators, restaurants or entertainers. Retailers and distributors perform the middle work to transport goods from the manufacturers to the customers. Such sales or distribution work results in their profit. Agriculture and mining business is concerning the productions of plants or minerals. Financial businesses are related to investment and handling of capital to reap profit. Information businesses are about the resale of intellectual property like publishers, movie studios and packaged software. Utilities are about public services and are most probably government chartered such as sewage treatment, electricity, heat and more. Real estate business is about selling, renting and development of homes and buildings. Transportation businesses are about delivering goods and people from one location to another.

Sole proprietorship means that only one person owns the business. He has the absolute responsibility of any debts if incurred. Partnership means that two or more individuals are the owners. The three types of partnerships are general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships. A corporation has multiple shareholders as owners and is managed by a board of directors. These directors employ the managerial staff. Co-operative business means that there are members who are the decision makers. The two types are consumer cooperatives or worker cooperatives.

The usual departments in a business are accounting, human resources, marketing, sales, production, customer service, strategic sourcing, purchasing, research and development, information technology, communications, public relations, administration, internal audit and management. The North American Industry Classification System is the authorized list of business types for North America.

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