Types of Businesses

Before explaining Types of Businesses, first of all explain business. The word “Business” means the state of being busy. Generally, an organization (combination of resources) entity engaged for making profit. In other words all legal and economic activities undertaken towards achieving organizational objective of an enterprise referred to Business. Different authors define different types of businesses in their own context; however, central idea is same:

  • Every human activity which is engaged in for the sake of earning profit may be called business.
  • Business may be defined as human activities directed toward providing or acquiring wealth through buying and selling of goods.
  • An institution organized and operated to provide goods and services to the society, under the incentive of private gain is business.

Concluded that, the term business includes all human activities concerned with earning money or it is an activity in which produce or exchange goods and services for mutual gain or profit. The goods and services produced or purchased for personal use are not included in business. There are different types of Businesses, under different basis by different authors. Some forms under some basis are discussed below:


1. Classification by Operational Activity

This is first classification for types of businesses. From operational activities point of view business can be classified into three main classes of activities. These activities are as follows.

types of businesses

1.1 Merchandising Activity

This type of business does not change the shape of the goods rather by adding their profit. Business received goods in finished form and sell to customers as it is.


1.2 Manufacturing Activities

The enterprises which are involved in manufacturing activities, start their activities from purchase of raw material and put labor and factory overhead on the raw material and develop products. Produced products are looks entirely different from raw material. Hence we can say that in this type of business value addition is carries out.

types of business ownership


1.3 Services Activities

The organizations involve in providing service like banking, education, insurance, management development and training are called services activities.


>> Practice related Multiple-Choice Questions Types of Businesses MCQs.


2. Classification by Sector

Basically there are two sector public and private. The public sector business organizations, for profit or non profit, are the ones controlled by the government, for instance, Pakistan Railways and WAPDA. The firms owned by private entrepreneurs are private sector organizations like Bestway Cement etc.

type of business examples


>> Related understanding of Types of Accounts.

3. Classification by Legal Structure

In terms of the legal structure, firm can be categorized into the following four categories.

business types

3.1 Sole Proprietorship

A business owned by one person and the owner may operate by own or may employ others. The owner of the business has total and unlimited personal liability of the debts incurred by the business:

Stafford states, “it is the simplest form of business organization, which is owned and controlled by one man”.

Baker defined as, “sole proprietorship is a business operated by one person to earn profit”.

Sole proprietorship is the oldest form of business organization in which one man invests his capital himself. He is all in all in doing his business. He enjoys the whole of the profit or bearing a loss.

> > Multi-Choice Questions for Types of Businesses MCQs.

3.2 Partnership

Partnership is the second stage in the evolution business organization. It means the association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners. The persons who constitute this organization are individually termed as partners and collectively known as firm; and the name under which their business is conducted is called “The Firm Name”. In ordinary business, the number of partners should not exceed 20, but in case of banking business it must not exceed 10. This type of business organization is very popular in different countries of the world.. The law related to partnership is called Partnership act 1932.

According to Section 4 of Partnership Act 1932, “Partnership is the relation between persons who have agreed to share the profits of a business carried on by all or any of them acting for all”.

3.3 Companies

Joint Stock Company is the third major form of business organization. It is entirely different organizational from sole proprietorship & partnership. There are two advantages of Corporation. First of all, it enjoys the advantage of increased capital. Secondly, the company offers the protection of limited liability to the investors and disadvantage is double taxation (Corporate + Income Tax). The law relating to Joint Stock Company has been laid in Companies Act 2017. 

The most widely quoted definition of a company was given by an American judge, Justice Marshal in 1891, in which he defined a corporation as, “an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in law”

According to S.E. Thomas; “a company is an incorporated association of persons formed usually for the pursuit of some commercial purpose”. There are two types of companies which are discussing below.

3.3.1 Public Limited Company

Company which is formed by a least ‘7’ members, and there no restrictions to maximum number of shareholders. This company can invite public to subscribe its shares or debentures by issuance of prospectus. The shares of a public company are freely transferable or subscribe. The word ‘Limited’ is used at the end of the name of public company.

 3.3.2 Private Limited Company

It is a company which is formed by at least ‘2’ members and maximum number of members which is fifty (50). A private company cannot invite public to subscribe to its shares or debentures by issue of prospectus. The transfers if shares is generally restricted by the articles of association of a private company. In case of a private company, the word ‘Private Limited’ must be used at the end of the name of a company.

3.4 Hybrid

Those combine limited liability advantage of a company with single tax advantages of a sole proprietor/ partnership.


3.4.1 S-Type Corporation

S-Type corporations are limited liability corporations without double taxation. In a regular corporation, the company itself is taxed on business profits. In addition, the owners pay individual income tax on money that they draw from the corporation as salaries, bonuses, or dividends. In contrast, in an S corporation, all business profits “pass through” to the owners, who report them on their personal tax returns (as in sole proprietorship or partnerships).

3.4.2 Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is also a form of partnership with allows limited liability to the owners. These organizations are similar in many ways to the partnership; however, LLPs offer more flexibility and benefits to the owners.

3.4.3 Personal Corporations (PC)

Personal Corporations (PC) or Professional Corporations are generally formed by professionals to protect them against litigations. Professionals like doctors, lawyers etc. prefer to register their business as Professional Corporations.

>> Practice Types of Businesses Quiz 1 and Quiz 2.


Mukharji, A., & Hanif, M. (2003). Financial Accounting (Vol. 1). New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Co.

Narayanswami, R. (2008). Financial Accounting: A Managerial Perspective. (3rd, Ed.) New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India.

Ramchandran, N., & Kakani, R. K. (2007). Financial Accounting for Management. (2nd, Ed.) New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.