Types of Businesses – Definition of Business Types

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A man is known by the company he organizes. – Ambrose Bierce

[Types of Businesses] – Owning your own business is a major part of having great economic success in a capitalistic society. There are many types of businesses to choose from so one of the first decisions you’ll make is the type of business to open. There are several options to explore for the structure of your business. This article will give you the definition of three of the most popular business types. These types of businesses are: (1) Sole Proprietorship, (2) Corporation, and (3) Limited Liability Company.

(1) Sole Proprietorship – individual ownership and operation of a business.

A sole proprietorship is not a separate organization and does not have any formal requirements for formation. The individual simply begins doing business. Most sole proprietorships are small businesses, and initially their business capital needs are small. Typically, the individual provides the funds. In order to get financing, a sole proprietor takes personal financial risk. The income of the business is the income of the sole proprietor and is reported on the individual’s income tax return. The proprietor is the manager of the business. The business can be transferred only if the owner allows it.

(2) Corporation – any entity formed by statue that has rights of a legal person along with limited liability for its shareholder owners.

Formal public filing is required to form a corporation. A corporation may use short-term financing or debt and equity financing. Limited liability for shareholders is one of the advantages of corporate organization. Corporations have the tax consequences of double taxation. Many shareholders may own a corporation but the board of directors controls the operations. Shareholders have the opportunity to express their views at the annual meeting by electing directors who represent their interests. A corporation can be dissolved voluntarily or involuntarily.

(3) Limited Liability Company – newer form of business organization in which liability is limited except for conduct that is illegal.

An LLC is formed by filing the articles of organization with a centralized state agency. Members of an LLC make capital contributions in much the same way as partners make capital contributions. Members of an LLC have limited liability; the most they can lose is their capital contributions. The LLC does not pay taxes; income and losses are passed through to the members to be reported on their individual returns. Members of an LLC adopt an operating agreement that specifies the voting rights, withdrawal rights and issues. A member’s LLC interest is personal property and is transferrable. Most LLC statues provide that the LLC dissolves upon the withdrawal, death, or expulsion of a member.

The definition of these business types is just the beginning of understanding how to fully utilize each structure. Because there are several types of businesses it is important to know the advantage and disadvantage of each. The type of business you organize will determine a lot about how you reduce liability, protect your assets and pay your taxes. Defining the business type for you is important in “Creating Your Own Lane” in business success.

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