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A business is an organisation where people work together. In a business, people work to make and sell products or services. Other people buy the products and services. The business owner is the person who hires people for work. A business can earn a profit for the products and services it offers. The word business comes from the word busy, and means being occupied.

Originally, individual trades people were qualified, and they hired assistants. The invention of the joint-stock company meant a new era in business.[1] By this means, some people put up the money as capital, and others used it to run the business. There is a law which says this kind of company is a "legal entity": it has a legal life separate from its owners or shareholders. In this way, a company can survive its originak owners and managers. This idea was invented in mediaeval times, but really flowered in the 19th century.[2] It has spread around the world since then.

Some businesses are created to get more money for the owner of the business. Other businesses are created to give a service without getting more money. They just deliver the service and get some money. Businesses can be big or small. For example, one person can open a small barber-shop. A big business, like Microsoft, employs thousands of people all over the world.

Some businesses need fixed locations. Examples are an office, store, or farm. For some businesses the worker goes to different locations. Examples are carpenters or electricians who work for themselves. They usually bring everything they need for work in their truck.

Business can also mean the work or current state of a business. A business owner might say: "I am doing a lot of business" or "My business is good" or "Business is bad".


  1. "Joint Stock Company". West's Encyclopedia of American Law. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  2. Hunt B.C. 1936. The development of the business corporation in England, 1800–1867. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.