Business is the activity of making one’s living or making money by producing or buying and selling goods or services. Simply put, it is any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors.The term is also often used colloquially but not by lawyers or public officials to refer to a company, but this article will not deal with that sense of the word.
In legal parlance, the owners of a company are normally referred to as the « members ». In a company limited or unlimited by shares (formed or incorporated with a share capital), this will be the shareholders. In a company limited by guarantee, this will be the guarantors. Some offshore jurisdictions have created special forms of offshore company in a bid to attract business for their jurisdictions. Examples include « segregated portfolio companies » and restricted purpose companies.
There are, however, many, many sub-categories of types of company that can be formed in various jurisdictions in the world.
Companies are also sometimes distinguished for legal and regulatory purposes between public companies and private companies. Public companies are companies whose shares can be publicly traded, often (although not always) on a stock exchange which imposes listing requirements/Listing Rules as to the issued shares, the trading of shares and future issue of shares to help bolster the reputation of the exchange or particular market of an exchange. Private companies do not have publicly traded shares, and often contain restrictions on transfers of shares. In some jurisdictions, private companies have maximum numbers of shareholders.
A parent company is a company that owns enough voting stock in another firm to control management and operations by influencing or electing its board of directors; the second company being deemed as a subsidiary of the parent company. The definition of a parent company differs by jurisdiction, with the definition normally being defined by way of laws dealing with companies in that jurisdiction.