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.
The technical and commercial functions of a business are clearly defined, but the same cannot be said of the administrative function. Not many people are familiar with its constitution and powers; our senses cannot follow its workings - we do not see it build or forge, sell or buy - and yet we all know that, if it does not work properly, the undertaking is in danger of failure.
Henri Fayol (1900) Henri Fayol addressed his colleagues in the mineral industry 23 June 1900.
Somewhere in the past. organizations were quite simple, and 'doing business' consisted of buying raw material from suppliers, converting into products, and selling it to customers... For the most part owner-entrepreneurs founded such simple business and worked along with members of their families. The family-dominated business still accounts for a large portion of the business start today.
R. Edward Freeman (2007) Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach p. 5
However successful a man may be in his own business, if he turns from that and engages ill a business which he don't understand, he is like Samson when shorn of his locks his strength has departed, and he becomes like other men.
P. T. Barnum, 'Beware of Outside Operations', The Art of Money Getting (1880).