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Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services).[need quotation to verify] 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."

Having a business name does not separate the business entity from the owner, which means that the owner of the business is responsible and liable for debts incurred by the business. If the business acquires debts, the creditors can go after the owner's personal possessions. A business structure does not allow for corporate tax rates. The proprietor is personally taxed on all income from the business.

The term is also often used colloquially (but not by lawyers or by public officials) to refer to a company. A company, on the other hand, is a separate legal entity and provides for limited liability, as well as corporate tax rates. A company structure is more complicated and expensive to set up, but offers more protection and benefits for the owner.

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John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839–May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the oil industry, and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, Rockefeller helped found the Standard Oil company. Over a forty-year period, Rockefeller built Standard Oil into the largest and most profitable company in the world, and became the world's richest man.

His business career was controversial. He was bitterly attacked by muckraking journalists; his company was convicted in the Federal Court of monopolistic practices and broken up in 1911. He gave up active management of Standard Oil in the late 1890s, while keeping a large fraction of the shares. He spent the last forty years of his life focused on philanthropic pursuits, primarily related to education and public health. He donated most of his wealth using multiple foundations run by experts. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions throughout his life.

Rockefeller may ultimately be remembered simply for the raw size of his wealth. In 1902, an audit showed Rockefeller was worth about $200 million, compared to the total national wealth that year of $101 billion. His wealth grew significantly after as the demand for gasoline soared, eventually reaching about $900 million, including significant interests in banking, shipping, mining, railroads, and other industries. By the time of his death in 1937, Rockefeller's remaining fortune, largely tied up in permanent family trusts, was estimated at $1.4 billion. Rockefeller's net worth over the last decades of his life would easily place him among the list of wealthiest persons in history. As a percentage of the United States economy, no other American fortune—including Bill Gates or Sam Walton—would even come close.

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IBM stand during CeBIT 2010 at the Hanover fairground, the largest exhibition ground in the world, in Hanover, Germany.

A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition or expo) is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities. In contrast to consumer fairs, only some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade, e.g. professionals) and members of the press, therefore trade shows are classified as either "Public" or "Trade Only". A few fairs are hybrids of the two; one example is the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is trade-only for its first three days and open to the general public on its final two days. They are held on a continuing basis in virtually all markets and normally attract companies from around the globe. For example, in the U.S. there are currently over 10,000 trade shows held every year, and several online directories have been established to help organizers, attendees, and marketers identify appropriate events.

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The consumers at any economic levels but the highest few have only a limited amount to spend. All kinds of products are offered to them in various enticing ways. Competition as a result is keen and ruthless. The only way an industrial unit can hope to survive under these conditions is constantly to seek to keep production costs as low as possible.

Not many years ago, when cost reductions were necessary for one reason or another, they were obtained by reducing wages. The possibilities of obtaining cost reductions by increasing the production of the workers were not at the time generally recognized. Recently, however, there has been a marked change. The employer has come to realize that the worker is also a consumer and that, if wages are reduced, purchasing power is reduced. Therefore, a better way toward cost reduction lies in waste elimination so that greater production is secured with less effort.

Methods engineering is primarily concerned with devising methods that increase production and reduce costs. Hence, it plays an important role in determining the competitive position of a plant. As competition appears to be becoming keener, it is probable that methods engineering will become increasingly important.

Methods engineering in an industrial unit can never be considered as completed. Costs that are satisfactory and competitive today become excessive in a comparatively short time because of the improved developments of other units of the industry. If the producer who is in a good competitive position today decides that his costs have reached rock bottom and that no further attempt to improve them is necessary, within a short while he is likely to find himself facing loss of his commercial standing as owner of an efficiently managed plant. Only by constantly seeking to improve can any unit safeguard its competitive position. Conditions in industry are never static, and steady progress is the only sure way to success.

Harold Bright Maynard, Operation Analysis, 1939

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October 21:

Did you know

William McChesney Martin, Jr.
  • ...that, according to historical legend, Laissez-faire stems from a meeting in about 1681 between the powerful French finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert and a group of French businessmen led by a certain M. Le Gendre?
  • ...that Antoine Augustin Cournot derived the first formula for the rule of supply and demand as a function of price and in fact was the first to draw supply and demand curves on a graph in his Researches on the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth?
  • ...that the Toyota Production System (TPS) developed by Toyota, that comprises its management philosophy and practices, organizes manufacturing and logistics for the automobile manufacturer, including interaction with suppliers and customers?

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