Learning Objectives

Identify the inquiries to ask in picking the proper develop of ownership for a organization.Describe the sole proprietorship and partnership forms of company, and specify the advantages and also disadvantages.Identify the different forms of partnerships, and define the prominence of a partnership agreement.Exordinary how corporations are created and how they operate.Discuss the benefits and also disadvantages of the corporate develop of ownership.Examine unique forms of service ownership, consisting of limited-licapability suppliers, and not-for-profit corporations.Define mergers and acquisitions, and also describe why providers are encouraged to merge or get other providers.

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The Ice Cream Men

Who would have believed it? Two ex-hippies through strong interests in social activism would certainly end up founding among the best-well-known ice cream companies in the country—Ben & Jerry’s. Perhaps it was meant to be. Ben Cohen (the “Ben” of Ben & Jerry’s) constantly had actually a fascination via ice cream. As a kid, he made his own mixtures by smashing his favorite cookies and also candies into his ice cream. But it wasn’t until his senior year in high school that he came to be an main “ice cream man,” happily driving his truck with areas filled with kids eager to buy his ice cream pops. After high college, Ben tried college however it wasn’t for him. He attended Colgate College for a year and a half before he dropped out to go back to his actual love: being an ice cream man. He tried college again—this time at Skidmore, wbelow he stupassed away pottery and jewelry making—yet, in spite of his selection of courses, still didn’t favor it.

Figure 6.1: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 2010

In the meantime, Jerry Greenarea (the “Jerry” of Ben & Jerry’s) was adhering to a similar route. He majored in pre-med at Oberlin College in the hopes of sooner or later ending up being a medical professional. But he had actually to give up on this goal once he was not accepted right into clinical institution. On a positive note, though, his college education steered him right into a more lucrative field: the human being of ice cream making. He got his first peek at the ice cream market once he operated as a scooper in the student cafeteria at Oberlin. So, fourteen years after they first met on the junior high college track team, Ben and Jerry reunited and decided to go right into ice cream making huge time. They relocated to Burlington, Vermont—a college town in need of an ice cream parlor—and completed a $5 correspondence course from Penn State on making ice cream. After getting an A in the course—not surpclimbing, offered that the tests were open book—they took the plunge: through their life savings of $8,000 and $4,000 of obtained funds they set up an ice cream shop in a made-over gas terminal on a busy street edge in Burlington.1 The following significant decision was which create of service ownership was best for them. This chapter introduces you to their alternatives.

Factors to Consider

If you’re starting a brand-new business, you have to decide which legal develop of ownership is best for you and your service. Do you want to own the service yourself and run as a single proprietorship? Or, do you want to share ownership, operating as a partnership or a corporation? Before we comment on the pros and also cons of these 3 types of ownership, let’s address some of the inquiries that you’d probably ask yourself in choosing the appropriate legal form for your service.

In establishing up your company, perform you desire to minimize the prices of getting started? Do you hope to stop complex federal government regulations and also reporting requirements?How much regulate would certainly you like? How a lot duty for running the company are you willing to share? What around sharing the profits?Do you desire to prevent special taxes?Do you have actually all the abilities essential to run the business?Are you likely to gain in addition to your co-owners over an extended duration of time?Is it necessary to you that the business endure you?What are your financing requirements and just how do you setup to finance your company?How a lot individual expocertain to licapacity are you willing to accept? Do you feel unsimple about accepting individual licapacity for the actions of fellow owners?

No single form of ownership will provide you everything you desire. You’ll need to make some trade-offs. Due to the fact that each option has actually both benefits and disadvantages, your project is to decide which one supplies the features that are the majority of essential to you. In the adhering to sections we’ll compare 3 ownership options (single proprietorship, partnership, corporation) on these eight dimensions.

Sole Proprietorship and its Advantages

In a single proprietorship, as the owner, you have finish control over your service. You make all important decisions and also are mainly responsible for all day-to-day activities. In exadjust for assuming all this duty, you acquire all the income earned by the company. Profits earned are taxed as individual revenue, so you don’t have to pay any type of distinct federal and also state revenue taxes.

Disbenefits of Sole Proprietorships

For many type of people, however, the single proprietorship is not suitable. The flip side of enjoying complete manage is having to supply all the various talents that may be important to make the company a success. And once you’re gone, the company dissolves. You also have to depend on your very own resources for financing: in impact, you are the organization and any money borrowed by the service is loaned to you personally. Even even more vital, the single proprietor bears infinite liability for any type of losses incurred by the service. The principle of limitless personal liability indicates that if the company incurs a debt or suffers a catastrophe (say, acquiring sued for leading to an injury to someone), the owner is personally liable. As a single proprietor, you put your personal assets (your bank account, your auto, perhaps even your home) at risk for the sake of your company. You deserve to lessen your threat via insurance, yet your licapacity expocertain deserve to still be substantial. Given that Ben and Jerry determined to start their ice cream company together (and therefore the business was not owned by only one person), they might not set their firm up as a sole proprietorship.


A partnership (or basic partnership) is a service owned jointly by 2 or more human being. About 10 percent of UNITED STATE businesses are partnerships2 and also though the vast majority are tiny, some are rather big. For instance, the massive four public bookkeeping firms are partnerships. Setting up a partnership is even more complex than setting up a sole proprietorship, yet it’s still reasonably simple and also inexpensive. The cost varies according to dimension and also complexity. It’s possible to create a simple partnership without the assist of a lawyer or an accountant, though it’s typically a good idea to gain expert advice.

Professionals can aid you recognize and deal with problems that may later produce problems among partners.

The Partnership Agreement

The influence of disputes can be reduced if the partners have executed a well-planned partnership agreement that mentions everyone’s legal rights and also obligations. The agreement could carry out such details as the following:

Amount of cash and other contributions to be made by each partnerDivision of partnership income (or loss)Partner responsibilities—that does whatConditions under which a companion deserve to sell an interemainder in the companyConditions for disaddressing the partnershipConditions for settling disputes

Limitless Liability and the Partnership

A major difficulty via partnerships, as via single proprietorships, is unlimited liability: in this situation, each companion is personally liable not just for his or her very own actions but likewise for the actions of all the partners. If your partner in an architectural firm provides a mistake that reasons a framework to collapse, the loss your organization incurs effects you just as a lot as it would him or her. And here’s the really bad news: if the company doesn’t have actually the cash or various other assets to cover losses, you have the right to be personally sued for the amount owed. In various other words, the party who suffered a loss bereason of the error can sue you for your individual assets. Many kind of people are understandably reluctant to enter right into partnerships bereason of boundless licapability. Certain forms of businesses allow owners to limit their licapability. These incorporate limited partnerships and corporations.

Limited Partnerships

The law permits company owners to form a limited partnership which has two forms of partners: a solitary basic partner that runs the business and also is responsible for its liabilities, and also any kind of number of limited partners who have actually limited involvement in the organization and also whose losses are limited to the amount of their investment.

Advantperiods and also Disbenefits of Partnerships

The partnership has actually several benefits over the single proprietorship. First, it brings together a diverse group of talented individuals who share responsibility for running the company. Second, it makes financing easier: the company have the right to attract on the financial resources of a number of individuals. The partners not just add funds to the service however deserve to likewise use personal sources to secure financial institution loans. Finally, continuity needn’t be an issue because partners have the right to agree legally to permit the partnership to make it through if one or more partners die.

Still, tbelow are some negatives. First, as debated earlier, partners are topic to limitless licapability. 2nd, being a partner indicates that you have to share decision making, and also many human being aren’t comfortable with that case. Not surprisingly, partners frequently have actually distinctions of opinion on exactly how to run a company, and also disagreements have the right to escalate to the allude of jeopardizing the continuance of the service. Third, in enhancement to sharing principles, partners likewise share earnings. This plan have the right to work-related as lengthy as all partners feel that they’re being rewarded according to their initiatives and also accomplishments, yet that isn’t always the case. While the partnership create of ownership is perceived negatively by some, it was especially appealing to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenarea. Starting their ice cream service as a partnership was inexpensive and also let them combine their restricted financial sources and also usage their diverse abilities and talents. As friends they trusted each other and invited shared decision making and also profit sharing. They were also not reluctant to be organized personally liable for each other’s actions.


A corporation (occasionally referred to as a continuous or C-corporation) differs from a sole proprietorship and a partnership because it’s a legal entity that is entirely separate from the parties who own it. It can enter into binding contracts, buy and also sell residential property, sue and also be sued, be organized responsible for its actions, and also be taxed. Once businesses reach any extensive size, it is advantageous to organize as a corporation so that its owners have the right to limit their liability. Corporations, then, tfinish to be much bigger, on average, than businesses making use of various other creates of ownership. As Figure 6.2 shows, corporations account for 18 percent of all U.S. businesses but geneprice virtually 82 percent of the revenues.3 Most big popular businesses are corporations, however so are many type of of the smaller firms through which most likely you carry out service.

Figure 6.2: Types of U.S. Businesses

Ownership and Stock

Corporations are owned by shareholders who invest money in the service by buying shares of stock. The percentage of the corporation they own depends on the portion of stock they host. For example, if a corporation has issued 100 shares of stock, and also you own 30 shares, you own 30 percent of the company. The shareholders elect a board of directors, a team of people (generally from external the corporation) that are legally responsible for governing the corporation. The board oversees the major plans and decisions made by the corporation, sets purposes and also holds administration accountable for achieving them, and hires and also evaluates the optimal executive, primarily called the CEO (chief executive officer). The board likewise approves the circulation of inconcerned shareholders in the form of cash payments referred to as dividends.

Benefits of Incorporation

The corpoprice form of company supplies numerous advantages, including limited licapacity for shareholders, greater accessibility to financial sources, specialized administration, and also continuity.

Limited Liability

The many necessary benefit of incorporation is the limited liability to which shareholders are exposed: they are not responsible for the responsibilities of the corporation, and also they have the right to lose no even more than the amount that they have actually personally invested in the company. Limited liability would certainly have been a large plus for the unfortunate individual whose service companion melted dvery own their dry cleaning establishment. Had they been integrated, the corporation would certainly have actually been liable for the debts incurred by the fire. If the corporation didn’t have sufficient money to pay the debt, the individual shareholders would certainly not have actually been obligated to pay anypoint. They would certainly have actually shed all the money that they’d invested in the organization, yet no even more.

Financial Resources

Incorporation also makes it possible for businesses to raise funds by selling stock. This is a big advantage as a agency grows and also needs even more funds to operate and contend. Depfinishing on its size and also financial stamina, the corporation likewise has actually an advantage over various other forms of service in acquiring financial institution loans. An establiburned corporation deserve to borrow its very own funds, however once a tiny organization requirements a loan, the financial institution commonly needs that it be guaranteed by its owners.

Specialized Management

Because of their size and capability to pay high sales comgoals and also benefits, corporations are mainly able to lure even more expert and talented employees than are proprietorships and also partnerships.

Continuity and also Transferability

Anvarious other advantage of incorporation is continuity. Due to the fact that the corporation has a legal life sepaprice from the resides of its owners, it can (at leastern in theory) exist forever.

Transferring ownership of a corporation is easy: shareholders ssuggest market their stock to others. Some founders, but, desire to restrict the transferability of their stock and also so choose to operate as a privately-held corporation. The stock in these corporations is organized by only a few people, that are not enabled to offer it to the basic public.

Companies via no such constraints on stock sales are dubbed public corporations; stock is obtainable for sale to the general public.

Drawbacks to Incorporation

Like single proprietorships and partnerships, corporations have actually both positive and also negative facets. In single proprietorships and also partnerships, for circumstances, the people who own and also manage a service are the exact same civilization. Corpoprice supervisors, but, don’t necessarily own stock, and shareholders don’t necessarily work for the firm. This instance can be troublesome if the purposes of the 2 groups differ significantly.

Managers, for example, are often even more interested in career advance than the in its entirety profitability of the agency. Stockholders might treatment more around revenues without regard for the health of employees. This situation is well-known as the firm problem, a dispute of interest natural in a connection in which one party is supposed to act in the best interest of the other. It is frequently rather hard to prevent self-interest from entering into these cases.

Another drawago to incorporation—one that often discoureras tiny businesses from incorporating—is the truth that corporations are more costly to set up. When you combine filing and licensing fees via bookkeeping and attorney fees, incorporating a company can set you ago by $1,000 to $6,000 or more relying on the size and scope of your organization.4 Furthermore, corporations are topic to levels of regulation and governmental oversight that deserve to location a burden on small businesses. Finally, corporations are subject to what’s generally referred to as “double taxation.” Corporations are taxed by the federal and also state federal governments on their income. When these earnings are distributed as dividends, the shareholders pay taxes on these dividends. Corpoprice revenues are thus taxed twice—the corporation pays the taxes the first time and the shareholders pay the taxes the second time.

Five years after founding their ice cream service, Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenarea evaluated the pros and cons of the corporate create of ownership, and the “pros” won. The primary motivator was the should raise funds to construct a $2 million production facility. Not just did Ben and also Jerry decide to switch from a partnership to a corporation, however they likewise chose to sell shares of stock to the public (and also therefore become a public corporation). Their sale of stock to the public was a bit unusual: Ben and Jerry wanted the neighborhood to own the firm, so instead of providing the stock to anyone interested in buying a share, they available stock to occupants of Vermont only. Ben thought that “company has actually a responsibility to give ago to the neighborhood from which it draws its support.”5 He wanted the agency to be owned by those who lined up in the gas station to buy cones. The stock was so famous that one in eextremely hundred Vermont families bought stock in the firm.6 At some point, as the agency ongoing to expand also, the stock was sold on a nationwide level.

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Other Types of Firm Ownership

In addition to the three frequently embraced forms of organization organization—sole proprietorship, partnership, and also regular corporations—some company owners choose other creates of company to accomplish their particular demands. We’ll look at 2 of these options:

Limited-liability companiesNot-for-profit corporations

Limited-Licapability Companies

How would you prefer a legal form of organization that offers the attrenergetic features of the three common creates of company (corporation, single proprietorship and partnership) and also avoids the unattractive functions of these 3 company forms? The limited-liability company (LLC) accomplishes precisely that. This form gives organization owners with restricted liability (an essential advantage of corporations) and no “double taxation” (a vital benefit of sole proprietorships and also partnerships). Let’s look at the LLC in more information.

In 1977, Wyoming came to be the first state to permit businesses to run as limited-licapacity service providers. Twenty years later, in 1997, Hawaii came to be the last state to offer its approval to the new company create. Because then, the limited-liability firm has actually increased in popularity. Its quick growth was fueled in part by changes in state statutes that permit a limited-licapability agency to have just one member. The trfinish to LLCs can be witnessed by reading company names on the side of trucks or on storefronts in your city. It is widespread to view names such as Jim Evans Tree Care, LLC, and For-Cats-Only Veterinary Clinic, LLC. But LLCs are not restricted to small businesses. Companies such as Crayola, Domino’s Pizza, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company type of, and also iSold It (which helps civilization offer their unwanted belongings on eBay) are operating under the limited-licapacity form of company.

In a limited-licapability company, owners (dubbed members quite than shareholders) are not personally liable for debts of the agency, and also its earnings are taxed just when, at the individual level (thereby eliminating double taxation).

We have actually touted the benefits of limited licapability protection for an LLC. We currently have to suggest out some situations under which an LLC member (or a shareholder in a corporation) might be hosted personally liable for the debts of his or her firm. A company owner can be held personally liable if he or she:

Personally assures a company debt or bank loan which the firm falls short to pay.Fails to pay employment taxes to the government.Engages in fraudulent or illegal actions that harms the firm or someone else.Does not treat the agency as a sepaprice legal entity, for example, uses firm assets for personal provides.

Not-for-Profit Corporations

A not-for-profit corporation (periodically referred to as a nonprofit) is an company created to serve some public objective fairly than for financial gain. As lengthy as the organization’s activity is for charitable, religious, educational, clinical, or literary objectives, it can be exempt from paying income taxes. In addition, individuals and various other establishments that add to the not-for-profit corporation can take a taxation deduction for those contributions. The forms of teams that usually apply for nonprofit standing vary widely and also include churches, synagogues, mosques, and other areas of worship; museums; universities; and also conservation teams.

There are even more than 1.5 million not-for-profit establishments in the USA.7 Some are exceptionally well funded, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of around $40 billion and also has offered ameans $36.7 billion because its inception.8 Others are nationally well-known, such as United Way, Goodwill certainly Industries, Habitat for Humanity, and also the Red Cross. Yet the substantial majority is neither well-off nor renowned, however nevertheless provides considerable contributions to culture.

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Mergers and also Acquisitions

The headline check out, “Wanted: More than 2,000 in Google Hiring Spree.”9 The largest Internet search engine in the civilization was discshedding its plans to thrive internally and also rise its workpressure by more than 2,000 world, through half of the hires coming from the USA and also the other fifty percent coming from various other nations. The included employees will assist the company expand also into new sectors and fight for worldwide talent in the competitive Web indevelopment service providers market. When appropriately executed, inner development benefits the firm.

An different strategy to growth is to merge through or gain one more agency. The rationale behind growth with merger or acquisition is that 1 + 1 = 3: the combined company is even more valuable than the sum of the 2 separate suppliers. This rationale is attractive to companies encountering competitive pressures. To grab a bigger share of the industry and also improve profitcapability, providers will want to become more expense reliable by combining via various other suppliers.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Though they are frequently used as if they’re identified, the terms merger and acquisition expect slightly various points. A merger occurs as soon as 2 providers incorporate to create a brand-new agency. An acquisition is the purchase of one agency by an additional. An example of a merger is the merging in 2013 of US Airmeans and also Amerihave the right to Airlines. The unified agency, the largest carrier in the human being, flies under the name Amerihave the right to Airlines.

Anvarious other instance of an acquisition is the purchase of Reebok by Adidas for $3.8 billion.10 The deal was expected to give Adidas a stronger presence in North America and also assist the agency contend with rival Nike. Once this acquisition was completed, Reebok as a agency ceased to exist, though Adidas still sells shoes under the Reebok brand also.

Motives behind Mergers and also Acquisitions

Companies are motivated to merge or get various other providers for a variety of reasons, including the complying with.

Gain Complementary Products

Acquiring complementary products was the inspiration behind Adidas’s acquisition of Reebok. As Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer proclaimed in a conference call, “This is a once-in- a-lifetime possibility. This is a perfect fit for both service providers, bereason the service providers are so complementary…. Adidas is grounded in sporting activities performance via such products as a motorized running shoe and endorsement encounters such superstars as British soccer player David Beckham. Meanwhile, Reebok plays greatly to the melding of sporting activities and entertainment via endorsement deals and commodities by Nelly, Jay-Z, and 50 Cent. The combination might be deadly to Nike.” Of course, Nike has actually ongoing to thrive, but one can’t blame Hainer for his optimism.11

Attain New Markets or Distribution Channels

Gaining new sectors was a significant aspect in the 2005 merger of US Airmeans and also America West. US Airways was a major player on the East Coast, the Caribbean, and also Europe, while America West was solid in the West. The expectations were that combining the 2 carriers would create an airline that could reach even more markets than either carrier can execute on its very own.12

Realize Synergies

The purchase of Pharmacia Corporation (a Swedish pharmaceutical company) by Pfizer (a research-based pharmaceutical company based in the United States) in 2003 developed one of the world’s biggest drug makers and also pharmaceutical carriers, by revenue, in every major industry about the world.13 The acquisition developed an industry large through even more than $48 billion in revenue and also a research-and-development budobtain of even more than $7 billion. Each day, virtually forty million civilization around the world are treated through Pfizer medications.14 Its succeeding $68 billion purchase of rival drug maker Wyeth further enhanced its existence in the pharmaceutical industry.15

In pursuing these acquisitions, Pfizer likely determined many kind of synergies: rather simply, a totality that is greater than the sum of its components. Tright here are many kind of examples of synergies. A merger typically outcomes in a number of redundant positions; the unified company does not most likely require 2 vice-poccupants of marketing, 2 chief financial policemans, and so on. Eliminating the redundant positions leads to significant price savings that would certainly not be realized if the two suppliers did not merge. Let’s say each of the suppliers was operating factories at 50% of capacity, and by merging, one factory can be closed and also marketed. That would certainly likewise be an instance of a synergy. Companies lug different staminas and weaknesses right into the unified entity. If the newly-merged firm have the right to take advantage of the marketing capabilities of the stronger entity and the distribution capabilities of the various other (assuming they are stronger), the new agency deserve to realize synergies in both of these functions.

Hostile Takeover

What happens, though, if one agency wants to obtain one more firm, however that firm doesn’t desire to be acquired? The outcome might be a hostile takeover—an act of assuming control that’s withstood by the targeted company’s administration and its board of directors. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenarea uncovered themselves in among these situations: Unilever—a really large Dutch/British agency that owns three ice cream brands—wanted to buy Ben & Jerry’s, against the founders’ wishes. Many of the Ben & Jerry’s stockholders sided with Unilever. They had bit confidence in the capacity of Ben Cohen and also Jerry Greenfield to continue managing the company and were frustrated via the firm’s social-mission focus. The stockholders chosen Unilever’s sell to buy their Ben & Jerry’s stock at practically twice its present industry price and wanted to take their earnings. In the end, Unilever won; Ben & Jerry’s was got by Unilever in a hostile takeover.16 Despite fears that the company’s social mission would certainly finish, it didn’t occur. Though neither Ben Cohen nor Jerry Greenarea are associated in the existing management of the agency, they have returned to their social activism roots and are heavily affiliated in plenty of social efforts funded by the firm.

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Chapter Video: Firm Structures 

Here is a short video providing a simple and straightforward recap of the key points of each form of business ownership.