Various experts have defined business in different ways. Some of the popular definitions of business are given below:
L.H. Haney “Business may be defined as a human activity directed towards producing or acquiring wealth through buying and selling of goods.”
B.O. Wheeler “Business is an institution organised and operated to provide goods and services to society under the incentive of private gain.”
L.R. Dicksee “Business is a form of activity pursued primarily with the objective of earning profits for the benefit of those on whose behalf the activity is conducted.”
James Stephenson “Economic activities performed for earning profits are termed as Business”.
Keith and Carlo “Business is a sum of all activities involved in the production and distribution of goods and services for private profits”.
Urwick and Hunt “Business is any enterprise which makes, distributes or provides any article or service which the other members of the community need and are able and willing to pay for”.
R.N. Owens. “Business is any enterprise engaged in the production and distribution of goods for sale in market or rendering services for a price.”
F.C. Hooper. “The whole complex field of commerce and industry, the basic industries processing and manufacturing industries and the network of ancillary services, distribution, banking, insurance transport and so on which serve and interpenetrate the world of business as a whole.”
These definitions highlight the different aspects of business. Haney’s definition includes goods only but rendering of service is also a part of business.
Wheeler considers private gain as the sole motive of business whereas some business activities like public utility services are undertaken primarily for the benefit of society.
Definitions of Urwick, Hunt and Ownes focus on providing goods and services to people for a price. Hooper has tried to enumerate various types of business activities. His definition appears to be comprehensive but does not point out the purpose of business.
Business may be defined as an economic activity which involves regular transfer or exchange of goods and services for a price with the object of earning profits and acquiring wealth through the satisfaction of human wants.