What type of business should I start?


Two Class Periods


Economic Institutions
Sole Proprietorship
Partnership Corporation


Students will:


As each entrepreneur makes the decision to start a business, he or she must also decide what type of business organization will be most advantageous for the new business. There are three types of business organizations: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Many businesses start as sole proprietorships or partnerships and grow to become corporations. The type of business organization can change as the business expands or declines.

Entrepreneurs need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of business organization. Legal liability, tax obligations, and financial responsibilities are all factors that entrepreneurs must review when deciding how to organize the new business.



Economic Institutions ways of doing things that address the economic decisions of what to produce, how to produce it and who will consume it. Many economic institutions are long-lived and were originally formed in response to economic conditions that may have changed over time
Sole Proprietorship a form of business organization that is owned and managed by one individual who assumes all risk of loss and receives all profits
Partnership a form of business organization that is owned by two or more individuals who assume all risk of loss and receive all profit
Corporation a form of business organization that is created by law, functions as a separate legal entity, and is owned by two or more individuals called stockholders. Stockholders are at risk only for the amount of their financial investment
Franchising a system by which a firm expands into new neighborhoods and towns (or foreign countries) by selling the rights to use the company's name and products to individuals. The franchising company provides training services and an advertising campaign for the purchaser of the franchise. In turn, the purchaser agrees to meet certain quality standards, provide certain products, and pay a franchise fee to the franchising organization.



  1. Distribute Activity 50 (or use as a transparency). Review with students the three types of business organizations. Using the local community, give students examples of each type. Stress that although the corporation is usually used by large businesses, there are many more sole proprietorships than any other type of business organization.
  2. Distribute Activity 51. Review the information on the activity sheet with the students. Emphasize the legal liability, the tax obligations, and financial responsibilities for the business owner of each type of business organization.

  3. Divide the class into groups. Ask each group to compile a list of questions it would like to ask an entrepreneur about his or her business.

  4. Ask the groups to share their lists. Write the questions on the blackboard.

  5. Distribute Activity 52 or project as a transparency and have students write the guidelines in their notebooks.


Organize the class in small groups. Using Activity 52 as a guide, have the groups identify and develop profiles of businesses in the local community that are representative of each of the three types of business organizations presented in Activity 50.


Used with permission. Master Curriculum Guide: Economics and Entrepreneurship, copyright © 1991,National Council on Economic Education, New York, NY. All rights reserved.For more information visit www.ncee.net or call 1-800-338-1192.

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