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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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A postcard dated July 12, 1907 showing the New Orleans Mint

The New Orleans Mint operated as a branch of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909. During its years of operation, it produced over 427 million gold and silver coins of nearly every American denomination, with a total face value of over US$307 million. It was closed during most of the American Civil War and the period called Reconstruction. After its decommissioning as a mint, the building served a variety of purposes, including as an assay office, a United States Coast Guard storage facility, and a fallout shelter. Since 1981 it has served as a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. As of August 2006 it is closed to the public pending repairs following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The New Orleans Mint has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is currently the oldest surviving structure to have served as a U.S. Mint. Along with the Charlotte Mint, it is one of two former mint facilities in the United States to house an art gallery.

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An auctioneer and her assistants scan the crowd for bidders.
Photo credit: Indianhilbilly

An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder. In economic theory, an auction may refer to any mechanism or set of trading rules for exchange.

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Every manufacturer is confronted with the problem of finding the most economical quantity to manufacture in putting through an order. This is a general problem and admits of a general solution, and, however much it may be advisable to exercise judgment in a particular case, such exercise of judgment will be assisted by a knowledge of the general solution.

The writer has seen the practical workings of a first-class stock system and does not wish to be understood as claiming that any mere mathematical formula should be depended upon entirely for determining the amount of stock that should be carried or put through on an order. This is a matter that calls, in each case, for a trained judgment, for which there is no substitute.

There are many other factors of even more importance than those given in this discussion. But in deciding on the best size of order, the man responsible should consider all the factors that are mentioned. While it is perfectly possible to estimate closely enough what effect these factors will have, the chances are many mistakes costing money will be made. Hence, using the formula as a check, is at least warranted. Given the theoretically correct result, it is easy to apply such correction factors as may be deemed necessary.

Ford Whitman Harris, How many parts to make at once, 1913

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On this day in Business history...

May 26:

Did you know

  • ...that Valrhona, a company based in the small town of Tain l'Hermitage in the Rhône Valley in France, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality chocolate?
  • ... that Hollywood accounting is the practice of distributing the profit earned by a large project to corporate entities which, though distinct from the one responsible for the project itself, are typically owned by the same people, with the net result of reducing the project's profit by a substantial margin, sometimes even eliminating it altogether.

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