There are many types of businesses, and because of this, businesses are classified in many ways. One of the most common focuses on the primary profit-generating activities of a business:
• Agriculture and mining businesses are concerned with the production of raw material, such as plants or minerals.
• Financial businesses include banks and other companies that generate profit through investment and management of capital.
• Information businesses generate profits primarily from the resale of intellectual property and include movie studios, publishers and packaged software companies.
• Manufacturers produce products, from raw materials or component parts, which they then sell at a profit. Companies that make physical goods, such as cars or pipes, are considered manufacturers.
• Real estate businesses generate profit from the selling, renting, and development of properties, homes, and buildings.
• Retailers and Distributors act as middle-men in getting goods produced by manufacturers to the intended consumer, generating a profit as a result of providing sales or distribution services. Most consumer-oriented stores and catalogue companies are distributors or retailers. See also: Franchising
• Service businesses offer intangible goods or services and typically generate a profit by charging for labor or other services provided to government, other businesses, or consumers. Organizations ranging from house decorators to consulting firms, restaurants, and even entertainers are types of service businesses.
• Transportation businesses deliver goods and individuals from location to location, generating a profit on the transportation costs
• Utilities produce public services, such as heat, electricity, or sewage treatment, and are usually government chartered.
There are many other divisions and subdivisions of businesses. The authoritative list of business types for North America is generally considered to be the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. The equivalent European Union list is the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE).