Types of Small Business Structures


Entrepreneurship can be one of the most satisfying experiences. But it can also be daunting, mainly if you aren’t prepared to shoulder all your responsibilities as an entrepreneur.

The principal is an informal term used in small businesses to indicate who leads and is accountable for long-term strategies at your business. It’s similar to titles like CEO, MD, or GM but less formal in tone.

Sole proprietor

A sole proprietorship is one of the most accessible and least costly forms of business structures to establish, with minimal costs associated with setup. However, as its owner is personally liable for both profits and debts if their business goes bankrupt, creditors could seize personal assets in case it fails and raise capital through sales of shares to raise money or secure loans from banks.

Freelancers and contractors popularly use sole proprietorships, as they don’t need to register with the government and can pay income taxes based on profits alone. A sole proprietorship may also qualify as a small business in some countries if its employees total less than two. According to U.S. Small Business Administration standards based on industry, which often determine eligibility for government grant programs, examples of small businesses include flea market booth operators, consultants, repair specialists, and house cleaners.


A partnership is a business structure that divides profits and losses equally among its partners. A limited partnership may also be created, including general partners responsible for running the company and passive investors with no management responsibilities. Partners must file their share of partnership income on their tax returns.

Partnerships differ from LLCs and corporations by not needing to go through an official incorporation process with government agencies, making them simpler to form and dissolve, making them an excellent option for groups of professionals in similar industries like developers, doctors, or attorneys.

Small business owners face numerous challenges, yet are more likely than their counterparts in larger enterprises to invest personally in the success of their employees and the companies they run. Their relationships with employees, vendors, and customers can prove invaluable when marketing their companies effectively.


Forming a small business as an LLC can limit owners’ personal liability and enable them to file taxes at both corporate and individual levels for tax deductions. Furthermore, incorporation can make raising capital through stock sales easier while protecting its assets.

An essential aspect of being a small business owner is knowing which form of corporation best suits their business needs and objectives. Consultations with an attorney are highly recommended when selecting the ideal form for them – their lawyer can explain your choices and any associated benefits or drawbacks. A limited partnership could be ideal for small firms like law offices or doctors’ practices as it limits partner liability in case of malpractice claims.

Officially qualifying as a small business can help companies secure bank loans and government contracts explicitly designed for them and give them an edge in the marketplace. Criteria vary by country but generally include revenue, employment levels, and average annual receipts as metrics of such classification.


Franchises are independently-owned businesses that carry the name of an established brand. A franchise may be a retail business, such as an auto repair shop or restaurant, or it could provide service. While purchasing a franchise can be an effective way to start a small business, you must assess whether you are the appropriate type of person for running it and anticipate any risks involved with such an endeavor.

Please find out more about a franchise company by exploring their website, reading their FDD, and inquiring whether any complaints have been filed with local consumer agencies against them.

American businesses defined as minor based on total revenue, total employees, and the number of locations are generally considered “small.” Classifying themselves as such makes obtaining government contracts easier and receiving assistance from the Small Business Administration.