What Is Enterprise in Business? Types and Enterprise Risks

what is enterprise in business, business entreprise examples, types of entreprise, what is enterprise risk

What Is Enterprise in Business? Types and Enterprise Risks

Enterprise in business refers to a large-scale organization with significant operations, many people, and substantial earnings. These enterprises often operate in multiple markets worldwide and have complex requirements that require sophisticated enterprise software and business management solutions.

This article explores the components of an enterprise, including business structure, entrepreneurial activity, risk management, and entrepreneurial qualities. Also, it discusses enterprise risk and the importance of enterprise risk management (ERM) in identifying, evaluating, and planning for potential threats to a company’s operations, financial health, and strategic goals.

What Is Enterprise in Business? 

Enterprise in business refers to a corporation or other type of organisation often distinguished by its large-scale operations, considerable number of people, and substantial money earned. Enterprises typically have a sizeable presence in multiple markets around the world. As a result, they frequently have complicated requirements that sophisticated enterprise software and business management solutions must meet.

The Components of Enterprise

The components of an enterprise in business can be classified into several categories. 

  • Business Structure: This refers to the legal form of the enterprise. Common types include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). Each type has its characteristics and implications for liability, taxation, and management structure. For example, a sole proprietorship is a business run by a single individual with unlimited liability for any damages that occur as a result of the business operations.
  • Entrepreneurial Activity: This is the activity of taking on financial risks in the hope of making a profit. It could involve starting your own business, investing in a new product or service, or taking on additional responsibilities at work. To be successful in an enterprise, you will need to be willing to take risks and have the ability to think creatively.
  • Risk Management: Enterprise in business often involves taking risks to innovate and grow. This could include developing new products or services, expanding into new markets, or investing in new technologies. Not all risks are equal, and some are more likely to lead to success than others. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully consider the risks you take and make sure that they are in line with your overall business goals.
  • Entrepreneurial Qualities: If you want to be successful in an enterprise, there are a few qualities you will need to possess. Some of these you may naturally have, whilst others you may have to work to develop. Key qualities of a good entrepreneur include creativity, the ability to take risks, and organisation.
  • Enterprise Nature: The enterprise must be a business or a nonprofit organisation for you to be classified as an entrepreneur. Profits from a business are eventually directed back to its owners, while profits from a nonprofit organisation are required for some other cause instead.

Types of Enterprises

There are various business types, and each differs regarding legal ownership. These types generally include

Sole Proprietorship

There is no legal distinction between the owner of this business and the business itself. It generally brings total liability to that individual for any issues resulting from business operations.

Advantages of Sole Proprietorship:

  • A sole proprietorship is a cost-effective and easy-to-start business suitable for freelancers, small businesses, and self-employed individuals due to minimal paperwork and low startup fees.
  • As a sole proprietor, you have complete management control over your business, which can be attractive to entrepreneurs as the success directly impacts personal success.
  • A sole proprietorship simplifies the tax process by reporting business income and losses on personal tax returns, eliminating the need for separate business tax filings.
  • A sole proprietorship provides significant operational flexibility, allowing for changes in business structures, hiring full-time or independent employees, and blending personal and business assets in ways not allowed by other legal structures.
  • Sole proprietorships don’t need to file annual reports with state agencies, saving time and resources while maintaining specific financial information privacy.


This type of enterprise is owned and operated by two or more individuals who share the profits and losses of the business. Partnerships offer more flexibility but also have greater exposure to risk.

Advantages of Partnership

  • A partnership can provide access to essential skills and experience, especially in areas you lack.
  • Sharing startup costs and other expenses is an attractive partnership aspect, easing the financial burden on each individual.
  • A partner can help shoulder the workload and other responsibilities of a new business, increasing the opportunities for productivity. 
  • With a partner, you are less pressured to handle every business detail. This can improve your work-life balance.
  • One of the significant advantages of a partnership is having someone on your level with a different perspective who can provide valuable input when making important decisions.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a hybrid business structure that combines the benefits of a corporation with the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. It limits liability to the value of the shares held.

Advantages of a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • One of the main advantages of an LLC is the limited liability it provides to its members. Members are not personally responsible for the company’s debts and liabilities.
  • An LLC provides flexible taxation options, with profits or losses reported on members’ personal income tax returns, or can be taxed as a corporation for more advantageous purposes.
  • An LLC’s flexible management structure allows members to manage the business operations themselves or hire managers, providing greater control over operations than corporations with fixed structures.
  • An LLC facilitates separating business and personal finances, enhancing financial management, asset protection, and cash flow management while safeguarding personal assets from business-related liabilities. 


This type of enterprise is an independent legal entity owned by shareholders. Shareholders are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities. Corporations can be privately held (Proprietary Limited Company) or publicly traded (Public Company).

Advantages of Corporation

  • A corporation provides more personal asset liability protection to its owners than any other entity.
  • Ownership in a corporation is divided based on stocks, which can be easily bought or sold. 
  • Corporations can raise capital by selling shares, making it easier to secure the necessary startup capital to get a corporation running.
  • Depending on the corporation structure, there may be tax benefits.

Unlimited Proprietary Company

This is similar to a proprietary limited company, but the liability is not limited.

Before creating a business, entrepreneurs should carefully consider which type of business structure is best suited to their enterprise.

Advantages of Unlimited Proprietary Company

  • Unlimited companies have the advantage of being able to return capital to shareholders more easily than limited companies.
  • If an unlimited company is liquidated, shareholders and directors are responsible for the company’s debts.
  • Unlimited companies can have greater control over the details of their transactions than limited companies.

What Is Enterprise Risk?

Business enterprise risks are potential threats that can impact a company’s operations, financial health, or strategic goals. These risks can arise within the company, such as operational or financial issues, or externally, such as market dynamics, regulatory changes, or natural disasters. They can also be strategic, impacting long-term objectives, or compliance-related in highly regulated businesses.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is a process that helps businesses identify, evaluate, and plan to manage these risks. ERM works from the top down, considering the entire business perspective. It aims to identify, assess, and prepare for potential losses, dangers, hazards, and other potentials that may interfere with an organisation’s operations objectives or lead to losses.

Managing Enterprise Risks in a Business

Steps in managing enterprise risks include:

  • Define Risk Philosophy: Before implementing any practices, a company must identify its attitude towards risk and its risk strategy. This involves strategic discussions between management and analysing the company’s risk profile.
  • Maintain Flexibility: As companies and risks evolve, ERM practices should be adaptable. The risks a company faces one day may be different the next; the company must be able to adjust its current plan while still making plans for new, future risks.
  • Leverage Technology: ERM digital platforms can host, summarise, and track many company risks. Technology can also be used to implement internal controls or gather data on performance tracking to ERM practices.
  • Continually Monitor: Once ERM practices are in place, a company must ensure the practices are adhered to. This means tracking progress towards goals, ensuring certain risks are being mitigated, and employees are performing tasks as expected.
  • Use Metrics: As part of monitoring ERM practices, a company should develop a series of metrics to gauge whether it is meeting targets quantifiably. These metrics, often called SMART goals, keep a company accountable for whether it met objectives or not.
  • Create Action Plans: With a company’s risk philosophy, it’s time to create an action plan. This defines the steps a company must take to protect its assets and plans to protect its future after a risk assessment.
  • Assign Responsibilities: When an action plan has been devised, specific employees should be identified to carry out particular parts of the plan. This not only allows for all action items to be worked on but will hold members responsible for their area(s) of risk.

Types of Enterprise Risks

Enterprise risks threaten an organisation’s ability to achieve its mission. These risks can be categorised into four main types:

Hazard Risks

These are risks that present a high level of threat to life, health, or property. They could include natural disasters, accidents, or other unforeseen events disrupting business operations.

Financial Risks

These are risks that are directly related to money. They include financial consequences like increased costs or a decline in revenues. These risks can significantly impact a company’s financial health and stability.

Operational Risks

These are risks that materially affect an organisation’s day-to-day operations. They could include risks related to supply chain disruptions, technological failures, or other operational issues that could hinder a company’s ability to deliver its products or services.

Strategic Risks

These risks affect or are created by strategic business decisions. They could include risks related to market changes, regulatory changes, or other strategic decisions that could impact a company’s long-term plans and objectives.


Enterprises are large-scale organizations with significant operations and earnings, operating globally and requiring sophisticated software and management solutions. Understanding enterprise risk management will help identify, evaluate, and manage potential threats, including hazard, financial, operational, and strategic risks, requiring flexibility, technology, and continuous monitoring.


Why are companies called enterprises?

The term “enterprise” is commonly used to describe companies for various reasons, including general business usage, size and complexity, innovation, association with the IT industry, and business naming. However, it’s important to note that an enterprise is a broader operation encompassing production, labour, sales, organisation, management, and growth.

What are the benefits of enterprise in business?

Enterprise in business offers benefits such as meeting customer needs, improving productivity and flexibility, better record keeping and compliance, improved operational performance, data security, organised workflows, and protection for small businesses. However, challenges like investment cost, implementation effort, and risks must be considered before implementing enterprise systems.

What are the risks of a business enterprise?

Business enterprises face various risks, including strategic, operational, reputational, financial, data, AI, and process risks. These risks can lead to decreased effectiveness, loss of customers, market share, and potential monetary losses. To manage these risks, businesses should adopt a risk management strategy, identify and analyse potential risks, and develop mitigation controls.


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