In the ongoing search to understand business and help organisations be more effective, I’m currently researching a framework to describe the fundamental nature of all businesses in the smallest logical number of categories. I’m thinking of this as the ‘periodic table’ of business. If we break all businesses down to their essential, atomic particles, how many different atoms are there? So far I’ve managed to come up with five:
- Primary production (agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining)
- Secondary production (manufacturing, software development, art, entertainment)
- Recruitment (moving people around to put the right people in the right place at the right time to make things happen)
- Logistics (moving things around from where they are now to where they are needed)
- Arbitrage (taking advantage of perceived differences in value between markets to buy and sell things with a margin for profit)
- Economic rent (if you control access to a resource, such as real estate, intellectual property, a factory, money, and you charge someone else to use that resource).
If you know of any similar existing research along these lines, or you can think of any businesses that don’t fit into one of those five categories, please post a comment below or email me.