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The Financial Performance of Different Business Structures

By: Jack Nicholaisen author image
Business Initiative

In the world of business, entrepreneurs and owners face a critical decision when it comes to choosing the right business structure.

The chosen structure can have a significant impact on the financial performance of the company, including factors such as profitability and growth rates.

In this article, we will analyze the financial performance of various business structures, providing you with valuable insights to help you make informed decisions for your business.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting, this article is a must-read for anyone looking to optimize their business’s financial outcomes.

Measuring Profitability and Growth Rates in Your Business

Profitability and growth rates are two essential metrics that determine the financial performance of a business.

Profitability measures how efficiently a company generates profit from its operations, while growth rates measure the rate at which a company is expanding its operations.

Measureing profitability

Measuring profitability and growth rates is critical for businesses to understand their financial health, identify areas for improvement, and allows them to make data-driven decisions.

For starters, profitability is crucial because it directly impacts a company’s ability to pay bills, invest in new opportunities, and reward shareholders.

Without strong profitability, businesses may struggle to survive in the long term.

Similarly, growth rates are essential because they indicate how quickly a business is expanding its operations.

High growth rates can attract investors and provide businesses with more resources to expand their operations further.

Tools such as QuickBooks and Zoho Books provide businesses with real-time insights into their financial performance, allowing them to make data-driven decisions.

QuickBooks provides real-time insights into a business’s financial performance.

It allows users to track revenue, expenses, profits/losses, cash flow statements, balance sheets etc., all in one place.

Zoho Books allows businesses to manage their finances effectively by providing them with detailed reports on revenue streams, expenses incurred over time periods etc.

It also offers real-time invoicing capabilities so that users can send invoices out immediately after completing work or delivering products/services.

Tracking profitability and growth rates over time can help businesses identify trends and patterns in their financial performance.

By doing so, they can make informed decisions about how to improve their operations or cut costs if needed.

For example, if a company’s profitability has been declining over several quarters, it may be time to re-evaluate its business strategy or implement cost-cutting measures.

Let’s see how well the different business entities do in terms of profitability and growth rates…

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

An LLC is a hybrid business structure that combines the limited liability protection of a corporation with the tax and operational flexibility of a partnership.


LLCs have been found to be more profitable than sole proprietorships and partnerships.

According to a recent study by the Small Business Administration, LLCs have seen significant growth in profitability over the past decade.

From 2008 to 2018, the number of profitable LLCs increased by 50%, with an average annual growth rate of 5.7%. This is likely due to the flexibility and tax benefits that come with LLCs.

Growth Rates:

In terms of growth rates, LLCs have also shown impressive numbers.

The growth rates of LLCs are generally higher than sole proprietorships and partnerships but lower than corporations.

A report by Incfile found that LLCs had a higher survival rate compared to other business structures, with over 70% of new LLCs still in operation after two years. Additionally, LLCs experienced an average annual revenue growth rate of 7.2% between 2014 and 2019.


Corporations are separate legal entities from their owners, providing limited liability protection and allowing for the raising of capital through stock issuance.



Research indicates that corporations tend to have higher profitability compared to other business structures, and recent data supports this notion.

A study published in the Journal of Political Economy found that corporations have higher return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE) than other forms of business.

Another study by Sageworks found that corporations had an average net profit margin of 9.47% in 2020, which is higher than other business structures such as sole proprietorships and partnerships.

Growth Rates:

Corporations generally experience higher growth rates due to their ability to raise capital and attract investment.

This leads to corporations having faster growth rates compared to other business structures.

When it comes to growth rates, corporations have also shown promising results.

The same Sageworks study reported that corporations had an average revenue growth rate of 6.77% in 2020.

Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, where an individual owns and operates the business.

This structure is relatively easy to set up and offers the owner complete control over the company.

While they may not offer some of the tax benefits that other structures provide, sole proprietorships still have potential for strong financial performance.


Sole proprietorships tend to have lower profitability compared to other business structures.

Because sole proprietorships are so simple, their lack of access to resources and limited management capabilities has negative impact of their profitability.

According to data from the IRS, sole proprietorships had an average net income of $20,950 in 2019.

This is lower than other structures such as LLCs and corporations but can still be profitable depending on the industry and location.

Growth Rates:

Sole proprietorships generally experience slower growth rates due to limited resources and funding opportunities.

This is why the simplest business entity has lower growth rates compared to partnerships and corporations.


Partnerships can take on various forms such as general partnerships or limited partnerships, but they all share the characteristic of having two or more people share ownership and management responsibilities.

The partners invest their resources and skills into the business, which can lead to increased profitability and growth.


Partnerships have higher profitability than sole proprietorships, primarily due to the pooling of resources and expertise.

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, partnerships have seen steady growth in profitability over the past few decades.

From 1980 to 2013, partnerships’ average profit share increased from 7% to 15%, indicating a significant increase in profitability.

Growth Rates:

Due to their combined resources and added expertise, partnerships generally have higher growth rates than sole proprietorships.

In terms of growth rates, partnerships have also shown impressive numbers.

The same study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that partnerships had an average annual revenue growth rate of 8.5% between 2004 and 2013.

Factors Influencing Financial Performance

Apart from the type of business structure, various factors influence a company’s financial performance:

  • Access to financing:

Adequate funding is essential for business growth and profitability.

Corporations and LLCs often have better access to financing due to their legal structure and ability to issue stocks.

  • Management expertise:

Effective management can significantly impact a company’s financial performance.

Partnerships and corporations generally have a broader pool of expertise due to shared ownership and management.

  • Economies of scale:

Larger firms can benefit from economies of scale, which can lead to increased profitability.

Corporations are more likely to achieve this advantage due to their ability to expand quickly.

  • Industry:

The industry in which a business operates can also play a role in determining its financial performance.

Some industries may be more conducive to particular business structures, influencing profitability and growth.

How to Increase Profitability in Your Business?

While choosing the right business structure is important, it’s not the only factor that affects financial performance.

Entrepreneurs and business owners can take additional steps to increase profitability and improve their bottom line.

1. Cut Costs

One way to increase profitability is by reducing costs.

This can be achieved by renegotiating contracts with suppliers, finding more affordable alternatives for necessary expenses, and optimizing operational processes to reduce waste.

For example, a restaurant owner could switch to energy-efficient appliances or use locally sourced ingredients to reduce costs while also appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.

A manufacturing company could streamline its supply chain or invest in new technology to automate production processes and reduce labor costs.

For more information check out: 10 Ways To Improve Your Business’ Profitability

2. Increase Prices

Another strategy for increasing profitability is by raising prices.

While this may seem counterintuitive, it can be effective if done correctly. Business owners should first analyze their market and competitors to ensure they’re not pricing themselves out of the market.

For instance, a graphic designer who specializes in premium branding packages could raise their prices if they have a reputation for high-quality work and serve clients who are willing to pay a premium for their services.

For more information check out: 7 Strategies for Growing Your Business and Increasing Profits

3. Expand Market Reach

Expanding market reach is another way entrepreneurs and business owners can increase profitability.

This can be accomplished through various means such as expanding product lines, entering new markets, or targeting new customer segments.

For example, a coffee shop owner could introduce new menu items such as specialty drinks or baked goods to attract customers who may not have visited before.

A software development company could expand its product offerings into related services such as cybersecurity or cloud computing solutions.

In Summary…

Understanding the financial performance of different business structures is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to maximize profitability and growth.

By considering the factors discussed in this article, you can make an informed decision on the best structure for your business based on your unique circumstances.

Don’t let your business’s financial potential go untapped.

Choose the right business structure and set your company on the path to success.

Together, we can build a thriving business community that achieves financial success!

Set up a consultation call with Business Initiative NOW!

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About the Author

jack nicholaisen
Jack Nicholaisen

Jack Nicholaisen is the founder of After acheiving the rank of Eagle Scout and studying Civil Engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), he has spent the last 4 years disecting the mess of informaiton online about LLCs in order to help aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners better understand everything there is to know about starting, running, and growing Limited Liability Companies and other business entities.