A businessperson is a person involved in business - in particular someone undertaking activities (commercial or industrial) for the purpose of generating cash flow, sales, and revenue utilizing a combination of human, financial, intellectual and physical capital with a view to fuelling economic development and growth. An entrepreneur is an example of a businessperson. The term "businessperson" may refer to founder, owner, or majority shareholder of a business or it can also be used to describe a high-level executive who does the everyday running and management of a business even though the executive is not the owner. The term may sometimes mean someone who is involved in an upper-level management role in a corporation, company, enterprise, firm, organization, or agency. This can especially apply to the founder, an owner, a manager, an executive, or an administrator in charge of total management of a corporation, company, organization, or agency.
Prehistoric period: Traders
Since a "businessman" can mean anyone in industry or commerce, businessmen have existed as long as industry and commerce have existed. "Commerce" can simply mean "trade," and trade has existed through all of recorded history. The first businessmen were traders, or merchants.
Medieval period: Rise of the merchant class
Merchants emerged as a "class" in medieval Italy. Between 1300 and 1500, modern accounting, the bill of exchange, and limited liability were invented, and thus the world saw "the first true bankers," who are certainly businessmen.
Around the same time, Europe saw the "emergence of rich merchants." This "rise of the merchant class" came as Europe "needed a middleman" for the first time, and these "burghers" or "bourgeois" were the people who played this role.
Renaissance to Enlightenment: Rise of the capitalist
Europe became the dominant global commercial power in the 16th century, and as Europeans developed new tools for business, new types of business people began to use those tools. In this period, Europe developed and used paper money, checks, and joint-stock companies (and their shares of stock). Developments in actuarial science led to insurance. Together, these new tools were used by a new kind of businessman, the capitalist. These people owned or financed businesses as bankers, but they were not merchants of goods. These capitalists were a major force in the Industrial Revolution...
Modern period: Rise of the manager
The newest kind of businessperson is the manager. One of the first true managers was Robert Owen (1771–1858), an industrialist in Scotland. He studied the "problems of productivity and motivation," and was followed by Frederick Winslow Taylor, who was the first person who studied work. After World War I, management became popular due to the example of Herbert Hoover and the Harvard Business School, which offered degrees in business administration (management).
There are no prescribed educational qualifications, rules or guidelines which one may follow and expect to become a successful businessperson as qualifications vary by the type of businessperson. A person owning a small gas station in a local market is as much as a businessperson as a person who owns and leads a large Silicon Valley technology giant. There are many paths to becoming a businessperson. Those aspiring to climb the corporate ladder to rise to upper level management echelons such as the president and chief executive of a large company complete a four-year Bachelor of Commerce degree and a two-year Master of Business Administration degree or a degree in a specialized area related to their industry (e.g., a mining executive might complete a Bachelor of Engineering or a telecommunications executive might complete a Bachelor of Science degree). On the other hand, an aspiring businessperson who wishes to start his or her own business as an entrepreneur typically rely on their skills gained through real life business experience as there have been successful entrepreneurs that were college drop-outs or who have never attended college. Hence, no rigid formal educational qualification requirements can be stated for becoming a businessperson. However, there are certain attributes that successful businessmen must possess:
Besides this, there are also certain traits or characteristics that most businesspersons possess:
Initiative and capacity to take prompt decision: The business world is highly volatile and changes are taking place at a rapid pace. Hence, a businessperson should have the ability to take prompt decisions.
Determination, courage and perseverance: They must have strong will power and determination and must have the courage to protect the business of the company under unforeseen circumstances.
Intelligence and alertness: The businessperson should be alert and aware of the possible changes taking place in the external economic condition within their respective industry otherwise they will fail in the business. They should be intelligent enough to utilize available business opportunities and use them to the advantage of the business.
Quality of leadership: They should be an ideal leader and should be a role model to others because today's business requires loyalty and co-operation by all employees.
Morality and integrity: The businessperson should be honest, straightforward, fair in dealings, dependability, and of a moral character to ensure long-term survival of the business.
Training and education: The businessperson should learn the intricacies of modern business through training and education and should pass this onto their subordinates.
Salaries for businesspeople vary. The salaries of the top CEOs can be millions of dollars per year. For example, Discovery Communications' head, David M. Zaslav, made $156 million in 2014. The high salary which executives earn has often been a source of criticism with many believing that they are paid excessively.
Some leading business theorists believe that managing a business is like a science. These people look to leaders in academic research on business or to successful business leaders for guidance. Collectively, these people are called "business gurus."