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Sole Proprietorship

Sole Proprietorship Features, Merits and Demerits

Sole proprietorship is a great option for those who want to start their own business on their own without any huge investment and can handle all of the responsibilities.

What Is a Sole Proprietorship?

A sole proprietorship is a business structure where an individual operates and manages the business as the sole owner. In this type of business, there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. The owner has complete control over all aspects of the business and retains all profits. However, they also bear full responsibility for the business’s liabilities and debts. Sole proprietorships are relatively easy to set up and maintain, making them a popular choice for small businesses and self-employed individuals. lets see the sole proprietorship features, merits and demerits.

Definition of Sole Proprietorship

A business that has just one person running it is known as a sole proprietorship. Proprietor is another term for owner, while sole is another word for only. All the profit goes directly to the sole proprietor. It is the sole proprietor’s responsibility to assume all business-related risks. The business is entirely under the sole proprietor’s control.

How Does a Sole Proprietorship Differ From a Partnership?

A sole proprietorship is a business structure in which an individual, typically a person who owns the business, is responsible for its operations and profits. This differs from a partnership, in which two or more people share ownership and responsibility for the business’ success. While there are pros and cons to both structures, sole proprietorships tend to have certain advantages over partnerships. 

One major advantage of sole proprietorships is that they are easier to start than partnerships. Because the owner is responsible for everything from the business’s financial stability to its day-to-day operations, there is less bureaucracy and paperwork involved in running a sole proprietorship than in a partnership.

In addition, sole proprietorships are often less expensive to operate than partnerships because the owner is not liable for any of the other partners’ debts. 

Who Can Set up a Sole Proprietorship?

A sole proprietorship is a legal entity in India that allows one person to own and operate a business without any outside help. This entity is perfect for small businesses that want to operate independently and make their own decisions. 

Sole Proprietorship Features


  • In a sole proprietorship, the owner is personally liable indefinitely
  • All business debts, including loans, must be paid in full by the owner personally
  • If the owner takes a loan for the business, they are liable to repay the debt
  • The owner’s personal assets may be used to recoup payments if the company is unable to pay its debts.


  • All firm operations are completely under the sole proprietor’s control
  • No one else can interfere or make decisions regarding the business activities
  • Only the sole proprietor has the power to modify and change the business plans as needed.

Formation and Closure

  • The owner start the sole proprietorship business on their own, without any legal conventions
  • Usually, no specific legal formalities are required to begin a sole proprietorship, but sometimes licenses or certificates may be necessary
  • The owner has the freedom to close the business whenever they choose
  • For certain types of businesses like goldsmiths or medical shops, a license may be required to operate.

Sole Risk Bearer and Profit Recipient

Unlike partnership firms, the risks related to their businesses are solely the responsibility of the proprietor of the firm. In case of bankruptcy too the proprietor stands liable for all the debts.

Lack of Business Continuity

  • The firm may be negatively impacted or shut down as a result of the sole proprietor’s death, imprisonment, medical condition, insanity, or bankruptcy
  • In the event of a beneficiary, successor, or legal heir, they may choose to carry on the proprietor’s operations.

No Separate Entity

Technically, from a legal POV the owner and the business are different things. However, the lone proprietor and the business are treated the same by the law. Because the single trader is the only person performing all business activities, the business would not exist without the sole trader.

Limitations of a Sole Proprietorship

Unlimited Liability

  • In a sole proprietorship, the owner is personally liable for the company’s obligations and issues
  • Personal assets, such as the owner’s house or savings, can be at risk if the business faces financial troubles
  • Unlike other business structures, the owner and the business are considered the same entity

Limited Access to Capital

  • Sole proprietorships often struggle to obtain funding from external sources
  • The connection between personal and business finances makes it difficult to secure loans or investments
  • Relying on personal savings or borrowing from friends and family may limit business growth opportunities.

Limited Skillset

  • As the sole owner, you are responsible for all aspects of the business
  • Lack of expertise in areas such as marketing, accounting, or legal matters can pose challenges
  • Handling multiple roles and responsibilities can impact the overall efficiency of the business.

Limited Lifespan

  • Sole proprietorships heavily rely on the owner’s involvement
  • The business is typically sustained as long as the owner continues working or until their decision to cease operations
  • Retirement, illness, or death of the owner may result in closure or significant changes to the business.

Limited Transferability

  • Transferring a sole proprietorship to someone else can be complex
  • The business is intertwined with the owner’s personal assets and identity
  • Selling or transferring the business may require restructuring or converting it to a different business structure.

Limited Resources

  • Sole proprietorships often face challenges due to limited financial resources
  • Insufficient funds may hinder tasks such as purchasing new technology, expanding the workforce, or growing the business
  • Competing with larger businesses in areas like advertising and customer reach can be challenging.


Sole proprietors have certain tax responsibilities as discussed below: 

  • The owner is responsible for paying all taxes, including those specific to self-employed individuals
  • Taxes are based on the company’s revenue and include Medicare and Social Security contributions
  • Proper tax handling is crucial, as taxes can significantly impact the business’s financial status.


  1. The sole proprietorship is a business structure in India that allows individuals to operate their businesses independently. This type of business ownership has some significant demerits, including the fact that sole proprietors are not protected by labor laws, are not eligible for many government benefits, and have a very limited ability to expand their businesses.
  2. Additionally, sole proprietorships can be very risky and difficult to manage, as they are not subject to the same regulations as other types of businesses. If the sole proprietor’s business fails, they are typically responsible for all of the associated debts and liabilities.
  3. Finally, sole proprietorships have a limited appeal to potential investors, as they tend to have low margins and limited potential for growth

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