1. The company is preparing to expand operations.
  2. The company is preparing to expand business.

In my translated dictionary, operation and buiness overlap in certain meanings. I want to know whether they are identical and exchangable.

2 Answers 2


A company's business might well involve a number of operations. So business is the general description and operations are specific things it does. A bank is a business that takes in depositors' money and lends it out. But it may offer all kinds of services and dabble in the stock market, the bond market, funds, insurance and various financial products. These are its operations.

Take another example: a company that manufactured and sold car parts might decide to open repair shops or outlets selling used-parts. In a general sense it would be expanding its business, but specifically it would be expanding its operations - the kind of work it already does - to do different kinds of work.

On the other hand, if the company was established only in one country but intended to expand into several other countries, it would be expanding its business. That's to say, it would be doing the same things but on a bigger scale.

So business is an all-embracing word that refers to the totality of what a company does. Operations refers to the different parts of that business. They are not identical; the former generally encompasses the latter.

  • Is it accurate? to extend is defined through the idea of adding new parts to something. There is an example on the topic in this answer: I extended my research means I have examined new subjects (that is, the research was enriched with the new extra subjects). Isn't it then correct to say to extend business operations (to add new ones)? Apr 30, 2021 at 13:28
  • Is this helpful ?: books.google.com/ngrams/… May 1, 2021 at 9:18

"Operations" and "business" are not in general identical and interchangeable in meaning, but the senses of each word that apply in this context are so similar that exchanging one for the other is entirely acceptable. A company's operations are, by definition, business. Notice, however, that if we were talking about a charity or other non-profit organisation, only "operations" would be appropriate, because nonprofits' activities (and therefore their operations) are not necessarily business.

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