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Marginal businessman

The marginal businessman is one who does not belong in the established profitable business of a community. He may be a fairly recent immigrant or a member of a minority group, because members of the majority don't have to go into marginal business; they can usually find employment in established enterprises.

Starting as a rule with little capital or none, marginal businessmen go into neighbourhoods that are too unpromising or into enterprises that have too uncertain a future for larger, established companies to be bothered with. Small restaurants, such as Chinese, Indian takeaways, Indian-Pakistan convenient shop, shoe-repairing shops, second-hand and junk businesses of all kinds.

Success in marginal business requires one or more of the following: (1) finding an undeveloped market that established businesses have ignored or overlooked; (2) having a foresight (luck) to get into a type of business that is not profitable now, but eventually will be; (3) being sufficiently aggressive, skillful, and shrewd in business to survive even under the most unfavourable conditions; (4) being willing to work twice as hard as the next man.

Trying to achieve success in marginal business, then imposes similar disciplines on all people who go into it, regardless of color or creed. And similar disciplines produce similar character traits. for example (1) a single-minded absorption with making money, preferably the quickest way; (2) extreme aggressiveness and shrewdness, and an unwilling to pay high wages; (3) a tendency to be somewhat overproud of money they have made; (4) a tendency to adhere firmly to the principle that 'business is business' - in other words, a willingness to sacrifice considerations of sentiment or humanitarianism or even ethics if necessary in the interests of profit.


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