Countries are striving for self-sufficiency. They are modifying their culture and standard of living simply to meet the national needs. What one country lacks is supplied by another country, and what a particular region enjoys, is soon desired by its neighbouring regions. Exchange and barter of commodities are now carried on international scales. The bankers act as an expert intermediary and the prospects are unlimited for those who wish to extend inter-regional or foreign trade. The whole world is lying before them - tempting, challenging and offering. There are bright prospects for everyone who has intelligence and imagination to take a step forward. But, still, commerce is not a very easy job.
It is only the right man, the man having proper qualifications, who can be expected to succeed in this field. High character and a degree of specialised knowledge are necessary to succeed in any commercial line. It is also necessary to be honest. If one becomes engaged in the job of getting 'the largest profit in the easiest way', he is crashing towards a ruin. Next to being honest, one must also be hardworking. This is the minimum that is needed for any success in the field of commerce. A businessman should have the capacity for creating confidence, both in his assistants as well as clients. This involves an indefinable quality, called personality. A businessman must be reasonable, persuasive, sweet mannered and high minded. He must guard against selfish considerations with a higher end in view. Hence, a modern businessman needs a background of culture - not necessarily the culture acquired at the university, but a culture imbibed through association with intelligent men. "A true-bred merchant is the best gentleman in the nation," said the author of Robinson Crusoe. Some degree of imagination is also necessary to ensure that proper investments are made in anticipation of the rising curves of demand. But the flow of imagination must be controlled so that it may not become a gamble with destiny. He is a bad businessman whose lust for profits makes him gamble with luck. If one wants to succeed in a commercial venture, one must know how to control his expectations. Above all, one must be patient, for, as the economists say, wealth is only a 'deferred enjoyment'. One must know how 'to stand and wait'.
Business is a highly complicated profession in the modern age. It is a machinery with wheels and counter wheels, to achieve its objectives. Hence, a good businessman must know the ins and outs of this complex. system. He must have an aptitude for finance, an eye for organization, a knowledge of accountancy, and a capacity for control and direction. Anyhow, there are many institutions for training as businessman. It is also good to serve as an apprentice in some commercial firm to acquire practical knowledge in the technicalities of the trade.
There is a great scope for a hard-working intelligent young man in the field of commerce. There are as many branches of trade as there are temperaments to suit. One may take up banking or insurance. One may devote his capital and industry to building up a factory for producing commodities. One may enter profitably in the export and import market. A retailer's shop is by no means to be despised, although a whole-sale business is a better gateway to ever-widening enterprise. Choice has to be made according to temperament and opportunities. Hereditary tendencies are often a deciding factor. Sometimes, unexpected opportunities may offer immediate incentives. anyhow, the scope is immense for every young man with character and training.
The immediate end of trade, of course, should not be purely making money. If this were the sole purpose of trade, it would put the merchant on the level of a cruel robber. But we should also remember that commerce has always been a great civilising force. "We exchange ideas when we exchange goods." We make friends when we persuade buyers and sell our things. Thus, we open the gates of international association, and that means an addition to our knowledge, an incentive to inventions and a call for peace and good-will.