ENTREPRENEURSHIP / JAN. 30, 2015
version 3, draft 3

Examples of Great Business Plans, Developed by the Mafia

The Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, the Black Hand or the Yakuza are all criminal organizations that are governed by a strict set of rules and protocols. In recent years, due to constant legal scrutiny and the insurgence of the Russian and Albanian Mob, these organizations have ventured into more legal means of financial gain. Are you going to just sit there and take it? Fo’get about it! These are great business plans, developed by the mafia.

Eh! Oh! You gotta get yo’ mitts dirty to be a made-man

Every single criminal syndicate in the world follows a strict hierarchy. Most made-men (individuals with clout and influence in the organization) started as street thugs and enforcers. This created homogeny of knowledge throughout the tiers of the organization and also a respect for the people that had been in the previous position. Almost every established person in the syndicate knows how to brain someone with a bat, but also knows how to manage a large conglomeration of subordinates, businesses and rackets. As it was proven, they had no problem reverting back to their knuckle-dusting ways if the circumstances demanded it.

Asset accumulation, risk aversion

This is in both a physical sense and a man-power context. If you have a star employee that could be a threat to your position, instead of taking him/her out, utilize them. This is exactly how Al Capone took control of Chicago and became one of the most infamous mobsters in history. His boss Johnny Torrio recognized Capone’s talents and, instead of having him sleep with the fishes he, offered him a partnership. This created a profitable agreement for both parties allowing Torrio to retire (no, not really ‘retire’) and Capone to eventually take over the Windy City. In the business world, this is almost like profit-sharing or a merger between two competing companies. Mobster Carlos Marcello had an ironclad hold on Louisiana for decades. He did so by first holding up a grocery store while still a teenager, bought guns, held up a bank and finally used that money to progress his purchase businesses. Every move Marcello made was to facilitate his next move up. His new ventures were always calculated, conservative and within his means. Step by step, Marcello managed to control Louisiana.

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it

One of the Mafia’s most profitable business ventures was refuse disposal; where most businessmen turned their noses up at it, mobsters happily monopolized on the trashy business. It doesn’t even end there; strip clubs, dive bars or anything else legitimate businessmen shied away from the Mafia would pick up. This shows an insatiable appetite for seizing financial gain and opportunity when others believe it’s below them.

Ya gotta bust some eggs to make an omelet and ya gotta bust some heads to make a deal

All mafia organizations are ruthless, brutal and dead-set on promoting their interests. If this means having a mole (an ingrained member that reports back to you) in the opposing faction’s camp, inserting dissidents into the opposition’s group to create chaos or even just plainly taking them out to achieve dominance, so be it. Knowing what your competition does can help you stay a step ahead, make the lowest offer possible and even complete a merger with the most beneficial terms. Big business isn’t a place for ethicalities after all, is it?

Are there any other business practices that you’ve heard of that have less than savory origins? Let us know in the comment section below!

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