Learning from our business finances and how the market works, there is still much to be said about the earning potential of a business despite the massive overhead expenses and the chance of hitting the red.
Purchasing depreciated equipment or capital means the Adventurer intends to earn a net profit just before the equipment fails.
Reversely, a company selling depreciated equipment or equipment in their End-of-Life, cannot afford the risk of the equipment failing or needs to keep up with the current pace of technology to stay in the market.
A business, despite being heavily in debt, short of key personnel and competence will always have its major assets (capital, like a ship; and equipment). You cannot use assets to keep the business running, but it is the minimalist requirement to stay in business.
A ship means off-world. it means Inter-stellar Markets or dealing with groups of much larger sizes able to collectively pay your services. It also means going where you want or need to go. There is a difference between products that sell for much, giving bigger margins and the ability to make strategic business decisions like location.
In the real world, I can compare a ship to a Factory or Plant. While having such a large capital advantage, even with the debt, one can still make money. Creditors can give you a hard time, but that won't get them their money back, you can always negotiate in good faith. As for paying labor, which should be one of the first expenses always paid, thats some RPing and playing smart.
Wish I can run Traveller for my younger cousins (father's side relatives are mostly entrepreneurs) give them an entertaining education about business, critical decision making, financing and exercise their accounting skills. Stuff only discussed in school, and only read and written about.
Real life work and Traveller. Filipinos are known for being a popular choice for Overseas Foreign Workers. Many Mariners are Filipinos and in the most troubled regions in the lucrative middle east where skilled labor is imported, Filipinos brave the dangers and the human rights risks of going to such places. Culturally adaptable, coming from a humble station (as being mostly poor) they are open and generally easy to get along with.
Right now, our business is taking us abroad in the places few would do business but people are able and willing, and their elites are willing to pay the cost for such expertise.
Big corporates and higher economically tiered people have higher operating costs. We don't, in fact we are in the low end of our market. We make it up because of Social Norms and Benefit the company provides . After all, Pay =/= Productivity, productivity is a matter of chance, hardwork, and innovation. Its those tiny details that keep costs down, us competitive, and innovative.
I'm just surprised that in some way we are about to take a step towards a direction, I've only dreamed off in Traveller. To go places, only few would, where I and those with me will be able to adapt, thrive and profit.
Interestingly Its not us, who have the best technology, who are going to the Minor or Branch Routes. It is us who are willing to brave it, who understand the risks and challenges and willing to live with the inconvenience. I think its one of the few take-aways from coming from a world with a very wide gap between rich and poor, and living with it everyday. Being somewhat in the middle and able to see and adapt to both social extremes.
 The Cost Social Norms (financial security through transparency and willingness to listen and adapt is a social norm; also resource spent developing tools for making the job easier, smoother and emphasis on how the company cares for its employees)