So, the Romans invented nanotechnology. Yep. There’s a big thought for a Friday. Click that article, you’ll like it. We promise. We’ll wait here. It’s brilliant, right? It’s so brilliant.
Anyway, it got us thinking- the Romans did a lot of stuff. Nanotechnology. Conquering. Aqueducts. Wine. And all of those things are very useful. Their nanotechnology, for example, is in many ways 100x better than ours. Well done, Romans.
But… what have the Romans ever done for us? And by us, we mean, er, small to medium enterprises, start-ups, and entrepreneurs. Think “Business Secrets of the Pharaohs”, but with Emperors, instead of Pharaohs. On with the show! To battle!
1. Vicious, Back-Stabbing Capitalism Will Get You Everywhere
The Romans were really, really good at capitalism. You, as entrepreneur, are the poster-child for capitalism. Mimic their steely-eyed focus on cold hard cash; their attention to all the little financial details that can knock an empire off course. Know your outgoings. Know your incomings. Know your profit margins. And remember, there’s no point invading Carthage if you haven’t got the money to keep a garrison there.
2. Get On With It
Sometimes, you just need to charge. Gather your team, swords/data at the ready, and throw yourself whole heartedly into the fray. It may seem difficult. It may seem scary. But, probably, you’re going to win. For Romans winning mostly meant “killing everyone”. For you, and your company, it may be different. Nevertheless, get on with it. Nothing is going to happen unless you do.
3. If At First You Don’t Succeed…
As demonstrated very neatly in this archaeological game (meant, yes, for children between the ages of six and eight, but certainly of note to adults on a Friday afternoon), the key to both the Roman empire, and to the historians studying the Roman empire, is persistence. It’s also the key to successful entrepreneurship. Dug up an old Coke can? Failed to conquer Gaul? Investor pulled out at the last second? Retreat. Regroup. Try again. And, eventually, you’ll succeed. Just as the Romans eventually conquered those strange, strange French. (Note image, right.)
4. Plan Immaculately
The Romans did. They planned so much that their Wikipedia page is nearly 17000 words long. That in itself doesn’t prove much, maybe- after all, you might say, Larry Norman, Christian rock star, has 280k.( That’s him, on the left. With the hair.) But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, if by eating you mean “conquering the world” and by “pudding” you mean “meticulous planning”. Want to succeed? You have to plan, and you have to plan well.
5. Honour Your Enemies
When the Romans beat Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, they were very nice about it. Be gracious, to your defeated enemies. Treat them with honour. Next time, it may be you who doesn’t make that deal; it may be you, having to drive your chariot into the woods to take poison. Basically, treat other people as you wish to be treated: fairly, politely and as a worthy opponent you’re going to fight to the death.
6. Team Loyalty Is Very Important
Please, find some headphones, and watch the clip above. Isn’t that glorious? Don’t you want to hug someone? Don’t you want to hug Kirk Douglas? Anyway, the point is, teamwork. Togetherness. You want your team to be as tight and as loyal as Spartacus’ band of runaway slaves.
7. …But So Is Self-Confidence
Look. Teamwork is all well and good, but sometimes you have to take the rap and the responsibility yourself. Sometimes, you can hide no longer, and you need to simultaneously take the blame, the glory and get the job done yourself. He can. You can.
8. Keep Your Team Happy
A happy team is a productive team. In this instance, obviously, the team is the Roman populace, and you are the emperor. Keep them happy. We needn’t be as literal as bread, circuses and murder- probably, paying them fairly and treating them with respect will work better here. Anyway, an unhappy team may well rise up, revolt and overthrow the Emperor/CEO. Don’t let that happen. We all know how that ends.
9. Think Big
Did the Romans stop at taking over the little territories either side of them? No, they did not. They decided to take over Europe. And then they decided to make a move on Africa. That’s the kind of big, world conquering dreams you should be aiming for. Only with less bloodshed and colonial impropriety, please.
10. Drink To Success
The Romans, according to Herodotus, would debate their most important issues drunk. Then debate it sober, just to make sure their drunk selves did it right. We’re not condoning or suggesting this, of course, but you must admit- it does hold a certain charm. Especially on a Friday afternoon.