What The Romans Taught Me About Business

If you know me, you’ll know I love football, beer and business.

But did you know that I’m a bit of a history buff too? I love a good historical tale and I think there’s a lot to be learned from history’s greatest leaders.

Everyone knows a little about the Romans. How they conquered the western world and brought straight roads, gladiators and plumbing to the so-far untamed Celts and Gauls.

But how much do you know about their military?

What the Romans achieved was quite incredible. They conquered foe after foe, taking lands and creating one of the largest empires in the world.

So how did they do it? What made them so indomitable?

Was it their wild and bloodthirsty warriors? Their advanced weaponry? Their superior plumbing?

I don’t think so.

It all came down to strategy.

The Romans were organised, disciplined and had a strategy like no others. They’d always meet their enemy in open ground and they always played to win.

The Legion (Roman Army) was made up of cohorts and each cohort was made up of units of around 80 men, called a century. During the battle, each century would create a formation of 4 rows of 20 men.

This formation would march forward, with each row taking a 3 minute turn on the front line. They’d fight ferociously for 3 minutes then, with military precision, the front line would fall out and return to the back of the century, allowing the next in line to take a turn at the front.

This meant that the front line was always manned by fresh-faced soldiers full of energy and ready to fight – rather than a mish-mash of exhausted men.

But that’s not all they did…

The Romans were smart – but ruthless too.

No enemies were allowed to survive. They even had soldiers whose job was to walk behind the battle finishing off any of the injured enemy soldiers, to ensure they never got attacked from behind.

Brutal, but highly effective.

Now, I’m not a big fan of fighting but I can appreciate a solid strategy when I see one.

The Romans didn’t come to fight – they came to win. And that’s why they dominated the western world for over 1000 years.

Too many business owners get caught up in the daily battle of doing business. They forget the importance of strategy and they don’t play to win.

If you want to conqueror the world (or your industry) you’ve got to think like a Roman. Get some solid strategies in place, military discipline – and before you make any big decisions – ask yourself “Am I playing to win?”

So how about you? Have you got a solid strategy in place or are you too caught up in the daily battle?