Ancient Roman wisdom for business financing

Roman Empire Wisdom for the Business-Lender Relationship

“Beware the Ides of March!”

The Ides of March, famously marking the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, serves as a potent reminder of the dynamics of power, trust, and fate within the Roman Empire. This historical milestone, alongside the broader narrative of Rome’s rise and fall, offers relevant insights for today’s entrepreneurs building a strong business-lender relationship and seeking business financing. Here’s how ancient Roman wisdom can apply in the modern financial landscape.

1. Understand the Power Dynamics

Julius Caesar’s fall was partly due to his misunderstanding of the power dynamics within the Senate. Similarly, in business financing, it’s crucial for borrowers to understand the power dynamics between themselves and their lenders. Recognize the lender’s position as it relates to the value and leverage you bring to the table as an entrepreneur. Put yourself in the strongest negotiating position and improve the perceived strength of your business before applying for financing. Lenders want good borrowing partners, so make your business as attractive as possible.

2. Cultivate Trust and Loyalty

Trust and loyalty were central to Roman political life, yet Caesar’s assassination underscored how fragile these bonds could be. For borrowers, building a solid relationship with lenders based on transparency and integrity is vital. Regular communication, honesty about your business’s performance, and adherence to agreed terms help cultivate a trusting relationship that can withstand challenges and uncertainties. The best time to start building and strengthening your relationship with lending partners is before you need the money.

3. Prepare for Unforeseen Changes

The Ides of March was a sudden and dramatic turn in Roman history, highlighting the importance of being prepared for unexpected events. Businesses seeking financing should similarly plan for unforeseeable market shifts or financial challenges. This might involve securing flexible financing terms, building emergency funds, or diversifying revenue streams to ensure resilience in the face of change.

4. Leadership and Vision Are Paramount

Caesar’s ambition and vision for Rome were undeniable driving forces in his rise to power. He also knew how to sell the story of his conquests to strengthen his position. Business Insider says, “The best leaders don’t just do amazing things — they know how to present a compelling story.” For entrepreneurs, having a clearly articulated vision for your business and demonstrating strong leadership are crucial when seeking financing. Lenders are more likely to support a business with a strong direction and a leader who can navigate adversity toward that vision.

5. The Importance of Strategic Alliances

Rome’s history is replete with alliances that shifted the balance of power. In the business world, forming strategic partnerships can enhance your company’s appeal to lenders. These alliances might provide financial stability, expand your market presence, or offer technological advantages that strengthen your business model and, by extension, your financing proposals.

6. Adaptability and Innovation

The Roman Empire endured for centuries due to its ability to adapt and innovate, from military tactics to administrative systems. For modern businesses, adaptability and innovation are just as critical, especially in a rapidly changing economic landscape. Demonstrating to lenders that your business can pivot and innovate in response to market demands will make your financing application more compelling.

7. Legacy and Long-Term Planning

Finally, the Roman Empire’s legacy, in terms of culture, law, and governance, is a testament to the power of long-term planning and vision. Businesses should approach financing not just as a means to an immediate end but as part of a broader strategy for strengthening a business-lender relationship to support long-term growth and legacy building. This perspective can help in selecting the right financing options that align with your company’s long-term goals and values.

In essence, the Ides of March and the broader sweep of Roman history offer timeless lessons for today’s entrepreneurs navigating the complex world of business financing. By understanding power dynamics, cultivating trust, preparing for change, demonstrating visionary leadership, forming strategic alliances, embracing adaptability, and planning for the long term, borrowers can secure the financing they need to build their own enduring empires.

compass showing the direction of business success

11 Ways to Position your Business for Success this Year

If you are one of the many business owners looking for ways to build business in the New Year, you are not alone. Here are eleven steps you can take to position your business for growth right now.

Top 11 Ways to Position Your Business to Succeed in the New Year

The devil is in the details when it comes to growing any type of business. The little things that you do now can have big effects later on. Put these eleven ideas to work in your business in order to set the stage for business success and growth in the New Year.

1. Get on Top of New Year Marketing and Industry Trends

Taking the time to research new technologies, consumer buying behaviors and marketing trends can help you identify improvements to your business that could help you gain an edge over competitors or keep you from being out-maneuvered by them. Emerging trends in your industry, marketing and the buying patterns of your customers (or consumers in general) can be used to shape – or at least tweak – your business and marketing plans for the coming year.

Where to start: Industry trade magazines and websites often feature preview and trend articles at this time of year. You can also glean inspiration from sites like, find out about new tech from sites like, or explore all kinds of 2020 business trends on sites like

2. Improve your Communication Skills to Succeed in the New Year

No doubt about it, effective communication skills – whether verbal or written – can make the difference when it comes to breaking through the clutter with consumers, employees, investors and other stakeholders. identified eighteen communication trends leaders need to be aware of in 2020.

3. Why Wait? Spring-Clean Your Business Now

Be all you can be! Now is the perfect time to identify inefficiencies, ineffective policies and just plain bad practices that are keeping your business from becoming the best version of itself. This article suggests seven specific ways for you to improve your business in 2020. You might also like this article with five budgeting tips for small businesses in 2020.

4. Identify Financial Resources

Very few growth initiatives can be completed without working capital. Your plan for growth needs to be supported by adequate working capital for day to day operations as well as capital that can be used for marketing, expansion, new technology, new product or service launches, and so on. Your business may already have working capital that can be unlocked using receivables invoice factoring. These assets “on the books” can be unlocked to free up working capital when needed, instead of waiting weeks, or even months, for customers to pay.

5. Stop Generalizing Already!

If your marketing messages are one-size-fits-all, it might mean they are closer to one-size-fits-none. Get smart about members of your target markets using sites like Nielsen’s Prizm zip code look up tool (where you can find out what types of people live in your local area) or with its overview on generational trends.

6. Refine or Retool Your Value Proposition

Stop rambling! Refining the way that you deliver your value proposition could impact your conversion rate in a big way. Sales strategy expert Jill Konrath offers up two ways you can create sales messages that convert in Examples of What to Say When Prospecting.

7. Speaking of Customers, Reboot Your Retention Strategy

Many businesses have detailed plans for attracting customers but only a few, somewhat vague strategies laid out to keep them. Now is the perfect time for you to identify the rate of customer turnover (or “churn”) that is present within your organization, decide what constitutes a reasonable level of turnover and create a warning system that triggers actions when unacceptable levels are reached.

7. Craft an Employee-Experience Strategy

Churn and turnover isn’t just a problem when it comes to customers; employee turnover can keep your business from reaching its full potential as well. Much attention is paid in marketing to designing a customer experience that sets a business apart, but few businesses go so far as to design and implement a purposeful employee experience plan.

Since employee satisfaction is critical to customer care, efficiency, productivity, profitability and nearly every other area of your business, thinking through the experience in your business from the employee’s point of view could be helpful.

From recruiting, hiring and orientation through to the break and lunch areas, benefits, time off and other perks, design an employee experience within your business that makes employees believe you feel they are as important to your organization’s success as you say they are! To help you get started, check out this article six practical ways to improve employee retention.

9. Stop Believing You Can Read Minds

Whether it’s gauging customer or employee satisfaction, looking for ways to cut costs, becoming more productive or making any other number of improvements to a business, many business leaders act as though they can read minds; or worse, they act as though everyone thinks just like they do.

Let go of the notion that you are a mind reader and start asking questions of your customers and employees – and start listening to the answers. Make it safe for people to give you constructive criticism and you may well discover a treasure-trove of ideas that you can use to grow your business faster in the months ahead.

This article with 10 Questions to Ask Your Team Every Week on can be a starting point to better team dialogue. In addition, be sure that you are soliciting customer feedback using surveys, post-sale customer ratings and reviews and encourage customers to engage with you on social networks.

10. Get Everyone on the Same Page

If everyone is pulling – but everyone is pulling in a different direction – you are unlikely to achieve your business goals. Don’t assume that investors, board members, employees or customers share your vision! Take some time to ensure that everyone is on the same page as is laid out in this article by:

  1. Defining the mission
  2. Setting priorities, goals and targets
  3. Encouraging bottom-up planning
  4. Facilitating transparent information sharing and rigorous debate
  5. Ensuring that your organization is aligned appropriately

11. Send a State of the Business Message

Inspire customers, employees, vendors and other stakeholders to enter the New Year feeling more connected to you and your brand. Talk about the way your business has impacted the lives of customers, staff and the community for the better. Tell how your business will transform and improve in the New Year. Point out benchmarks and achievements, and recognize and thank those who contributed.

Employee Engagement on Mechanism of Golden Gears with Lens Flare. 3D Render.

4 Ways to Invest in Employee Engagement Strategies and Grow Your Business

If you genuinely believe employees are your organization’s most valuable asset, invest where it counts most. Here are four ways to invest in employee engagement strategies and make your business more profitable in the process.

4 Employee Engagement Strategies that Can Make Your Business Better

Many of the strategies you could adopt to grow your business come with big price tags. In contrast, accelerating talent development in your organization through employee engagement strategies is likely to produce big results at a fraction of the cost.

When asked what sets their business apart, many business owners and CEOs quickly reply, “Our people.” And yet, outside of employee benefits and compensation, few organizations have a formal plan to continue investing in employee engagement strategies on an on-going basis in order to accelerate talent development.

Accelerate talent development” – don’t you just love that phrase! We lifted it from, a site focused on ‘The Business of HR’ (human resources).

Most businesses expend significant resources to attract and hire the right people for their organization—not just people who have the skills and knowledge to perform the tasks relevant to a given position but who also represent a potential asset to the organizational culture. Given this investment, retaining and developing the talent attracted should be a strategic goal for your business!

Your organization’s talent development program should include tactics likely to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, but it should also include tools to accelerate talent development so that the talent developed can be reinvested back into your business to help it grow.

We came up with four employee engagement strategies, represented by four very relevant quotes, that enable you to invest in your employees to accelerate talent development and grow your business.

4 Ways to Grow a Business by Investing in Employee Engagement Strategies

1. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela

Education isn’t just about knowledge and skills. Education is about demonstrating your commitment to your employees. Investing in employee education sends the message that you want people to stick around for a while; after all, no employer invests in training and education for employees who want to leave!

Education can also increase employee engagement and enhance employees’ feelings of connection to your business’ brand, vision, and mission. It can help employees understand how their role helps to fulfill your organization’s mission and vision statements.

2. “Setting the right challenges will help your employees develop a ‘growth mindset’ and enlarge their ability to learn.” —Mona Berberich, a digital marketing manager at Better Weekdays, writing for

Set goals too low, and people may become disinterested. Set them too high, and they may become discouraged. But if you set them just right, you have created the foundation for higher levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction.

3. “CFOs say poor interpersonal skills are the top reason for an employee’s failure to advance in a company.” —Neil Amato, writing for CGMA Magazine

Poor interpersonal skills – sometimes referred to as “soft skills” – don’t’ just hold people back at work, they hold people back in life. Investing in training for individuals and in team building exercises can not only improve the soft skills employees need to develop on the job, but they can also improve your organizational culture by enhancing interpersonal relationships and fostering a deeper level of mutual commitment – the idea that “we’re all in this together.”

4. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” —Peter Drucker

Last but certainly not least, our list of four ways to invest in employees in order to grow your business is investing in yourself. Employees must believe that you genuinely care about them and have their best interests at heart, or your efforts to improve your organizational culture will be met with skepticism. Invest in yourself through:

  • Taking an interest in them personally
  • Discovering the personal and professional goals of employees and helping to create the means for them to achieve them
  • Practicing clear and continuous communication
  • Talking with employees on a regular basis about the values, vision, and mission of the business
  • Ensuring that each employee understands how their role contributes to the corporate mission and how they can help (individually or corporately) the business achieve its goals
  • Welcome comments, suggestions, and even constructive criticism – especially if it leads to improvements in your company
  • Recognizing and rewarding employees for outstanding work, leadership, and growth

These are just a few ways that you can invest in employees in order to grow your business and make it stronger, more productive, and more profitable. Most are very low-cost, and some don’t actually cost a thing.

Employing talent development acceleration strategies in your business could provide you with competitive advantages in business performance and talent acquisition. By creating an organizational culture that fosters high levels of employee engagement, you lay the foundation for making your employees the unique assets that you claim they are.

What's Your Super Power words in 3d letters on a gold shield to illustrate mighty force, special ability or capability to get a job done

5 Small Business Superpowers

It’s not always about growing to the next level. Some of the small business superpowers your not-so-big business has are things larger competitors lack, which might mean staying small is better for your organization.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships – Oh My! 5 Benefits of Keeping Your Small Business Small

If it seems like a lot of companies got bigger by joining forces in the past couple of years, it’s because they did. Deloitte’s Merger and Acquisitions Trends report for 2019 found that 79 percent of responders anticipated they would close more deals over the next 12 months, up from 70 percent in 2018. In addition, more than 80 percent planned to sell off assets in 2019, up from 70 percent the year before.

It can be difficult to watch social media feeds, and newswires light up with stories of larger competitors making acquisitions, merging with other companies, and forming partnerships for lead acquisition, especially when you know that there are things your small business does better.

Rather than worrying about competing on scale, it might be smarter to leverage those things a small business can do that larger rivals cannot to make your business more profitable without actually getting bigger. Since you might not know how to leverage these small business superpowers to outpace bigger rivals, we also included a few tips to help you turn advantages like these into growth.

5 Small Business Superpowers Big Rivals Can’t Touch

1. Access

Unless they go on a reality show like Undercover Boss, most CEOs, and executives in large organizations have little contact with real customers on a day-in, day-out basis. They don’t have a chance to engage in two-way dialogue, collect first-hand feedback about the customer experience or find out what customers wish the brand would do next.

Take every opportunity to listen when customers complain, ask questions, or make suggestions. The insights they provide can tell you exactly what you need to do to make your business better and more profitable and guide your choices when it comes to adding new products and services.

2. Accountability

In a big organization responsibility for mistakes can be passed along until a furor dies down, and accolades for success don’t always trickle down to the employees who really made the difference. For better and for worse, a small business offers their customers accountability and gives every employee a chance to shine.

Leaders who aren’t afraid of taking responsibility for mistakes, missteps, and misfires often earn the respect not only from customers but employees as well. Take responsibility for the mistake and make the solution happen. Worry about tracking the details back later to ensure product or service performance in the future. Be generous with praise. Make sure that everyone on the team has a chance to shine and understand that the success of one can only ever happen as a result of the effort of the whole.

3. Agility

Bureaucracy, processes, committees, and getting the powers that be to change direction or add new projects mean that big companies will almost always take longer to react to marketplace changes and emerging opportunities than small businesses. A small business can react and make course corrections quickly. They can communicate almost immediately with all staff who need to make adjustments. They can move resources and redirect efforts in a short period of time when new opportunities emerge. These small business superpowers enable smaller companies to move faster than big ones.

Agility isn’t a verb; rather, it’s a passive state of energy. A small business that prides itself on agility but never takes action is wasting this small business superpower. Make sure that you have a process for discovering and evaluating suggestions, ideas, and marketplace changes so that when opportunity strikes, you can strike right back.

4. Simplicity

As companies get bigger and bigger, it’s not just their offices that start to look like a maze. Trying to figure out who to contact with a question or when a new product or service will hit the floor can be a job in and of itself. A small business can keep things simple. From processes to communication channels and corporate announcements, customers and employees can feel confident that they are in the know about where to go and what’s coming next.

The routes might be clear, but they still need to be mapped. Make sure that you establish methodology for tracking and reporting stats and progress to the team on a regular basis — and then do it — so that everyone knows what they need to do next.

5. Consistency

Big companies are often stretched in many different directions, so much so that departments could even end up working for cross purposes or unknowingly undermine one another with prospects and customers. A small business has the luxury of finding and focusing on a few or even one common purpose. Employees not only understand the mission but can work together to achieve the goals with a minimum of disruption, since communication is practically instantaneous, everyone can be apprised of the status of all the projects underway at any given time.

The more consistent a brand experience is, the stronger the impression can be, but remember that a consistently boring experience might be just as bad as a negative one. Decide what type of customer experience your brand should deliver and what you will do to get it done. Ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of how what they do impacts and have the ability to improve the customer experience.

Regardless of size, your company has small business superpowers big competitors can’t replicate. The question is, have you discovered them, and how will you use them for good?


We offer small business invoice factoring, a financing tool you can use to expedite cash flow and even create competitive advantages.

Ask us for a free, no-risk, no-obligation small business financing proposal. Get immediate answers and get access to working capital within days of approval – or even faster.