Mythic Monday – The Song of Roland
Roland and his knights are ambushed. There’s possibility of success, but they keep fighting on. Roland has but one option remaining, and that is to sound his horn and summon reinforcements. However, to require help would not honorable, and Roland would rather die than be dishonored. Things get so bad that Roland’s friend implores him to blow on his horn three times, and Roland in his pride, chooses not to.
Then, at the end, when all is truly lost, Roland finally sounds his horn and dies with the effort. The king hears and comes to the battlefield and avenges the dead.
So, what can we learn from this?
I think that the most important lesson is pretty obvious: blow the horn before everyone dies. Or, in modern vernacular, swallow your pride and ask for help.
It’s no news to anyone that a lot of businesses are struggling right now. The economy is in a state of turmoil, and while a lot people say that you can make money whether the stock market moves up, down or sideways, the simple fact is that things are hard when the future is even less predictable than usual. Existing vendors may change your credit terms, clients may demand a higher value from you for what they’re paying. Competitors may choose to compete in ways that may not be ethical or fair.
What can you do about this? There’s one simple option: ask for help.
There is a lot of talk about business being cut-throat and numerous stories about business partners that took advantage of one another. However, at least in the small business market, the opposite is also true. People help each other out.
Sure, there are high-priced consultants who will come in and give you advice. There are also well-intentioned friends who might help you out for free. But don’t forget about the tons of mid-range business people that are willing to lend a hand for modest fees and/or the trading of services. Odds are that there is a relatively workable solution to your business problem and a cheaper or more efficient way to do things. However, if you never ask for help, you may never find them.
There is also no point of waiting until everyone around is dead or dying (or laid off) before you call for help. If you wait too long, your business just serves as a tale of warning to others (much like The Song of Roland, actually).
Remember, we may be competitors, clients or vendors, but we actually are all in this together. It does no one any good to stand by and idly watch as small businesses fall like dominoes. We can help each other out… so long as we know who to help.