Be a Roman

To survive business ups and downs, become a Roman -- disciplined and willing to keep fighting. That's advice from The First-Time CEO's Recession Survival Guide, on TechCrunch, written by Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Redfin, an online real estate broker.

Some of the tips in this article aren't relevant to my small business, but many of the ideas can be used or adapted if your running a business of any size. For example, I don't have a staff to call in for a weekly revenue meeting, but I could set aside time each week to do some thinking on my own.

Create simplicity is another suggestion that's worth considering. Apply that to your Excel files too, wherever possible.

Use the Roman Function

Speaking of Excel, it has a ROMAN function that converts a number into Roman numerals (now that's a segue!)

The first argument is the number, between 0 and 3999, that you want to convert. The second argument (optional) is the type of conversion that you want. If you omit the second argument, the result is a classic Roman numeral. You can also use numbers 1 to 4 to create more concise versions of the Roman numeral.

Not all numbers will be affected by the levels of conciseness, but some will change, as you can see in the example below.

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2 Responses

1. Tim Mayes says:

This is one of those functions that I’ve never had a need to use. But your post made me curious about the 3999 limit. That seems strange. According to Wkipedia, large numbers (4000 and above) are usually written with a line on top to indicate multiplication by 1000. I guess it was easier to just cut it off at 3999 than to try to implement that.

I learn something everyday, especially when I read the Contextures blog. :-)

2. Thanks for adding that info, Tim. Now that you mention the lines, they do seem vaguely familiar. But until I wrote this article, I hadn’t realized how many variations there are for writing some of the numbers.