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Ask for help, work together in business endeavors

Posted by Tom Friedman on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 in Small Business Today Articles

I saw something very unusual the other night. I was putting away a tool in the garage and saw a good sized bug caught in a somewhat small spider web. Its back legs were trapped in the web, but the front legs were free and trying desperately to work itself away from being a midnight snack for the spider. That wasn't unusual, but what caught my attention was the battle that was going on between the spider and the bug.

It was as classic as any battle scene in a movie.  The spider would move closer to the bug in what I believe was an attempt to apply more web to subdue the bug. In response the bug would spin and churn and attempt to attack back, or at least fend off his attacker.  I stood there watching for several minutes when I decided that this show needed a larger audience.  Son Ted was home at the time so I went inside the house and told him what was happening.  He came to watch and that is when we noticed an odd twist to the battle.

A second, much smaller spider had joined the battle. Now the bug was being attacked on two opposite sides. Even more amazing to us was that the spiders seemed to work together. When the larger spider was attracting the attention at the bugs head, the smaller spider would work on tightening the web around the bug's feet.  When the bug felt the smaller spider working on his feet and would turn to do battle, that spider would back off and the larger spider would again attack at the head.  This went on for several more minutes. Ted went to grab his phone to take a picture.

It was obvious to me who was going to win the battle so I headed back inside to get out of the heat and start another project.

As I described the incident to my wife, I thought about that battle going on in the garage. Sometimes as small business owners and managers, fighting to make the next sale feels like a life and death battle. Occasionally we are going to feel like the bug, struggling against many competitors, but more often than not I think we act more like the spiders. We spike our potential client's interest with a strong product or value proposition, but we just can't get them to finalize the deal. So we need to call in help.

It could be an existing customer to give a testimonial why the prospect should do business with us. The help could come from another, more knowledgeable person in the organization to help explain the fine details of our offering. Sometimes our help can simply come from a seemingly smaller source. A smile or a kind word from a receptionist or clerk might just be the tipping point. But like the spiders, we have to work together to accomplish the goal. It probably took longer for the spiders to finish off the bug, but working together made a victory for them much more likely. As it does for us in the business world, or just about any task.

I went back outside a while later and all the participants in the spider web conflict were gone. Ted posted his picture on Snapchat and most of his friends who responded were certain the spiders had won the battle.  Primarily because they were working together.

About The Author

Tom Friedman

Thomas J. Friedman
Market President, Ankeny
515-777-7172 Email

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