Monopoly has been a hit for generations, with most everyone having played at least one of the many versions of it at some point. But the Parker Brothers game isn’t just for family game night or a late-night session in college. Monopoly has a lot to teach entrepreneurs about starting a successful business.
Below are six lessons an entrepreneur, or any businessperson for that matter, can learn from Monopoly.
1. Risks should be taken early whenever possible.
In Monopoly, it’s smart to buy as much property as possible from the start to increase your chances of owning at least one full set of the same colored properties before the game is over. Similarly, in business, those who start investing earlier often do better in the long run.
2. Negotiation and persuasion skills are essential.
There are times in Monopoly when a trade is necessary to get ahead. However, you may run up against an owner of the property you want who is benefiting from it and doesn’t want to part with it. Your task then becomes convincing the owner that what you have to offer in return will somehow be more beneficial. Seeing both sides and maneuvering around another party’s wants and demands are all skills that come into play in many business settings.
3. Diversification is key.
With a large variety of properties, you open yourself up to more streams of revenue and a lesser chance of failing because of one bad investment gone bad. Everyone wants Park Place and Boardwalk, but there’s value in owning more than just the top-notch properties. Likewise, when it comes to investing in anything – whether it’s a product line, a supplier, or, in some cases, employees – the more variety, the better.
4. Money should be set aside for uncertainties.
Despite how lucrative an investment may seem, it’s crucial to keep a financial cushion, as you never know how the game, or life, will turn. In Monopoly, there are taxes, penalties, unexpected trips to jail and all sorts of uncertainties that pop up. To play well, you need to keep a good chunk of the colored money at the ready in case your opponents get lucky. Real life business management is no different. You have to keep money set aside for unforeseen expenses.
5. Always understand ROI.
Being able to assess the return on investment is essential in the business world and in Monopoly. In the game, buying lots of properties can yield great results, but you should always know at what cost. You shouldn’t make purchases blindly or without have an idea of what your next move will be. Will buying a lesser property give you the funds you need, if you are low on cash, or should you hold out for something more lucrative? Is it worth your to keep track of a property that won’t generate much in earnings? Just the same, when making business decisions, you have to evaluate your probable gain as well as the expense and time needed to get it.
6. Instant gratification isn’t always what’s best.
Sometimes, the fastest decisions aren’t the wisest ones. It’s exciting to make progress early in the game, but don’t make bad choices just because you want to feel like a winner. In Monopoly and in business, the true winner is the one whose overall decision-making leads to the best outcome. Those who base their choices on one-upping others just for the sake of it – and for the sake of the business overall – will fail.
Daniela Baker has a passion for small business and parenting, she blogs at CreditDonkey.
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