Why Business Is Like A Massive Game Of Monopoly


I’ve been running a business for the past 3 years. We do a bunch of stuff in my business, from things as diverse as delivering digital risk analysis and strategic planning, right through to helping people build a new bathroom. We work with some of Australia’s most well-known brands on their digital strategies, and on the other side of the coin we’ve been involved with more than 200 bathroom renovation projects in the last 3 months.

Yeah yeah, OK, maybe you’re asking what’s the point? Well the point is that I’m swimming around chest deep in this business stuff, so I guess I’ve become reasonably familiar with how it works. I also love it. I love waking up in the morning and knowing that I have a day full of challenges ahead of me. A day full of challenges that I can choose to tackle in any way I desire. I’ve always marveled at the amount of enjoyment I get out of business, and on many occasions I’ve remarked to friends that I think running a business is like a massive game of monopoly. I’m not talking about moving little figurines around a square board obviously, but rather something a little more layered. Here’s a few of the ways that I can paint the similarity.

Risk Is Everywhere

Business is risky, and that makes it thrilling! Remember the thrill you used to get as a kid when you would approach a concentration of expensive streets packed full of high-rent hotels? Remember looking across at your adversary and seeing that the look of anticipation on his face?

Remember rolling the dice and scoring a number that was just high enough to send you skipping over the other side? Remember the elation and enjoyment that you felt? Well to me, that’s what running a business is like. My job as the leader is to analyse the risks (both the risk of damage and the risk of success) and make decisions on company direction and strategy accordingly. Running a business allows me to have monopoly like moments of excited anticipation and joyful celebration on a regular basis. Pretty sweet!

Unpredictable Environment

May tasks can be mastered on the back of their predictability. For example, imagine you’re an experienced carpenter working on a bathroom renovation. You’ve been given the job of building a top quality bathroom vanity unit and the owner of the house demands that it needs to be perfect. You walk into the bathroom, take a look around, and are greeted with a relaxing site. You’ve seen it all before. Not this exact bathroom, but the challenge ahead of you is still largely the same. You know exactly how you’re going to approach this project and you’re confident that the end result will be a bathroom vanity unit of exceptionally high quality.

You know how to cut the timber to perfection, how to make incredibly tight joins, how to get your bench top, and how to facilitate the needs of the other trades so that the bathroom renovations is completed to an exceptionally high standard. You know all this because you’ve built 200 bathroom vanity units in the last few years.

Now compare this to the challenge of running a business. For example, perhaps you wake up on a Monday morning and you realize that an international competitor has just launched in your backyard with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. Perhaps the Global Financial Crisis Mach 2 has just reared its ugly head and your revenues have plummeted by 75%, but your staff wages are still the same! Perhaps you need to negotiate a merger with another company. Unless you’re an incredibly seasoned operator then all of these challenges are likely to be challenges that you haven’t faced before.

You Can't Master Every time!
It’s the unpredictable nature of this environment that makes business like a game of Monopoly. With some trades you can master your environment, while with others you are always navigating a world of chance.

Mountainous Fun

Most of all, when embraced in full, running a business is just ridiculously good fun. It’s stupidly enjoyable to be the master of your own destiny, whether that’s through building bathroom renovations, developing digital strategy for major brands, building websites, or running the corner store. Business is amazing!

What similarities do you see with your business and the game of Monopoly?

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