The Business Decisions Game

Target Age: Grades 7-12

Source: The game is based on the Business Simulation Game invented by Entrenuity

Time Required: 45 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • The Store Chart
  • Mini Post-It Notes with Product Names & Prices
  • Calendar Game Boards for each team
  • Product Production supplies: 2-3 markers or pencils per team and a large stack of blank white paper
  • Play Money in denominations of $10, $20, $50, and $100
  • One large 9” by 12” manila mailing envelop with the words “The Bank” written on it
  • Life & Business Events Cards
  • Supplier/Wholesaler Guidelines
  • 2 name tags for the instructor – one saying “Wholesaler” and one saying “Supplier”
  • One regular size empty envelop per team – the envelop should have the team’s name written on it (so that the envelopes can be distinguished)
  • Team Tracking Sheet (one per team)

Game Set-Up by the Instructor:

  1. Print out The Store Chart and tack to a wall in front of the room. The chart provides a guide for what you will write on each mini Post-It note. Write up all the Post-It notes and stick them onto the Store Chart in their corresponding places.
  2. Print out one Calendar Game Board per team. Generally, having 3-4 teams is best. Create an area for each team (at a table, or by pushing desks together). In each team area put one Calendar Game Board, the team’s empty envelope, and $700 of play money.
  3. Print out and cut up the Play Money. You will want to have a total of about $5000.
  4. Tack up The Bank envelop to a wall in the front of the room (it should be about 3 feet from The Store Chart)
  5. Print out the Life & Business Events Cards and keep them in a stack in front of you. (You will control the distribution of these cards.)
  6. Give each team a Team Tracking Sheet.
  7. Print out the Supplier/Wholesaler Guidelines for yourself.
  8. Familiarize yourself with the game and prepare to play the roles of Supplier, Wholesaler, and Timekeeper:
    • Each team will begin with $700 cash.
    • You will need to explain the game to the students:
      1. The object of the game is for the team to be able to make wise decisions about business practices so that their business will be able to survive for the one month that the game simulates. Teams will spend some of their money purchasing product supplies from you (as you play the Wholesaler with your nametag “Wholesaler” on) and then earn money from you when they sell you (as the Retailer, with that nametag on) their finished products for sale through your store. Each time a team representative comes to you in either role, you will follow the script supplied in the Supplier/Wholesaler Guidelines. Each “round” of the game simulates one week in the life of the business. In different weeks, following the Guidelines, you will be paying the teams different prices for their finished products and selling them their product supplies at different prices. Because the teams do not know until you tell them what the costs of the supplies will be, nor will they know the price you will pay them for their finished products, they will each face uncertainty. This adds an element of risk into the game, making their decisions more difficult. During the final week of the month, the team will have to pay rent/payroll of $400. This means that each team must make a sufficient profit through the first three weeks of the game, and weather the varying storms that can occur to them through the Life/Business Event cards, to enable them to have $400 available at the end of the month to be able to pay rent/payroll of $400.
      2. The rules of the game are as follows: (1) The teams can only complete activities on the correct day (i.e., they can engage in product production ONLY on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; they can purchase supplies ONLY on Mondays; they can sell products to the Wholesaler ONLY on Thursdays). (2) You as Supplier and Wholesaler have the final say in all negotiations (and you will follow the Guidelines). (3) The teams’ money is ONLY safe in the Bank, and they may visit the bank to access their money at any time on any day of the week. When depositing their money into The Bank, they should use their team envelope. (4) They can go to The Store ONLY on Fridays and must purchase their items within the allotted time frame of two minutes). (5) If they do not have sufficient cash to pay for a Life/Business Event or to make their end of the month rent/payroll costs, they go bankrupt and are out of the game.
    • At the start of each “week,” each team will decide what one product type it will produce. They can make multiple units of this one product type, but not different types of products in the same week. (For example, in Week One they can decide to make airplanes and to make 4 of them, but they cannot make 2 airplanes and 2 trucks.) They must make their product by drawing it on the paper using the markers/pencils. They can make only one product per sheet of blank paper. Remind them that they may work on creating their products ONLY on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, within the time allotted by you as timekeeper. On each of these production days, they have 3 minutes to make their products. [Students should not have any trouble coming up quickly with some product ideas, but if a team is really struggling at the beginning of the game, you could give them some product suggestions such as clothes, sporting goods, or toys.] If a team is caught cheating by trying to make products on a day other than a Tuesday or Wednesday, or by working beyond the 3-minute time limit on those days, they will be assessed a $100 fine for Worker Exploitation.
    • Each team should elect a representative who will be the negotiator with you in your roles as Supplier and Wholesaler. This representative can only meet with you on the appropriate day of the week — Mondays for talking with the Supplier and Thursdays for talking with the Wholesaler. Each Monday, you should put on your nametag that says “Supplier” and each Thursday you should put on your nametag as “Wholesaler.” In your conversations with the students, you will follow the Supplier/Wholesaler Guidelines for the appropriate week. [Important: When you playing the part of the Supplier, do NOT inform the students what the purchase price of their final products will be on Thursdays when they come to you as the Wholesaler. If they can a question about Wholesaling, reply “I don’t know; I’m just the Supplier.”]
    • On each Friday, the teams will “do life” by going to The Store. Here they will make purchases that they think they will need for daily living for that week. Teams have just 2 minutes to purchase items from The Store. They should select their items (Post-It notes) and bring them to you and pay for them. They should keep their Post-It notes in front of them during the next day, Saturday, when they will receive their Life/Business Event Card. [Smart teams will keep their purchases to a minimum and will try to buy the lowest-priced items, but they will also quickly learn through the Life Event cards that may need to purchase more variety of items than they first thought necessary. Smart teams will also remember to always put their money in the Bank when they are not actively using it, since according to the rules, the only safe place for their money is in the Bank.]
    • On each Saturday, you will give to each team one card from the Life/Business Events cards stack. Most of the cards have negative events that will mean the team has to pay you some money. A few of the cards will have positive events, in which case you will give them money as described on the card.
    • A team that does not have sufficient money to pay for a Life/Business Event card or that during Week 4 does not $400 to pay rent/payroll goes bankrupt and is removed from the game.
    • The game winner is the team that ends the game with the most money, after paying the $400 rent/payroll expense in Week 4.