7 Business Takeaways You Can Learn From Monopoly

These seven lessons draw parallels between casual game play and real world business strategies.

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Monopoly is a generational classic that has brought families together for nearly a century. Although the board game makes for great recreational fun, playing Monopoly also has lessons for entrepreneurs and business leaders if they pay close attention.

Here are 7 lessons people can learn by regularly playing Monopoly:

Quickly recognize opportunity

A good business leader is able to leverage both due diligence and intuition with respect to time in the decision-making process. Playing Monopoly trains you to recognize opportunity while making fast-paced decisions in a competitive market. Just because an opportunity is present, doesn’t mean that opportunity is the best for your business. Conversely, if there is a beneficial opportunity you need to pounce before the competition does. Training your brain the techniques in decreasing the reaction time involved in making decisions can prepare you for similar real-life choices, while simultaneously getting your brain used to the feeling of winning. 

Related: Act Like a Leader: Help Others Succeed. Build Strategic Alliances. Know Yourself.

See potential where others see none

While players rush to the luxury side of the board to acquire properties like Boardwalk and Park Place, you can quickly acquire and develop the lesser desired properties. These spots yield a moderate return on investment that potentially forces the sale of those same luxury properties at a huge discount in the future. Understanding that small opportunities build a foundation for larger opportunities will give you the stamina to wait out the competition until you're ready to hit your home run. 

Use time-outs strategically

You might cringe if you pull the Chance card or land on the Go To Jail square because it took you out of the game, but there is a huge upside in your time-out, especially if you have assets on the board or capital to spare. While players continue to circle the board, the chances of them landing on a property you own and paying you rent continues to exist. Meanwhile, your risk for the same fate is nonexistent as long as you stay put. This gives you the opportunity to make strategic offers on properties not owned by you, or gives you the capital you need to further develop your assets with houses and hotels.

Business leaders frequently adjust to market conditions by expanding or contracting expenses. A time-out in the real world could be just what you need to realign your business strategy for a greater comeback. 

Prioritize income over luxury

As a business leader, it might be tempting to have the best tools and services for a greater user and customer experience. However best-in-class tools don't come cheap. Buying guaranteed income squares, like railroads and utilities, allows you to later buy luxuryn as you aren’t completely dependent on color sets and passing the GO! square for $200. Put into practice, steady income streams can catapult your business forward and allow for you to go for luxury at a later time. 

Diversify income sources

You will undoubtedly lose Monopoly if you spend the entire game circling the board and collecting $200 while never stopping to purchase an asset. The successful diversification of income sources makes a winner both in the game and as a business leader. Finding ways to diversify your income as a business leader is paramount, as total reliance on one income stream is dangerous in the event that income stream is interrupted.

Related: 4 Ways an Entrepreneur Should Diversify Their Income

Use leverage responsibly

A general rule of thumb to follow is to use debt on things that will increase revenue. Smart Monopoly players can justify mortgaging a property as a strategy for success depending on how that additional property will return on investment. In the business world, debt is sometimes necesssary to expand your business, so it’s important to use that debt responsibly.

Practice creating strategic alliances

In Monopoly, everyone is in it for themselves. But sometimes you have to make a series of trade and acquisition offers in order to get ahead. You may own two properties of a particular color set and own one a competitor needs to complete their own. Leveraging elements like time, capital and competitor greed can make the winning difference in board game dominance — and it’s no different in the business world. It's common for business leaders to have something of value while looking for something others have that will benefit them. Mastering elements of human psychology, timing and a great cash offer with the right partner can take your business to the next level. 

Related: 5 Boardgames That Teach Us Important Entrepreneurial Strategies & Leadership Lessons

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