Got Game?

Useful start-up moves from a popular board game
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Playing Monopoly was a blast as a kid. Buying Boardwalk and Park Place. Passing Go and collecting $200. Building an empire. Now that you're an entrepreneur, why not take some of those Monopoly lessons and apply them to your business?

That's the idea behind Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Monopoly (Running Press) by Alan Axelrod. "The great lesson of Monopoly is to flex your risk muscle," Axelrod says. "In Monopoly, a cautious strategy can never win." Axelrod says the game is all about the calculus of opportunity. Passively letting opportunities pass you by effectively plays into the hands of opponents.

Because the object of the game is to be the last one standing, you must be both ethical and ruthless. In business, that means making decisions that benefit your company. "It's also helpful to be decent, polite and courteous, and to negotiate with others to form alliances," according to Axelrod. "Any business, especially a start-up, has to create a corporate karma where what you put out there is going to be paid to you."

Of course, Monopoly differs from real-life business in that your real-life object isn't to create a true monopoly. When that happens, it's the end of doing business because you've driven out your competitors. "Greed is never going to be sufficient to drive an ongoing business," says Axelrod. "Business has to be an exchange of value."

In your real-life business, apply this key lesson from Monopoly: "Figure out ways not to lose the sense of fun, of play," Axelrod says. "Once you lose that, your imagination narrows, and your ability to take risks narrows."

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.