|That's us at the top--Good Brews|
The term is over, but I wanted to create this blog to share tips on how to win at BizCafe while the experience was still fresh in my mind. We had an incentive to win--the winning team would receive a 5% bonus in their grades for the course. I put in a ton of work to figure out how the game worked and to make informed decisions, so I wanted to pass on what I learned and leave behind a record of my efforts.
Each game is different
Each game is different
The length of the game can vary, and this will affect how you play. According to the game's documentation, the simulation can last up to 16 weeks. Ours lasted 8 weeks. I can only presume that many of the principles I discuss here will apply to a longer game, but I found that the number of weeks left in the game is a serious consideration. Any decision that involves a cash outlay followed by potential long-term benefits must be made in the context of how much time you have left. It's a waste of money to sink cash into your shop if there's only one week left.
Do your research
If you want to do well at this game, the first thing you should do, if you haven't done so already, is visit How to Win BizCafe Simulation at http://winningatbizcafe.blogspot.com/, and read it all the way through. I did, and I adopted many of their suggestions, which I will detail in the next post. Also, read the documentation that comes with the game. It's a pdf file that's about thirty pages long, but it's worth it. Myself--I read every single presentation on the game that was out there, but the only value I got from those was to get a sense of the possible special decisions and incidents we would potentially encounter; I didn't find much about gameplay.
The week before our game started, our professor explained some of the game dynamics. If your instructor does this--take notes! I did, and they came in handy later when I needed to investigate why our projections didn't work out. Here's what I wrote down. The arrow, "-->" means "drives".
- Five decisions you need to make every week: price, advertising, staffing, wages, and supplies
- Revenue - Expenses = Profit
- Sales Volume * Price --> Revenue
- Volume is affected by price
- Advertising --> volume --> expenses
- If you advertise well, you can charge more
- Supplies --> expenses
- Supplies can affect volume if you get it wrong
- Staffing --> expenses --> volume
- Good staffing can help you charge more
- Wages --> expenses --> volume --> price
- Happy employees can better serve customers
- Furniture -- do you want to be Starbucks or Coffee Time?
- Equipment -- small espresso maker or large?
- Each week: decisions for the week:
- Quantity and quality of coffee
- Hours to open
- Product price
- Special decisions
- Reports to use:
- Decision Summary, Cash-Budget Analysis, and Break-Even Worksheet for making weekly decisions
- Under "Company": check book, daily receipts, income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement
- Market: local labor report
- Recommended: Use a spreadsheet to calculate and forecast