Do not buy the higher-capacity Site and Equipment — they are too expensive for a new business and you can upgrade later when you need to and can afford to.
Do not expect to accomplish many (or any) sales in your first week. You have no inventory to sell and there is much business information for you to review.
Do not schedule your business to open until you have made key decisions and have inventory available to sell.
Do not hire employees right away. Run the business yourself for a while as you experiment with pricing and inventory management. Determine the best balance to achieve profitability before hiring employees. You will lose customers due to slow service and that’s ok at the start.
Do not invest in advertising until your operations are efficient and you are confident in your ability to be profitable.
Things you SHOULD do …
Frequently slow down and speed up the simulation clock based on what you want to accomplish. Slow down the clock when you first start.
Review every screen of the simulation to discover the information and options that are available to you. Read the help text at the bottom of every screen.
Review your products and decide on the type of business you want to operate — low price with low quality, or high price with high quality, or somewhere in between. You can adjust your strategy over time.
Review suppliers and order inventory to match your target price and quality. Inventory takes days to arrive so plan to open for business no sooner than the day after the inventory arrives.
Adjust product prices based on your cost of goods and target profit.
Review your payables. If you can afford to pay some or all of the bills now, do so to improve your business reputation.
Once your inventory is available, set your hours of operation to match the highest customer traffic days and times for your location — review the Customer Profiles report. You need to be open at least 30 - 40 hours per week to achieve profitability.
Manage your home time carefully to avoid reducing your health, particularly during the first week in business when you have more control over your time.
Review the Performance Report and the Skill Score to discover how your success is measured.
to better understand customer feedback and how business metrics are calculated.
Managing inventory is difficult. Good planning and consistent processes are necessary to achieve success. You must have enough inventory available to sell, but not so much that it will remain unsold long enough to spoil. Some inventory items must be ordered frequently in lower quantities, while others can be ordered in larger quantities less frequently. Create a plan and process to maximize sales and customer satisfaction, while minimizing shipping costs and spoilage.
If you run out of inventory, schedule your business to be closed until inventory arrives. Staying open without inventory will negatively affect your customer satisfaction.
Well before you decide to invest money in advertising, begin setting your Targeting, Messaging, and Media options so that you have time to experiment and optimize your results.
When you are ready to hire employees, hire only one employee and schedule them to work during the busiest hours. You should see a reduction in the number of customers lost due to slow service. You should also see an increase in revenue now that more customers are served. Experiment until your profit is high enough to cover the extra expense of having an employee. If your net profit is growing, consider hiring more employees, continuing to experiment with one or two more employees at a time during your busiest hours. Maintain profitability as you grow.
3. Time Management
The clock is always running and creates a realistic sense of urgency.
You can control the speed at which time passes. This allows you to slow down time while you are making business decisions and then speed up time to watch the results of those decisions.
To change the speed, click the clock on the smartphone — or click the slider to make quicker adjustments.
Time Management Example
Arrive at work one or two hours before you are scheduled to open for business.
Set time to slow or very slow.
Conduct management activities for the day (inventory, employees, marketing, etc).
When the management activities are done, set the time to fast or very fast.
Monitor the results of your decisions.
Go home and schedule your return for the next day.
NOTE — You can serve customers while you are at work. Your personal customer service level is high, but your productivity is low because you have other tasks. An employee with high productivity will be able to serve many more customers than you can.
4. The Game Plan
The goal is to achieve a high Net Profit.
Maximize your sales revenue, while keeping your expenses as low as possible
How to maximize revenue
Open for business during periods of highest traffic and be open at least 30 or 40 hours per week.
Have enough inventory available and on-order to meet demand.
Hire employees to serve more customers.
Select a site and equipment with higher-capacities to serve more customers.
Conduct marketing activities to increase the number of customers.
How to keep expenses low
Operate the smallest business that fully serves your needs.
Manage inventory so that you always have just enough but never run out.
Only open for business during the busiest days and hours at your location.
Do not hire employees too soon. Schedule employees to work during the busiest hours.
Do not make marketing investments until your business is operating efficiently and profitably.
5. Solutions for Common Business Problems
Customer feedback appears in real time with each customer and is available in the Customer Feedback report.
for information on how to interpret the feedback and which actions to take
Gross Profit Margin Too Low
PRICE —Are product prices too low? Increasing product prices will earn more profit per sale (but may reduce quantity sold).
QUALITY — Does product quality exceed customer expectations? Lowering quality will reduce cost of goods sold (but may reduce customer satisfaction).
Net Profit Too Low
REVENUE — Are you attracting and servicing enough customers to achieve your target sales? Marketing may increase customers. Are you losing customers? Review customer feedback to discover how to improve.
SERVICE — Are more employees working than needed? Scheduling fewer employees will reduce expenses (but may reduce customer satisfaction).
MARKETING — Are you spending advertising money inefficiently? Improve your Advertising Effectiveness. Make sure you have enough inventory and employees to service the increase in customers achieved with advertising.
EXPENSES — Are site, equipment, and other expenses higher than they need to be?