It's National Apprenticeship Week 2022!

In support of National Apprenticeships Week, we're offering a huge 20% discount on EACH and EVERY one of our business simulations! 

Why use a business simulation?

Business simulations allow participants to ‘have a go’ at running a business. As such they are ideal to help develop commercial awareness and give team members a chance to consider all the factors that go into running a business. Arguably even more importantly they highlight key group skills such as the ability to argue a case, to reach consensus decisions, to forecast and plan, to analyse figures and trends, to deal with the unexpected, to be creative and much, much more.

Importantly, business simulations are also fun! Delegates are less likely to show enthusiasm for training which involves static slideshows and lectures - rather, they enjoy communicating and interacting with each other and above all they enjoy learning by doing. One of the main benefits of a business simulation is that it offers this type of learning environment. 

And four of our six business simulations can be used in both virtual AND face-to-face classrooms (please see individual product pages for details).

They sound complicated BUT…

Many business simulations are so complex that they put people off. This is because the designers try to mirror reality and as we all know reality is extremely complex and what it usually means is that participants get bogged down in a huge amount of number-crunching when what they should be doing is focusing on the decision-making aspects.

A good simulation for general staff development and managerial training purposes gets teams to make decisions and then see the consequences of their decisions. It also allows them to ‘come back’ from wrong decisions so they can learn from their mistakes without going bust!

Northgate simulation: Going for Profit!

One of Northgate’s bestselling simulations that allows teams to test their commercial skills is Going for Profit! This simulation is all about running a pizza takeaway – a business model which delegates can all immediately understand.

In Going for Profit! teams study a map of a town that does not have a pizza takeaway. There are four possible sites where they could locate their shop. One is in an upmarket residential area, two are in a tourist area and one in a student area. Teams are told they have to bid for the shops and there is a minimum bid but no maximum. They are also told (though they do not read this bit) that each site has the same profit potential.

Potential Pitfalls

Teams usually miss this first test of so-called business acumen. Most participants have an emotional response so they will go for the student area because they see it has bars and nightclubs, or the tourist area because they think tourists eat lots of pizza or the upmarket area as they can charge more. They then overbid to outdo others and ensure they get what they want. The rational decision is to bid the minimum and not care which site you get – they all have the same potential. Bidding high pressurises teams as they then incur extra loan repayments throughout the game. Extra payments they could do without when trying to make the most profit! This first decision separates the sheep from the goats! That is not to say that a team that bids high may still not win. It all depends on how well they manage their business.

After the Auction

After teams have been allocated a site, they must make decisions on how they want to run their pizza takeaway. In the Team Folder, they have information on how much their product (pizzas) cost at different levels of quality. Will they choose to sell frozen pizzas, fresh pizzas or a mix (ie frozen bases and fresh toppings)? This is a crucial decision and of course depends on which site you are running. Once they have a cost price, teams must decide on a selling price.

More pitfalls

Several teams come a cropper when they forget to add a ‘margin’ and sell at cost (big mistake!). When all the other expenses come in (energy, staff, market research, advertising) they make a thumping loss. However, we have had teams that even though they made this initial mistake, learned so much during the game, they eventually went on to win!

The 'Rounds' & Decision Forms

The simulation proceeds over a number of rounds - each round being 3 months of trading. So, teams make decisions for the coming three months in terms of:

  • Pizza price
  • Staff wages
  • Quality of pizza
  • Advertising spend
  • Market research cost

Opportunities, Threats & More!

So, all along the way teams' decision-making within a business context is being tested. There are no heavy calculations but teams need to get control of the figures so they can begin to predict what their results should be and from there they can move on to seeing how they can increase revenue and profit. They learn from period to period what works and what does not.

It all adds up to a test of whether teams have a business head or if they are swayed with emotion on key decisions. In addition, it illustrates how they work together as a management team and if they can work comfortably together and compromise – or if they fall apart.

Whatever the case, the simulation is packed with learning!

Other Northgate simulations

Many of our other simulations work in very similar ways – for example in Hotel, participants are running a hotel rather than a pizza takeaway with relevant extra decisions relating to the hotel business, such as adding a restaurant, foyer shopping and a swimming pool. In The Wine Bar Game, participants are running a wine bar, but there are stock issues to consider. And in The Sandwich Shop, participants are running… you guessed it! Then we have some more complex simulations which include Robot & Winning Strategies. We can advise which is best suited to your learning requirements. 

Whichever one you choose the results will be higher engagement, increase motivation, friendly competition and a deeper understanding of what it takes to run a business. Plus enhanced teamwork and improved decision-making skills. A great return on any investment!

Any questions?

Use LiveChat on our website or call +44 (0)1225 484990 (or request a callback below) and we'll be happy to offer free, no-obligation advice on which simulation best suits your needs. 

Offer available for a limited time only (ends Friday 13 February 2022).