Games, especially those played on a screen have always been considered as a waste of time by the majority. Quite a few allegations have been continuously made on them of inducing violence, being meaninglessness and imparting no value to the players. I beg to differ.
During my college days and in fact even now, while running two fairly successful companies, I play video games and I love them. One of the games that particularly stands out is ‘The Age of Empires’. Not only because of the excellent game that is but also because of the way it enhances my ways of doing business.
The game has taught me many a lessons of strategy through it’s gameplay and tactics, out of which I have listed the 8 which can be utilized by every Entrepreneur in the business:
1. Harness your resources efficiently: While playing AoE, the focal point of all participants is harnessing the resources. Be it the food, wood, stone or gold and the reason being the obvious – they are limited and not everyone can get enough.
When you are in business, the resources are – funding, customer’s cash, good employees or even a great office. Everything is limited. You must always be exploring and harness them continuously. They are the fuel of your business.
2.Your citizens drive your kingdom: One of the features I love at AoE is the Idle citizen button. When you click at the icon, you are shown all your citizens that are sitting idle. An idle citizen is a waste of resource that you put in building him. You should always keep a tab on them and utilize them efficiently to produce the desired result.
In your organization, they are your employees. There must be a system that always keeps an eye on idle employees. At the same time, you should be in a condition to find work for them, either through reallocation or acquiring new projects. The human resource is equally, if not more important than the gold you mine.
3. Collect Relics: The idea behind collecting relics in the game is – If you collect a relic and deposit in your temple, your gold would automatically keep on increasing, forever. It is a one-time hard work and the benefits are endless.
Your relic in your business is the one product that hits the chord with the market. The product that’ll keep the cash flowing in and support your business in tougher times. It would give you the buffer to innovate and create strategies to become the leader.
4. Build your Outposts and Watchtowers: The map in AoE is very dynamic in nature. The places that have yet not been explored by you will appear dark and no movements taking place there would be visible to the player. To counter the challenge, we have to build Outposts and Watchtowers at regular and key positions.
In the business world, market intelligence becomes the hygiene factor for a successful business. If you aren’t aware of the latest happenings of the market, the competitor will encroach upon your business, exploit it and eventually kill it.
5. Protect your Castle: The castle is the place where the king and the most important subjects reside. An attempt to vandalize the castle and take your subjects away will always be made. Keeping the castle and the residents safe is one of the key tactics to win the game.
The competition would always want your best employees and would lure them in any way possible. Their faith and security must be one of your top priorities. Losing them would result in a major setback for your business and may result in fatality.
6. Construct a Wonder: Constructing a Wonder in the game gives you an unfair advantage. If your opponents aren’t able to destroy your wonder within a stipulated time, they’ll automatically lose.
In the business sense, your competitive advantage is your wonder. It may be the business model, a breakthrough innovation or simply your unique culture. Your competitors may destroy your wonder either by imitating it or creating something better, but the time within they should do it is limited. Similarly, for you, innovation should be a practice to develop new wonders every time.
7. Underestimating Nobody: There a number of civilizations in the game, Age of Empires and every civilization having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The common notion spread, is of a few civilizations being more disadvantageous than others. The biggest mistake a player does is to believe those notions.
Even if the market intelligence or the grapevine tells that a particular competitors isn’t big enough to consider, do not trust them blindly. Keep a watch on the market and the tactics that your competitors implement. Keep the competition healthy and your company healthier.
8. Economy is the King: A rich economy is the backbone of a great kingdom. It’s the gold that fuels the imperialistic ambitions and luxuries of making a wonder. A huge army with a depleting economy has very little time left before it is thrashed to ruins.
Innovation and creativity are luxuries that only cash rich organizations can afford. An organizations needs both of them for a long term existence. Hence, keeping the organization cash rich and the P&L beautiful, gives you the slack to re-invent tactics and win your competition over.
In conclusion, all I would mention is – Learning never stops. Learn from every source possible and in the end you wouldn’t have wasted a single moment of your life.