The most basic business lesson taught by World of Warcraft

The most basic business lesson taught by World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft’s Auction House is the in-game marketplace, the bazaar where players can sell virtual stuff to other players. Magical potions, plate armor, everything under the virtual sun gets traded millions of times a day. Auctions listed in the Auction House can last up to 48 hours, after which they expire and your virtual goods are returned to you. If you don’t relist them, they just remain in your character’s bags. To be a successful auctioneer, you have to be “open for business” by constantly keeping items on the market for sale.

Tauren Auction House

There’s one fundamental lesson the Auction House can teach us, one fundamental lesson we must take to heart and practice in our businesses:

If you’re not open for business, no one can buy from you.

It doesn’t matter how epic the items you have for sale are. It doesn’t matter how long it took you to win them in the game or make them from your trade skills. It doesn’t matter how low or high demand those items are. If they’re sitting in your bags and not on the market, no one can buy from you. You must be open for business to make money.

I know what you’re saying. You don’t play the video game. You don’t have a business that even remotely looks like this. The principle still applies, however. If You’re not open for business, no one can buy from you.

  • You’re not open for business when someone calls and no one answers the phone, or worse, robots do it (poorly) for you.
  • You’re not open for business when someone searches for your product or service and you don’t appear anywhere in the search results.
  • You’re not open for business when someone emails you and you don’t respond ever, or worse, their email ends up in your spam bucket.
  • You’re not open for business when someone asks a question about your company in social media and you aren’t part of the conversation at all.
  • You’re not open for business when someone goes to check out online and your web site doesn’t let them complete the transaction.

Where are you open for business? Where are you effectively closed, turning away actively interested buyers who want to give you their money?

Want to make some real money? Where are your competitors not open for business, and can you be open for business in that space?


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  • http://matthewebel.com Matthew Ebel

    Amen! This is the reason I'm fine with giving CD Baby a % of my digital music sales. Every time a new music store opens up, they do all the paperwork, the registration, the data entry, and the accounting for me before I even know there's a new site. I'm open for business anywhere they are and I don't have to waste time opening up new stores.

  • http://www.bigpictureweb.com jlbraaten

    This is a great post, Chris. And as much as every WoW post makes me want to give into World of WarCrack again, I'll just keep reading your posts, living vicariously through your death knight.

    I think the best example of being open for business where others weren't was your Financial Aid Podcast from your days back at the Student Loan Network. How many new leads did you get just from that alone.

    This concept can be applied to any medium. To any goal. The first step to winning is showing up.

  • http://matthewebel.com Matthew Ebel

    Amen! This is the reason I'm fine with giving CD Baby a % of my digital music sales. Every time a new music store opens up, they do all the paperwork, the registration, the data entry, and the accounting for me before I even know there's a new site. I'm open for business anywhere they are and I don't have to waste time opening up new stores.

  • http://www.bigpictureweb.com jlbraaten

    This is a great post, Chris. And as much as every WoW post makes me want to give into World of WarCrack again, I'll just keep reading your posts, living vicariously through your death knight.

    I think the best example of being open for business where others weren't was your Financial Aid Podcast from your days back at the Student Loan Network. How many new leads did you get just from that alone.

    This concept can be applied to any medium. To any goal. The first step to winning is showing up.

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  • MrLoftcraft

    I have read many articles on WoW and I even tried to play that game several times. It seems that I don't like it:)) Many people are addicted to it, but I don't even like it:)) Interesting, huh?

  • MrLoftcraft

    I have read many articles on WoW and I even tried to play that game several times. It seems that I don't like it:)) Many people are addicted to it, but I don't even like it:)) Interesting, huh?

  • http://www.wowguideguru.com/2010/06/20/disc-priest-pvp/ Priest PvP

    I play World of Warcraft and it is addicting as hell. True about not being open for business you can't get any business. There are actually a million more economy lessons to be learned within the game just by studying the auction house behavior of prices and various events / changes in the world.

  • http://www.wowguideguru.com/2010/06/20/disc-priest-pvp/ Priest PvP

    I play World of Warcraft and it is addicting as hell. True about not being open for business you can't get any business. There are actually a million more economy lessons to be learned within the game just by studying the auction house behavior of prices and various events / changes in the world.

  • coco1212

    The importance of being open for business is not the most important business lesson WOW can teach you. I learned a lot on negotiation techniques and manipulation, and all this without even having to use the marketplace, like Eric Berne once said “life is a series of tranzactions”

  • coco1212

    The importance of being open for business is not the most important business lesson WOW can teach you. I learned a lot on negotiation techniques and manipulation, and all this without even having to use the marketplace, like Eric Berne once said “life is a series of tranzactions”

  • coco1212

    The importance of being open for business is not the most important business lesson WOW can teach you. I learned a lot on negotiation techniques and manipulation, and all this without even having to use the marketplace, like Eric Berne once said “life is a series of tranzactions”