The business acumen simulation for sevice companies

Service Challenge
the business acumen simulation for service companies











Site Map

Contact Us

SERVICE CHALLENGE explores running a service company selling three services to different customers with decisions covering marketing, finance, operations and quality improvement.

This simulation is one of a range of business acumen simulations exploring the issues facing manufacturing, service, retail, distribution, banking, training, professional services and not-for-profit industries.

The development of this simulation was sponsored by BAT (UK and Export) as part of their Middle East Management Challenge Initiative.


Key Learning




Ways of Use

Walk through how this simulation might be used on your course.


KEY LEARNING: The simulation explores these business acumen topics.

AVAILABILITY: This business simulation is designed to be used by your trainers.

Learn more about running a business simulation yourself.

DURATION: Approximately one day (although they can be run, in an accelerated manner, in half a day).

TARGET AUDIENCE: The simulation is designed to be used by trainees, junior management to middle management, functional specialists and supervisors. Or, abbreviated or with additional tasks, with senior management.

METHOD: After a short briefing the training group is divided into several teams of four or five participants. These teams consider the problem facing them and then make a series of decisions that are fed, by the tutor, into a microcomputer that simulates their effect. The results are returned for the team to analyse before making their next decisions. This decision-making cycle is repeated for at least six periods. At the end of the simulation phase the teams reunite to discuss and compare results.

NUMBER OF TEAMS: The simulation may be used with between two and eight teams that compete and interact directly with each other.

HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS: A single PC and printer for each group of two to eight teams (each of four or five participants).

The simulation uses an advanced simulator that supports tutoring, provides for ease of use and will run on all Windows operating systems from Windows 98 thorough Windows 8.1



The simulation involves running a complete business with decisions covering marketing (pricing and promotion), finance (bank loans) and resourcing (levels and quality). So, it is especially suited to help participants appreciate the general management of a complete company, its main functions and how they interact.


During the simulation, participants will be concerned with creating a profitable, growing business that survives. They will develop an understanding of business purpose, how this is influenced by their decisions and how business objectives and measures interact.

Participants without management experience may be especially challenged by the need to deal with ambiguity and make decisions without perfect information and, where, some information is provided as qualitative comments about the business.


The simulation introduces participants to financial fundamentals (costing, Profit & Loss Account, the Balance Sheet, cash flow and key ratios).

Optionally, using the work sheets provided, participants can test their understanding by preparing the financial reports manually.

For more advanced use, the Progressive and Compleat versions provide information on break-even, profit analysis and economic value added.


Besides considering how customers respond to changing prices, promotion and market sizes, participants must consider the effect of the competitors' actions and the financial and operational consequences of their decisions.

Optionally, using the tutor's audit, the trainer running the simulation can provide market research to help teams identify the responses of the markets to their decisions.


For each market served, existing customers must be persuaded to buy regularly and new customers must be persuaded to start buying. To do this, the teams must balance short term profitability needs with maintaining long term relationships and how price, promotion and the quality of the service impact these.


Participants need to decide how each service contributes to the business's profitability, growth and cash flow. (For more advanced use, an optional report shows each service on a profit or investment centre basis.)


With decisions covering changing resourcing levels and quality investment, participants must forecast sales and match demand to resourcing levels. This must take into account the uncertainties of the impact of marketing decisions, competitive actions and the dynamics of changing markets.


With participants working in small teams, they have the opportunity to share experience and knowledge, present and promote different viewpoints, and develop their people skills.


Optionally, at the end of the simulation, teams can be asked for make a formal board presentation covering objectives, strategies, process, the future (of the simulated business) and learning.


This simulation is available for company training on a per course rental basis (rather than on a per participant basis) and for academic (university) and school use on a per course and an annual unlimited use basis. For you convenience you can pay in pounds sterling (), US Dollars () or Euros.

Learn more about the rental process

Training Type


Company Training




Academic (annual use)




School (annual license)





  1. Single company training course is up to 30 participants Beyond that for each group of 30 a copy of the business simulation must be rented.
  2. Rentals in the UK and the European Union will incur VAT (Value Added Tax) at 20%. For the rest of the world VAT is not charged.
  3. Company Training use is invoiced after successful use.
  4. Academic use up to first degree level and school use is free - see School and University Use.


The simulation can be used in several ways


        AS A BREAK






Documentation is provided separately for the UK and US Versions MS Word format and comprises:

A Participants' Manual that provides, for the participants. a description of the simulation, a description of their task and how to use the software.

The Background Notes describe the simulation for the trainer. (Please email me to receive a copy of the Background Notes.)

The Decision Forms are the forms used to communicate a team's decisions to the trainer.

The Work Sheets are optional and are provided to allow participants to create manually the financial reports from the Preliminary Results and the Previous Period's Results.

The Reporting Pack documents the reports produced by all versions of the simulation. (Our design approach means that it is very easy to change these reports to reflect those your company/industry uses, training needs and business issues.)

Using the Simulator provides, for the trainer (and computer support staff), information about installing the simulation and the use of the software.

Running the Simulation provides, for the trainer, information about running the simulation.

Briefing is a MS Power Point briefing explaining the simulation to the participants. (You may find it useful if you review this before reading the briefs.)

Specimen Results are provided in Adobe PDF format and illustrate output from the simulation thus:

Preliminary Results are those produced and printed seconds after the period is simulated. They provide information for the teams to work on while their full results are prepared.

Standard Results are the detailed results showing a team's business results. The results shown here are the results produced for all periods for the Classic or Assessment versions of the simulation and for the first period of the Progressive version of the simulation.

Business Research is the report provided to teams showing their relative positions in terms of the marketplace and financial results.

Tutor's Audit provides comparative highlights of team results to the tutor to allow he or she identify which teams need coaching and which need challenging.

Team Commentaries provides on an individual team basis additional reports analysing their business performance and lists strengths and weaknesses.

Reconciliations are provided to help the trainer answer questions about how results were calculated. Thus, if a team asks how a result was calculated the trainer can select and print the appropriate report.

UK Versions US Versions
Participants' Manual Download size 66k bytes Download size 66k bytes
Decision Forms Download size 22k bytes Download size 21k bytes
Work Sheets Download size 32k bytes Download size 34k bytes
Reporting Pack Download size 86k bytes Download size 106k bytes
Using the Simulator
Running the Simulation Download 98k Bytes Download 98k Bytes
Briefing Download 38k Bytes Download 38k Bytes
Preliminary Results Download size 5k bytes Download size 5k bytes
Standard Results Download size 6k bytes Download size 6k bytes
Business Research Download size 6k bytes Download size 6k bytes
Tutor's Audit Download size 13k bytes Download size 14k bytes
Team Commentaries Download size 7k bytes Download size 7k bytes
Reconciliations Download size 10k bytes Download size 10k bytes


This is provided to allow you to download an evaluation version of the simulation.

The table below shows the files to download, their description and size. You should copy them to a folder, a USB Flash Drive or even to floppy discs! Run setup.exe. The program will then install.

If, instead of installing from the Web, you are installing from the CD-ROM version of this resource you can install directly by clicking setup.exe and opening the file.

Note: When downloading the setup.lst file you must right click and then select Save As. (If you left click the file will open - this is a feature of Windows XP, Vista,Windows 7 and Windows 8.1)

File Description Size
setup.exe Installation Program 137 Kbytes
Setup.lst Installation Data 5 Kbytes Simulator Files 2,369 Kbytes

Go to main site home page
Goto top of page Contact us
2001Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 09/04/15
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail