Mini-games are an often overlooked part of most games, as people are focused on the main story to give too much thought to the game inside the game. The Yakuza series, however, takes mini-games to the next level. Following on the heels of the Cabaret Club management and Real Estate management from the older games, the latest installation of the Yakuza series has a Business management mini-game.
This mini-game becomes accessible by completing Sub Quest 15: Ijincho's Safety Net. The ultimate goal of the mini-game is to reach Stock Price Rank 1. Starting from the very bottom, you need to work your way to the top, beating your competitors along the way.
This is achieved by increasing the price of your shares. Each time you go to Ichiban Confections, you get the option to Open for Business. Whenever you do that, it counts as one round. Upon the completion of four rounds, you have to attend a Shareholders Meeting. This is where the real battle is fought. You need to win over the Shareholders who will try their best to bring you down with their questions and accusations. The business rounds aren't as important as shareholders' meetings, where Ichiban actually gets his salary and the business funds get a bonus. These meetings are also highly influential on your share price, so you want to complete all of these meetings with flying colors.
The better you do each shareholder meeting, the more prospective businesses become available for you to buy. As your company grows, your company will change from Ichiban Confections to Ichiban Holdings, with a swanky headquarters building and office. That's where the grind starts to make it to the top. But beware, Nick Ogata's rivals will have caught your scent by then and will stop at nothing to bring you down, including invading your shareholders' meetings and putting up a challenge.
Buying, Managing, and Selling Businesses
At the very beginning, you will start with nothing but Ichiban Confections. This property cannot be sold, so focus on maxing it out. It'll be your cash cow for the beginning. Other properties can be bought and sold in time. As you climb the share price ranks, you'll unlock more slots to buy businesses. One thing you should avoid at all costs, however, is debt. While it definitely may seem tempting, it'll set you back quite a bit and you might end up disappointing Nick Ogata (even though it has no severe implications). It just prolongs the process of you reaching your goal.
Each property has four attributes: Sales Volume, Product, Service, and Notability. Of these, the one that influences your cash flow the most is the Sales Volume. It sets the bar for the other three aspects higher, requiring you to upgrade the attributes to try and meet the goal. The only ways to reach/exceed the sales volume bar is to:
1) Upgrade the respective attributes, and
2) Hire a leader/member in that property with the appropriate corresponding attributes.
Maxing out the Sales Volume right off the bat will lead your business into heavy losses, so make sure you only upgrade it when you have the resources and staff to keep up with the sales volume.
To choose the right staff, it is important to pick an appropriate leader. Just slotting in leaders based on their rarity without checking their stats will do you no good. The leader's stats affect all three of the property's auxiliary attributes (Product, Service, and Notability). Additionally, for each property, you can have 2 members as well. However, unlike the leader, only one stat of the member is active in the property. In the image above, the Service stat for each of the members is active. The active stats are determined by the property itself, so each property has its own set of active member stats. We'll get into detail about the stats for employees in a later section. Combining the total stats of the leader and both members, try to pick and choose who gets placed in which property to utilize each employee to their maximum potential. For eg, It is a waste to have a leader who excels in a stat that the members can easily make up for.
For starters, to reach top 100, it is recommended to purchase Mahjong Club Ling. Maintain it, and hire and place employees there that can run it.
In the run up for top 50, buy Ryusei Stage Theater, Mr. Billio, and Yokodo Bookstore.
When hustling for top 20, buy Cat's Servant, Karaoke GonGon, Hortensia, and White Flag.
At this point, you will have got a handle on how things run, so in the race for top 10, and eventually, #1, it is recommended to go with your gut. Just don't bite off more than you can chew, and you'll be fine.
One of the most important part of the mini-game is who to hire and develop. At the start, you will get a choice of some low rarity employees, and Omelette (Kokekokko in Japanese). As your share price goes higher, and upon the completion of sub-quests, more people will show interest in working with you. The rarity of employees you can higher increases along with your share price. The only UR employee in the base game (non-DLC) is Eri Kamataki, who can be hired when you reach Rank 1.
The most important thing about employee management is to never keep more employees than you require. This will incur a heavy surplus labor cost. This is something you must avoid, as it is money going down the drain. Fortunately for you, employees fired can be re-hired. Three employees per business are all you need. Any more, and it's money out of your pocket since it's on you that they're not actively working anywhere whilst you still pay them a salary.
Before you fire an employee, consider whether or not they're placed in the best business for them. This can be done by taking a look at their stats. Having an employee with a high product stat as a member in a business that doesn't have the product stat active is a waste of that employee's talents. Rearrange your employees to maximize each employee's greatest strengths. This requires some analysis on your part, but it shouldn't be too hard.
Each employee can be developed to a higher level, by making them take training courses and giving them promotion notices. Each time you promote an employee, their stats increase, along with their level. The level cap is at 30, after which you can no longer train or promote them. Employees will often become dissatisfied. To remedy this, give them bonuses. At the beginning, you'll have to pick and choose the bonuses carefully so that you don't overspend on any one employee. However, when you're at a high rank and rolling in dough, treat your employees to a Space Tour if you wish. They deserve it, and it keeps them happy.
Keeping employees happy is crucial for a bunch of reasons. For one, they perform better during the business periods, raking in more cash for you. However, the real importance of employee satisfaction is the impact it has on Shareholder Meetings, and the Approval Rating. This will be expanded on in the Shareholder Meeting section of this guide.
Advertisements and Investment Opportunities
Every now and then, you will be presented with an investment opportunity from shady businessmen for very expensive contracts. Sometimes they payout, sometimes they don't. Usually, Ichi can sniff out a scam, but it's not guaranteed every time. Go with your gut. If you're strapped on cash, lay off on investing and focus on building your funds.
Occasionally, Omelette will get featured in a magazine and your sales will be boosted. It'll be like Christmas, only greener. Maximize your profits by going hard on the businesses. Pump out those sales, and thank Omelette. Every now and then you'll be prompted to conduct an advertising campaign as well. These lead to some entertaining cutscenes, which are definitely worth watching. Not only are they creative, but they also boost your sales for days. Worth it without a doubt.
This is where the cream of this mini-game is. The most important part of the business is to win over the shareholders, who will definitely have some questions for you.
During your business periods, you will be prompted with the Open For Business option. This takes you to the screen where you conduct your business, see your cash flow, and carry on. However, after the fourth business period is over, the prompt changes to Shareholder Meeting. Now, before jumping in, you want to check out the Board Room option first.
This is the very first thing you need to take note of. The approval rating will influence the difficulty of the meeting itself. You want to have a high approval rating going in. While this might not always be possible, you can control one aspect of it. Net Worth and Current Period Sales to Date are not things you can influence so easily, so while they may be negative, you should focus on the Manage Employees approval rating. In order to get a +10% Great rating, make sure that all your employees are satisfied (green smiley icon). While this may prove to be an expensive endeavor early on in the game, it will progressively become more affordable. It is worth every penny. The baseline Approval Rating is 50%, and you can go as high as 80%, or as low as 20% before you start the meeting.
This section shows you what "bosses" to expect in the shareholder meeting. Their levels, type, and mood will be displayed along with a picture of them. The important things to note are their types and their mood. A happy shareholder will be easy to win over. A dissatisfied shareholder will rain down on you with questions galore.
This will be your team going into the shareholder meeting. Ichi is irreplaceable, so you will have to pick the additional four employees to take along with you to try and impress the board members. The things you want to focus on when selecting your team are as follows:
1) You want at LEAST one employee of each type on your team. You can tailor the team as per the shareholders that will be present, but it's much easier to have one solid team for all meetings.
2) Employees with low Command Cost and high Charisma and Tenacity. Command Cost will determine how many actions you can perform simultaneously, Charisma will be your employee's charming capacity, and Tenacity will be your employee's ability to take a hit. Min-max the daylights out of your team, and you will almost always be successful.
The type system in this mini-game follows a very straight forward Rock, Paper, Scissors system. Red beats green, green beats blue, and, as the prophecy once foretold, blue beats red.
The objective of the meeting is to attain an approval rating of 50% or higher. Hitting 100% approval at any point will end the meeting immediately, with resounding success. Failure to do so, however, will impact your business adversely, resulting in penalties and setting you back in the rankings.
When you start, you'll be faced by the shareholder panel waiting to ask you questions. Selecting one puts you into battle mode. No need to rush into this, take your time and pick whichever shareholder you think is impacting approval the most. When they ask you a question, they will be "shielded."
They will pick one of your board members, and begin throwing accusations. Your job is to respond with an appropriate board member to "break their shields" and protect the accused member. Follow the type system for this. If a blue type shareholder is throwing accusations, use a green type board member to rebuke it. A type advantage will instantly break their shields.
Once their shields are down, you can begin the charming. Keep note of your action points, and start charming the shareholder until they've had enough or until the timer runs out. It's okay if you're unable to win them over in one go, the progress of the charming stays and you can take another crack at them as the meeting progresses.
Keep exploiting type advantages, and maximizing the time in between taking questions from the shareholders to replenish your action points. Should you reach a stage where you think your board member is being overwhelmed, intervene with Ichi. Ichiban's apology is your special move, and the longer the meeting goes on, the more it charges. While a level 1 apology has little impact, a level 3 apology is very strong. It can even sometimes win a shareholder over.
Once the meeting is over, you will see the results screen. If it was successful, your share price has a high chance of increasing and climbing in the rankings. At times it will stagnate, but perseverance is the key when it comes to long-term successes like this.
This is also the stage where Ichiban gets a managerial payout. You cannot use Business funds for personal needs, or personal funds for business needs in this game. So this is the way you actually earn any money in-game. When you reach rank 1, each shareholder meeting will reward you with ¥3,000,000 in your pocket. Another nifty bonus of hitting rank 1 is the special move - Essence of Orbital Strike, which is easily one of the most badass and broken moves in the game.
That's all for the business management mini-game guide. Feel free to check out our other Yakuza: Like A Dragon guides!