Updated: Feb 12
The Pumpkin Plan, written by Mike Michalowicz, provides a plan to grow a remarkable business in any field.
When a pumpkin farmer is growing giant pumpkins, they don't try to grow as many pumpkins as possible.
They isolate big pumpkins early on and get rid of the rest.
Here's the seven-part process to growing a giant pumpkin planned business.
1. Focus Like A Giant Pumpkin Grower
Focus is the key. For example, maybe your business's sweet spot is doing projects of a particular size. Anything less than your ideal size, you should pass on.
Anytime something doesn't exactly fit what you do…pass.
All revenue is not created equal.
Identify the top 20% of your clients and shine a spotlight on them like the sun.
A great rule of thumb to memorize for business is this.
The top 20% will spend 4x of what the average customer will spend.
And the top 4% will spend 16X of what the average will spend.
This can be applied to every industry and every type of business.
You want to get to know:
What are their characteristics?
What industries do they come from?
What do your best clients want?
What will make their dream come true?
When you know what your existing great clients want - it will be much easier to understand what more great clients will also want. And where you can find more just like them.
What business innovation do you bring, or can you bring to your target audience?
You can use one of these three, but you can't be all of them.
Do you sell on price?
(We wouldn't recommend that unless you are in a specific niche.) It's tough to beat Amazon or Walmart going to head-to-head with them on price. Instead of defeating them head-on, can you create another innovation?
The pricing structure is another way to innovate on price. Does your target audience want a different payment option? For example, the subscription model is really big now, and almost every industry is shifting towards that. How else could you make it easy for your customers to pay?
Do you have the highest quality?
Maybe you make something with the strongest substance on the planet, or the way you make it makes the quality higher than your competition. Often, it boils down to being able to explain what you do and demonstrating it. If you focus on being quality innovation based - focus on the perception of quality.
Oftentimes, consumers can't distinguish what's quality and what's not. So, you need to educate them on what they should look for in a quality product or service. Define the criteria and build your case as to what your target audience should be using when selecting your products and services, and you become the obvious choice to do business with.
This is probably the greatest innovation category because it's what all humans want - something easier.
What can you do to make it easy to do business with you? Think of Netflix, what makes it such a dominant force over brick and mortar video stores - it's a convenience.
How about Uber, another convenience based innovation. They made it easy with the click of an app to get a car no matter where you are...Can you make your ordering process easier? Or can you deliver it?
4. Fire Your Rotten Clients
This can be a pain when you really need to make payroll this month. But what's also painful is working with clients and customers that don't respect you. They may always want to compare you on price. Or they always complain about how something isn't exactly perfect.
Having the wrong clients also leads to other issues - often it can be the leading driver of cash flow problems.
They don’t pay on time. Or you’re doing projects for them that you aren’t in your wheelhouse, so they’re not as profitable.
The only way you can clear whitespace is by getting rid of the bad clients. Or you will never have the time, resources and energy to focus on your best clients.
Kill first and nurture later.
More is not better…better is better.
Things will get a whole lot easier when you're not dealing with those bad clients that take away you and your team's valuable time.
5. Avoid Distractions And Shiny Ball Syndrome Like The Plague
Don't let things disguised as new opportunities grab your attention and steer you away from what you should be doing. Identify the one thing you want to be known for and do it exceptionally well.
New opportunities and shiny balls often come disguised as new great ways to make money. But you have to have a "North compass" to point you in the direction you want to go and to be able to avoid everything else. This doesn't happen by accident; if you don't spend the time upfront discovering and uncovering what your mission is - everything will look like a greener pasture.
I'm sure you know people like this…every week is a new opportunity, business venture, or new tool to get something accomplished. When you can filter "shiny balls" opportunities through this guide, you'll be able to disqualify/qualify those opportunities quicker and easier than ever before.
Once again, all revenue is not created equally. There are lots of ways to make money…and just because you can make money with such and such doesn't mean you should be.
6. Under-Promise Over-Deliver On Your Products And Services
The best marketing is great customer service. Most businesses fail to recognize that. It really doesn't matter if you bring in tons of leads every month if you wreck it on the fulfillment end of things.
This is all about setting expectations and giving a little more than you originally promised.
I've had a great experience with this in the past. This was way before Amazon's two-day shipping was an expected thing. I had ordered hubcaps for a winter set of tires from Tire Rack. I didn't think anything about the amount of time they would take to get there, but I had assumed it would be about a week.
The very next day, I received the order. I was astonished and told everyone I could about it for the next week.
This could mean that you pad yourself 10% more time on service quotes to make sure you can get it done under the time restrictions. Or that you give something as a bonus item for a product. Again, you shouldn't make less money for doing something like this, build it into your pricing, so you still remain highly profitable.
7. Systematize Everything As You Grow
Make sure you're always creating systems for every position and every task involved. Brain dump everyone's knowledge into some kind of process, so you don't lose a step (or many) steps when someone leaves.
Lack of systems:
kills your employees' motivation,
your customers and referral partners' trust,
and, ultimately, your business.
Document, procedure, process, checklist, video - use whatever you can to make it as clear and as simple as possible of what everyone is supposed to do.
The easiest way to view the Pumpkin Plan is to see it through this Venn Diagram.
First, you identify your ideal target audience and create your innovation and unique selling proposition for them.
Then you create marketing and sales systems that run on autopilot to clone your very best customers and clients.
All of our tools, processes, and systems fit into one of the circles of the Venn diagram.
We can work with most businesses and have several packages based on the Pumpkin Plan that will suit your needs.
Build your business the Pumpkin Plan way...contact us here to schedule a FREE consultation to see if your business is a fit.