The Pumpkin Plan is a book written by American author and entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz. In the book, Michalowicz shares some of the strategies that entrepreneurs can use to grow a colossal business in any field.
Pretty much in the same way pumpkin farmers grow massive, colossal pumpkins in theirs.
The Pumpkin Plan does have a lot of practical wisdom within its pages that may be applied to the way you look at and run your business. In fact, Mike devised The Pumpkin Plan system to grow all of his businesses– fast, healthy, and strong.
You’ll have to read the book to get the juiciest, meatiest parts, but here are a few key takeaways that Michalowicz usually shares in his lectures (without giving too much away).
How did the concept of The Pumpkin Plan come about?
“I think a lot of business books I’ve read are really out-of-the-box so different that it’s hard to connect with,” shared Michalowicz at one of his business lectures.
“For me, to make a change I always try to figure out what are the smallest things to change. So I wrote a book, The Pumpkin Plan, about the few things you need to change that results in the biggest success.”
One day, Mike Michalowicz went home to his hometown in Boonton, New Jersey, and picked up a copy of the local newspaper. “So I just ran across an article about pumpkin farming and I was fascinated that most pumpkin farmers grow ordinary small pumpkins and very few would grow these colossal successes.”
Curious, Mike then studied pumpkin farming– specifically, colossal pumpkin farming– for about a year. His key finding: the growth strategy of these colossal pumpkin farmers is only a little bit different than any other pumpkin farmer– they only change the growing behavior of a regular pumpkin by 5%.
It was then that he had his breakthrough moment. “Oh my God, this is how big businesses take off– the same method!”
All you need is a 5% course correction
“My experience is: most people are only this far away,” Michalowicz gestured with his hand, emphasizing that success for many entrepreneurs is really just within easy reach.
“It’s not like (you need) to do huge changes,” he pointed out. A little course correction is all you need to make that difference. “They just need to change a few things and once they do, (they) take off!”
Focus on the strong
“The extraordinary pumpkin farmer ignores the weak and focuses (instead) on the strong,” shared Michalowicz.
Cascading this nugget of wisdom down to everyday business: ordinary entrepreneurs might fixate on the weakest members of their team. Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, would rather focus on their strongest team members.
“I’m going to do everything to remove any distractions from him and allow him to focus on what he does best.”
The same can be said for your clients: put greater value on your stronger, more profitable clients. You can even go ahead and start trimming the clients that aren’t as profitable and instead spend more time and effort on the ones that are more profitable– these customers need more of your tender loving care.
Have the discipline to say ‘No’.
Understandably, it is sometimes hard to say ‘no’ to a client. Mike Michalowicz agrees that it is a challenge. But it will be one of the biggest, most important things you’ll realize as your business grows.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you will need to nurture “the discipline of saying ‘no’ to opportunities and things that really aren’t your core competency.”
Michalowicz urges you instead to stay focused. “The more you water what you’re great at, you’ll grow. You’ll take off.”
A final word about using The Pumpkin Plan in business
As you grow your business, you might notice at some point that you can only grow so far. Or maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. In many cases, you might even realize that your business now has an ever-growing diverse offering.
“It quickly became apparent that the more I tried to grow my business the more I spun my wheels,” shared Mike Michalowicz. “Opportunities seemed to be sporadic and I fell into being a yes man… It was making my business desperate.”
The premise of The Pumpkin Plan is simple. And it has helped Mike turn things around for his flogging small business ventures. “One day I challenge myself to do fewer things, for fewer types of clients, at a big premium. And it worked!”
That’s what The Pumpkin Plan is all about.