Pumpkin farmers had business figured out way before the rest of us
Welcome to 3 Things You Can Use, where Maddi and I decode self-improvement and entrepreneurship through books, three things at a time.
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This week’s book is Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field, by Mike Michalowicz.
And this guy, after building multiple multi-million dollar companies before he was 30, wrote Pumpkin Plan to show the business world how pumpkin farmers have been doing it right long before any of us figured it out.
Unlike prizewinning pumpkin farmers,
Most entrepreneurs are stuck in a trap. We’ve heard it before, we spend to much time working in our businesses, not on them – but then no one elaborates or shows us how. This book however, changes that by giving you the catchy, simple system to get your business systems up and running.
So, what are three things we can use from this book?
3 Things You Can Use
1. Pumpkin Plan
Row after row of planted pumpkin seeds.
Looking out from under your straw hat you imagine the road ahead while you chew on the piece of straw hanging from your mouth… you’ll be sure to win this year’s biggest pumpkin award.
The words of your mentor pop back into your head,
“Plant hearty seeds, identify the most promising pumpkins, kill off the rest of the vine and nurture only the pumpkins with the biggest potential.”
A world away, the same thing is going on in the head of Mike Michalowicz, except for this time, it’s for his business.
The pumpkin plan mindset focuses you on just a few good seeds and requires you to destroy the rest. Adios.
Then focus all of your attention on those great seeds. Weeding, watering, and reading them books before nighttime.
This keeps you from being stretched thin, opening up more time for you to create the systems for your business and freeing up bandwidth for the right opportunities.
Take Luke for example, the guy who has the same name as I do, that Mike used as an example in his book.
Luke had a coding company. Luke had eight people working for him, each of the eight knew a different coding language, therefor Luke had all of the bases covered.
Except for his mortgage base… or his profit base for that matter.
With all of these employees spread across all of these languages, there wasn’t enough business for his mediocre one-stop-shop and he couldn’t possibly pay them all without taking a hit.
Enter the pumpkin plan. Keep only the employees whose coding language was used most often and cut ties with the less -often used languages. Kill off the bad seeds and focus on the good ones.
Now Luke has a more specialized mindset and a more profitable business.
2. Good Clients
Everybody understands they should kill off the bad seeds in their business. Luke’s situation wasn’t that hard to figure out. That’s riches in the niches not a particularly revolutionary idea.
But Mike Michalowicz is not done yet.
He says to pumpkin plan your clients too.
Yes, you heard right.
That means he wants you to get rid of some of your clients.
“Wait. What kind of lunatic would tell me to throw money away with the intent of making more money?” you say as your eyes cross.
But Mike Michalowicz is no slouch, so just hear him out.
He says that regarding clients, more is not better. Better is better.
Bad clients waste your time, take advantage of you and don’t bring in any other business. They’re looking for coupons, they’re annoying your employees and they’re making you chase them down for payments.
Growing your business with only the clients that work best with you is the way to keep your business at the size it needs to be to handle your good clients the right way. It also opens up your time so you’re not chasing down or paying someone to chase down your overdue payment clients among other standard bad-client-problems.
And it’s sort of a philosophical thing too. The clients are your business’ foundation and you want a high quality, low maintenance foundation, don’t you.
Here’s Mike’s seven step pumpkin plan for business,
- Identify and leverage your biggest natural strengths.
- Sell, sell, sell
- As your business grows, fire all of your small time clients
- Never, ever let distractions, often labeled as new opportunities, take hold. Weed ’em out fast.
- Identify your top clients and remove the rest of your less promising clients.
- Focus all of your attention on your top clients. nurture and protect them, find out what they want more than anything. If it’s in alignment with what you do best, give it to them. Then replicate the same service or product for as many top clients as possible
- Watch your company grow to a giant size.
3. Tap the Vendor Well
So now you’ve got your basin of great clients — none spoiled in the bunch.
Your business is growing and it’s a healthy, hearty growth.
Time for a trick.
Go to your best client and ask to meet their other vendors. Odds are that the other vendors have clients just like your best client that would like your products or services.
See where this is going?
Boom! Repeat and repeat on down the line meeting great clients from other vendors from your best clients.
And pile up the good clients.
There is a bit of a tip toe to perform here, as you don’t want to spook your clients and you don’t want to spook their vendors.
If pursuing this technique, you have to frame it the right way with the clients. Say you want to meet the vendors so that you can serve them better. Make them see that it’s for their benefit.
And when talking to the other vendors, don’t seem like a threat. Ask the vendors for “advice” on how they treat their customers, that kind of thing. Then, eventually meet some of their customers or get their info. Maybe even work out a little customer info trade deal.
Swip and swap, dip and dunk. There are many different ways to go about filling up at the vendor well. Figure out which way works best for you and see a massive increase in prospects, sales and ultimately, growth.
Wipe the sweat from your brow. It’s pumpkin time.
Plant hearty seeds, identify the most promising pumpkins, kill off the rest of the vine and nurture only the pumpkins with the biggest potential.
The customer is not always right. But the right customer is always right.
Dip into the vendor well to get good clients from good clients.
“Entrepreneurs don’t do most of the work. Entrepreneurs identify the problems, discover the opportunities and then build processes to allow other people and other things to do the work.”
This was the main gem of this book. And alongside this gem were other tid bits and whole sections that I couldn’t include like,
I checked this book out because it was in Tim Schmoyer’s recommended list.
The pumpkin plan is a simple and memorable framework and I think Mike Michalowicz accomplished what he set out to do with this book. He also, at the end of each chapter gives an example for how to pumpkin plan a particular industry and has some pretty good ideas I thought.
I listened to the Audible version. He reads this himself and he reads with a lot of energy.
For more info and some different tools and spreadsheets you can check out the website:
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we’ll see you next week!
Want to Read it?
(These links give me a little bump if you decide to use them. Thank you!)
- Punching Sounds by: Mike Koenig
- Reading Photo at end of video by: Marketa