While talking to Jason Williams, an owner of CrossFit Hale and CrossFit Thames, he mentioned the book, “The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz.
Always up for some more reading, I borrowed it from my library and, surprisingly, could not put it down.
For starters, where do pumpkins come in to all of this? I know when Williams told me the book’s title, I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly. “The Pumpkin Plan?” I asked, with heavy emphasis on the sqaush.
Urged on by the fear of failing in his business, Michalowicz discovered a correlation between successful business and prize-winning pumpkin farmers — I’m talking record-breaking pumpkins. So large you can fit people inside.
He was reading an article that broke down the process a farmer goes through to grow one of those absurdly giant pumpkins. In the book, he shared his reaction to the piece: “Holy crap, I thought. Pumpkin farmers hold the secret formula for big-time entrepreneurial success … There it was, in black and white… and orange. The answer I’d been looking for, for years. I needed to treat my company like a giant pumpkin!”
What did he see in that article that made him exclaim such a thing? Well, he realized in order to grow a prize-winning orange pumpkin, you must first plant a promising seed, typically a seed from a long line of giant pumpkins. You must nurture the seed as it grows, watering it and weeding around it, removing the sickly and smaller pumpkins. All attention must be on this single, giant pumpkin.
To Michalowicz, he saw this as a recipe for success in business: First, recognize your company’s biggest strengths with the most potential to grow, then sell those. Get rid of your worst clients and nurture your top clients, focusing on them, figuring out what they want and how you can provide them those opportunities. Do this over and over for those top clients.
Michalowicz realized at his own business he was doing things that didn’t come naturally. He was doing work for horrible clients, and he always seemed to find more horrible clients. “If I wanted my business to dwarf the competition, I would have to cut the clients who were actually holding me back, cut the aspects of my business that weren’t serving growth and find unparalleled ways to serve my best clients. Like a geeky, freaky farmer of mammoth pumpkins, I would focus all of my attention, time, love, support, creativity and energy on the most promising clients in my ‘patch,’” he wrote.
So, Affiliate, it’s time to ask, what is your biggest and best seed? And what would it take to grow that seed — your business — into a giant pumpkin?