Identify your biggest pumpkin and scale up your business with Profits and Ease
In his incredible book The Pumpkin Plan, author Michael Michalowicz compares growing a business to growing a prize pumpkin – you know, the big 1,500 pound monsters you see at county fairs.
The process for growing a prize pumpkin is this: you need to start with a very good pumpkin seed, the kind that has the potential to grow very large. Then, you plant a bunch of those seeds in your garden and then wait while the vines produce a whole lot of baby pumpkins. Finally, you identify the one pumpkin that has the potential to become the biggest of them all and then you mercilessly chop off every other pumpkin, letting the big one consume all of the resources and nutrition that the vine has to offer. All of your effort goes to taking care of that high growth pumpkin.
Now, if you are in the pumpkin-growing business, then feel free to take the above example as literally as you want. But if you are in any other sort of business, then you’ll probably like the way that Michael Michalowicz applies the techniques to growing a company.
Michael recommends starting with good a seed – a business in an industry or a segment in your business where there is real potential for growth. Then, start the business and watch carefully to see which area has the potential to be scaled up, eventually focusing all of your attention and energies on that area – on that “pumpkin”.
Scaling up your business (using the growth tools like the ones we have created here at the Ultimate Boardroom) can be an interesting exercise, but you will never really have a lot of fun doing so unless you really care about the area. I believe in having a blast while I work. My wife Michelle Bosch and I love coming into our office because we have the right team and culture, and because everyone is pulling in the same direction growing the pumpkin that we all most care about.
When deciding which part of your business you will focus on (which “pumpkin” you will give priority to), make sure that it is something about which you care deeply. Then the growth you achieve will be rewarding on multiple levels. The journey to growth will have been a deeply satisfying one while sharing with the market your best contribution as a leader and as a company.