Learn the key ideas of the book by Mike Michalowicz

The Pumpkin Plan

How to make your business exceptional

Create an exceptional company by applying the right rules for any business sector: the promise made by The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business In Any Field is that of offering a winning approach aimed at this result. The key point is that being successful, it is not enough to be profitable, far from it. The catchphrase here is “Pumpkin Plan”, which involves carefully selecting, growing and improving your product, but also the client that you are targeting, feeling certain that “more” very rarely means “better”.

The Pumpkin Plan
Read in 10 min.
Listen in 12 min.

Many useful tips to:

  • Transform a company that works into one that makes money.
  • Learn to select the product that a company should focus on.
  • Be able to select the best clients to help your business grow.

The author of the book:

As well as being a bestselling author in the business world, Mike Michalowicz shares his business acumen through an established activity as a columnist. He writes for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine, and has participated in television shows for NBC, MSNBC, Fox News and ABC News Now. In addition to his entrepreneurship, his activity as a trainer is dedicated to behavioural marketing techniques.


A successful company is not always a healthy one: the strategy to make it grow involves cutbacks and selection, just the same as growing giant pumpkins

It seems like a paradox, but many successful companies ruin their owners’ lives. The strategy of never saying no and of accepting every job leaves entrepreneurs tired and unhappy, but most of all it holds back their business when precious energy is wasted on serving clients that do not enrich the company, taking that energy away from those that could otherwise help it to flourish.

The right advice can provoke a certain fear: list clients in order of the revenue they bring, maintain the best ones and get rid of the rest. A strategy that frightens business owners, but becomes more palatable when it is presented in the form of the Pumpkin Plan. It involves thinking about how prize winning pumpkin growers (a very popular activity In the US during Halloween season) explain the reasons for their success: you need to plant the seeds, to care obsessively for the shoots, continuously check the plants to identify the most promising ones and cut away those that do not come up to standard. This is the way to do it, tending to them and carefully selecting until all that is left is a perfect specimen that you then need to devote all your attention to. A winning specimen.

Moving from the farm and back to business, we can mirror this strategy to give us a clearly defined program:

  • identify and make the most of any strengths;
  • eliminate anything that is not excellent;
  • do not allow distractions – especially those labelled as opportunities – to take hold;
  • focus on your best contacts;
  • replicate the same service for as many clients as you can.

The key ideas of "The Pumpkin Plan"

A successful company is not always a healthy one: the strategy to make it grow involves cutbacks and selection, just the same as growing giant pumpkins
The business compass is built through understanding what your strengths are and how big your potential for growth is
To grow record-breaking pumpkins, the seed must be top notch, in the same way a unique product or service must form the basis of a successful company
Taking advantage of the “tinge” factor means positioning yourself in a particular way on the market and making yourself unique
Organising the business activity into a system: selecting worthwhile customers also allows you to select worthwhile products, meaning those that are profitable.
The top three ways to get rid of bad clients: cut services, increase prices, interrupt unprofitable relationships
The right organisation chart for a “prize winning” company is built with the future in mind, not by describing the present
Take-home message

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