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.