The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy To Grow A Remarkable Business In Any Field

The Pumpkin Plan book

For those considering a practice model that caters to more private pay patients, you might find this book interesting. Key takeaways below.

The premise is that a pumpkin farmer with an award-winning pumpkin manages his crop different that most pumpkin farmers.  Smaller pumpkins create a lot of weeds that encroach on your patch. Removing the weeds and diseased pumpkins creates more time, energy and resources to focus on the pumpkins with the most potential.

The author has built numerous successful businesses by finding his top clients (I’ll use the term “client” to stay consistent with the book) and removing the less promising clients.

Removing clients may involve changing your model so your less promising clients are no longer a good fit (raising prices, adding high-end services, discontinuing some services, etc.).

The author defines “best” clients as those you enjoy working with, give you the most business, and have reasonable expectations.

Interview your top clients to find out what their biggest needs AND complaints are within your industry, and then build a model that serves these people at the highest level.

The author is clear that there’s nothing wrong with having a LOT of clients, but it’s more profitable to devote more time, energy and resources to your top clients, then ask them for referrals to other people just like them.

Unique Offering: Develop unique offerings that differentiate your business from all others in your industry. This should be something you love doing, miss doing, and the thing you wish you could do more of if you could stop doing a lot of other stuff. What could you deliver that you could be GREAT at that didn’t feel like work?

The unique offering has to be something people want (that’s why you asked your top clients).

Automation: Develop systems so the business is not entirely dependent on you. Entrepreneurs identify the problems, discover the opportunities and then build processes to allow other people and other things to get it done.

A “dog walker” example. A dog walker interviewed his top clients and their top complaint with dog walkers was not enough individual attention given to their dog. The dog walker rebranded himself as a “canine caregiver,” walking one dog at a time, offering his backyard for play/exercise, and tripling his fees. He now sells doggie treats and hired other “canine caregivers” to scale the business.

Let go of things that don’t serve your top clients. Services, products, expenses, even people who don’t fit or aren’t necessary for the new model.

You can’t be all things to all people. Be the one thing to a group of important people. Compete reasonably well in most categories but blow them away in one category.

Quote from book: Amazing is just one pound heavier and one second faster than everyone else, and it’s not that hard to work your way up to amazing. For now, do the easy thing, the simple thing. Do the thing that you can do right now.