Michalowicz, Michael. 2012. The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field. NY: Portfolio/Penguin.
Mike Michalowicz is a multi-millionaire, serial entrepreneur, and author of the Toilette Paper Entrepreneur. He draws deeply upon his business success to show readers how to build a great business. Like all great teachers, Mike uses the analogy of pumpkin growing to explain the process of cultivating a great business. His point is simple. You don’t want your business to be an ordinary pumpkin, you want your business to be a blue-ribbon winning largest pumpkin.
But great pumpkins just like great businesses don’t just happen. You have to create them. Mike explains that you have to have a great idea. Your business needs to be one where you can separate yourself from the crowd and be the best. Your business must be focused. The goal is not to be all things to all people but the best, or at least extremely good, in your particular niche. Next, you have to find the right clients, or more likely, fire the wrong ones. Likewise you have to recruit good customers so your business can grow. Finally, you have to systematize your business so you can maintain quality while maximizing cost-efficiency and ultimately profitability.
Mike explains all these steps in a conversational and engaging tone. Like a big brother, he is kind, but will tell you the hard truths about how your behavior is responsible for holding your business back from achieving all it can. I couldn’t agree more with his statement concerning the notion of whether the customer is always right. I’ll let you read it for yourself to see if you agree.
There is much information that is beneficial for readers, particularly those who have established companies. If nothing else, Mike’s advice will help you get off the 24×7 treadmill that is killing you. As a new business owner myself, I didn’t find the information as pertinent because I am not far enough along in the business development to apply several of the concepts. I also thought that Mike overlooked the issue of market climate. For example, you may have a great business idea and a willingness to follow all the steps, but if you live in a small town, and say have a lawn mowing company, it is unlikely that you could ever build a multi-million dollar company. Perhaps the questions related to the decision making process of starting a company were dealt with in his earlier book, The Toilette Paper Entrepreneur.
The book is a quick read with specific action steps that are reasonable and can be actually accomplished. Business owners should know in advance that some of Mike’s advice will be hard to swallow. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether the ultimate prize is worth the cost.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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