Friday, August 3, 2018

Book Review: 'The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field' by Mike Michalowicz

The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field
Mike Michalowicz
Portfolio/Penguin Group (2012)
How to “build a business that blows the competition away…and finally gives you the life of your dreams”
Mike Michalowicz makes skillful use of horticultural metaphors throughout his lively as well as informative narrative. He asks his reader to view a business as a pumpkin patch and its leaders as its farmers. Pumpkins represent whatever results in increasingly more profitable sales. The objective is to become an “extreme” because “there is something irresistible, something magnetic about being an extreme. Be the strongest, or the fastest, or the most unique. The farmer with the most extraordinary pumpkin in the field wins. Every. Single. Time.” I presume to add that a “pumpkin” could also be a thoroughly enjoyable purchase experience, whatever the given product or service may be. Recent and extensive consumer research using fMRI technologies (discussed by Martin Lindstrom and Paco Underhill, among others) suggests how influential hospitable atmospherics within a purchase environment can be.
Readers will appreciate Michalowicz’ use of two devices at the conclusion of each chapter: “Work the Plan – Take Action in 30 Minutes (or Less)” that provides specific suggestions about how to apply effectively the material in the given chapter, and, “How to Pumpkin Plan Your [fill in the blank]” during which he explains how to “grow an extraordinary pumpkin” within one of eleven industries (“fields”): travel, online, construction, finance, personal services, artists, manufacturing, tech services, professional services, and hospitality. He also draws upon heavily – and shares candidly — his own experiences and the mixed results of his efforts as an entrepreneurial “farmer.”
These are among the dozens of passages that are of special interest and value to me:
o What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (Pages 9-14)
o How to Pumpkin Plan Your Industry — Online (35-37)
o Finding Your Own Giant Seed (43-50)
o The Desert Island Question (59-62)
o The Assessment Chart (62-65)
o Not a Popularity Contest (74-76)
o Four Different Ways to Fire a Client (88-90)
o Stop the Bleeding (99-101)
o Favoritism…It’s a Good Thing (112-116)
o The Client Interview (134-137)
o Crowdsourcing Plus (153-157)
o Move in Concentric Circles (178-179)
o Become a Real Entrepreneur (190-191)
o The 180 Technique (207-210)
No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of material that Mike Michalowicz provides in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of him and his work. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read it and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and wisdom could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them and to their own organization.

Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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