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The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field

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 Each year Americans start one million new businesses, nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it—do it, sell it—do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated, and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try. This is the exa  Each year Americans start one million new businesses, nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it—do it, sell it—do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated, and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try. This is the exact situation Mike Michalowicz found himself in when he was trying to grow his first company. Although it was making steady money, there was never very much left over and he was chasing customers left and right, putting in twenty-eight-hour days, eight days a week. The punishing grind never let up. His company was alive but stunted, and he was barely breathing. That’s when he discovered an unlikely source of inspiration—pumpkin farmers. After reading an article about a local farmer who had dedicated his life to growing giant pump­kins, Michalowicz realized the same process could apply to growing a business. He tested the Pumpkin Plan on his own company and transformed it into a remarkable, multimillion-dollar industry leader. First he did it for himself. Then for others. And now you. So what is the Pumpkin Plan? Plant the right seeds: Don’t waste time doing a bunch of different things just to please your customers. Instead, identify the thing you do better than anyone else and focus all of your attention, money, and time on figuring out how to grow your company doing it. Weed out the losers: In a pumpkin patch small, rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. The same is true of customers. Figure out which customers add the most value and provide the best opportunities for sustained growth. Then ditch the worst of the worst. Nurture the winners: Once you figure out who your best customers are, blow their minds with care. Discover their unfulfilled needs, innovate to make their wishes come true, and overdeliver on every single promise. Full of stories of other successful entrepreneurs, The Pumpkin Plan guides you through unconven­tional strategies to help you build a truly profitable blue-ribbon company that is the best in its field.


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 Each year Americans start one million new businesses, nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it—do it, sell it—do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated, and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try. This is the exa  Each year Americans start one million new businesses, nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it—do it, sell it—do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated, and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try. This is the exact situation Mike Michalowicz found himself in when he was trying to grow his first company. Although it was making steady money, there was never very much left over and he was chasing customers left and right, putting in twenty-eight-hour days, eight days a week. The punishing grind never let up. His company was alive but stunted, and he was barely breathing. That’s when he discovered an unlikely source of inspiration—pumpkin farmers. After reading an article about a local farmer who had dedicated his life to growing giant pump­kins, Michalowicz realized the same process could apply to growing a business. He tested the Pumpkin Plan on his own company and transformed it into a remarkable, multimillion-dollar industry leader. First he did it for himself. Then for others. And now you. So what is the Pumpkin Plan? Plant the right seeds: Don’t waste time doing a bunch of different things just to please your customers. Instead, identify the thing you do better than anyone else and focus all of your attention, money, and time on figuring out how to grow your company doing it. Weed out the losers: In a pumpkin patch small, rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. The same is true of customers. Figure out which customers add the most value and provide the best opportunities for sustained growth. Then ditch the worst of the worst. Nurture the winners: Once you figure out who your best customers are, blow their minds with care. Discover their unfulfilled needs, innovate to make their wishes come true, and overdeliver on every single promise. Full of stories of other successful entrepreneurs, The Pumpkin Plan guides you through unconven­tional strategies to help you build a truly profitable blue-ribbon company that is the best in its field.

30 review for The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    This book is useful for entrepreneurs. The concepts aren't new but the author provides good examples of how different types of businesses can grow. First, you should be doing something that is better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors. You can't grow a business unless you have a competitive advantage. The next step is focusing on the best clients and getting rid of the bad clients. Analogous to growing a prize winning giant pumpkin, you need to be an expert on growing large pumpkins, focu This book is useful for entrepreneurs. The concepts aren't new but the author provides good examples of how different types of businesses can grow. First, you should be doing something that is better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors. You can't grow a business unless you have a competitive advantage. The next step is focusing on the best clients and getting rid of the bad clients. Analogous to growing a prize winning giant pumpkin, you need to be an expert on growing large pumpkins, focus on the few big pumpkins in your patch, and prune away the other pumpkins that are taking resources away from the best.

  2. 5 out of 5

    MsSmartiePants ...like the candy...

    Am really lovin' this book! This author is a fave of mine. He has a previous book, writes for the Wall Street Journal as well as other pub's, and has several great videos on YouTube. I was asked to read and critique this book before it's July 5 release. Oh NO! Haven't finished the book and it's already July 5th! Well, it's just too "meaty"! Why read a great book if you're not going to implement what you learn from it? www.ThePumpkinPlan.com The Pumpkin Plan is a well written and fun read. The con Am really lovin' this book! This author is a fave of mine. He has a previous book, writes for the Wall Street Journal as well as other pub's, and has several great videos on YouTube. I was asked to read and critique this book before it's July 5 release. Oh NO! Haven't finished the book and it's already July 5th! Well, it's just too "meaty"! Why read a great book if you're not going to implement what you learn from it? www.ThePumpkinPlan.com The Pumpkin Plan is a well written and fun read. The content was extraordinary, reminiscent of Good to Great and Great by Choice (Jim Collins) without all of the empirical mumbo jumbo that can bog a reader down. The author has distilled entrepreneurial skills down to a simple to understand brew. My husband and I have started 5 businesses from scratch, not every one successful. "If only" we had The Pumpkin Plan BEFORE or during some of them, we'd be better off. C'est la vie! You don't need a degree from Princeton to be an entrepreneur. Many others have gone before us and we have the opportunity to learn from them! Mike Michalowicz has definitely given a simple plan to help us out. Remember, just because it's simple doesn't necessarily mean it's easy. If it was easy, everybody would be able to do it. Learning from Mike can improve your advance toward success.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bree Ervin

    Kill your darlings and streamline success with The Pumpkin Plan The writers out there will understand the reference to killing your darlings. We've all had to do it. We spend hours, days sometimes, lovingly crafting the perfect scene, or the perfect line, only to have to delete it in revision. Sometimes we kill it because it is overly purple, sometimes because it just doesn't fit the book anymore no matter how much we try to round the edges - it's still a square peg and we've written a round hole Kill your darlings and streamline success with The Pumpkin Plan The writers out there will understand the reference to killing your darlings. We've all had to do it. We spend hours, days sometimes, lovingly crafting the perfect scene, or the perfect line, only to have to delete it in revision. Sometimes we kill it because it is overly purple, sometimes because it just doesn't fit the book anymore no matter how much we try to round the edges - it's still a square peg and we've written a round hole. The Pumpkin Plan is a blueprint for killing your real world darlings and streamlining your business (or life, as I'll demonstrate.) Mike Michalowicz takes a "bro" tone, puts his arm around your shoulder, buys you a drink at the bar and dishes the secret to living the good life, the easy way. As we enter this new year, it's a book well worth taking a look at, here's why. First - Mike doesn't just tell you what to do, he gives you practical steps for actually doing it. Every chapter ends with a 30 minute action plan - how to put that piece of the plan to work on 30 minutes or less. As a business owner who is always overwhelmed, underwater and trying to catch a break, or at least a breath - being able to take action in under 30 minutes and get that rush of accomplishment is absolutely critical. It builds confidence and lets us know right away that yes, we can do this. Second - Mike takes the time to give both real world examples of people and businesses who have rocked each step of the plan, as well as craft industry specific examples of the Pumpkin Plan in action to demonstrate not only that the plan can work for any type of business, but also ways that it might work. He flexes his imagination in a way that shows us multiple paths that we could take to grow our own giant pumpkin of a business (or life). Third - And this is where Mike's book, for me, went from "just another business book" to the business book I'll be recommending to everyone who could use a little boost, nudge or step up in life this year - Mike does the one thing that no one else I've read has been brave enough to do - he gives us a detailed, direct plan for killing your darlings. Darlings are those customers, clients, people (or in writing - sections of prose) who are sucking your time, energy, brain power, money or other resources and not delivering any return on that investment. As an entrepreneur from a long line of entrepreneurs this is something I know we all need. Again, in business and in life and in writing. To be successful by any measure we have to get rid of the "drainbows" as my husband calls them. But how? How do we know who to keep and who to cut? And... How do we cut the soul-suckers without burning the bridge completely or pissing them off and having them turn on us? This is the small business owner's dilemma. We know we can't be all things to everyone, but how do we say no to money? I'm not going to tell you Mike's plan - I'm only going to tell you that I am implementing it actively right now. I started with Facebook - culling that crazy herd. Now I'm going through my client list. His steps not only make sense, they are a validation of everything I believed when I started my business, but started to neglect in the quest to say yes and serve more people. As Mike reminded me - "More isn't better. Better is better." Don't understand? Get the book. And then get started killing your darlings and streamlining success. Ostensibly a book about growing your business - there is much more to be gained in the Pumpkin Plan than just a successful business and more time and money on your hands. Disclaimer - Mike gifted me a copy of this book after he read my review of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Because I'm in the middle of a re-branding and re-structuring of my business, I accepted the gift but warned him I'd be brutally honest in my review. So... Here's the brutal piece of the review - While the bro-down tone might work for some, I found it a little overly chummy and grating. I don't know this guy from Adam and I kind of resented him thinking we were pals. However, after a while it kind of clicked - that's just who this guy is. The Pumpkin Plan is written in his voice, and he just happens to be one of those outgoing nice guys who really would buy you a drink at the bar and tell you how you too could be living the good life, because after all, shouldn't everyone be happy?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott Carmichael

    Great simple to follow plan. Love the analogy of growing pumpkins. I have been doing something like this for years. Great, advise to refocus and implement the strategies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leticia Supple

    Mike Michalowicz has a knack for putting things in a certain way - and The Pumpkin Plan is one of those examples. I first came to this author through his latest work (Profit First). And I am paying serious attention to The Pumpkin Plan as a result of the fact that Profit First radically changed my business. It's a simple work, one that you can read quickly and easily. While, like a lot of business books there are exercises to do before you go to the next piece, I don't work that way. I read it on Mike Michalowicz has a knack for putting things in a certain way - and The Pumpkin Plan is one of those examples. I first came to this author through his latest work (Profit First). And I am paying serious attention to The Pumpkin Plan as a result of the fact that Profit First radically changed my business. It's a simple work, one that you can read quickly and easily. While, like a lot of business books there are exercises to do before you go to the next piece, I don't work that way. I read it once, absorb it, think on it, and reflect. Then I go back to the beginning and start again, and then do the pieces once I know the big picture. Currently working through the Plan for my own business, I can verify that the no-bullshit nature of the Planreally does work. It's a long process, and I'm not yet finished - but take this as an indication that you should read this book and apply its principles, if in fact you haven't done either. So then why only three stars? It's very American, which grates sometimes. Also, I haven't totally verified it. If the Plan turns out to rock things the way it appears to be doing so, then the rating will change. Either way, highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I grabbed this one when it was the daily deal at audible, thought it sounded interesting. When I first started listening to it I thought it was odd that the author narrated it, didn't expect him to be good, but he did a great job. You could tell he truly believed what he was talking about. The concepts in this book were good ones, easy, yet I can see where people would have a hard time to "firing" clients, it does seem counter productive. I think if you are an entrepreneur this would be a good b I grabbed this one when it was the daily deal at audible, thought it sounded interesting. When I first started listening to it I thought it was odd that the author narrated it, didn't expect him to be good, but he did a great job. You could tell he truly believed what he was talking about. The concepts in this book were good ones, easy, yet I can see where people would have a hard time to "firing" clients, it does seem counter productive. I think if you are an entrepreneur this would be a good book to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Sparks

    Hilarious book and very applicable to all businesses, believe it or not. This one teaches you to "fire your worst customers so that the best ones get the most attention." It's a simple business strategy but has proven effective.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Suzannah

    The first book by this author I read, PROFIT FIRST, was super simple to implement and required little to no interpersonal interaction. This one might as well be titled: How To Be A People Person (For Entrepreneurs). As a result, I expect it to be a lot trickier to implement, but on the up side, it also provides some actual strategies to cultivate relationships with clients/audiences. (Yeah, when I was a teenager I also had to learn some actual conversational strategies, otherwise I'd have no fri The first book by this author I read, PROFIT FIRST, was super simple to implement and required little to no interpersonal interaction. This one might as well be titled: How To Be A People Person (For Entrepreneurs). As a result, I expect it to be a lot trickier to implement, but on the up side, it also provides some actual strategies to cultivate relationships with clients/audiences. (Yeah, when I was a teenager I also had to learn some actual conversational strategies, otherwise I'd have no friends today). The writing style is annoying. The information, one hopes, will be helpful. Let's see.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Read this is one sitting tonight, loved so many points in this book. I read a library copy but I’m headed out to buy my own copy tomorrow. Worth the read if you’re an entrepreneur trying to learn growth strategies!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    very nice book for people that start up business, every chapter has its own lesson that need to be taken off!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Neel Sus

    Wow Easy to follow, love the combo of stories and instructions. Also love the fact it’s strategic and tactical at the same time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexey

    It’s short, it’s fun, it has reasonable advices. Worth reading

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeremey Duvall

    I picked this up after reading Michalowicz’s other book, Profit First. In Pumpkin Plan, Mike draws on the process for growing a large pumpkin and extends that process to growing a large business. The steps (paraphrased) are: 1. Identify your top clients 2. Weed out all of the other clients 3. Focus all of your effort on nurturing the top clients I enjoyed the read and came away with a handful of earmarked pages to return to later. A few strategies really stuck with me like taking your top clients ou I picked this up after reading Michalowicz’s other book, Profit First. In Pumpkin Plan, Mike draws on the process for growing a large pumpkin and extends that process to growing a large business. The steps (paraphrased) are: 1. Identify your top clients 2. Weed out all of the other clients 3. Focus all of your effort on nurturing the top clients I enjoyed the read and came away with a handful of earmarked pages to return to later. A few strategies really stuck with me like taking your top clients out for coffee and the idea that business is not a popularity contest (“Don’t worry about having the most clients. Worry about having the best clients...).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    A must-read for any small business owner or entrepreneur. The Pumpkin Plan is also a great resource for freelancers like myself. I found many of his tips about clients (i.e. attracting the right clients, weeding out the bad clients) to be applicable to my work as a freelance writer. Michalowicz outlines The Pumpkin Plan in clear, actionable steps. He also gives lots of industry-specific tips and backs up all of his points with concise, relevant stories from his own experience as a business owner A must-read for any small business owner or entrepreneur. The Pumpkin Plan is also a great resource for freelancers like myself. I found many of his tips about clients (i.e. attracting the right clients, weeding out the bad clients) to be applicable to my work as a freelance writer. Michalowicz outlines The Pumpkin Plan in clear, actionable steps. He also gives lots of industry-specific tips and backs up all of his points with concise, relevant stories from his own experience as a business owner and stories of other real businesses and how they've become so successful. Many people write books of this nature without any real experience, which leaves you wondering about the credibility of their advice. Michalowicz has built several extremely successful businesses from the ground up. He's not afraid to share his failures and successes alike and clearly has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve the same level of success.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Darrell Amy

    The Pumpkin Plan is a brilliant book based on a powerful analogy that every business leader should read. True to form, Mike Michaolowicz offers pointed and practical advice that will help businesses grow larger and healthier at the same time. I highly endorse this book. I firmly believe that the way to grow a business is to focus on Ideal Clients. In The Pumpkin Plan, Mike Michalowicz offers clear direction on how to find your best clients and weed out the other clients so you can focus your ener The Pumpkin Plan is a brilliant book based on a powerful analogy that every business leader should read. True to form, Mike Michaolowicz offers pointed and practical advice that will help businesses grow larger and healthier at the same time. I highly endorse this book. I firmly believe that the way to grow a business is to focus on Ideal Clients. In The Pumpkin Plan, Mike Michalowicz offers clear direction on how to find your best clients and weed out the other clients so you can focus your energy on exceeding their expectations and attracting more clients. In Revenue Growth Engine, I call this building the Ideal Client Experience. The analogy behind the title, The Pumpkin Plan, is simple: if you want to grow prize-winning pumpkins you must get rid of the small pumpkins so all of the energy from the vine can go to growing the big pumpkins. My first encounter with Mike's writing was in his book, Profit First. This was a lifesaver for my mindset as a business owner. The book was unconventional and practical. The Pumpkin plan offers that same level of unconventional thinking and practical application. At the end of every chapter, you’ll find applications to specific businesses. I guarantee you will get ideas from this book that will help you focus on your Ideal Client. I highly recommend every business owner, sales leader, and marketing professional read the whole book. To whet your appetite, here are some of my favorite takeaways. Find Your Sweet Spot Every business has a sweet spot. Mike defines this spot in a Venn diagram where three things intersect: Top Clients--the Ideal Clients you love to work with, spend lots of money, trust you, pay their bills on time, and give references generously. Unique Offering--Your Area of Innovation (AOI) the place where your business uniquely shines. Systemetization--the parts of your business that have defined processes. Every company has a sweet spot. It’s the place where you can uniquely and predictably get results for ideal clients. In the book, Mike walks you through how to identify your sweet spot. Three Types of Clients This is where the book starts becoming uncomfortable for most business owners. Mike says that there are three types of clients ranked in order of importance: Good Clients Non-Existent Clients Bad Clients He argues that bad clients are worse than no clients at all. These clients suck away energy, resources, and passion in exchange for low amounts of revenue, lots of handholding, excessive complaining, and low loyalty. Mike says we should assess all of our clients and get rid of the bad ones. To help, he offers four strategies to gracefully fire bad clients. Part of defining whether a client is good or bad is based on what Mike calls the “immutable laws.” These are company values on steroids. As an example,, he shares two of his top immutable laws: “give to give and don’t be a dick.” If a client violates these laws, no matter how big they are, they need to go. Then, you can use the energy, time, and money this frees up to focus on serving your Good Clients. Mike says, “If you could bring one client to a desert island, who would it be?” He then helps you identify these clients. Not all clients are created equally. It’s the Ideal Clients that deserve your focus. They are the path to growth, happiness, and sustained success. Focus on them. The Customer Isn’t Always Right What? That’s not what I’ve been told my entire business career. Mike reframes the statement: “The RIGHT customer is always right”. In other words, you need to pay very close attention to what your Ideal Clients are saying. I love this. Play Favorites What we were taught on the playground doesn’t transfer to business. To drive exponential revenue growth, we must play favorites. Who are our favorites? By now, I suspect you’re catching on to the answer: your Ideal Clients. To be clear, Mike is not saying to ignore your average clients. But he does advocate for developing a different approach for top clients. “Push them to the front of the line. Drop everything for them. Interrupt meetings to deal with their crises. Dream up new and better ways to serve them. Give them first dibs on new products and services. Accommodate their special requests.” Above all, work on finding ways to help them grow their businesses. With Ideal Clients, Mike says we should always “UPOD--Under Promise, Over Deliver.” We need to become obsessed with what these ideal clients want. This is the key to growing big pumpkins. You may be thinking, “What about my average clients--won’t this type of focus ignore them?” Mike brilliantly asserts that the opposite is true. “The improvements you make for your best clients will inevitably help the other guys too.” After all, many of your average clients want to become like your best clients. Wish Lists How do you determine what your Ideal Clients really want? Ask! Mike calls this the wish list. He recommends that we go talk with our Ideal Clients and ask about their business: "One of the single most effective strategies I use as part of my own Pumpkin Plan is something I call the ‘Wish List.’ I interview my top clients to find out what they wish they could change about my industry, what they wish I could do for them… what they wish someone could solve for them… Then I play fairy godfather and fulfill every possible wish.” The key here is good questions about their business. When you talk about yourself, talk at the level of your industry, not your business. In these conversations, you will be handed the keys to explosive growth. One Pound Heavier Wins the Prize To win a pumpkin competition your pumpkin only needs to be one pound heavier than your closest competitor. Mike says that the key to explosive growth is “competing reasonably well in every area your competition competes in and then blowing them away in one category.” In the book, he helps you define that category.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Flannery

    Good ideas conveyed through lots of practical examples. Plus it's pretty lively, not the usual dry voice of business books. However he almost lost me on the audiobook -- the author narrated in the most obnoxious way possible. He kept stressing and cracking his voice in (feigned) excitement, and used these weird cartoon voices when quoting someone.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve Matta

    Valuable entertaining book about reaching a niche market

  18. 4 out of 5

    bitmaid

    Whoever thought he needed to read the whole thing after seeing the title has no imagination or deductive skill and deserves to pay the book price for the lesson like I did. Good Lord.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Hoos

    I really enjoyed this book. My key takeaway from this book was to focus not on serving ALL of your customers as much as on serving your best customers. When you do that your business will thrive.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darius Murretti

    NOTE : I have not read "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur" yet I found it Entertaining and helpful . I only run an inner city farm but I could be guided to some extent by this and its better than reading trash It should be followed step by step . he has a website with free downloads to help you (I saved his emailed PDF file which has links to his free online resources in my marketing folder on my agricultural files ) Brings out the need to drop low profit pursuits to focus better on the most profita NOTE : I have not read "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur" yet I found it Entertaining and helpful . I only run an inner city farm but I could be guided to some extent by this and its better than reading trash It should be followed step by step . he has a website with free downloads to help you (I saved his emailed PDF file which has links to his free online resources in my marketing folder on my agricultural files ) Brings out the need to drop low profit pursuits to focus better on the most profitable product you can provide so you "rule " that one niche by doing it better that any one else and the need to keep you best clients happy if you want to avoid being a failed business sand attack more like minded clients . The idea is that your best clients will refer their friends to you and it makes some good points about finding out from your clients what they love and hate and how to keep them happy with you . Actually he makes more good points than I have time to recount now ..Mybe aill add to this later ..i definitoy need to do the free work sheets and charts I finitely think this could save some small new businesses from failing and some new entrepreneurs health ....

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robert Gebhardt

    A surprisingly useful book. His tone was annoying at times, but that didn't really detract from the substance. This book is very actionable and all the steps seem concrete and are ones you will probably figure out at some point, but reading this book can save you years of wrong turns. The advice of dumping all the "average" pumpkins to concentrate on the biggest one is good. I also liked other tidbits, like "under-promise and over-deliver 80% of the time (not 100%)", "don't let your chosen clien A surprisingly useful book. His tone was annoying at times, but that didn't really detract from the substance. This book is very actionable and all the steps seem concrete and are ones you will probably figure out at some point, but reading this book can save you years of wrong turns. The advice of dumping all the "average" pumpkins to concentrate on the biggest one is good. I also liked other tidbits, like "under-promise and over-deliver 80% of the time (not 100%)", "don't let your chosen clients know they're getting special treatment", and "be transparent about your methods with your clients". Also, I don't understand those reviewers saying these pieces of advice are "obvious" or "common sense". Are they basically saying they've already followed all his steps and they've attained success thanks to them but they're too obvious to qualify as advice? Otherwise I'm guessing they'd say it's "incorrect" or "incomplete" or something. Or maybe I'm overanalyzing the book reviews.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Flanagan

    Gave me an epiphany. Inspired me to take action. Highly recommended. This is an excellent business book for entrepreneurs. Well written, entertaining, and pumpkin jam packed full of powerful actionable advice. This is how to build a highly profitable, scalable business and so avoid the traps of entrepreneurship (poverty, misery, slavery). There are a ton of books on how to build a business, how to be a successful entrepreneur - and many of them are good. This one is excellent. It made me want to Gave me an epiphany. Inspired me to take action. Highly recommended. This is an excellent business book for entrepreneurs. Well written, entertaining, and pumpkin jam packed full of powerful actionable advice. This is how to build a highly profitable, scalable business and so avoid the traps of entrepreneurship (poverty, misery, slavery). There are a ton of books on how to build a business, how to be a successful entrepreneur - and many of them are good. This one is excellent. It made me want to take action so immediately I had to hold myself back until I’d finished the book. The pumpkin metaphor is a simple, at times hilarious, always powerful one. Michalowicz’s advice and the broad range of example industries he applies it to, leaves you better informed, better prepared and inspired to take action. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to stand out from the crowd, read this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike Nichols

    Having read two of Mike's books already (Profit First and Clockwork), I found most of the concepts in this book to be familiar already. This book is great for anyone who is determined to turn a struggling business into a thriving business. I'm very interested in applying the principles in this book to my next business. Through reading books like these, I've realized that what is holding me back from growing my business is that I have other business ideas that I would rather pursue more than my c Having read two of Mike's books already (Profit First and Clockwork), I found most of the concepts in this book to be familiar already. This book is great for anyone who is determined to turn a struggling business into a thriving business. I'm very interested in applying the principles in this book to my next business. Through reading books like these, I've realized that what is holding me back from growing my business is that I have other business ideas that I would rather pursue more than my current business. However, I haven't figured out exactly how to generate revenue for these ideas and can't really apply what I've learned from this book yet. While this book is great for a business that's already generating revenue, it won't necessarily help you discover ways to generate sales and revenue for a new idea. I believe I need to do more research specific to my idea, before I can effectively apply the broader principles of this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shorel

    The crassness aside, this was a great book focusing on one principal: Grow the big pumpkin. In other words, focus on your best clients and knock it out of the ballpark. The principle is a pretty common one if you've read many productivity books. But it's one thing to get rid of time-sucking tasks. It's a whole other thing to have to get rid of "bad pumpkins" who bring in revenue. Yet, they are still bad pumpkins that are more trouble then the amount of revenue they are bringing in. Get rid of th The crassness aside, this was a great book focusing on one principal: Grow the big pumpkin. In other words, focus on your best clients and knock it out of the ballpark. The principle is a pretty common one if you've read many productivity books. But it's one thing to get rid of time-sucking tasks. It's a whole other thing to have to get rid of "bad pumpkins" who bring in revenue. Yet, they are still bad pumpkins that are more trouble then the amount of revenue they are bringing in. Get rid of the bad pumkins and focus on growing the monstrous pumpkin...or your top tier wonderful clients. You should see revenue explode. Being on the left side of the bell curve, I only theoretically agree. Hopefully I'll get a chance to put this to the test soon. Great read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    This book, as well as being entertaining, cuts right to the core of what you can do to improve your company's effectiveness in the world by implementing The Pumpkin Plan. This guy is so much fun to read that you can put down the book, and you can't help but learn very important concepts along the way. Mike is energetic and down to earth and such a cool dude, that he gives you his email address in the book and says to email him. He promises to respond (eventually) and I'm pretty certain it's actua This book, as well as being entertaining, cuts right to the core of what you can do to improve your company's effectiveness in the world by implementing The Pumpkin Plan. This guy is so much fun to read that you can put down the book, and you can't help but learn very important concepts along the way. Mike is energetic and down to earth and such a cool dude, that he gives you his email address in the book and says to email him. He promises to respond (eventually) and I'm pretty certain it's actually him who responds back. I've done it and I've struck up a short conversation with him, and his energy pervades even his short email replies. It's hard to mimic that! Really hard. At any rate, the info delivered in this book on improving your business is indeed invaluable. In it he breaks down key steps (not in a dorky overused 12-step plan style) to improve your business by reshaping the way you think about and do things. I highly recommend this as a small business owner who has lots to learn and little time for the tedium of textbook style "how tos"! Great work Mike! Now get busy with another book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lilly Ferrick

    I can't say enough about what I'm learning from this author. For a smaller business, it's all applicable and relative. I took 3 months to work through this book because I wanted to do the exercises in the chapters. After doing his assessment it was eye-opening and the slap in the face I needed to see how many small pumpkins I'd cultivated. As a result of this book, I discovered a niche in the market of something I could productize. And I heard him today say that he's going to re-do the Pumpkin P I can't say enough about what I'm learning from this author. For a smaller business, it's all applicable and relative. I took 3 months to work through this book because I wanted to do the exercises in the chapters. After doing his assessment it was eye-opening and the slap in the face I needed to see how many small pumpkins I'd cultivated. As a result of this book, I discovered a niche in the market of something I could productize. And I heard him today say that he's going to re-do the Pumpkin Plan so I'll be reading it again next year. Next, I'm reading Surge, not as popular as his other books but I'm all on his material.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebekka Steg

    The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz (author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur) is an excellent book about achieving success as an entrepreneur in any field. *Full disclosure, I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.* Now, this book is definitely aimed primarily at entrepreneurs, secondarily at everyone else in charge of running a business. However, there's still a lot of great points that are valua The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz (author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur) is an excellent book about achieving success as an entrepreneur in any field. *Full disclosure, I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.* Now, this book is definitely aimed primarily at entrepreneurs, secondarily at everyone else in charge of running a business. However, there's still a lot of great points that are valuable to the rest of us.  The main idea behind The Pumpkin Plan, is that we ought to focus on our top clients - i.e., our giant pumpkin. The way a farmer grows a huge, prize-winning giant pumpkin, is by carefully selecting a premium seed (i.e., the idea for a business), then weeding everything else away (including all the small, diseased pumpkin and even "ordinary" pumpkins) focusing only on the pumpkin with the most potential, continuing with watering and tending to the pumpkin until it has grown to huge proportions - then reaping the benefits. There is something extremely irresistible, something magnetic about being the extreme. Be it the strongest, or the fastest, or the most unique. The farmer with the most extraordinary pumpkin in the field wins. Ever. Single. Time. The same is true for entrepreneurs. Yet most entrepreneurs work their tails off, only to end up with small, ordinary, unremarkable pumpkins. Compared to the giant pumpkin, the companies these struggling entrepreneurs grow are insignificant, so insignificant that customers often don't see them, or squash them, or leave them to rot in the field without a second thought. Too often we run ourselves ragged, trying to please everyone instead of playing to our strengths. By focusing on our strong suits - and on doing great work for the customers most suited to us, it is much easier to distinguish yourself from the competition and make your work easier and of a higher quality. More is not better, people. Better is better. You need to shift your mindset away from the quantity game. You need to stop killing yourself for scraps. I want you to kick your fears in the teeth and start focusing on the clients who, when you love them (and others just like them), will make your wildest revenue dreams possible. This is a lesson I believe is incredibly valuable to all of us, to leverage our strengths rather than trying to please everyone (which is impossible anyway. Even more so, the following quote is incredibly thought-provoking and useful in all areas of life: The key here is that your brain goes to work on any question you ask it. Good, bad or indifferent... your brain keeps plugging away. You need to be very aware of the questions you ask yourself, because the quality of your question will directly influence the quality of your answer. If you ask, "Why do I always struggle?" your brain will answer: "Because you suck." Okay, usually your brain comes up with  specific answers, like "Because you're not well-educated," or "Because you don't have enough money," or "Because you're not good at sales." Conversely, if you ask, "How do I achieve success?" your brain will come back with an answer: "Try this, do that..." If you consistently ask enabling questions, your brain will find enabling answers - solutions toward progress. Pumpkin Planners consistently ask better questions, get better answers and, ultimately, get better results. In conclusion, I greatly recommend this to everyone, but especially to those who are running - or thinking about running a business.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rohit

    Three things happily caught me by surprise while reading Mike Michalowicz’s fun and engaging “The Pumpkin Plan”. 1) It’s still inspiring for aspiring business owners. Think of it as a look down the road of what smart business owners work like. 2) It had a lot of great lessons for UX designers. The core of every “Pumpkin Plan” is a deep understanding of user needs, and seeing Mike’s quick-and-dirty approach to needs gathering was great. 3) It’s not just about business. Learning to cut out the fluff Three things happily caught me by surprise while reading Mike Michalowicz’s fun and engaging “The Pumpkin Plan”. 1) It’s still inspiring for aspiring business owners. Think of it as a look down the road of what smart business owners work like. 2) It had a lot of great lessons for UX designers. The core of every “Pumpkin Plan” is a deep understanding of user needs, and seeing Mike’s quick-and-dirty approach to needs gathering was great. 3) It’s not just about business. Learning to cut out the fluff and focus on what matters seems like a good life lesson in general.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cherry Coley

    I enjoyed this very practical book about starting a business and growing it. The author uses examples of pumpkin farming and planting seeds: figuring out what to plant, where to plant, how much to water and fertilize, and what to do to get the most out of the crop. He takes those examples and ties them in with companies that have faded away such as Blockbuster, and those that have taken some hard knocks but managed to turn things around and keep growing. It's a nice little marketing book with si I enjoyed this very practical book about starting a business and growing it. The author uses examples of pumpkin farming and planting seeds: figuring out what to plant, where to plant, how much to water and fertilize, and what to do to get the most out of the crop. He takes those examples and ties them in with companies that have faded away such as Blockbuster, and those that have taken some hard knocks but managed to turn things around and keep growing. It's a nice little marketing book with simple and clear business sense.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Niels Philbert

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Mike a couple of years back, and listening to the audio version of this book was like being in the room with him. Don't let the title fool you; it's a serious book about focusing on not getting distracted, if you want to succeed with your business. Easy to understand - harder to implement. As most things. Best book about starting and running a succesful business I have read this year. For similar messages packaged a different way, read: "Positioning: The Battle I have had the pleasure of meeting Mike a couple of years back, and listening to the audio version of this book was like being in the room with him. Don't let the title fool you; it's a serious book about focusing on not getting distracted, if you want to succeed with your business. Easy to understand - harder to implement. As most things. Best book about starting and running a succesful business I have read this year. For similar messages packaged a different way, read: "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind".

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