Pumpkin Plan – Start With What You Do Best

A few posts back, I referenced the book “The Pumpkin Plan”. If you have not read it and are a small business treading water to stay afloat, invest a few dollars and pick it up. You will learn something or find something from it that will help your business.

What does it mean to pumpkin plan your business? I do not want to give away all the secrets of the book, but do want to give you enough insight to consider exploring what the book has to teach.

Imagine you wanted to grow a prize-winning pumpkin in your back yard. What would that take? What would need to happen?

You might answer things like:

  • Pick a good spot to grow
  • Remove the weeds/ Other plants
  • Set up a fence
  • Fertilize
  • Water
  • Prune the Vine
  • Etc.

Imagine now that instead of a pumpkin, you are going to grow your business. What does it mean to do the items you listed out? I will focus on the idea of removing the weeds/ other plants from your business.

Removing the weeds/ other plants from your business means stop trying to be everything to everyone. If your focus is on growing a pumpkin, then focus on pumpkins (or your core offering). If you are a web developer and your strongest skill it coding and writing in Python, then focus on those jobs that require Python programming experience. Do not take on a task that is programming in a different language. There is plenty of Python work for you, you do not have to be an expert in all languages.

Removing the weeds means creating enough space in your garden in business to serve the act of growing the business you want. If you want to grow a pumpkin business focusing on growing strawberries does you no good. Agreeing to grow strawberries in your pumpkin space does you no good, so don’t do it.

You might believe that you have to take on the special work to stay relevant or to stay alive, but are you really saving anything? How much time and energy will go into learning how to complete the extra tasks. What happens with that skill or additional person you hired when that project is done? Have you just created a new a larger liability for your small business? Will they be let go?

The first pumpkin tip, I offer is to find what your business is at its core, and focus on doing that exceptionally before adding more and more minor offerings just because they seem trendy. High quality work will always be your best selling point.