Read The Pumpkin Plan to Grow Your Business

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The Pumpkin PlanUh Oh.  I’m only on the first page of the introduction of  The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz (@toiletpaperentrepreneur) and I’m already laughing.  When we talked about his sending me a review copy of this book, he told me this was going to a more serious book about building your business – and it is.

But I’m still laughing out loud in my kitchen at 6am on a Saturday over a cup of steaming coffee (which is when I write these book reviews).  I hope the rest of my family doesn’t hear me.

Let me tell you a little bit about the author, Mike Michalowicz.  In the interest of full disclosure, Mike has become a sort of professional friend.  That happened after I reviewed his last book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.  He’s not the kind of guy everyone likes.  Some people may think he isn’t serious because there’s a playful, unassuming, comedic teenage-sense of humor that you notice first.

I mean who else would name their book “Toilet Paper Entrepreneur?”    But he’s the kind of guy I LOVE because beneath the carefree, frat-boy style is real down-to-earth wisdom that only a small business owner can appreciate.

Knowing How to Grow a Great Pumpkin Translates to Growing a Great Business – Really

There are lots of analogies about how to grow a great business; fast cars, toilet paper and now pumpkins.  I’m dubious about this.  Thank the LORD I didn’t have to wait until page 85 to get the connection.  Mike gets to it on page 15 (whew).  Here is the inspiration for the book – an article in his local paper on how to grow GIGUNDA pumpkins in – are you ready – Seven Steps!

STEP 1: Plant promising seeds

STEP 2: Water, Water, Water

STEP 3: As they grow, routinely remove all of the diseased or damaged pumpkins.

STEP 4: Weed like a mad dog.  Not a single green leaf or root permitted if it isn’t a pumpkin plant.

STEP 5: When they grow larger, identify the stronger, faster-growing pumpkins.  Repeat until you have one pumpkin on each vine.

STEP 6:  Focus all your attention on the big pumpkin.  Nurture it around the clock like a baby, and guard it like you would your first Mustang convertible.

STEP 7: Watch it grow.  In the last days of the season, this will happen so fast you can actually see it happen.

There you have it – the secret to growing a million dollar business in the pumpkin patch.  These steps are actually converted to business-speak a page later, but you’ll have to read the book to get those.

How To Use Pumpkin Plan In Your Business

By the time you get through the first chapter – you will be sold.  You’ll find yourself saying “YES!  This is me.  I’m going to Pumpkin Plan my business!”  But this book is NOT a workbook.  You can’t just stop reading and do something he talks about.  I suppose you can but let’s just say you won’t want to.  You’ll want to keep reading, then put the book down, then really think about the wisdom that’s between the lines that have you laughing and chuckling to yourself and at the same time SEEING yourself in the myriad stories he tells throughout the book.

Let me give you a sort of tip before you even crack the pages – the book starts with a story about not being “That guy” – the guy who gives his whole life to his business and then is sitting on the porch worn and torn drooling (a rather bad paraphrase of Mike).  This is the foundation of the book.  The pumpkin patch process is what you’ll see Mike repeating in a variety of industries and situations.  And your job is to read, learn and then apply what you’ve read to YOUR business.

No fancy worksheets, no short cuts, just a little “Work the Plan in 30 Minutes or Less” summary after each section.  What strikes me about each of these to-do elements is how much of them are not about DOING – they are about who you are BEING in your business.  And remember – you don’t want to BE – That guy!

Who Should Read Pumpkin Plan And Why

While the book is written for the small business owner, I actually think it has HUGE implications for sales folks as well.  After all, aren’t we ALL sales people?  I never thought I would say this, but this pumpkin patch process has wisdom and practicality written all over it.

If your business is in those “Life Sucks” stages where you find yourself thinking that all you need is to close that one BIG deal?  Yeah – you need this book.  Get over it, the big deal isn’t going to save you.

And if you are doing great, but want more time to enjoy your business and your life, pick this puppy up and free up some time while you make more money.

I’m not trying to sell this book to you.  I can’t promise that what’s in the book will grow your business – only the choices you make and actions you take will do that.  But, if you implement the Pumpkin Plan, you just might find yourself laughing all the way to the bank.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

21 Reactions
  1. This sounds like a pretty cool book, Ivana.

    I like the part about “weeding.”

    I can relate to it in this way;

    We must say no, sometimes.

    That’s weeding too, right?

    The Franchise King®

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Ivana: It sounds like fun reading. I like the author’s down-to-earth approach. I prefer to be a farmer, not a hunter (read referral marketing).

    As a chile-head, growing chile peppers, I can related to the pumpkin analogy.

    We have to talk about your drinking habits, i.e. drinking coffee! 😉 The perfect start of the day is a cup of tea! 🙂

    All the Best,


    • Hi Martin! Yes – my morning pot of coffee is just about ready and I’m looking forward to it!

      As for the book – I really liked it. I love the planting analogy as well. I’ve found that my investment in referrals over the years has gotten me through some tough times.

      • Martin Lindeskog

        What kind of coffee do you drink? French press? Take raw coffee beans, put them in the oven, grind them, and then pour water over them in a French press coffee pot. Fresh! 🙂

        It is good to hear that the referral system is working for you.

        I have to get the book! 🙂

      • Hi Martin – Well, my favorite is Turkish coffee (some people call it Serbian, Bosnian, Greek) I stick with Turkish because that’s how I learned it and that’s what it is for me. But it’s really hard to get the right mix of coffee for the flavor I’m after. My mom has it custom mixed.

        That said – I drink French Press because it’s the perfect balance between the powerhouse that is Turkish Coffee and the much too bland American filtered coffee. And now you know!

        There’s also a ritual about it for me. I LOVE getting up early, grabbing one of the business books I’m reading and sipping super rich coffee. As I read, I take notes and make dog ears in the book – I outline, highlight and make notes in the margins. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning.

    • Hey Martin – I love the fact that you grow chile’s. I just tried my first stab at it this year. I seem to be doing well on carrots and peas and tomatoes but am struggling with peppers of all types.

      • Mike: I am a chile-head, enjoying hot & spicy stuff. It could take like 1/2 year from planting the seeds in February / March, to the first harvest in August. This year, it will be a late harvest. I used old Peperoncino Rosso chile pepper plants from last year. Click on my name if you want to see a photo from last year’s transplantation.

        I have learned plenty of lessons from old business ventures. And it is time for a new one soon, founded in one of my passions. It has to do with plants too… 😉

        All the Best,


  3. It is sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read this weekend. After reading the first chapter I too was hooked and am anxious to see all the witty advice Mike gives away in this one. I am also a TPE fan.

    • Hi Lee – I love that you have it on your Kindle. When I review books – I prefer to have them in hard copy because that allows me to skip around, reference and make notes. But when I want to put my books to use and have them with me — I get them on Kindle too so I can search and reference specific pieces and parts.

      I’d say this is a great book to have on Kindle because you can simply read it cover to cover — and then you can have it there, ready and available for when you want to reference any specific section.

      PS – TPEs RULE!

    • Lee – THANK YOU! I am so thrilled you are reading the book. I can’t wait to hear your honest feedback. I hope the book serves you well.

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Ivana: It is very nice to read about your reading ritual together with a tasty cup of coffee! Talk with you soon again about beverages and book reviews! 🙂

  5. Thank you for this post Ivana. You had me at “Uh Oh.”

  6. Agreed, Ivana! Mike Michalowicz does indeed have a way of “sneaking in” some great wisdom under the cloak of city boy-turned-farm boy humor. Teaching (which is how I prefer to view it) this way tends to therefore stay with the reader.

    Your writing’s nothing to sneeze at, either. Great post!

  7. Great article and the book looks good. I can relate to the part about watering. There were times in the past where I liked to do the ‘planting the seed part’, but then didn’t do enough watering. When I didn’t see anything growing quick enough, I would go and plant another seed somewhere else.

    At the beginning of a new business, it can require a lot of watering and patience before you see any fruit, so it would pay for people to bear this in mind, as it will be worth the wait in the end.

  8. I really love this book because it’s idea very simple but powerful! And even more I have started to use this idea not only for selecting customers and partner but even for selecting and nurturing of best blog posts.

    I think pumpkin plan can be used for content marketing and I even develop wordpress plugin “focus on website value” for pumpkin plan.

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