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How to Grow Giant Prize Winning Pumpkins

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photo credit: Darwin Bell via photo pin cc

Okay, I’ll admit the title of this post is a bit odd for a marketing blog, but it relates specifically to the title of a book by this week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, Mike Michalowicz.

Michalowicz has written a book called The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field

As goofy as the title may sound, the book contains the essence of an idea I’ve been promoting for many years and that is – if you want to stand out you must narrow your focus and get really, really good at one thing.

According to Michalowicz the idea for the book came about 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.

Here are few of the nuggets contained in this quick read.

  • 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.

The ideas contained in this formula may seem simple, and they are, but why aren’t more people doing them? Take the advice contained in this book and you’ll discover the best way to stand out in your field.

Make Any Business Extraordinary Using EST

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Mike Michalowicz – Enjoy!

The London Olympics were nothing short of amazing.  Top athlete after top athlete trying to outdo each other.  Just like to business going to head, there is only going to be one gold medalist at the end of the day.

Arguably, Michael Phelps is one of the most impressive athletes of all time. His collection of gold medals speaks to it.  What is interesting is that every swimmer that lost to Michael Phelps was trying to be the ER swimmer.  “What is ER?” you ask.  It is when a competitor (business, athlete or otherwise) tries to be better than other competitor.  They try to be faster or stronger or smarter or funnier or louder or quicker or slower or anything better.

The thing is, if you aren’t the EST you go unnoticed.  If you came in second or third to Michael Phelps, you may have been better than the other swimmers, but you were not the best. You are forgotten. Michael Phelps got millions in endorsements.  Number two – the better then almost everyone else guy – got nothing.

At the end of the day, only the EST wins.  The fastest or the slowest or the strongest or the weakest or the funniest or the loudest or anything that is the most, the best.

Ironically, any swimmer could “beat” Michael Phelps by doing a cannonball into the pool when everyone else dives.  That is the craziest thing, and would be covered all over the news.  That swimmer would win the worlds attention, by simply being an EST.

Enter The EST

The EST is the superlative that is going to make your business more successful. For those of you who are not grammarians – the superlative is that which is added to the end of a word to show that it features a degree that is unsurpassed. The unsurpassed area is where you want to be!

The edge of the competition bell curve is awareness, as that is where customers see you. The center is just filled with noise; if you fall in that area of the curve, you won’t be heard. To succeed, it is essential that you work to become the EST. Applications of the EST can vary widely, so the field is wide open. You aren’t limited to aiming to be the greatest – there is also the fastest, cheapest, quickest, and even the not-so-obvious choices of being the slowest, strangest, funniest, and weirdest. Now you are getting the idea…

What if you had a restaurant that had the fastest meals – everything was served in under 30 seconds? That would be the talk of the town (and would blow away even McDonald’s)! You could also be the slowest by, say, inviting guests to spend three to four hours, slowing dining on a steady stream of tasty treats. That too, would be the talk of the town.

Being the Oddest

You may not see, quite yet, how standing out in an odd way could actually help you. But I am a college football fan, and even if you are a fanatic, too, I bet you would struggle to identify all of the Number One teams of the last 10 years. But you can probably immediately identify the only team in college football with a blue field! That is because that team’s field is the strangest!

The Boise State Broncos have the blue football field, of course. And everyone knows about them because of it. That little school has become an annual Top 10 contender in college football. Year in and year out, they get amazing recruits and they win.

Perhaps, just perhaps, by having the EST field in the country, they stood out from the noise. Perhaps like every college football fan, every college football recruit knows of the blue field. And maybe that has brought great athletes to a school that might not have otherwise been noticed. There is one thing for sure, they got a blue field and have been winning ever since!

Finding Your EST

Still not sure how you could apply the EST to your business? What about the coolest (you can only get in the store if you know the password of the day), loudest (think of speakers that are louder than jet engines), quietest (a silence room where you can actually hear your own heart beat), smelliest, sweetest, sourest…you get the idea.

The great thing about using the EST strategy to put your business on the road to success is that the sky is the limit concerning what yours will be! You get to decide what EST you want your business to be. Then put it out there in the biggest way, get out of the way, and watch what happens! You may just find that you have the craziest idea — one that turns your company into the neatest thing people have ever seen, which in turn will create one of the happiest entrepreneurs around.

Remember, the EST is the superlative that will show the degree to which your business is unique. So ask yourself, to what degree is your business set apart from others? If you don’t know the answer to that question, neither do others. There is no limit to what that can be, and once you can identify it and make people aware of it, you will be on your way to business success!

Image Credit: Jon Curnow

MikeMichalowicz is the author of ThePumpkinPlan and TheToiletPaperEntrepreneur. He is a nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurial topics and is the CEO of ProvendusGroup, a consultancy that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued.