At almost every entrepreneurial event I attend, I hear the same question: “How big is your business?” It may come in different flavors like, “How do sales look?” or “How many employees do you have now?” But no matter how it is asked, it is simply a different version of the same question, “How big is your business?”
A sizable business doesn’t always translate to a healthy one. A million dollar, top-line business that is consistently posting profits of twenty percent a year is much healthier than a ten million dollar, top-line business that’s barely squeaking by. Sure, it’s fun to pound our chests about the big top line, but if the business isn’t profitable, it might be only one bad month away from full (corporate) cardiac arrest.
So, how do you grow a colossal business that maintains a healthy bottom line throughout? The secret, surprisingly, is kept by colossal pumpkin farmers. They utilize certain core principles to healthily, rapidly, and organically grow colossal pumpkins. And when you apply their methods to your business, your business will experience healthy, rapid, organic growth too.
The colossal pumpkin strategy includes:
- Select the right seed – Just like colossal pumpkin farmers select seeds that are optimized for the local climate, colossal business growth requires that the core offering of the business has a perfect intersection with its best clients.
- Commit to the strongest sprouts – As the sprouts come out of the ground, the colossal farmer puts all her efforts in further growing what’s already proving to be strong. The colossal farmer understands that if it is strong in the beginning, it has the most potential to be strong throughout. Successful businesses regularly evaluate where their best offerings intersect with their best clients and focus their efforts there.
- Quench, don’t saturate – Colossal farmers don’t saturate plants with water to get them to grow, they quench them. A colossal farmer feeds the rapidly growing sprouts with water up to twenty times a day. They understand that small, optimal servings of water beat large doses. Colossal businesses use the same strategy. They focus on their best target markets and constantly “drip market” to the category. The long-term, narrow marketing strategy beats the short-term, broad one.
- Remove small pumpkins – Perhaps the most interesting strategy in colossal pumpkin farming is that colossal farmers constantly remove small pumpkins off of the vine. They realize that the longer a small pumpkin stays on the vine, the more nutrients and water it steals from the colossal pumpkin. The world’s best businesses do the same…they focus on their colossal differentiator, and any other “opportunity” that presents itself – if it doesn’t directly serve the colossal differentiator – is “removed from the vine.”