Implementing the Pumpkin Plan
After reading The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz in 2017, Charlotte Wasmer, founder of Virtual Partner Advantage (VPA), knew she needed to implement the business growth strategies from the book into her business. The question was, where to begin?
Charlotte decided that if she was going to be successful, she needed her team members to be onboard. She created a company book club, and invited all of her employees to read the book. Anyone who read the book became part of a special team to implement the Pumpkin Plan strategy, and everyone wanted to be part of the team!
Transformative vs transactional
Before implementing The Pumpkin Plan, Charlotte was running 3 different businesses, all providing services to the same group of clients with the same group of employees. The company had also lost site of their purpose and mission. They wanted their services to be transformative and value oriented, but in reality the business felt very transactional. Something was missing.
After a 4 day off site company retreat where they addressed their business issues, the team devised a plan to implement the majority of the Pumpkin Plan process over the course of a year.
Change is good
Virtual Partner Advantage went through a lot of changes over that next year, all with complete engagement and buy in from the employees. Even small change can be difficult in a company, but by involving her team from the beginning Charlotte generated the excitement and enthusiasm that carried them forward.
The first thing that they did was to rebrand the three companies into one company. The next step was to evaluate their client base and decide who their perfect client was.
Once VPA had defined their perfect client, they were able to see which current clients fit the profile and which didn’t. They used the profile when speaking with prospective new clients to make sure that the relationship was going to be a good fit, and that VPA could do their best work for them. As a result, their client engagements run more smoothly and the outcomes are more successful.
One very powerful technique in the Pumpkin Plan Book, the Wish List Interview, involves speaking with your ideal clients to understand what they care about most. After conducting Wish List Interviews with their clients, the company was also able to identify what made VPA unique in the eyes of their ideal clients, and why their clients chose to do business with VPA. This enabled VPA to clearly articulate and demonstrate their value to their clients.
On the employee side, going through the Pumpkin Plan process gave them a true understanding of the role that they each played, how they provided value to the client, and how they were impacting the success of their clients’ businesses. This in turn gave the employees a sense of how their actions were contributing to VPA’s success. Charlotte created an incentive plan to share the company’s profitability with her employees, creating a win/win/win for everyone.
Since implementing the Pumpkin Plan, VPA does not try to be everything to everyone. They focus on serving a specific industry and type of company. VPA almost can’t keep up with the steady growth. Their new clients come in almost entirely from word of mouth. Charlotte knows that when she focuses on what her company does best and sticks to it, they are able to bring true value, work with great people and create sustainable profitability for her business.
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