Pumpkin hacking your business

Pumpkin hacking is a term originating from agriculture. Well, maybe not directly from agriculture but rather from enthusiasts who are obsessed with growing huge pumpkins. Is it okay to call them agrogeeks?

And when I’m saying huge I mean huge. Such pumpkins can weigh about 500 kg / 1100 pounds. Typically those giant pumpkins are the Atlantic Giant sort. And they’ve even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records – one of those giants weighed 911 kg / 2009 pounds.

Late in the growing season as they are growing they are adding over 22 kg / 50 pounds without breaking. The physics of this growth is really interesting if you are into that kind of stuff – Wired has a great article and videos.

Pumpkin hacking your business

What has this got to do with business?

The connection between business and pumpkin hacking might not be obvious, but it’s actually very well established. So how do they compare?

To grow huge pumpkins, follow these steps:

  1. Get and plant good seed.
  2. Provide enough water, sun and nutrients.
  3. Be sure to remove all pumpkins that are not growing as they should, and those affected by disease or damaged by rodents or other pests. No mercy here!
  4. Keep the plants’ surroundings clean. Weed every day like there is no tomorrow. You can’t overweed (is that even a word?).
  5. As they grow, you’ll find one that’s growing faster and better than the others. That’s your giant-pumpkin-to-be. Cut all the other pumpkins off the plant. If you leave them, they will only be a drain on the valuable nutrients and resources. After they are cut off, all the nutrients will be directed to the remaining pumpkin still attached to the plant.
  6. Keep weeding. Weeds in the surrounding area can cause issues as they also drain resources from the soil. Keep an eye on rodents and any other pests. And be patient. It will grow and it could grow big.

Summarized in just three key takeouts applied to business growth and development, the entire process of pumpkin hacking looks like this:

  1. Be sure to have a good idea and that you know what you want. Focus is paramount. Don’t go after each and every customer, don’t chase every opportunity. Yes, you are here to grow but you don’t want to grow just for the sake of growing in each and every direction. You need to be excellent in just a few or one.
  2. Keep an eye on the parts of your business that are not performing well. Recognize them early, weed them out before they grow too large and affect the parts that have the potential to become really big. This works especially well when you are dealing with clients. Some of them are a drain on your time and resources, leaving you exhausted and unable to focus on other, better and more lucrative clients.
  3. Once you weed out the losers you will have your winner(s).There might only be one and that’s perfectly fine. Invest your time, money and all your other resources into it. You will have a single, but really true and big, winner. Cherish it and be sure to underpromise and overdeliver whenever you have the chance.

Relationship between SEO and pumpkin hacking

Here at UX Passion we do a lot of data analysis on SEO (search engine optimization). We do it for both our clients and ourselves. One particular aspect of SEO is keyword research and trying to gauge the amount of traffic you might get from specific keywords. This is not the same as keyword stuffing, a cheap attempt to trick the search engines.

SEO

Rather, we take a look at Google Analytics and over the course of time we try to identify content that is performing substantially better than other types of content. We then use several tools and techniques to gauge the overall audience for topics covered in that content and then focus our client’s content strategy in that direction.

To put it simply – we use statistical analysis and several in-house developed algorithms to recognize the content that engages users the most. And then we try to focus content creation efforts around that type of content.

You see the connection? You find the pumpkin that’s growing nicely, you get rid of all other distractions and you nurture the one with the best potential to deliver.

It IS really that simple and in several cases we have had increases in traffic of 85% within three weeks and a bounce rate dropping rapidly from 70% to below 5%.

Putting all one’s eggs in a single basket?

It’s reasonable to ask: if I focus only on a single pumpkin / business opportunity / client, isn’t that exactly the same as putting all my eggs in a single basket? While it might seem like that, that’s not really the case. I didn’t say you can’t plant more plants – you can and as you become more and more experienced, you will have the skills and abilities to do so, but even then you will apply the same principles to every single plant – crush the losers and nurture the winners.

It is important not to get carried away. It might take some time before you are able to identify opportunities with strong growth potential clearly. You don’t want to kill your pumpkins before you can clearly see and say which ones have growth potential. But as soon as you spot ones that are lagging behind, you should remove them.

So, go out and start hackin’…

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