The popcorn model of business development

For many people, popcorn counts as an essential food group.

For smart entrepreneurs, the process of popping corn offers several lessons for successful business development.

Turn the heat up.

Back in the good ol’ days, you’d put oil in the popcorn popper, or even in a big skillet, and heat it to a high temperature before tossing in those golden kernels. You knew that, if the oil were too cool, nothing would happen.

Similarly, lukewarm business efforts result in a whole lot of nothing when it comes to growing that business. Instead of working occasionally or casually on a big project you know will have a positive impact on your bottom line, set yourself on business-building fire. Focus on the fabulous results of taking action, commit to making progress every day, and allow yourself to see the value in baby steps (that’s where the next lesson comes in).

Make it easy to keep in motion.

You know how easy it is to keep eating when you have a big bowlful of popped deliciousness in front of you. Your hand, arm, and mouth all work together in a sort of balletic rhythm: Reach into bowl, grab popcorn, fluidly raise hand to mouth, easily and delightedly swallow, repeat, repeat, repeat.

While many business-building steps may not be quite as satisfying to swallow as a handful of buttery popcorn, they’re certainly more valuable in the long run. And one way to make it easy to develop that same fluid rhythm in business is to make sure that your action steps are small enough so that you don’t choke on them, yet large enough to get you noticeably closer to your goal.

Give it a chance.

If you’re too impatient to start hoovering down your snack, you’ll try taking the popcorn out of the pan/popper/microwave before the maximum number of kernels have popped.

Similarly, if you fail to commit to giving adequate time to a strategically chosen business-building activity, you may quit in frustration, thinking “This isn’t working!” when, in reality, the proper observation may well be, “This isn’t working – yet.”

Keep an eye on it.

If you’ve ever allowed yourself to become distracted while waiting for your kernels to pop, you know you run the risk of burning the snack you were so eager to eat.

In the same way, you can’t afford to take a “set it and forget it” approach to automated or systematized processes, no matter how carefully you set them up. Circumstances, purchasing behavior, platform rules – any or all can change, and you’d best be on top of your situation enough to be able to change with them.


Are you consistently applying the Popcorn Model to growing your business? What sort of delicious rewards are you creating?

Or do you feel that, despite your best efforts, your marketing results tend to be either “unpopped” or “burnt”? If so, check out the tactics and strategies I’ve summarized in a no-charge PDF which is yours for the asking. Just email me with “I’m ready to market like I mean it!” in the subject line; I’ll send you your cheat sheet right away.

(BTW, thanks to cyclonebill for posting the popcorn image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

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One Response to The popcorn model of business development

  1. Pingback: Monkey bread. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. | Stepping Into Big

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