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Secret of the Watermelon

Secret of the Watermelon

October 30, 2008

The unconventional strategy that will turn around your business and your life

This article is an excerpt from my new e-book that will be coming out in November. Business GPS Gold Members are eligible to receive it free via email. Here's a sneak preview. - Jon

Believe it or not, the secret to turning around any business can be found in a watermelon.

There's a secret so profound and so counter-intuitive that it can truly turn around your business and your life. I call it the secret of the watermelon.

What does a watermelon have to do with turning around and growing your business? Plenty!

As you'll see in a moment, inside every watermelon is a secret so extraordinary that you'll never run your business the same way again.

Don't take my word for it. Adiel Gorel, CEO of International Capital Group in Los Angeles, helps people invest billions of dollars in real estate. He admits he was skeptical of the process, but he says, 'the the movement that took place in our company has been astounding.'

At Financial Services in Phoenix, John Tarr says the secrets 'made an immediate impact on the business.' In one month sales jumped 65%.' The same secret that I'm about to reveal to you also increased sales 65% for Michael Gray at All-American Check Cashing in Canton, Mississippi ' Realtor Eric Ondrick calls it the best decision he's made in years ... and it boosted revenues 60% for Dr. Alvin Schamroth of Exam Pro, who can now run his business in the states and live abroad.

It's what made Paul Johnston the unlikely hero of shed owners all over northern California. Here's why.

Most shed manufacturers sell a shed based on its utilitarian purpose. Not Johnston's Shed Shop.

He has a passion for marketing sheds and solving the challenges his customers face when they run out of space for the tools in their garage. Or their pottery is taking over the living room. Or they may need a room of their own to teach trumpet lessons.

He's even credited with saving a few marriages with his sheds!

He tells all about it in a fabulous book of letters from customers called '83 Ways a Shed has Changed People's Lives'. Can you imagine 83 different ways a shed can change someone's life?! (See pages 8-9 for specific examples of how he positions his sheds as more than just a place to store stuff.)

I'll tell you more about his incredible story and how to put the secret of the watermelon to work in your business in a moment.

A breakthrough in the making

But first, I think it's important for you to understand how the secret came about. My breakthrough discovery began more than 20 years ago when I won Harvard University's Achievement Award for creating the world's largest student-run advertising and PR agency.

You see, I was raised in a family of advertisers and marketers so that business is near and dear to me.

Some people were brought up to be doctors and lawyers. I was somehow brought up to be an entrepreneur in advertising and marketing.

Even in college, I made a name for myself with some crazy ideas running the ad agency.

To help advertise the bookstore's book 'buy-back' program, I brought in several junker cars that students could smash with a sledge hammer after they had finished their final exams and sold their books back to the bookstore.

Some professors hated it, but the students loved it! And the national media ate it up. In fact, it was the most successful book buy-back program the bookstore ever had.

When the last car was smashed, I graduated from college and set out to work in Atlanta. I received lots of offers to work at ad agencies, but turned them all down.

From sleeping out of my tent in Europe to living in a cave in Spain...

I decided to travel the world instead. I said to myself, 'The corporate world will still be waiting for me when I get back.' (And guess what? It was.)

What an experience I had! Three friends and I agreed to meet at the Acropolis and go to Tanzania to buy a Land Rover, then drive along the Nile and Sudan and drink blood with Zulus. But instead I choose the 'Eastern path' and bought a one-way ticket going east around the world. From there I went on to tour Europe.

I had a crazy rule ' if I didn't get invited in by locals I would sleep outside in my tent! I woke up in some scary places such as on a divider in the middle of a highway in Brussels, a lava beach in Greece where a man wanted to stab me with his pitchfork because I was sleeping in his fishing spot and once I narrowly escaped getting my head crushed by a stampede of horses one early morning in Spain while still in my sleeping bag.

I worked at a grocery store in Spain, taught marketing at the University in Barcelona, lived on Stromboli, Italy with seismologists who were studying the island's volcanic activity, managed teams of orange pickers in Greece,' played Ultimate Frisbee for one of the Dutch national teams, and managed a health and personal development center in Spain where I heard about a Buddhist monastery.

So I borrowed a motorcycle and made my way up the mountains to the monastery, called O Sel Ling. While there, I helped them build a summer camp and learned to meditate. I changed my name to Tenpe Chopill and became a devout Buddist under Lama Zopa. I continued on my journey through Spain and fasted for a week, lived with a friend in a cave where we went on a speech fast for a week, and lived blind-folded in the forest to experience what it would be like to be blind.

I learned how to 'Alpine ski' on the hard morning snow, practiced Tai Chai at sunrise, and traveled to an island near Egypt that was ruled by a 400-pound primitive tribal leader who looked at me and ordered, 'white boy eat salt fish' and I proceeded to eat some type of disgusting sardine.

After returning to the States, I traveled back to Israel where I studied Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Ultimately, I met my wife-to-be there (even though she was originally from Philadelphia).

We returned to America and the corporate world hadn't changed, but I had. I didn't know it then, but the secret of the watermelon was beginning to take shape.

There was still more to learn. I started an ad agency and eventually sold my share as co-owner of one of the largest promotion companies in the country. At the time, the company was #26 out of over 20,000.

I saw a lot of businesses come and go during that time and I got a front-row seat as I saw what was working and what was not. Although the business was very profitable and we were enjoying great success, I was frustrated. At a promotion agency, the solution to every problem is restricted to marketing, advertising and promotional products.

What did I learn from these adventures overseas?

My adventures overseas had forced me to look beyond what was needed at the moment. I saw there was much more to it.

I sold out of my last business so I could create Brand Launcher and Business GPS and offer business owners a total transformation of their business and life using the secrets I've learned. Since then, I've worked with hundreds of business owners helping them increase sales, add more prospects and achieve a balance between work and family.

The most valuable secret revealed 

And the most valuable secret I learned is what I call the Secret of the Watermelon.

Let me explain. With most fruit you can simply bite into it and work your way towards the center. Not a watermelon. To eat a watermelon, you first have to cut it open and actually eat it from the inside-out.

Go from the inside - out

To effectively turn around a business, begin from the inside, just like you would eat a watermelon. At the center of every business is the heart - you! Your business begins with you as the business owner or manager.

Everything else in the business revolves around you. Your marketing, your sales force and your teams and systems give you the freedom to leverage your talents. They're all designed to support you as the leader. Using the Secret of the Watermelon you can finally work on your business, not in it.

Imagine a slice of watermelon. In the middle of that circle is you and your core competency - the one thing you do better and easily than most other people and gives you joy. This is the 'sweet spot' where you make the most money and where you're the most happy.

Surrounding the center circle is another circle. This illustrates your marketing architecture, what I call your 'market-tecture'. It's the sales engine that drives everything.

The Secret of the Watermelon

Picture a slice of watermelon and you're at the center of the heart. Everything else ' your marketing and sales teams, your staff and your systems ' all revolve around you. The first part of the secret is that the business begins with you and everything supports you.

The most important element of your marketing is what I call your Big Zig. Remember I was telling you about how we smashed cars in college to promote the book buy-back program? That's a Big Zig! While everyone else zags in the market, you want to do something so different and with such bravado that everyone will have to stand up notice. So while others zag, you zig.

The outermost circle is your business system, which is there to support you and the business. I call them Freedom Teams and Freedom Systems because they give you the freedom to concentrate on the things that leverage your core competency and bring the greatest value to the organization. And just like you eat a watermelon one bite at a time, you build your Freedom Systems and Freedom Teams one step at a time.

The Secret of the Watermelon is truly a breakthrough and counter-intuitive to how most business owners think. Most think they have to first determine the needs of the customer or find a market before they can begin. But that won't do you any good if you're not able to leverage your God-given talents and skills. That's what I discovered owning an agency. Although it was one of the largest in the world and it was very successful, I wasn't happy. I was only using a small portion of my talents and skills. My real passion is helping business owners get unstuck so they can grow their businesses and give themselves the lives they've always dreamed.

How I got the name, 'The Watermelon Guy'

Don't get me wrong, I love marketing and advertising! It's how many people came to know me as the 'watermelon guy'. I made a name for myself mailing and creating lumpy mail ' promotions that included reports, give-aways, baseballs, fake dynamite tubes, etc. to get prospects' attention. What better way to get someone's attention than to mail a watermelon?! So I mailed watermelons with letters attached to them to marketing executives at large companies. We pitched our promotional services offering them T-shirt printing, Frisbees with their logos on them, water bottles, etc. that we could create for them for their next company picnic. We got the highest response rate ever at just under 100% and sold tons of promotional products as a result.

The experiment made a big point about how effective creative packages like that can be ' and now everyone knows me as the guy who mailed a watermelon and they call me the 'watermelon guy!' The mailman uses other names.

Mailing a watermelon will certainly get you noticed, but as my clients will also tell you, using the Secret of the Watermelon will change your life.