There’s One Best Way to Skin a Cat. Period.
What do Pondapalooza, INFO TANZA™ and N.A.P.P. have to do with Pondemonium®, Cabomonium and Chicagomonium? The first three were water feature industry events that are no more and the last three are Aquascape events that are still going. If there’s one thing that’s been reinforced to me again, and again, and again, in business it’s that there’s a thousand ways to skin a cat, but one best one. Period. Without a doubt, the most misunderstood, and polarizing, aspects of the Aquascape business model is our assembly line approach to water feature construction. It might be misunderstood but it’s also the most sound from a business perspective. Simply put, you will produce better results, as in low maintenance, beautiful, and profitable, water features by building them all the same way. Period. Aquascape is a franchise system, without the franchise fee. Before McDonald’s there were plenty of burger joints, the largest comprised of a couple of stores. Then Ray Kroc saw an opportunity to systemize the process and the fast food boom was born. Although by no means do I want to associate the building of a water feature with the making of a hamburger that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.
If you’re going to open up a hamburger joint, or put out a sign and declare you’re in the pond business, I feel the best choice is evident in both. You will sell more burgers by being a McDonald’s franchise than any other burger joint. Period. Burger King is the #2 player to McDonald’s and their average store sales are less than half an average McDonald’s location. You will sell more ponds by being a Certified Aquascape Contractor and building water features one way, then by building them all other ways. Period.
Over 23 years I’ve heard every argument against the Aquascape franchise model that a contractor, and certainly our competitors can make. All the arguments against the Aquascape approach are never business related. Whether stated, or implied, the naysayers always come back to the same philosophical argument that Aquascape (OK, me) is arrogant, or egotistical, for suggesting there’s one best way to skin a cat. To me, if it’s arrogant to say “the proof’s in the pudding” so be it.
I love the water feature industry very very much. It’s provided me, and many others, a chance to make a living. But every time, and without fail, every event sponsored by the industry itself has failed. First it was Pondapalooza, and then National Association of Pond Professionals (N.A.P.P.) that eventually merged with International Professional Pond Companies Association (IPPCA) whose annual conference was just cancelled after a total of three attendees signed up. THREE!
Look, at Aquascape this isn’t an us vs. them thing. But it is a “Hey, this is what we are doing, and here’s how it’s working for us and many others thing.” If you’re curious to see for yourself what I’m talking about then come see for yourself at one of our events. Pondemonium® is every August, Cabomonium is every winter except this winter as we are shooting a reality show, and we are putting on Chicagomonium in it’s place.
Lastly, if there is (and there always is) a philosophical argument that building water features the same way kills creativity and produces boring looking water features consider this: Aquascape, as previously stated, is filming a Reality TV show chronicling our exploits as water feature makers. No two settings are alike, every rock is different, no two designs are the same, but the process to build each one remains the same. Each water feature is a unique, one of a kind work of art, and we have a show that’s going to showcase us doing just that. In other words, the proof’s in more than just the pudding…it’s in the ponds!
The Pond Guy