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Change Can Do You Good

A change request from a client led to a whole new line of business for one flexible company.

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This story appears in the December 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When John Lavey contemplated bringing important prospects to the offices of Hammock Publishing Inc., he winced.

"The space was very gray and beige and nondescript," says Lavey, 39, president of the Nashville custom publisher. "That was not what we wanted." Looking to spruce up his lobby and client meeting areas to help him impress an important client during a bidding war, Lavey turned to Nashville-based marketing company Advent, a well-established trade show exhibit designer he had previously hired for exhibits. It was the first time Advent owner and president John Roberson had been asked to design something other than a trade show exhibit. "We made their lobby over from boring to branded," Roberson says. More important, that single request spurred a surge of growth for Advent: In 2008, Advent, which now bills itself as an experiential marketing firm, reached $5 million and 20 employees. Roberson, 41, credits Lavey's request with much of his company's recent good fortune. This office redesign segment "is the most rapidly growing part of our business," he says.

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