The Risk & Reward of Transformation

Kudos to Penn Stone and friends John and Mara McGrann on the amazing transformation of their Downtown Lancaster building materials sales room and outdoor living display. Sandy and I attended their April 15 indoor/outdoor open house, which was masterful experiential marketing disguised as a delightful party.

This was an inside-out, top-to-bottom, no stone unturned transformation that turned the two business units – that for the most part had just looked like neighboring retailers – into a seamlessly integrated masonry, hardscaping and outdoor living inspiration gallery.

John and Mara clearly get it! They know that the best way to sell their higher-end outdoor furniture, kitchens, accessories and art is to display them in the very environments in which you’ll have them at your home. This outdoor display, featuring hardscaping materials they offer, is also an invaluable sales tool for their landscape contractor customers who send or meet their customers there to walk through for inspiration and selection. Brilliant!

Transformation is a great way to breathe new life into a business. It requires eyes-closed dreaming on the future and then eyes-wide-open attention to the details. When done well, it can attract renewed interest from customers and new engagement from prospects. It reenergizes owners and leaders. (That is after they recover from the exhausting process and sticker shock.) It can kick-start a new direction for a team. And it can set a business on course for exponential growth.

The Lancaster Chamber is also in the midst of an exciting transformation to a new business model. We’re thrilled to be working with them on this, and eager to watch the even greater impact their work will have on Lancaster County’s prosperity.

Some transformations are not a matter of choice. I applaud organizations that follow Winston Churchill’s advice to “never give in” and take their transformation leap … work collectively and tirelessly … and avert disaster or demise. They get to proudly display Friedrich Nietzsche’s “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

There are always risks in any business. Transformation – to whatever extent – will magnify those risks and add a few more. But through thoughtful planning, committed vision, step-by-step courage and team stamina, the reward can be oh so great.

Scheffey works with organizations to transform their brands and marketing direction. We also help evolve team mindsets and kick-start a new direction. If you’re thinking or talking about transforming any of these parts of your business, give us a call.