executive perspectives: Work Hard, Dream Big
Friendship, $200 and some big ideas were all it took to grow Proforma into a $430 million organization—or so the story goes.
In 1978, Greg Muzzillo and a college friend emptied their pockets and joined forces to launch Cleveland-based Proforma. They quickly turned that $200 into $250,000 worth of sales, and expanded their client base to more than 300. By 1982, sales reached $1 million and Proforma made the Inc. 500 (the magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing companies).
But why stop there? Muzzillo explored other routes to continue Proforma’s rapid success. In 1986, he developed the Proforma franchise model—a network of independent distributors working together to build strong supplier relationships—and the rest is history.
Here, Muzzillo shares his thoughts on the industry and talks a little about himself.
Print+Promo (P+P): How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
Greg Muzzillo (GM): I don’t set goals. I set dreams. I know what I need to do to grow my business, but before I can focus on how to grow my business, I need to think about why I want to grow my business. I think the challenge for most people, like myself, is staying focused on those tasks that are truly wealth-building activities. We get easily sidetracked by the day-to-day stuff and we get stuck in a rut. The key to success is keeping our dreams top-of-mind.
P+P: How does the economy continue to affect the industry?
GM: The economy is improving. Businesses and banks seem to be more open for business than they have been in recent years and the stock market is recovering. Businesses are feeling positive and print and promotional product sales are up as they begin to invest in growth again. Sales at Proforma were up 10 percent in 2012 and I’m optimistic about what’s in store for the industry in 2013.