Big fish

Not long after Greg Muzzillo founded Proforma, he was pleased with his company’s success but knew it had the potential to exceed good and be great.

The graphic communications and business solutions company had made Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the country three years in a row and was honored as Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 1985, but Proforma was doing just $5 million in sales in a $150 billion industry.

“(That was) good growth back in the early 1980s but I thought, ‘How can we get superlarge?’” he says. ®We just grew a little distributorship, saw a much larger opportunity and then started franchising as a method of creating a big fish in a big industry.’

Today, Greg and his wife, Vera, serve as co-CEOs of Proforma, which has 650 franchisees throughout North America and reels in about $300 million in sales a year. Although printing distribution and promotional products distribution is a large industry, he says it is overwhelmingly served by -mom-and-pop printers that don’t have the marketing funds to compete.

Proforma trains franchise owners and assists them in growing their business and enhancing their profitability.

“We have tools to help our franchise owners grow their business they could never afford to have on their own,” Greg Muzzillo says. “We help them find qualified accounts in their area. We help them uncover large account opportunities through Web site marketing, direct mail marketing and telemarketing.”

He says Proforma assures continued growth at 20 percent a year by bringing in qualified franchisees and helping them build their business.

“We’re still only a $300 million organization in a $150 billion industry, so we have a lot of room to grow,” he says.

That growth will come from listening to franchisees and staying involved in the industry.

“There will always be new ideas that are generated and presented to you,” Vera Muzzillo says. “And our job is to not be afraid to implement them.”

HOW TO REACH: Proforma, (216) 520-8400 or