The $500 Million Company With No Headquarters

About 25 years ago, we purchased a great 30,000 square foot office building on a beautiful eight-acre campus. Soon after, I met with the signage company to finalize the wording for our sign. At first it seemed like a no brainer that the sign should read “Proforma Headquarters,” but that wording didn’t align with the culture of the company I wanted to build.

I wanted to build a company with a culture of support and service—especially supporting and servicing our growing network of owners. I never wanted anyone with our company to be talking with one of our owners and say, “Well, I’m with headquarters and…” It seemed to me that there’s a certain arrogance that comes with the word “headquarters” that I did not want in our company.

So, we called the building our “Support Center.” I liked the way it would sound when our team members would be talking with an owner and say, “I’m with the Support Center and…” The very words “support center” remind our team every day of our real mission and purpose.

Perhaps we are the only company in the industry without a “headquarters,” and it’s a good thing.

The bottom line is words matter. Words can shape the culture of your organization. Choose your words according to your desired culture, not your ego.

AboutGreg Muzzillo, Founder of Proforma

Greg Muzzillo started Proforma as an industry distributor in 1978. The company grew quickly and in the early 1980s Proforma was recognized for three consecutive years on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing companies in North America. In the late 1980’s Proforma introduced its membership program to enable distributors to retain their business ownership and independence, and to share in sales and marketing resources, purchasing power with industry suppliers, one back office including all billing, accounting, vendor payments, cash flow, computer systems and more. Today Proforma has more than 750 members with over $500 million in sales. Proforma has over 100 members in its Million Dollar Club and more than 40 members in its Multi-Million Dollar Club (With sales ranging from $2 million to over $26 million). In 2014, eight Proforma members were named to Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 List of the 5000 Fastest Growing Companies.

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