Meet Julie and Dan Haar, a dynamic duo in the promotional marketing industry.
Julie: The brains behind the conception and operation of Proforma Strategic Promotions.
Dan: The tactical partner Julie needed to help kick her business into high gear.
Julie and Dan Haar met during their time in architecture school and soon vowed to spend their lives together. Little did they know that they would become more than partners in life, but also partners in entrepreneurship.
After completing her undergraduate degree in architecture, Julie realized that she had a different calling. She decided to go back to school for an MBA in Marketing, which coincidentally led to her discovery of the promotional marketing industry. When it came time for Dan and Julie to start a family, she dreamed of working for herself to have the freedom, flexibility and income she wanted as a mother and entrepreneur. When she found Proforma in 2006, she realized that dream could become a reality. By partnering with Proforma, Julie used her marketing expertise to launch her very own Women Owned Business, Proforma Strategic Promotions, which quickly became a very successful $500,000 promotional product distributorship.
Fast forward to 2016 – Dan had spent the past 20 years working as a licensed architect and had transitioned into a business development role at his firm. He couldn’t help but feel like it was time for a change and that he needed more from his career. After going through executive coaching, Dan realized the itch that he had, was an itch for entrepreneurship – which was an opportunity that he had never had the chance to explore. One night over dinner, Julie casually asked Dan, “You’ve been doing a lot of presentations and marketing for your firm. Just out of curiosity, what is your close rate?” Not knowing the answer off the top of his head, he began to do the math, “It’s around 75%,” Dan responded. It was in that moment that everything clicked. Dan would join Julie in the promotional marketing industry and become the partner she needed to help Proforma Strategic Promotions grow to its full potential.
With the husband and wife team ready to ramp up the business, they decided to try a growth strategy that Julie hadn’t had time to tackle on her own: acquiring other promotional products companies. Dan was able to dive in head first alongside Proforma’s Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Team to help identify the best acquisition opportunities to fit their needs. Within one calendar year, Proforma Strategic Promotions acquired three companies that helped diversify their client base and expand their niche markets from the tech sector to education, hospitality and casinos. “We had no experience pursuing an acquisition, let alone buying three companies, but Proforma’s M&A Team made us feel confident and supported throughout the entire process,” said Dan. “Proforma assisted us with drafting letters of intent, helped review documents, dealt with brokers and helped us strategize the payment structures. We knew we could rely on Proforma to help us get through each step of closing the deal.”
Through these acquisitions, Julie and Dan have achieved Million Dollar Club status and a spot on Counselor’s 2017 Hot List with more than 1,200% growth in six years’ time – and this power couple isn’t looking back. “The M&A team not only walked us through the process; they also educated us along the way. When we’re ready to tackle our next M&A project we will be sure to work hand-in-hand with Proforma’s M&A Team to ensure a seamless and painless transition. It’s exciting to know that by partnering with Proforma, we will always have that support.”