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Meet Jeff Winsper of Black Ink Technologies in Downtown Crossing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Winsper.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I honestly never really thought I would have a career in any sales and marketing field, though many people told me that I had an inane knack for it all throughout my early adult life. My father owned a Boston marketing communications agency, and I saw the toll took on him when I was growing up. It was rare he was ever home before 8PM every night. But he loved what he did.

After a few years out of college, he asked if I wanted to work for the firm in a new business capacity. I suspected that if I declined, there would be no turkey for me on Thanksgiving. I really loved it from the get go. Specifically, the client base was all B2B tech way before any software and .com was in play. Mostly just old school hardware companies that are mostly non-existing today. Like Digital Equipment, Prime Computer, Lotus, Apollo, and Kurzweil. I really enjoyed the whole sales process and how marketing was actually integrated into it as second nature. Most of the sales and marketing teams were then split up into different departments around early 90s – ironically, many now are trying to combine these processes being touted as Account Based Marketing.

I got the entrepreneurial itch and with permission, I left his company and started my own. With a few other partners out of Chicago, it grew to become the largest B2B tech firms in the country with nearly $360M in billings in about 5 years. We sold it to Leo Burnett. I got the itch again, and decided to start a marketing service firm in 2002 focusing on C-level marketing. It too took off. Then, the world stopped in 2009 when the market crashed. I decided to pivot and focus my energy towards big data and analytics. I have always been intrigued about this science and started Black Ink Technologies.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life is rough. Business is rough. So, sure I have my fair share of scars in the past 25+ years. Some that had even salt poured in them before they healed. As any business owner knows, there is always the typical milestone challenges of growing a start-up into a healthy business.

Worth noting, it always helps to have 150% support from the homestead.

I could write a tome on all the unique experiences. Aside from the usual issues of people trying to embezzle money, steal IP, and clients defaulting on 6-digit contracts, I guess it could be worse. However, the best part is the people who everyday put their heart in sole into helping the customer and their commitment to each other. That is the by far the most rewarding.

Black Ink Technologies – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Black Ink Technologies is SaaS based company providing customer analytics. This customer insight allows them to focus on the key growth opportunities across key segments in geographies in support of their sales channels.

We focus on the premier consumer durable goods sector who only sell through independent retailers and dealers. Categories would include Outdoor Power Equipment such as lawn and garden, Ag, Construction. Others would be Outdoor Power Recreation such as RV, Marine, UTV, Automotive, to name a few. It is a trillion dollar annual business.

Because these industries all sell through independent dealers and retailers, they all face the same universal challenge of not having visibility into their end user buyer. We solve this problem by providing connected data from the point of purchase all the way through the supply chain. In return, they receive advanced customer insight through our platform to help them know more about their customer buying habits.

We are especially proud that we have cracked the code for this $trillion dollar industry that knowingly lived in this archaic condition for years without any powerful, yet practical, solution to help them compete against Big Box.

I guess you can say we are not huge fans of Big Box businesses and the downstream harm it causes to local communities.

So here I am, loving my next venture trying to solve yet another large issue in this sector.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
If I am not intellectually stimulated, then what is my purpose of using my God given brain and advancing the ball? Personally, I need to try and learn something new, each and every day. If it is relevant, I try to apply it back into the business to continuously drive innovation.

From a managerial standpoint, I try to have a success based-environment where people can achieve their desired level of opportunity, respect, accountability and responsibility. Most often this means general guidance with a long rope so they have the freedom to explore.

Money doesn’t motivate a workforce for the long haul. Sure it is nice to make and save money, I mean we all probably have our own financial goals. I know it sounds cliché, but doing what you love is so much more satisfying than just turning a buck.

From a business operation perspective, the basic fundamentals really don’t change. Cash flow positive, profits for reinvestment, and incremental YoY growth.

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