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On the double

Established just three years ago, Blackbox Solutions, the Samsung Smart Print Partner of the Year, aims to double turnover every year.

Blackbox Solutions was established in 2012 by Managing Director Colin Griffin, an experienced print industry figure, who earlier in his career spent eight years with IKON and co-founded Balreed (recently acquired by Apogee) with Robin Stanton-Gleaves.

Colin Griffi, managing director, Blackbox Solutions
Colin Griffin, managing director, Blackbox Solutions

In setting up Blackbox Solutions, Griffin said he wanted to go back to his roots and create a business that put the customer front and centre, and in which decision-making was fast and seamless.

When he started Blackbox Solutions, Griffin’s intention was to grow the business to a certain size, sell it on and then retire. “I no longer want to do that. I’m enjoying it too much! The plan now is to get to around £8-10m – under-the-radar for being bought out, but essentially a reasonably sized company with a great reputation,” he said.

The company hit the £1m turnover mark in its first full year of trading and doubled that the following year. Griffin is confident that the business can maintain the same level of growth and expects turnover to approach £4m in the next fiscal year. “The business is only as good as the people that work in it,” he said. “We have grown exponentially year on year and that’s because we have a great team.”

New offices

Blackbox Solutions recently relocated its HQ to new, bigger premises in Maidstone, a move that Griffin said was essential to accommodate growing numbers of sales, servicing and client support staff, and to provide the foundation for further growth. “We had outgrown the old office. Space was cramped – there’s 18 of us now – and with another two new recruits coming on board in January, we needed to ensure we had enough room for everyone to be comfortable,” he explained.

Blackbox Solutions recently relocated its HQ to new, bigger premises in Maidstone, a move that Griffin said was essential to accommodate growing numbers of sales, servicing and client support staff, and to provide the foundation for further growth. “We had outgrown the old office. Space was cramped – there’s 18 of us now – and with another two new recruits coming on board in January, we needed to ensure we had enough room for everyone to be comfortable,” he explained.

The new office, in the heart of the town, also includes a drop-in print, scan and copying service.

Turnkey solutions

Businesses recognise the various benefis of our offer; we deliver on our promises and provide reliable and responsive support services
Businesses recognise the various benefits of our offer; we deliver on our promises and provide reliable and responsive support services

Blackbox provides businesses across London and the Home Counties with a flexible and full turnkey solution for all their print, copy and computer networking needs. It has a client base of some 170 businesses, built largely by word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers.

“Businesses recognise the various benefits of our offer; we deliver on our promises and provide reliable and responsive support services,” explained Griffin. ”Eighty-five per cent of new business comes through referrals.”

The financial and insurance sectors are a particular focus – Blackbox Solutions has an office in Lime Street, London close to its customers in the City – but Griffin says its customer base is not limited to these verticals. “We are strong in both of these markets, but our customer base is wide and varied, spanning all sectors and includes a mix of small, mid-sized and larger prestigious accounts,” he said.

He adds that for this reason Blackbox supplies products from a number of brands, including Samsung, Konica Minolta, HP, OKI and Kyocera: “As an independent reseller, we do need to have a wider offer in order to ensure we provide the right solution for each individual customer. This is why we’re not a single line dealership,” he said.

Partner of the Year

Towards the end of last year, Blackbox Solutions was named Samsung Smart Print Partner of the Year at the OEM’s FutureScape 2015 channel and end user showcase – quite an achievement considering Blackbox has been working with Samsung for less than two years.

“We were delighted to have been named Smart Print Partner of the Year and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Samsung for many years to come,” said Griffin. “I particularly like their offer; it’s refreshing to offer something different. As it’s also a well-known consumer brand, it has definitely opened a few doors for us.

“We had more than 100 MX4 installations and a dozen MX7 sales in 2015 and we see the MX series as a key differentiator for us. Samsung has put a tablet on the MFPs and they are built using Android technology, which means we can do a lot with them and are able to personalise the customer experience. For example, we install both our own and our customers’ logos on the devices’ tablet. That flexibility is what we believe makes us different from the competition.”

With further growth firmly on the cards, Blackbox Solutions is investing heavily on branding and raising its profile. It has developed a new website, optimised for SEO, and committed to comprehensive PR and advertising activities.

www.blackbox-solutions.co.uk

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