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12 People You Need to Know in 2012: Derron Winfrey

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Derron Winfrey has a habit of taking ideas and turning them into revenue.

When Winfrey left his job as a television news producer in Oklahoma more than 10 years ago to join his father at what was then Midwest Check Recovery, the company was just that: a check processing company.

Since then, the younger Winfrey has transformed the company one idea at a time into ECS Prepaid LLC, which was ranked No. 69 on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500 list after raising revenues 3,188 percent to $81.2 million between 2007 and 2010.

In 2011, ECS was the No. 1 fastest-growing company on Springfield Business Journal’s Dynamic Dozen list, determined by revenue and percentage growth for a three-year period.

Winfrey, who is ECS’ president, says the secret lies in efficiently building multiple revenue streams.

A single software program sold to convenience stores nationwide, for example, allows merchants to sell prepaid cellular cards, gift cards, bill pay and loyalty programs, and most recently, a new way for small businesses to reach potential customers in a highly targeted way.

“We’re still adding new products and new ideas and we’re coming out with some very exciting things that are just now hitting Springfield and are going to roll out nationwide,” Winfrey says.

At the forefront is Bogo Fetch, a mobile coupon application for smart phones.

At a consumer electronics show a year or two ago, he saw software that would deliver coupons and deals via text, but he wasn’t quite sold on the idea because of the texting component.

“My text messages just bing, bing, bing all the time,” he says. “I can’t imagine that being my coupon or my incentive to do something. It would really bother me – free soda, free burrito, I would get out of that thing,” Winfrey said.

Winfrey decided what ECS needed was a smart phone app, and that’s where Bogo Fetch enters the picture. Bogo Fetch allows businesses to direct deals to potential consumers via GPS-enabled smart phones, but those deals only arrive when the consumer seeks them.

In return, the businesses get an affordable way – perhaps for as little as $50 a month – to reach customers.

“At ECS, we do not try to make our living on one thing,” Winfrey says.

“We try to make our living on all things.”

He notes that bringing new moneymakers to the table is a key role for him.

“I’m not an inventor; inventors can’t sell anything,” he adds. “I’m a promoter. I take good ideas, make them better and make them applicable.”[[In-content Ad]]


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