Tag: Broken

A Few Broken Smartphones Lead to a Fix-It Franchise #investment #news

#business ideas


A Few Broken Smartphones Lead to a Fix-It Franchise

iDropped retail stores fix broken smartphones and tablets for less than the cost of buying a new one. / Credit: Josiah Lewis

Charles Hibble never intended to make a career of repairing smartphones; he was just tired of replacing his wife s broken one.

She dropped her iPhone and smashed it two or three times, and anothertime, it slipped out of her hands into a hot tub, he said. Hibble, who runs a real estate company in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, was burning through upgrades. So he figured out how to fix damaged smartphones himself.

This started just to fix my wife s phone. Then word started to spread to friends and family members, Hibble said. It started to get so busy that we had to open a retail store. I had 50 or 60 people a month coming to me.

And so began Hibble s unlikely journey from real estate executive to franchise company CEO. He teamed up with a friend and business partner to open the first iDropped store in a mall inScranton, Pennsylvania,in 2011. The store was so popular thatthe team opened four more, all company-owned, and then sold its first franchise. Now, Hibble is focusing on franchising,with an aggressive plan to grow the business nationwide.

The demand has been overwhelming, said Hibble, who still serves as president of his real estate company, Weichert Realtors Hibble Associates. We re hoping to a have a few hundred locations in the next couple years.

Hibble may have fallen into this business, but he tapped an industry with high demand. A market research report by IBISWorld released in May said cellphone repair is now a $1.4 billion industry in the United States alone. The industry has grown about 5percent in each of the last five years, yet there are still no companies with a dominant market share. This large industry is made up mostly of sole proprietors and small businesses.

The cellphone repair industry has profoundly grown over the past five years due to several factors, including cheaper and more reliable mobile Internet and the exploding popularity of smartphones, which are more fragile and therefore more likely to need repairs, the report said. Smartphones also feature higher price tags, which have led consumers to repair [them] rather than replace them.

However, as smartphone replacement becomes less expensive and the market becomes more saturated, demand is expected to stall somewhat, the report said.

The cost of a repair at iDropped varies based on the type of phone and repair, Hibble said. Screen repairs, for example, cost an average of $99.99 for the iPhone 5 and $109.99 for the iPhone 5cand 5s. Hibble said prices are dropping almost monthly due to price decreases forparts. No appointment is needed for a repair, and work is guaranteed for one year.

Hibble s smartphone repair skills were completely self-taught. He had always been technically inclined, so he researched suppliers for Apple replacement parts and taught himself how to fix them. The company has since expanded to other types of cellphones, though it specializes in Apple products, including iPads, and the Samsung Galaxy series. Hibble has personally trained all of his 20 or so full-time employees toreplace screens, dock connectors, power buttons, volume buttons and batteries just about everything but the motherboard.

Hibble set out to make the stores lookappealing to smartphone customers. They are designed to be reminiscent of Apple stores, with clean layouts, bright lighting and no clutter.

iDropped has worked in the retail space, in partbecause malls nationwide are looking to fill vacancies, which has kept rental rates low. The U.S. mall vacancy rate reached a 12-year high of 9.4 percent in the third quarter of 2011, according to data from research firm ReisInc. It has fallen slowly since, but progress has stalled over the last year,with the vacancy rate remaining at 7.9 percent for four straight quarters.

To succeed in the future, Hibble said he knows the company will have to adapt to the times. New devices are being released every few months, and the company will have to keep up with the technology.

However, iDropped can already claim one success, aside from its rapid growth: curing Hibble s wife of her clumsy fingers.

Ever since I started this,she hasn t dropped her iPhone, he said.

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  • Perils of a Broken Corporate Culture #online #business #degree

    #business ethics articles


    Ethics & Compliance Matters

    Reputation Damage and Tone at the Top: Uber Scandal Underscores How Corporate Culture can Bring a Company to its Knees

    Reputation Damage and Tone at the Top: Uber Scandal Underscores How Corporate Culture can Bring a Company to its Knees

    Uber has had its share of public relations problems lately, and is now known as yet another company having to deal with current business ethics issues. From the taxi-alternative start-up’s drivers claiming they don’t make nearly as much money as they originally promised to none-the-wiser customers getting stuck with hefty price surges at the ends of rides. As if this weren’t enough to land Uber an F rating from the Better Business Bureau (in fact, this and a few other Uber business practices were), Senior Vice President Emil Michael’s comments at a recent dinner have pushed this company into a full-on PR disaster.

    Creating Culture One (Wrong) Word at a Time

    The nutshell: At a dinner attended by a Buzzfeed reporter, Michael suggested Uber would embark on a smear campaign against journalists who criticized the company. In this conversation, Michael said Uber could spend millions of dollars to hire investigators to dig into the journalists’ personal data and use the information they found about their critics to threaten and/or publicly embarrass them. Although Michael claims he thought the conversation was off the record, according to the Buzzfeed reporter, it wasn’t. And he ran with the story .

    Not surprisingly, a media storm ensued, leaving Uber CEO Travis Kalanick no other choice but to respond. But Kalanick’s “apology” appeared less than sincere. Rather than fire Michael for insinuating Uber would engage in such unethical business practices, he posted 14 tweets on his personal Twitter account, essentially saying his senior executive’s comments were “terrible.” Uber’s latest situation clearly speaks to what some see as the end of the old tech genre that was focused on changing the world and the move to self-enrichment.

    Textbook Case for the Need for Strong “Tone at the Top”

    It’s safe to say that Uber is in hot PR water, and it may be very difficult for the company to climb out. Why is that? Because the laundry list of reputation-damaging unethical business practices at Uber has experienced in the past several months may be indicative of a deeper, more critical issue: poor tone at the top, a broken organizational culture and possibly bad business ethics.

    What do we mean when we talk about tone from the top? A successful ethics and compliance program must be built on a solid foundation of business ethics that are fully and openly endorsed by senior management. Otherwise, the program may amount to little more than a hollow set of internal rules and regulations. There should be an unambiguous, visible and active commitment to compliance.

    For start-ups and some companies in the tech sector, culture-related wrongdoing isn’t new. In fact, it was a journalist’s report against Uber for what she believed were unethical business practices that prompted Michael’s comments at that dinner. Rather than take steps to investigate or address the bad behavior it was being accused of, Uber resorted to threats against the reporter and other critics of the company. This response underscores how problematic its culture seems to be.

    A Broken Corporate Culture Will Come Back to Bite You—and Not Just Through Bad Press

    While Uber may think this issue will disappear with time, it won’t. If there is an underlying issue with the company’s culture, or if it is truly one of the many companies with ethical issues, it will rear its head again in the future—it’s only a matter of time.

    The same may be true for other companies in the tech space if The Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Mims ‘ concerns play out. In his recent article, “Uber and a Fraught New Era for Tech ” he writes, “The emphasis of the tech companies being built now is much more zero-sum. Whom do we need to destroy in an effort to enrich ourselves and our investors, and what is the best vehicle for creating a consumer need that will facilitate that quest?”

    Uber is at a critical crossroads and their next steps could ultimately determine their long-term success. If the company doesn’t take the time needed now to establish a strong culture. it runs the risk of losing key partnerships, employees and drivers, and so much more.

    If they are nurturing an environment that prohibits or discourages employees or others from speaking up, business risks alone (i.e. safety, etc.) could significantly hamper this thriving, innovative organization.

    If that happens, we all lose.

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