HOW THE IDEA WAS CREATED – PARTNER AND FORMER BUSINESS
As a student, Krzysiek ran his first business in the Academic Incubators of Entrepreneurship. He mainly dealt with simlocks from phones and minor repairs. The place where he met the clients was a cafe in a shopping mall in Warsaw, where he even had his own table, and this is where the origins of the MacLife company was born.
“Just like Apple was created in a garage, so MacLife was created at a table in a shopping mall”
The breakthrough moment for the company was in 2007, which is not a random date. Then was a premiere of the first iPhone and began the dynamic development of MacLife. Krzysiek, as a passionate of new technologies, was active on various internet forums. There he met his future business partner- Jakub, who as one of the first people in Poland, managed to take off the simlock using the hardware method. That interested Krzysiek, who at that time was selling special cards for that.
FIRST STEPS – OR MAYBE FURTHER?
During the meeting, guys found a common language and decided to develop the MacLife company, which soon moved from a cafe to Kuba's apartment. 🙂
The living room was a place where they served customers, the dining room became a workshop where broken devices was repaired. Only the bedroom did not change its purpose, as Kuba still lived there.
Previously Kuba worked in another service and he did not like the local approach to customers, so together with Krzysiek they decided that it would be completely different in their company. From the beginning, they distinguished themselves with their attitude to clients and the quality of service.
After 1.5 years, the guys could afford to open the first service, located at Łukowska Street in Warsaw's Praga, where they spent the next three years.
From then on, a new era began for the company, which continues to this day.
FINANCING - SAVINGS AND GRANTS
From the beggining, Krzysiek and Kuba financed their activities from their own savings and by reinvesting the profits from MacLife. Step by step, the company developed, by opening the new points and hiring new employees.
In every business, there is a time when it needs more money for further development. By this stage, MacLife was already such a mature company, which struggled with all sorts of organizational problems due to communication errors.Krzysiek and Kuba had an idea how to solve this problem, but they only needed some additional funds.
When a lot of companies obtained subsidies from the European Union from the Operational Program Innovative Economy chapter 8.1 Krzysiek and Kuba attention was drawn to another area of this program - chapter 8.2, which was less popular in companies. As a result, they easily received a subsidy for the implementation of their new venture, aimed at improving the entire order process. Chapter 8.2 "Supporting the implementation of B2B electronic business" allowed the guys to obtain funds for programming and implementing their own, intelligent system for servicing the service.
Automating the process of ongoing processing facilitates and accelerates the daily functioning of the company to this day, and employees can focus on what is most important for customers.
Currently MacLife repairs over 1,200 devices a month! The company no longer operates only in Warsaw, it is also located in Gdansk and Poznan.
In the capital city, customers choose to visit two locations on both sides of the Vistula River. There is also the possibility of free shopping of broken devices, without the need for a personal visit in the service, which allows you to use the company's services from anywhere in Poland.
One of the 4 MacLife services is unique. The command center of the entire company is located in a quite inconspiciuous tenement house in Warsaw's Praga district. Metaphorically speaking, it is a kind of hospital for the most damaged Apple devices that goes there from all other services. MacLife takes up two floors, one of them is a repair shop. There is also a pick-up point for broken iPhones and MacBooks, Krzysiek and Kuba's office, and a place where calls from potential customers are answered.
MacLife also has an intelligent hotline that automatically recognizes existing customers and connects them directly to the service technician who takes care of the owner's device. Centralizing work in connection with the system that run in MacLife allows the smooth and efficient work of the entire team. Thanks to this, there is no longer any problem with communication between services, and customers can be sure that their equipment is in good hands. They also have the ability to track the entire repair process. Both before and after its start, photos of the repaired devices are taken and sent directly to the customer.
ACQUIRE NEW CUSTOMERS
MacLife acquire its customers mainly thanks to the Google search engine, where it uses both AdWords and remarketing, as well as positioning.
For almost 10 years of operation, Kuba and Krzysiek tested various marketing channels: from traditional media to online campaigns. However, they abandoned most of these activities in favor of search engine marketing. Why? If our iPhone or MacBook suddenly breaks down and our warranty has long expires, the first thing we do is enter our problem in the searching bar, hoping that Uncle Google will quickly find a sollution. Kuba and Krzysiek make sure that our problem is solved by MacLife.
The company does not advertise on Facebook, but actively maintains its profile by publishing unusual views. Remember viral with Trump and Melania's broken iPhone? The cause of all the confusion was the MacLife team, which shows that it is a service for everyone, without exceptions:)
The decisions of the company's creators also result from the specificity of the customer segment of the service. They own quite expensive equipment, which is characterized by high reliability, which, combined with MacLife services, means that MacLife customers rarely come back. They also cannot plan a visit to the service in advance, as no one knows when their equipment breaks down and will need such help.
TROUBLES AND CRISIS - WHAT IS IT?
It is hard to believe, but MacLife has had no major problems or hassles to be or not to be in the market. In the industry in which company operates, there is no concept of seasonality, but rather randomness of events. Sometimes devices break down and nobody has much influence on it. Over the years of activity, MacLife has created its own brand and is constantly developing.
PRICES - WHAT DOES IT DEPEND ON?
This is a question that customers often ask. The answer is simple - the price depends on the degree of damage to the device, which can only be assessed after the device has been opened by a technician, so there is no fixed binding price list. The prices are shown of only the simplest damages, which are repaired on the spot in a given service center and which do not take long to repair.
When setting the prices, a lot depends on the cost of the individual parts that are imported from abroad, and the phase of market development of Apple devices. Components for completely new models are expensive and difficult to obtain, but with time there are more and more of them, and their prices are gradually falling.
PLANS AND CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE
“The ideas come suddenly and unexpectedly, so if we come up with something new that we would like to do, we are able to make it happen.”
At the beggining, MacLife services were present only in Warsaw. Later on, Krzysiek and Kuba opened more branches in Poznan and Gdansk, and they have plans for new locations. And the challenge for the company would be to create a service outside Poland.
“We would like the company to be so recognizable that when someone asks for Apple's service, the answer is MacLife.”
“Don't make a business with the thought that you want to sell it. First of all, you have to do what you like and love. Take from others, but be yourself.”
The article is based on a conversation between Karolina Piotrowska and Krzysztof Nowakowski