In an era where technology controls the world its difficult to trust your device to just
anyone in the tragic event that it breaks. Entrepreneur Lan Reilford talks being apart of the largest independent walk in cell phone repair service provider in North America, his ups and downs in the cell phone and electronic repair business as well as everything he has learned since entering the business over 16 years ago.
Q:What type of business do you own?
A: I own a cell phone repair store, its part of a franchise I was able to buy into called Cell Phone Repair
Q: What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?
A: We offer virtually any small electronic device repair, but we specialize in cellular devices and computer repair.
Q: What made you choose this type of business?
A: I worked in the electronic repair business for over a decade before buying into the CPR franchise after I saw the future in being a part of a corporation that was growing and that was providing such a great service.
Q: What is unique about your business?
A: Our business is owned by two Veterans. We are the only franchise cellular and small electronics repair store in the area from Sullivan to Springfield MO.
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be in the cell phone repair business?
A: Patience, drive and strong support
Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
A: By treating them as we want to be treated
Q: Do you know who your competitors are?
A: Yes. Currently we have three major competitors. None of these have corporate sponsoring so we are leading the pack with professionally trained techs and branding.
Q: How do you find people to bring into CPR that truly care about CPR the way you do?
A: We seek people that think like we do. We only want to provide the best services all around. We push our techs and staff to do the same with each customer.
Q: How do you go about marketing (your business)? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A: We pay this guy to handle that for us BAM!!!!
Q: How did you decide on the location for your business?
A: We look for areas with lots of foot and vehicle traffic. We also look for a location that fits what we want our image to be as well. We are upbeat people and we want our stores to echo that, while keeping in line with corporate guidelines.
Q: Describe/outline your typical work day at CPR?
A: There is nothing typical about our days. We can plan on at least one horribly damaged device, one person crying about their device and one person who is super embarrassed about destroying their device. We operate on a set schedule, but we are typically on the run from the open of the store until the close.
Q: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A: Any that supports the local economy and also supports our Veterans. We are strong supporters of hiring veterans and also shopping local.
Q: How do you define success?
A: In two ways. Being able to take care of my family and employees, while also bringing in a profit.
Q: To what do you attribute your success?
A: Being patient and providing the best customer service that we can muster. We try hard to make each customer feel as if they are the center of attention and our only concern. As well as my faith and my will to go out and get what I want.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Seeing a customer leaving with a smile on their face and a working device. Making sure we can help a person get back to normal where it comes to the repair of their device. I am overly optimistic in my future and I can always draw more drive and motivation in knowing this is going to be my children’s future as well.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of being a (your profession)?
A: Being my own boss.
Q: What has been the most satisfying moment throughout your experience?
A: Simply helping others. Our business is such a small service with huge reward. I love the look on the customers face once their device is fixed.
Q: What key piece of advice would you give to someone who want to get into electronic repair?
A: Study the market and know your demographic. Know that there is a need and that you have to be committed to providing that need.
Q: What was the best piece of advice you ever got?
A: The best advice I can give is to latch onto a dream and then pursue it with all you have. The worst advice is to not follow your dreams. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
Q: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
A: Giving too much trust, but I’ve learned to treat each customer the same and not be lured in by sales pitch.
Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A: Actually opening my first store.
Q: What is the best way to achieve longterm success?
A: Slow and steady wins the race. We take risks that are calculated and have 10% of our decisions that are right off the cuff.
Q: How far are you willing to go to succeed?
A: As an Army Retiree, I am willing to go as far as possible, while not compromising my integrity or the integrity of my employees. We aim to please on all levels.
Q: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful electronic repair person?
A: I believe taking the advice of your area developer and using the corporate model for growth.
Q: What sacrifices have you had to make to be successful?
A: I sacrifice a bit more in time, but my family and friends are completely onboard with this. Having a support team is important in being successful.
Q: If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and could give your former self one piece of advice based off of the lessons you’ve now