How to Protect Personal Data on Your iPhone® Device

As technology gets faster and more powerful, so do threats posed to our personal information. Knowing how to protect your personal data on electronic devices is imperative. Whether it is credit card numbers, email accounts, addresses or bank routing info, we make our personal data vulnerable every time and place we use our iPhone device. Protect your personal data with just a few easy changes we’ve listed below:

    1. Keep up with updates
      Updates are an easy way to protect personal data on your iPhone device. Updates are created to correct any weaknesses or flaws Apple Inc.® found in the iOS® software, meaning that when you update your iPhone, you prevent hackers from accessing your private information as a result of any flaws or weaknesses.

 

    1. Activate “Find My iPhone®” app
      This app is a default app since the iOS software was installed, and could save your private information should your iPhone ever get stolen. If you lose your phone or it gets stolen, log onto the Find My iPhone app from another iOS device or via the web. From there, you can actually wipe your lost iPhone’s personal data, ensuring that your information is safe, no matter whose hands it ends up in.

 

    1. Create a longer passcode
      iPhone devices come with a standard 4-digit passcode. However, you can make your passcode safer by making it either longer or creating a passphrase instead. You can do this by going to Settings > General > Touch ID and Passcode > Change Passcode, tap “Passcode Options” and select “Custom Alphanumeric Code”. By creating a passphrase instead of just numbers, you can include letters, case-sensitivity and even symbols, thus providing more protection. Better safe than sorry!

 

    1. Don’t open unknown links
      Whether it’s a weird email or an unknown link texted to you, opening unknown links can turn south very quickly. Be sure to only open emails, texts and pages from known sources and people. Though Apple® devices are known for resisting viruses, they are not 100% immune to them or the hackers creating them. Opening an unknown link may seem very innocent at the time, but it could mean sharing private information with unsafe people.

 

    1. Be wary of the apps you download
      Downloading apps means agreeing to their requests. For any app, this could mean accessing your photos, documents, or other private locations. Though this is monitored by Apple Inc., you can never be too safe. Never agree to terms that make you uneasy.

 

    1. Turn off auto-fill
      Auto-fill is a feature offered on Apple devices that will save your private information on logins and websites for convenience. Though convenient, this could pose a huge problem should an unwanted person access your device. Protect passcodes, addresses and credit card numbers by disabling this feature. To do that, go to: Settings > Safari > AutoFill and make any appropriate changes.

 

Experimac fully understands that we have all become dependent on our iPhone devices but with frequent use of such devices should also come a real understanding of how these devices work. We would hate to see you have your personal information compromised when it would take just a few minutes to keep it from happening. Should you have any issues with your iPhone device, remember that we are here to help. Stop by your local Experimac today!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Apps & Accessories for Mom

Moms do it all! From managing the family’s busy schedules to cooking dinner, chaperoning school events and keeping the house tidy on top of working a full-time job, help Mom do it all and make time for herself by giving her the gift of technology and convenience. Smart devices are a perfect start. Not sure what to get for her this Mother’s Day? Don’t fret! No matter your budget, we have compiled a list of ideas below that won’t break the bank, along with apps and accessories that go with them.

    • Does Mom need a laptop?
      Pre-owned MacBook Pro® laptops make fantastic gifts as they are available in a variety of styles, sizes and capabilities at your local Experimac. MacBook Pro laptops offer durability and reliability with a user-friendly display that will help her create and work flawlessly, no matter her age or tech skill level.

 

    • Does Mom need a phone?
      The smart phone has revolutionized the way we communicate, conduct business and live. Whether FaceTiming® children, shooting a quick text, snapping selfies with the family or answering work emails on the go, smart phones such as the iPhone® device have become a perfect gift for Moms across the country. Experimac offers various pre-owned models to choose from at incredible prices.

 

    • Does Mom need a tablet?
      Not sure whether to give Mom a smart phone or a computer? Consider getting her an iPad® tablet. Tablets are a great alternative device for the user who needs basic computer functions on-the-go. Your local Experimac store has several pre-owned models for you to look at. This may be the perfect solution as its portability will make her life easier.

 

    • Does Mom have a smart watch?
      Telling time, reading texts, answering calls, or even checking heartrate has never been easier. Devices such as the Apple Watch® can offer the mom on your shopping list the ultimate in convenience and style. Stop by your local Experimac to see the pre-owned models they offer at discounted prices.

 

    • Does Mom already have a smart phone? Take a look at these accessory ideas!
      The smart phone is quite possibly the most versatile item to accessorize and update. Whether shopping for cases, chargers, speakers, fitness trackers, charging cases, car mounts, selfie-sticks, camera add-ons, charger docks, and screen protectors, the options are endless. Here at Experimac, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of our favorite smartphone accessories:

      • Chargers
      • Charging Docks
      • Selfie Sticks

 

    • Does Mom already have a tablet? Take a look at these accessory ideas!
      Like the smartphone, tablets offer a variety of accessories that make great gifts on their own. These accessories include: cases, keyboards, stands, charging docks, screen protectors and speakers.

 

    • Does Mom already have a computer or laptop?
      If Mom already has a computer, consider sprucing it up for her with any of the many accessories available, such as a new mouse, keyboard, display monitor, or connecting device such as the Apple AirPort® and Apple TV®. Not sure which accessory will fit her needs best? Experimac specializes in pre-owned Apple® computers and devices; visit your local Experimac to speak with the friendly sales staff about accessory options for her specific computer needs.

 

    • Does Mom need help using her smart device? Take a look at these Mom-friendly Apps:
      • Happy Kids Timer: Help mom get the kids ready in the morning by teaching them morning routines with this helpful app. The free app is designed for the kids to operate themselves and walks them through getting ready each morning from waking up to brushing their teeth and even making the bed.
      • Trekaroo: Search for kid-friendly activities with this free app. Find zoos, museums and kid-friendly restaurants and hotels easily.
      • Ink Cards: Help mom save time by showing her Ink Cards. This free app helps you customize and send cards for any occasion through her phone, so she doesn’t need to spend time sending physical cards. She can use this for birthdays, anniversaries or the holidays.
      • Kids Eat Free: There are apps for everything, even finding local restaurants that offer free meals off of the kid’s menu, helping any mom save time while eating out.
      • Out of Milk: This app keeps an inventory of your pantry, saves recipes and adds ingredients to your shopping list manually or with a bar code scan. You can get deal alerts or alerts for when you’re running low on ingredients. This app even remembers past shopping lists, making grocery shopping less of a burden.
      • Cozi Family Organizer: Help Mom keep the family organized with this free app. Sharing schedules, appointments, events, and grocery lists with the entire family has never been easier. This app helps open communication and instill organization for any family.

 

If you have any questions about gift ideas for Mom this upcoming Mother’s Day, visit an Experimac location near you. Our experienced sales staff will happily assist you with gift ideas for Mom without breaking the bank.

Virtual Reality (VR) on your iPhone® Device

These days, you can do just about anything on your iPhone device, even experience virtual reality. Imagine voyaging to far-away lands, shooting zombies, or even flying a helicopter. Just connect a virtual reality headset to your iPhone device, and do these activities and more in the virtual world.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality is a technological simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with using specialized equipment.

How do virtual reality headsets work with the iPhone device?

These head-mounted pieces are designed to work with your phone to produce a three-dimensional display. The headset synchronizes your movement, vision and audio to immerse you into a variety of fictional and realistic settings. The headset uses varied feeds sent to one display or two separate displays (one per eye). Lenses are placed between your eyes and the pixels, which can often be adjusted. These lenses focus images for each eye and create the 3D image by positioning two two-dimensional images to mimic how human eyes view the world. The image feels real due to how wide the picture is. Most headsets use about 100 degrees for the field of view.

Which headsets should I look at?

Seeing that an Apple Inc.® VR headset does not exist yet; the following are good choices to pair with your iPhone:

    • Google Cardboard®
      If you’re hesitant or unsure about whether or not you want to invest into a solid VR headset, take a look at this option. Coming in at around $15, this kit is an affordable option that is a great introduction into the VR world. Though, you get what you pay for; this piece isn’t made for durability, and likely will not last very long.

 

    • View Master DLX VR®
      This mid-line option was the first model to be sold in Apple® stores. Though it’s not sold there anymore, it is a great option. With a redesigned smartphone mount, it now works with android phones as well as iPhone mobile devices.

 

    • Carl Zeiss VR ONE GX/Plus®
      This headset is quite impressive and has the biggest price tag on our list. It will require the additional purchase of a smartphone tray; make sure you purchase the specific tray for your smartphone. The VR ONE has incredible optical design and Zeiss precision lenses and has a comfortable fit despite the omission of onboard controls.

 

Virtual reality may be just what you need to disconnect after a busy or stressful day. Experimac can help you make sure your iPhone device is working properly to maximize your VR experience. Come by your local Experimac today and we’ll be happy to run a full diagnostic on your phone.

The Internet of Things: Controlling your Home from your iPhone® Device or iPad® Tablet

iPhone and iPad devices have changed the way we communicate with colleagues, family and friends. However, did you know you can control your home from them as well?

Whether you’re changing the temperature on the thermostat or locking your doors, there are many new products and apps that make controlling your home from your iPhone device or iPad tablet a reality. Because of the numerous free apps and convenient devices designed to connect your home and the Internet with Apple® products, living without an iPhone or iPad can truly complicate your life. Take a look at these iPhone and iPad compatible devices that can simplify your life:

    • Amazon Echo®
      This popular Blue-tooth enabled device allows you to make the most of your iPad or iPhone mobile device. It features a personal “assistant” named “Alexa” who can help you control various home systems hands-free. All you need to do is enable Bluetooth®, say “pair” and the Echo will be ready to pair. With the Echo, you can choose a “wake word” that triggers the device to listen to your commands. The default is “Alexa” but there are a few others you can select from. You can sync Alexa with other applications allowing you to control music, lights, the thermostat, have cooking recipes read aloud to you, or even have Alexa set a timer for your pot roast or read your children a bedtime story.
    • Nest®
      Nest is another tool for home automation that can be controlled from your iPhone or iPad device. Program thermostats, be informed about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms or even check home surveillance. There are several Nest products that can be set up with the free Nest app available on your iPhone or iPad.
    • Logitech Harmony Home Hub®
      With the Logitech Harmony Home Hub, you can give your loved ones the ultimate universal home remote. Imagine wirelessly controlling lights, entertainment, and even thermostats all from your iPhone or iPad device. Just what every family’s couch potato has always dreamed of.
    • August Smart Lock®
      Keeping your home secure has never been easier thanks to this great iPhone and iPad compatible device. Imagine never needing to fumble through your bag or pocket for house keys. The brushed aluminum circular lock replaces your old deadbolt and allows you to control the lock remotely. With the Smart Lock, you can control who can or cannot enter your home with the use of a digital key. You can also customize how long each person will have access, on what days and even between what hours. The Smart Lock will even send you reports of who is entering your home and when they do it.
    • Brookstone Pocket Projector Micro®
      Project a movie in your family room, deliver business presentations or share family pictures with this iPhone device mini projector. The Brookstone Pocket Projector Micro allows the user to stream and project whatever they want, wherever they want all from their iPhone or iPad device. The rechargeable battery provides about 2 hours of playback time per charge; the 15-lumen LED projector can project images as large as 50” diagonal (640 x 360 resolution) and comes with a built-in speaker, all weighing in under 1 pound.

It seems that we rely on our iPhone and iPad devices more and more each day. If you’re due for an upgrade, need to get your device repaired or want to make the switch from android, stop by your local Experimac store, and we’ll help you determine the necessary repairs or find the perfect pre-owned device at a significant savings in comparison to full retail. It’s time to get with the Internet of Things and control your home from your favorite device.

Smartphone Screens: How they Work & the Importance of Quality Repairs

Have you ever wondered how your smartphone screen really works?

Here is a breakdown of the component parts of screens and the importance of taking your phone to a place, like Experimac, that will perform quality repairs and use quality parts as well as offer a warranty on repairs with options for extended warranties.

Fixing a cracked iPhone® screen as soon as possible is extremely important for many reasons. A cracked screen could mean several parts are broken. Because of this, it’s important that a cracked screen is fixed right away by a professional and reputable business. Waiting can often mean further damage and thus further expense.

How do smartphone screens work? In simple terms:

  1. The display is made up of several parts: the upper glass, the digitizer, the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), and a bezel.
  2. The upper glass is fused to the digitizer, which is used to interpret finger movements relative to information provided by the LCD.
  3. The upper glass and digitizer are considered one piece and are the first to break in most incidents.
  4. The LCD is located right below. It is located in a precise location so it can synchronize with the digitizer.

Time is of the Essence

A cracked screen could mean damage to any combination of the parts listed above, or to any of the countless internal parts that are separate from the screen but still connected. By continuing to use a phone with a cracked screen, you could increase the damage caused to the phone. Many who wait to fix a broken screen experience a bleeding LCD, LCD failure or even a broken digitizer. How could this happen? Every time you press down on a cracked screen when typing and swiping, you risk causing the LCD to break and leak. Having a cracked screen also exposes the internal parts of the phone to dust and moisture, meaning that parts that did not break at the time of the crack, could still get damaged.

Experience the Experimac Difference

Not every phone repair business is created equally. There is no certification required to operate a cell phone repair shop, meaning that many “repair shops” you see have employees who have never been trained or have no experience. The quality of repair parts can also be compromised, meaning that the “repair” will be short-lived. These faulty businesses will refuse any sort of warranty.

Here at Experimac, only highly trained professionals conduct repairs and only quality parts are used. We know how important it is to fix a cracked screen correctly and right away. We will diagnose what is broken quickly, and even offer same day service on most repairs. All of our services are backed with a 90-day warranty, making not fixing your phone the only risk involved.

5 Tips for Business Owners: Choosing Best Technology for Your Business

Experimac means business! We understand that business owners are very busy and are often spread thin with multiple tasks requiring their attention at the same time. Having the right pieces of technology in place could make it easier to get it all done. Here are Experimac’s top 5 tips for business owners when deciding on the right technology to power your business.

  1. Maintain Security
    Incorporating secure connections and safe storage isn’t easy for any business, though it is the most important factor in running a successful business. Using computers, phones and tablets that offer security is vital. When it comes to protective technology, no one does it like Apple®. Products such as the iMac® and Mac Pro® are known for their resistance to viruses which takes one more worry off the table for business owners. Not to mention, these are reliable tools for any workplace.
  2. Become Mobile
    Your work tends to follow you wherever you go. Being able to access important documents and applications from the office, home or on the go is important for employees and executives. Apple’s software and iCloud® storage has innovatively made it possible to share documents from your MacBook Pro®, to your iPad®, and even to your iPhone®. Investing in products that promote easy access on the go, wherever and whenever you need access, is a must for any business.
  3. Save Time and Money with User-Friendly Devices
    Purchasing user-friendly devices for your business will save you time and money. Time and money spent on training employees on using company computers and technology isn’t necessary. Apple offers a variety of user-friendly programs, applications and software designed to be convenient and easy-to-use.
  4. Go Paperless
    From internal documents to presentations, making an office paperless can save your business money and space. It’s also easy with the right tools. With the iPad and iMacs, there is no longer a need for paper in any company. Apple’s large assortment of applications such as iCloud, TurboScan®, and TeamViewer® prevent the need for a scanner, fax machine, filing cabinet or copy machine.
  5. Keep Up with the Competition
    Technology continues to improve and progress, and impressing clients and maintaining a smooth-running business requires mastering technology. Incorporate technology by implementing easy to use devices that serve a multitude of purposes, such as the iPhone which is capable of many basic yet vital business functions:
    accessing documents, emailing, and of course communication via texting, calling, or VOIP (video over internet protocol, e.g. Facetime® or Skype®). Keeping up with the demands technology places on modern-day businesses is vital to the success of any business.

Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and iMac have revolutionized the business world. With secure software, powerful devices and countless applications, Apple has become the new face of technology in the workplace. Here at Experimac, we take pride in our services and products. We offer expert advice, savings on pre-owned devices as well as additional discounts on the purchase of multiple Macs®. Need help figuring out what you need in your office? Stop by your local Experimac to see what devices would best suit the needs of your business.

Tips for Taking the Best iPhone® Photos on Spring Break

It’s Spring Break time! Here are our top tips for taking the best iPhone photos during Spring Break or any time of the year. Learn how to get the most out of your iPhone camera’s features.

  1. Save time and use the camera shortcut
    The perfect moment to snap a picture can happen at any time, isn’t that why we use our phones to take them? Don’t waste time unlocking your phone to take a picture, simply swipe up from the bottom of your lock-screen and snap a shot. Don’t worry about privacy, your stored pictures can’t be accessed if you lock your screen.
  2. Use the volume button to take pics
    The iPhone’s thin design, while sleek, can make taking pictures difficult, particularly selfies. You may find it easier to use the volume buttons to take pictures instead.
  3. HDR Auto
    HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range” and could drastically improve your pictures by allowing you to take pictures that may have high contrast light, such as a bright sunset, without distorting any part of the picture. You can turn this feature on or off at any time, but many find it helpful to rely on iOS 8®’s HDR Auto feature, which leaves it up to your iPhone’s sensor to turn it on or off.
  4. Focus
    A blurry picture doesn’t do anyone any good. Prevent blurry pictures by holding down your finger on an integral element of your picture, locking focus on whatever you press down on. Be sure to not get your iPhone too close to the subject of your photo; this will make it difficult to focus your picture properly. Try to also get on the same level as your subject for a better photo.
  5. Burst Mode
    Spring Break usually brings adventures and trips out and about. Again, your pictures don’t have to be blurry but you do want them to capture the fun. Use Burst Mode when chasing after the kids, going for a ride or for any picture you try to capture in motion. By taking pictures in burst mode, the quick succession means a better chance of getting a clear shot of the image you want in addition to more options to choose from.
  6. Grid
    iPhones have a grid option installed, designed to help you keep your pictures balanced, straight and on-point. You can enable this feature by going to the camera section of your iPhone’s settings.
  7. Selfie-Stick
    If you plan on taking many selfies, pictures with landscapes or pictures with a large group, a selfie-stick is a fantastic way of capturing moments. Many stores and online shops sell selfie-sticks as they have become very popular. They are pretty much an arm extension when taking a picture, meaning that you can fit more people or background into your shot. These are great for large family gatherings or visiting landmarks such as the Grand Canyon. Some tourist attractions don’t allow the use of selfie-sticks onsite, so be sure to double-check before bringing one.
  8. Filters
    There are many apps that you can use to spice up your photos and edit colors and crop any image. These apps can be particularly helpful if you plan on uploading pictures to social media accounts because they make it easy to label where the photo was taken or add festive borders, for example. Snapchat and Instagram offer their own fun and colorful filters for pictures and videos.

Whether your Spring Break will be spent catching up with old friends in your hometown or abroad on a grand adventure, make sure your iPhone is ready to help you take those memorable pictures. Experimac can repair your screen or assess your camera issues before you set off on Spring Break.

Considering a MacBook® Laptop or a Mac® Desktop? Pros and Cons to Keep in Mind

The investment in a laptop or computer can be a significant one, and the process of selecting the right Apple® device to invest in can become overwhelming. Understanding what your options are is the first step in the process. We’ve broken down some pros and cons based on device type for you to consider before taking the leap.

Apple Laptops

Loved by many loyal users, MacBook laptops are the go-to device for students and professionals across countless industries looking for portability and flexibility.

MacBook

The MacBook is one of Apple’s most popular products. Being one of the first laptop models introduced by Apple, the MacBook’s specifications fall between those of the higher-end and pricier MacBook Pro® and those of the less expensive, yet less impressive MacBook Air®. The 12-inch MacBook is the most portable, considering its small size, slim build and the fact that it is the lightest model. The MacBook is perfect for professionals on the go who need a sturdy, powerful laptop for a variety of tasks.

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro has been Apple’s higher-end laptop option since 2006 for good reason. Seeing that all MacBook Pro models feature incredible specifications such as state-of-the-art retina displays, powerful speakers and the fastest processors available, it is not surprising that the MacBook Pro is Apple’s more expensive line of laptops. Available in multiple sizes, this laptop is perfect for artists and professionals who want the high-resolution retina display for projects, pictures, movies, presentations and more.

MacBook Air

Though Experimac makes owning any Apple product affordable, the MacBook Air is the most affordable and, arguably, the longest-lasting Apple laptop model. The MacBook Air also allots a generous battery life, contributing to a long life overall. Its USB ports make it the perfect Apple laptop to use in group settings, and many find its traditional keyboard more comfortable than the newer flat “butterfly” keyboards found in the latest models of the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air is the perfect pick for students, due to its sturdiness, lower cost and long battery life.

Apple Desktops

Unlike the above options, the iMac®, Mac Pro® and the Mac Mini® are all desktop devices, meaning that they aren’t as suitable for traveling.

iMac

The iMac comes in varied sizes and capabilities, most of which are more powerful than the Mac Mini, yet not as powerful as those of the Mac Pro. The entry-level iMac

computers offer similar abilities to that of the Mac Mini; if investing in an iMac, it’s wiser to go with the higher-end variations. The iMac is the perfect choice for work and gaming.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is the king of all Apple devices. It’s motto, “Built for creativity on an epic scale” is very fitting; this computer is a powerhouse. However, when it comes to Apple computers, with great power comes great expense. If you’re not running Pro level software such as Final Cut Pro X®, Logic Pro X® or others of that caliber, then the Mac Pro is most likely more machine than you need. If you like the idea of a powerful desktop, consider higher-end iMac models.

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini is a great at-home, general desktop to be used for basic functions such as exploring the Internet or creating basic documents. Though it is not as strong as other Apple desktops, the Mac Mini is a wonderful option for those looking for a very basic yet well-built device. The Mac Mini is a great option for a first Mac® or for anyone who doesn’t need a powerful device.

You really can’t go wrong with any of Apple’s products; they’re beautifully designed and are powerful machines built to last. However, with so many options, it can be overwhelming picking the proper model. Stop by your local Experimac today to get more information on pre-owned Apple devices and find out which model fits your needs best.

Upgrade your Mac® computer or laptop at Experimac

Are you interested in upgrading your MacBook® laptop, Mac Pro® computer or Mac Mini® computer? Experimac can make your Mac device just as fast and efficient as the day you brought it home.

Everyone knows Apple’s® products are well-built and will last for years if they’re well cared for. However, they can suffer from logic board failure, failed hard drives and screen damage, all of which may impact the longevity of your computer or laptop.

Whether you’re looking for a faster experience when launching programs, more space to store your memories and files, or even an accessory that will give your Apple computer new features, we at Experimac take pride in our ability to make quality upgrades.

Have you ever been tempted to do your own upgrades? Many have tried, but in the end, they found that it wasn’t worth the risk. Instead, our highly-trained technicians will work with you to determine which upgrades are necessary, making it easy for you to make sure your Apple computer runs flawlessly for years to come. Experimac only uses quality parts in every upgrade and offers a 90-day warranty on all services. With Experimac, you don’t need to make an appointment as we offer same-day and fix-while-you-wait services.

Looking to also add accessories? No problem! We also offer a large inventory of keyboards, chargers, displays, and cases, which come in a variety of selections and can change the look and capabilities of your computer or laptop.

Here’s a list of some of the services that Experimac can perform for many Apple products:

  • Memory Upgrades
  • Hard Drive Repair, Replacement or Upgrade
  • LCD Screen Replacements
  • Data Recovery
  • Data Transfers
  • Diagnostics & Troubleshooting
  • Optical Drive Repair (CD Rom/ DVD Rom)
  • PC to Mac® Migration
  • iCloud® Setup & Troubleshooting
  • New Software Setup and Configuration
  • Parental Control Configuration
  • So much more!

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a new computer to have things run like new. Stop by your local Experimac today to find out how we can upgrade your Apple computer or laptop and improve your user experience.

Owner Spotlight: Leonard Blue of Richmond, VA

We recently spoke to Leonard Blue from Experimac of Richmond, VA. He’s coming up on the 1-year anniversary of his location; Leonard opened his Richmond store in mid-April 2016. Although he had held leadership positions during his 22-year military career, he had never owned a business before opening his Experimac store. With franchises across the country, Experimac is a trusted tech source for Apple® product repairs and upgrades, pre-owned sales and trade-ins for iPhone® devices, iPad® tablets, iMac® computers, MacBook® laptops and more. Additionally, Experimac sells accessories for these devices and offers same-day service for repairs and upgrades. We’re often able to fix your device while you
wait. Experimac offers a 90-day warranty on all repairs because we want all of our customers to experience the Experimac difference.

Leonard has a great store manager, Kevin, working alongside him in Richmond. Kevin spends most of his time doing the actual repair work and following up with customers who have been in the store for repairs. They have found that following up with customers is a great way to touch base with the customer, make sure they are happy with the service they received and it pretty much guarantees a return customer in the future. Kevin started out as a customer in the store until one day he sat down to talk with Leonard and it turned out, he had experience so Leonard decided to bring him aboard. The days are long for Leonard, averaging 12 hours, but he is really enjoying the customer contact and community involvement that owning his Experimac store in Richmond brings. Here’s more of what Leonard had to say:

EXPERIMAC: What is your connection to the community of Richmond? Why did you choose to open a location there?

Leonard: I liked the location. We’re close to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) so we can be help the kids going to college there. We offer a 10% discount to all students and faculty members that come into the store, no matter what they are coming in for. We’re trying to make it easier on them. Also, I do a lot of volunteer work within the community with young kids through a program called Go to High School, Go to College. We try to get them interested in higher education and help them stay focused on school so that they can have a better future. And I’ve also volunteered for the March of Dimes for 10 years trying to bring awareness to infants born with disabilities and other issues.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most interesting or exciting part of owning an Experimac location?

Leonard: For me, every day is different. It’s a new opportunity with each individual that comes into the store, dealing with different personalities and being able to provide the assistance that people need. You never know what to expect in terms of what’s going to happen throughout the day. I just like doing it, really. I like working with people. I like the employees I’m working with. It’s about helping people. It’s not about making money, that’s going to come in the long-term. It’s about providing that assistance to someone because you’re working on a device that they use on a daily basis and they really can’t be without it. Most of the time, they need it fixed fast and I try to assist them with that service so they can make calls and get their work done.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of it?

Leonard: Knowing what to provide people. It’s so different every day. For example, knowing what to have on hand as far as the inventory you keep in the store. When you finally think you understand what your market is, it changes. You never know what type of computer the individual will find more user-friendly. It’s been challenging to get those inventory reports and all of the equipment into the store.

EXPERIMAC: Are you doing the repairs yourself or is it all done by hired technicians?

Leonard: No, I do it myself as well but not as much because I’m more focused on the initial customer service experience at the front of the store and maintaining the inventory. I’m on the computer quite a bit trying to get stuff done. We try to provide same-day or next-day service so if we’re really busy, I’ll jump in to help. I try to stay out of Kevin’s way so he can get it done but I help if he’s backed up.

EXPERIMAC: Have you been able to get involved in the Richmond community? Networking groups, schools, etc.?

Leonard: We’re in the process doing something with Fox Elementary, providing grab bags for parents with promotional items at the PTA meetings. We also do a 10% off for them and if they purchase something, 10% goes to the school’s PTA so they can use that money to send kids on trips, etc. We also do stuff at VCU like providing actual diagnostic checks on the campus to let them know what we do here, try to provide them with assistance. If there’s anything we can’t fix on the spot, we have them come to the store and we provide the service at a discounted rate as well.

EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers so far, whether in store or online?

Leonard: Excellent feedback so far! 5-star reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. Even when we do our follow-up calls with our customers, they enjoy our customer service, they appreciate us calling and following up on their repairs. Most of the time, when we call them, they have additional needs that we can help with. We’ve been getting good feedback. The only “issue” we sometimes have is people coming in the store saying, “we didn’t know you guys were here, I would have come to you first.” So, building more awareness is a focus.

EXPERIMAC: Have you noticed any patterns in terms of the type of work you’re doing? Repairs, less upgrades or more upgrades . . . any pattern?

Leonard: Honestly, I have not found a pattern yet. We do more computer repair, whether it be PC or Mac, for the local community. Screen and phone repairs is more prevalent with the college students. But, that’s all as far as patterns. The customers’ needs are always changing and we just adjust to it.

EXPERIMAC: Would you say there is a typical Experimac customer? Do you see more college students? Families that need their phone replaced?

Leonard: Honestly, since I haven’t been in business for a full year yet, there are some trends when it comes to Experimac customers but I’m still trying to narrow it down to target a certain market group. It seems like it’s always changing. Most of my computer repair work comes from the adult community, most of my computer sales comes from individuals living or working in and around Richmond but as far as phone repairs, I get quite a few from the college students. Every now and then, those college students do come in and buy a computer or a family member that is visiting will come buy a computer from our store. We’re still a young store so I can’t say for certain who our target group is.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top 3 skills to be a successful entrepreneur?

Leonard: I would say, enjoy what you’re doing so you have a passion for doing it and want to do it. If you don’t, you won’t want to do it for very long or you won’t want to put forth the work to make it successful. In this particular business, you have to be a people person. You have to be able to listen to the customers. You need to understand where they’re coming from in order to take care of their problems. Listen to them, be a people person. You need to be a “go-getter” type of person. The business is not going to just come to you. You need to explain things to people, put yourself out there, let people know what you do and stand behind the service you provide. If you stand behind your 90-day warranty, for example, and make the repairs if something goes wrong, that customer is going to be even more grateful and get you additional referrals.

As Leonard has figured out, owning your own business requires a lot of time and dedication so his early morning workouts give him the stamina to make it through the day. It’s clear that where there’s a will, there’s a way because somehow, Leonard still makes time to volunteer and mentor young adults in the community in his spare time. If you live or work in the Richmond area, stop by Experimac of Richmond, VA and see how Leonard and Kevin can help you with repairs, upgrades, or trade-ins of your favorite Apple® products. We’re confident you’ll feel right at home at Experimac of Richmond, VA and will receive excellent customer service as well.