The explosive growth in consumer demand for IT and mobile technology devices has pushed forward an entire industry segment at a rapid pace. What was once a luxury, now has become a necessity as more homes add more devices each day and the average household might have in excess of 20 mobile technology devices that could be used at least once a day. The growth is astounding and clearly, an opportunity to provide service to these customers exists in large volume.
In 2012, Matt McGee had been working as a successful commercial real estate broker in the Atlanta market when he realized the expansive demand for mobile technology repair. After working in several commercial business areas and seeing concepts open with success, he knew it was a matter of time before the need to have a strong branded network would come about.
In short order, LifeLine repairs were born and by 2013, the business has several company-owned stores in place in key markets in the Southeastern United States. Mr. McGee knew early on that the growth he envisioned would never be accomplished through company-owned growth, franchising needed to be leveraged to empower local store owners to manage the day-to-day business and take on the capital investment required to open each location.
In the fall of 2013, LifeLine hired Franchise Marketing Systems to develop the operational and training documentation along with the strategic plan for growth. Franchise Marketing Systems developed the franchise documentation needed to facilitate growth and strategically differentiate the Lifeline Repairs model from other technology repair brands in the market. Franchise Marketing Systems also oversaw the marketing, lead generation and franchise sales for the new brand.
The technology repair market in franchising was somewhat of a “land grab” scenario, where the first to get to a market and obtain the key locations were going to capture that market and establish the business there. The need to move quickly and grow fast was obvious for LifeLine Repairs.
There was also a strong grouping of brands which focused almost entirely on the broken iPhone screen repair work. This focus was for good reason, there was plenty of work in this area, the downside was that the brands lost differentiation from one another and the business became a commodity. LifeLine avoided this competitive space and focused more on being a complete IT solution for the consumer providing Mac repair, Technology support in general in addition to phone repair.
The complete “lifeline” for a consumer when it comes to technology services. This differentiation helped make the model successful even when competing with other brands in the market. Quite possibly, one of the aspects that helped make the LifeLine model so successful at the unit level was the fact that the founder came from outside the IT world as well. This perspective allowed him to focus on the development of sales scripts, business processes and how to drive traffic to the store that would convert to transactions.
LifeLine was able to achieve strong growth quickly with a dedicated franchise marketing and recruitment effort and professional, consistent franchise sales efforts. The business model offered a reasonable initial investment, great branding and an Item 19 that impressed most investors immediately.
In small stores with strong profitability was easy to see how the investment would show a great ROI and turn into cash flows for the franchisees. 40 new franchise stores were sold in the first two years of franchise development and the brand was showing signs of significant scalability.
As the business grew, so too did LifeLine’s ability to invest in strategic moves. The organization invested in warehousing and began to import parts and leveraged economies of scale on the purchasing side of the business. For marketing and advertising, larger ad agencies and branding talent groups were engaged to take the business to a new level from a look, feel and presentation standpoint. LifeLine is poised today as a market leader and a brand that could be positioned to go national in the coming years due to strong franchise performance, excellent franchise recruitment and overall industry expansion.
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