“iPhone business grows exponentially”
Alister Shirazi founded iExperts in 2011 when he identified an unmet need for iphone repair services in Humboldt County. He soon expanded his repair services to include iPads and iPods and now operates a storefront in Arcata and kiosk at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka.
iExperts repair cracked screens, broken buttons, offer battery replacements, charge dock replacements, software support and more. The company also unlocks iPhones so that they will work abroad with any carrier. The company offers free consultation and will not charge for time if they cannot successfully repair a device.
Shirazi launched his business with $200 in spare Iphone parts and found his customers through ads on Craigslist, meeting them in coffee shops to coordinate phone repairs. He expanded to include iPods and iPads and soon had more business than he could easily manage without a designated storefront/shop space. In his search for seed capital, Shirazi entered Economic Fuel, a business plan competition that offered up to $25,000 in seed money to young entrepreneurs with award winning business ideas.
Shirazi worked with SBDC Business Consultant Sandy Neal to craft and refine his business s plan for the Economic Fuel competition and attended many of the SBDC business basics workshops. He also took advantage of BizNet, which offered him a direct phone line to Neal when he needed quick answers, feedback on an idea, or referrals to other business related resources.
Shirazi won $5,000 in the Economic Fuel competition and while it wasn’t enough to completely fund the store opening; it did provide much needed capital and contributed to his efforts. In two years, iExperts has grown from a one-man operation with $200 in spare parts, marketing services on Craigslist, to two busy storefronts employing seven people.
“Throughout this process, [the North Coast SBDC] became like a silent partner. They helped me explore ideas and refine my business plan, and have been an invaluable part of my success.”