Firoz Wadhwania is eyeing the higher-end solutions market for small and mid-size companies, as he seeks to continue the growth path for his company Mace IT.
Wadhwania trained in IT in his native India and worked there in system engineering and administration for a year.
However, he found it challenging when he emigrated to New Zealand in 2001.
“It is hard to come here and get into IT straight away because of the language difficulties and the working environment is quite hard.”
However, he persevered and underwent a one year diploma with Computer Power in Auckland, which led to an apprenticeship with Datacom.
He built further experience working for PC People and Telecom/Gen-i and in 2007 was able to set up on his own as a contractor.
The following year, he formed Mace IT and began working from his home office in the Auckland suburb of Lynfield.
The customer base of home users and small firms has grown to about 250 today, and is made up of 40 percent businesses and 60 percent home users..
Wadhwania’s business plan launched an online retail presence last year, and subsequently a sales and service outlet in Onehunga, central Auckland, earlier this year. Mace IT has two staff, one looking after the store and another handling web content and management.
He wants to spend the next year focusing on developing the website, but online sales have presented challenges for the company.
“The big value products have no margin because of the competition from the big retailers and some people who just want to undercut [on price].
“In a year’s time I want to give lots of variety to users who find us and buy our products online. I want to integrate products from about 10 vendors.”
At present, the website offers products from two vendors, he says.
He also wants to add more detailed product information on the website.
Mace IT’s services include setting up printers, servers and computers and the company provides web development and data cabling.
Wadhwania says it is important to provide a full offering of sales and services and to have a physical and virtual retail presence.
“The combination of the retail store and the website gives customers confidence that they can procure products from us,” he says.
In the long-term Wadhwania plans to use his background in system engineering to move into the high-end solution space for small and medium businesses.
“Among the big corporates there is always competition to get the contract, but smaller companies operate in a more traditional way and there is the chance to offer them services.”
Offering cloud services is also on his agenda, and he plans to offer Microsoft Online Services and SaaS solutions from other vendors.
“Customers don’t know what the cloud can offer them and how it will be beneficial for them now. [Owners are too] busy running the company to think about the IT things.”