Millennials who want to start solar businesses should go (and take this advice)

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Over the past decade, solar investments have experienced an average annual growth rate of 68%. In 2006, only 30,000 homes were equipped with solar panels; a decade later, more than a million homes are equipped with solar installations. Walid Halty and his team at Dvinci Energy are running one of the fastest growing and most profitable companies in this space, while saving customers $ 45 million in utility bills and reducing CO2 emissions by 8,760 tonnes per year.

Halty believes Millennials will lead the next wave of solar growth and has advice for those looking to get involved in renewables:

  1. Play the 90-year-old game, not the 90-day gamee

“Make sure your mission goes beyond money,” advises Halty. “Solar is a lucrative industry. It is a product that will soon be found in every American home. Today, solar power is the most bankable sustainable technology, which has turned the industry into a gold rush. In response, companies like SolarCity, NextStepLiving, NRG Energy and others have adopted a “growth at any cost” model. These business models have common characteristics: high cash consumption, low margins, poor customer experiences and operational deficiencies, which inevitably cost founders their businesses. Don’t play this game. Stick to the mission, instead of chasing money. Make the mission the heart of all your decision-making, and you will always focus on the long term. As solar entrepreneurs, we can create a stimulating and sustainable future for our successors. This should be our main motivation.

  1. Adopt a “customer for life” philosophy

Halty is focused on meeting customer needs and sustaining them forever. “We are in the field of human relations,” he explains. “Solar technology gives people more freedom, more control and more peace of mind in their daily lives. Homeowners and businesses will have their solar panels on their properties forever, creating an incredible opportunity to deliver continued value to customers.

“Above all, salespeople have to function as educators. Their # 1 priority should be to educate homeowners and businesses about why solar power is currently a bankable technology. In fact, there is a unique window of opportunity with federal and local discounts still in place to reduce the upfront costs associated with going solar. Once solar is installed in a house, do not forget your customers afterwards. Make a conscious effort to continue to provide ongoing value to your customers. This is how you can build an SEO-based business, instead of a cold calling, door-to-door business. Most importantly, take your customers’ business needs as seriously as your own. Make sure you create a meaningful, memorable, and complete experience when you interact with them, so that you gain lifelong customers, not just for that sale. Focus on personalization, convenience and ease of interaction. By becoming a valuable advisor to your customers, you will find that solar will sell itself.

  1. Building a community.

Community is defined as “a feeling of communion with others, resulting from the sharing of common attitudes, interests and goals”. The word and concept are derived from the same word as “communication” – a means of connection between people or places through an exchange of information. A business community includes employees, customers and suppliers. “In order for your customers, employees and suppliers to keep wanting to work with you, they have to love and trust you,” says Halty. “You also have to actively love and trust them. This type of reciprocal relationship is created by engaging in cooperative and mutually beneficial dialogue with others. This is how you both begin to develop a clear understanding of each other’s tastes, needs, and priorities, which is the real meaning of connection. By taking the time to do this, you put yourself in a position to envision the next frontier of value that you can offer “your people”. Overall, you need to focus on building a community of people who love, trust, and want to do business with each other.

  1. Think exponentially, not linearly.

“In a rapidly growing industry like solar power, speed can be your best friend,” says Halty. He suggests that when it comes to business and sales processes, you should be looking for ways to reduce the equation’s time – for your customers, suppliers, and employees. “Streamlining your process leaves more time for everyone to do more. Challenge what you do all the time, not from the standpoint of doubt, but rather from the standpoint of desirability. On a day-to-day basis, it’s hard to notice exponential growth because it starts out looking linear. However, if you keep watching your progress and asking the right questions, you’ll start to notice when things change exponentially. If you grow exponentially, you will experience hyper-growth. Hyper-growth companies are companies that learn by doing. They are committed to adapting quickly. They have enough underlying structure in place that their growth is not out of control, but not so much that their structure hinders their ability to adapt quickly and flexibly. Hyper growth requires equal parts improvisation and planning. It takes having the courage to follow your beliefs and challenge conventional wisdom, understanding that no business ever performs perfectly. The key is to maintain a healthy sense of urgency throughout your supplier-seller-customer chain. As a hyper-growing business in a rapidly growing industry, expect to operate in a flexible, dynamic and rapidly changing environment. It requires your company culture, systems, and people to thrive during the changes brought on by rapid growth. You have to understand how to welcome change, accompany it and draw strength from it. Rapid growth typically requires you to quickly streamline existing systems, from upgrading your IT resources to adding “hours of operation” to your customer service.

  1. Build towards your strengths.

Focus on your strengths, ”advises Halty. “Most solar companies will encounter problems in many aspects of their business, but with a collaborative approach you can overcome many inherent weaknesses. You don’t win with the best talent, you win with the five players who are able to play well together. In hyper-growth, attitude is not everything: it’s the only thing! This is what we focus on at Dvinci. We align our complementary strengths with our partners. Just as airlines don’t make planes and most restaurants don’t raise chickens, you need to know where you can add the most value for your customers – and find and connect with great partners to do so. the rest. For example, at Dvinci we focused on creating a marketing and management platform designed to provide our end user with the highest quality product, lowest price, turnaround time. the fastest and most personalized experience in the solar industry. To do this, we work with strong installation partners in each region, which gives us local leverage, operational speed and a boutique style structure. This personalization, in turn, creates the greatest opportunity to align with the interests and needs of our clients. Our pricing discipline has guided our partnership with all financiers in the solar industry, providing flexibility and access to unique low-cost financing options for our clients from leading private and public investors. Finally, our direct selling approach drives behavior change among individuals and at the community level, while creating a crucial customer-centric experience. Find out what value your team can deliver better than your competition; Then triple that and compensate for other possible weaknesses by being very selective with your partners.

Halty reminds us that solar is a growing industry. “Total installed solar PV capacity in the United States is expected to nearly triple over the next five years and there are still over 300 million additional homes that need solar power.” By following its framework, you can join this energy revolution and increase your chances of successful startup.

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