Green, clean energy is an industry that’s just bursting at the seams with potential and opportunity. With more and more companies, organizations and individuals finally seeing the benefits and importance of switching to clean energy, there’s no better time than now to jump onto this fast-growing trend.
If you’re considering getting involved in the industry and investing while it’s still early days, you’re in luck. Here are 8 tips for getting a solar business up and running.
Get Clued Up
Launching into any project without clear background knowledge is a bad idea. Before you even get started, be sure to spend some time doing research so that you know exactly what you’re talking about when it’s time to start contacting business partners, investors, financers and potential clients and customers.
You’ll want to make sure you clearly understand how solar energy works, a little about the history, the pros and cons of the system, how to make a business run smoothly, the different types of services and elements that go into the industry and any other information you might find useful.
Prep Your Business
This step is much the same as in any other industry or with any other company. There’s a lot of work that will need to go into the preparation and developing your business plan.
You’ll want to communicate with financial planners, solar marketing experts, potential investors and other professionals and partners who might get involved in your project. You’ll have to plan your budget carefully alongside your marketing plan, research the market and your competition, come up with a business name and model, etc.
Thorough planning is the most important step of this journey and will set you up for success in the months and years to come.
In your market research, be sure to find out what the biggest needs in your area are, and try to focus on fulfilling that need. Choosing a market niche is an important step that will allow you to hone in on one service that you and your team can excel at. Picking the right area will play a major role in the success or failure of your business.
You could work in the manufacturing of solar products like panels and batteries, sell and distribute solar equipment, or work in the service of installation and maintenance of products.
Determine which of these fields is most needed in your local market and align yourself with it if at all possible. Remember that skills, knowledge and financial capacity will play a role, but be warned that some niches are saturated in certain markets.
Get Licensed & Certified
Certain work within this industry can require certification and/or licensing. Find out what the legislation in your area says about the solar industry and be sure to get certified.
Even if it’s not a legal requirement, however, customers will readily place their trust in a certified provider, distributor or installer over an uncertified one. Getting certified will be good for business and building customer trust and loyalty in the early days of your business as well as over time.
There are different types of certifications you can get. Check in with your local organizations about what you might want or need for your business.
Working with large, high-value products, equipment and materials makes insurance coverage a top priority. As a business, you’ll need insurance to cover costs associated with property damage or liability claims, which can be a major financial setback without the right cover.
Choosing the right type and level of coverage for your business is important, and talking to an advisor might be in your best interests. As a general overview, you’ll want to look into general liability insurance, workers’ compensation, car insurance and excess liability insurance.
Build A Strong Team
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Building a strong team that functions like a well-oiled machine might take a few months of trial and error, but it will be imperative to the success of your business.
Especially if you’re not an expert in the field, hiring certified, qualified and experienced workers for your team will be make or break. Depending on the nature of your business you might need to hire engineers and technicians for installation, development and maintenance, as well as salespeople to drive your sales.
It’s also a good idea to provide regular training to keep your team educated, up to date and upskill them to improve their performance and motivate them.
Learn How To Communicate
Communication, both with your team and with customers, is important. Oftentimes, companies and individuals are skeptical about going solar and wonder about the expenses and whether or not the investment is worth it.
Effective communication here is key – landing a customer will depend on whether or not you and your sales team are able to effectively communicate with them, sell the product and quell any fears or hesitations they have using facts and statistics.
To achieve this, you’ll need a good balance of knowledge and social skills.
Become An Expert
Becoming an expert in your industry is about more than just knowing your products, but also understanding government rebates, incentive programs, marketing tactics, competitors, and client needs, wants and fears.
This is something that comes with only time and experience, and that’s okay. Building your business and becoming an expert can take years of hard work and dedication, but in a growing industry like this, it will be well worth the efforts and the investment you make in your company will certainly pay dividends in just a little time.
Starting a solar company will take time, research, capital investment and a lot of hard work. However, jumping into this growing industry is well worth the effort in terms of financial benefit and finding fulfilment in your work.
Not only will you be growing your own business, and earning well, but you’ll be contributing to a better, more sustainable world.