No one remains untouched from the effect of the competition. At one point or the other, you feel that you reach at the dead end where the sales of your solar business start dipping, the customers start reducing and this is the time to get alerted and do something to again revive and grow your solar power business and giving it a competitive edge.
(1) Be flexible and understand the need of your customer
You need to be flexible in providing services to your customers. For example, one solar company says that it offers a standard residential solar roof solution like 2 kW systems, 5KW systems, and the 10 KW systems, no solution in between, for its customers. It cannot cater the need of a customer who is seeking for 4 KW solar system or 6 KW solar power system. While on the other hand company B is ready to offer the customized solution to its customers by offering residential solar power solution from 1 KW system to 10 KW systems. You can say that it is utilizing the business opportunity exists in between the two standard residential systems offered by the company A and can very well increase its customer base.
You can almost drive the system of machines with one set of principles but you cannot drive the system of people with the same set of principles
You have to be flexible enough to adapt and accept a different set of right principles in order to drive the system of people.
(2) Adapt to the latest technological changes, widen your reach and streamline your business
If you are a company with no technology then sooner or later you will perish. The technology plays a crucial role in widening your reach, managing and running your business smoothly. For example, you are running a portable solar products business like selling solar lantern, solar street lights, solar mobile charger, solar toys etc. You can very well reach to the wider audiences by making your store online. You need to upload the clear pictures of your products, mention the relevant details like product features, pricing, shipping policy and return policy. A little investment and the little efforts can increase your presence manifolds and hence can boost your sales and you can receive online payments if somebody like your product and purchase it and this nothing but a use of the latest technological tools.
Moreover, every business is made up of a set of sections like Finance, Accounting, Sales & Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, and Inventory Management. Each of these sections has to be managed simultaneously in order to run the business effectively. There are technological tools available which let you manage the finances effectively, boost the sales, facilitate the customer relations and widen the reach across the globe. I am here listing the few effective technological tools to grow your solar business:
(3) Know the feasibility of the system beforehand
Many times, as a customer, I have inquired about installing the Residential solar power system from the different companies over the phone. The sales representatives were prompt in letting me know the size of the system based on my requirement but were confused about the other aspects like the technical and the financial feasibility of the system, resulting in the wavering confidence of the customer. If you can assure the customer about the complete technical and financial aspect of the system then it is more likely that the customer will install the solar power system from you. One such tool is the Residential solar power feasibility spreadsheet which I have specifically designed for those who want to know the complete viability of the Residential solar power system.
(4) Ask for the review from your customers
Whatever product you have designed or the services you are offering, you must take the feedback time to time from the customers. It is a good practice to ask for any kind of improvement in the product or the services. I have seen that many companies have put the section for the feedback but they are not actively engaged to make this actually work for the improvement of their product and the services. Your primary task should be to take the e-mail of your customers and ask them to write the experience about your product and the services. Those companies which actually implement the suggestion and the feedback into the product and the services become the people’s company and these companies actually grow in the real sense.
(5) Study your competitors
Studying your competitor’s pricing, types of the product & services, distribution mechanism, and the business model is often considered one of the effective ways to know about the consumer behavior and the market trend. If the market leader is increasing the production of the same product which already in the market and you are also selling the same product in your region, indicates that the demand for the same product is increasing. If the competitor is launching a new product, implies that the either the company foresees that the demand for the existing product is going to saturate or it is diversifying its product to acquire the market share. Understanding this, you can plan your move accordingly and take the right decision.
My way of getting information about the competitors:
(6) Make innovative marketing efforts
Your business cannot move ahead without sales, you can drive it through innovative marketing efforts. The few of the effective marketing strategies are as follows:
(7) Go for the funding, if required, to give wings to your expansion plans
There will be times when you need an Investor who can invest in your idea or the start up to scale up the operations of your business. The right pitch and the effective business plan plays a crucial role in getting the right investor for your startup. You have to decide the type of funding you are looking for:
In the Debt based funding, the company borrows the specific amount at the specific rate. It has to pay that amount in that specific period irrespective of the profit or loss. For example, the XYZ Ltd takes a 10-year loan of $ 2 million @ 8% per year. It has to pay 8% of $ 2 million = $ 1,60,000 every year irrespective of its profit or the loss; it is the obligation.
In the funding is equity based then the investor can control your management and if the funding is interest based then you have the obligation to pay the interest before you can enjoy the profits. So it you who have to decide the right debt-equity structure of your enterprise for its best interest.
The solar is in the nascent stage in India, it is an opportunity and at the same time the risk is also involved but with effective techniques, you can achieve the good growth in your solar business. I say that you go step by step, after some time you will yourself realize the growth in your business. Fill the gap of energy demand in India by becoming a solar entrepreneur, the risk is taken now will reap you the sweet rewards in the future.