1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.
JEFF: SunPower by Sun Solar is the Central Valley’s premiere solar installer, providing cutting-edge solar solutions for homeowners, business owners and agricultural operations throughout the counties of Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Orange. We have offices in Bakersfield, Visalia and Anaheim.
SCOTT: SunPower by Sun Solar is dedicated to providing our customers with solar systems specifically tailored to their needs and goals. Whether you are looking to simply reduce your carbon footprint or want to eliminate your monthly electricity bill, SunPower by Sun Solar can help you harness and take advantage of the power of the sun, which we know is plentiful in our communities.
2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself.
SCOTT: Jeff and I were both born and raised right here in Bakersfield. We are true Central Valley natives.
JEFF: We both went to local high schools, we both started our families here. When we began selling solar almost nine years ago, there were only a handful of solar companies around. Today, there are over 200 solar installers in the Central Valley.
What inspired you to start Sun Solar?
SCOTT: I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that solar is one of the few products that you can buy to actually help you save money. At SunPower by Sun Solar we love helping home owners save money by reduce their dependency on the utility companies and their ever-increasing electricity rates.
JEFF: I was already selling solar on a small scale when Scott and I met. He was running another business and together we decided to take a good thing and make it great. That’s how Sun Solar came about.
What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
JEF: First, be courageous. There are going to be many doubting voices, one might even live inside your own head. Find your passion and let it inspire your courage to take a leap of faith.
SCOTT: Second, have a plan. Don’t trust that everything will just fall in place. Make a blueprint for success and stick to it. Third, don’t go it alone. Everybody needs help sometimes. Find a team that you can trust and together you can overcome all obstacles.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
SCOTT: Every successful entrepreneur must have the ability to sell themselves and their dream. For some this comes natural, for others it’s a meticulously practiced and honed skill.
JEFF: A successful entrepreneur also knows how to delegate. Micromanaging every aspect of your business will only wear you out and take your focus off the big picture. Find a team you trust and delegate aspects of your business to them. Lastly, a successful entrepreneur must have the ability to network and connect with other entrepreneurs and businesses. A strong network of contacts can sometimes mean the difference between failure and success.
How many hours do you work a day on average?
SCOTT: I wish I could say that I only work 8 hours a day, but as a business owner the work day never ends.
JEFF: Most days I’m the first one in and the last one out. Ten- to twelve-hour days are not unusual.
To what do you most attribute your success?
JEFF: Certainly part of our success comes from the simple fact that we operate in a part of the country that gets on average 270 days with sun, and summer temperatures breaking triple digits. Going solar makes a lot of sense for Central Valley residents. Consequently, there are many solar companies vying for solar business in our communities.
SCOTT: At SunPower by Sun Solar we set ourselves apart by being a truly local company, providing the personal one-on-one experience our customers expect. We have roots in these communities, so it’s important to us to treat our customers with honesty and integrity. We realize that going solar is a long-term investment, and we focus on educating our customers about all of their solar options, so they can make an informed decision.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
JEFF: In todays marketplace, there are more choices then ever when it comes to marketing a business. It can be challenging to decide where to place marketing dollars. What it comes down to is trial and error, and figuring out what forms of marketing are right for your specific demographic.
SCOTT: We’ve tried to come up with a marketing strategy that combines a broad brand-recognition message and some very targeted demographic-specific messages. One of our biggest successes has come from community involvement. We truly care about giving back to our community, and our community appreciates it.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
SCOTT: Long term success requires the realization that there are going to be good times and bad times. It all comes back to having a long-term blueprint for your business. JEFF: When business is up, it’s easy to rush into decisions that may cause major problems should things get tough. However, if you always plan with bad times in mind then long-term success is much easier to achieve.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
JEFF: There are many great companies out there worth admiring, but one I always look up to is SunPower, the company that makes the solar technology that we install. In a marketplace where the vast majority of solar products were being manufactured abroad by foreign companies, SunPower decided to bring a premium American product to the market.
SCOTT: Not only did they succeed in doing that, but their technology has set multiple world records and is now considered the best available in the industry.
What motivates you?
JEFF: I am motived by a few different things. My family, as well as my staff and their families motivate me. Ultimately, they are who my business provides for.
SCOTT: I’m also motived by our community and helping those less fortunate than me. I also know that there are many people in the Central Valley who can truly benefit from what SunPower by Sun Solar has to offer, and trying reaching them is something that drives me too.
How do you build a successful customer base?
SCOTT: Building a successful customer base is about treating your customers with honesty and integrity, and providing them with a customer experience that they can’t wait share with their family and friends.
JEFF: A big part of this includes an open line of communication with every customer, and keeping them abreast of the progress of their solar project.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
JEFF: I think my most satisfying moment in business, but possibly also most terrifying moment, came when we were still at our old offices, and we realized that our business had outgrown the building we were in.
SCOTT: Yes, that was definitely a huge and very satisfying milestone for us.