In this series, ActionCOACH Mary Ann Hauser (MAH) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!
MH: Coach Mary Ann Hauser
MB: Michael Booth, Owner of Solar Energy of the Carolinas
Special Offer: Free consultation when you mention ActionCOACH!
MH: Tell me a little bit about what you do and for how long you have been doing it.
MB: I was in the engineering field for two decades, and for part of that time, I was a consultant for solar companies. Over time, I became very invested in renewable energy. I was preaching clean air, clean energy, and clean water, and one day I decided to put my money where my mouth was. I quit a totally great engineering job to show people that I don’t take this lightly; I truly, passionately believe in it. I started the company four years ago in King, NC, and we have since changed the name to Solar Energy of the Carolinas and moved the office to Winston-Salem. We concentrate on residential solar and consult in commercial and nonprofit solar. We train our staff to be consultants and educators on solar energy, not salespeople, so that people learn what solar energy is and the savings it can provide for them.
MH: How would you describe your target customer?
MB: We are getting a lot of commercial work right now, but on a residential scale we have a lot of financially conservative–minded customers, because once they see the value and the savings, they realize that this is a no–brainer.
MH: What are one or two actions that you’ve taken because of COVID-19?
MB: We had to change our entire business model. We stopped knocking on doors and started asking our existing customers for referrals. Now potential customers call us as well, because they’ve heard of the great service we’ve provided for others. Another step we’ve taken is to offer a Pearl Certification to customers that may only get to live in a house with solar for a year or two. A third-party entity writes a stamp report certifying the value of the solar, and by law, the appraiser has to take that into account when the house is sold. Using a Pearl Certification allows you to get a return on your investment immediately if you sell your house.
MH: What is the biggest learning you’ve had as a business owner?
MB: My dad instilled in me the values of being trustworthy, loyal, and adaptable. My dad had a general store when I was growing up, and over the years we adapted several times to the demand. We went from a grocery store to a hardware store; we sold tubes and canoes on the Dan River. My dad had the same employees from the time he took over the store from my grandfather to the time he retired.
MH: Are there any offers that you’d like to include in the newsletter?
MB: We would like to offer a free consultation to anyone who mentions this newsletter. We also give a $250 rebate to firefighters, EMS workers, teachers, and any hospital staff. If you’re a part of any of those groups or have a family member in any of those groups, we will also honor that $250 rebate as a voucher to a charity that supports any of those causes.
MH: What is most inspiring to you today?
MB: The most inspiring thing for me is our continuous work to try to make not only the world a better place, but also to give back to groups that have devoted their lives to service.
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