Solar contractors discussed challenges and opportunities at business development workshop

On May 10, more than 30 business owners and managers representing 18 solar contractor companies from Klamath Falls, Newport, Bend and Seattle participated in the second annual Solar Contractor Day Business Development training. This year, the focus of the training was on managing sustainable growth in an increasing complex business environment.

Participants were asked to share what their biggest business challenges and their responses were surprisingly consistent, regardless of size or location. Some of those challenges include:

  • Managing people
  • Finding and retaining quality employees
  • Maintaining good communication
  • Handling growth and uncertainty
  • Dealing with paperwork

Attendees learned about industry trends that will affect the Oregon solar market, creating both opportunity and uncertainty. Pam Cargill, principal of Chaolysti Management Consulting, pointed out that managing a solar business requires looking ahead to what is coming next. According to Cargill: “If all you care about are today’s numbers, you won’t be here very long.”

Leslie Shiner, principle of The Shiner Group, led an activity for the group to help businesses manage cash flow to better plan for sustainable growth. Every business goes through various stages as it grows and “sustainable growth is based on having a repeatable process,” Shiner emphasized.

The day concluded with a soft cost treasure hunt, an activity showed business owners and managers how to include employees in key marketing, sales, operations and recruiting decisions needed to adapt to a changing market. Solar employees have a wealth of knowledge about the pain points and opportunities for improvement in your company—don’t leave good ideas on the table.

Hope to see you at next year’s workshop in May 2018!