BRISBANE'S KING OF SOLAR POWER REVEALS STARTUP JOURNEY

BRISBANE'S KING OF SOLAR POWER REVEALS STARTUP JOURNEY

WHEN Karl Brown decided to go out on a limb and start his own solar company he only had $2,500 to play with.

"It was all my wife would let me have," says Brown.

Now he runs one of Queensland's largest privately owned solar companies, Instyle Solar.

How did he do it? Brown says it's all down to changing your perspective.

"Like most entrepreneurs, I've tried a few times, done some things that work, some haven't," says Brown.

"The main thing is that I've always looked for is different angles in the marketplace to do things differently."

Before establishing Instyle Solar, Brown worked for a solar company as an employee mainly to learn the tricks of the trade and to see what he could do better himself.

"All I saw really was companies promising a lot of things but not really delivering on much," says Brown.

"It's an industry full of sharks, and if you don't believe in solar it's a tough thing."

Instyle Solar's point of difference comes down to Brown's approach to what the company is really selling. Instead of focusing on Government rebates, environmentally friendly technology, or complicated and confusing descriptions of how the solar panels work, Brown is in the business of selling the final solution not the product itself.

"What makes our strategy different is we don't focus on the actual product we are selling, we focus on the solution," says Brown.

"We sell lower electricity bills and the way we do that is by installing a quality solar system."

"The biggest thing we focus on is customer education on basically how solar works. The start of it is how people read their electricity bills most people genuinely don't know how to do it. They just pay it. So, the first thing we do is teach people how to read it."

By being in the business of educating, rather than forcing a product down a potential customer's throat, it becomes less of a race to the bottom for Instyle Solar compared to their competitors.

"Because we're not competing with people on a price point we tend to feel like we're giving them more solutions rather than just a product," says Brown.

Brown's success also comes from the way the company generates sales. Rather than waiting for leads to come to them Instyle actively seek out their own sales.

"We have a 30-seat outbound call centre, so we hunt our own leads and have complete control of our own destiny," says Brown.

"By doing this we don't need to compete on a lot of sales."

As for the future, Brown hopes to be able to replicate the success of Instyle Solar in Queensland in other Australian states.

"The ultimate goal is to go into other states in a bigger way," says Brown.

"What we're doing at the moment is getting our systems in place before we go to the rest of the country. We're easily the biggest solar company in Queensland now. The goal there is to duplicate that."

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