Founder of GoGreenSolar.com Finds a Market and Becomes the Go-to Authority
GoGreenSolar.com isn’t even through this year’s first quarter, but the green-energy products company has had more revenue in 2011 than all of last year. With this stunning increase in sales, it’s fair to say company founder Deep Patel recognized an eager market for energy-saving products and he not only established enviable traction – he has become a go-to resource.
“Our customers run the spectrum from one person needing a light bulb to contractors who are building entire facilities powered by solar energy,” says Patel. “No matter the need or the level of expertise, we’re here to help the customer complete a project.”
Patel, who is 27 years old, earned an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton and an MBA at Boston University. For research on his master’s thesis, he went to the Solar Power International conference and shook a lot of hands. “When I got home, I thought: ‘Wow, this is a really cool industry, but how can I get started without any money?’” So Patel focused on what he could do at no cost: He started a blog.
“There was a real lack of information, but everyone was interested in the industry. I posted something new every day,” says Patel, who with his research and networking skills was establishing himself as a legitimate authority. The response was not only astounding, but people began to ask him if they could also buy from him. “So, I set up relationships with manufacturers, and we’ve been growing so quickly that it’s a big challenge to keep up with demand.”
When he started GoGreenSolar.com, he took the advice of Steven Mednick, a TriTech consultant. “At the beginning we helped him prioritize and focus on the steps necessary to execute,” says Mednick, who is also an entrepreneurship professor at University of Southern California. “And now he’s become a factor in the industry.”
With Mednick’s advice, Patel focused on growing his customer base instead of searching for a start-up funder. “I knew other entrepreneurs who were all going after venture capital and without it, they wouldn’t start their companies – they were just chasing the money,” says Patel. “Steve advised me to not fall into that trap and instead view my customers as my first investors, and to keep going after more business.
“It was critical advice. From the beginning, with every sale I’ve made since 2006, I’ve put it back in the business.”
GoGreenSolar.com is located in West Covina, California, and employs five people, including Patel. His current aim is keeping up with demand. “In the beginning, I concentrated on sales techniques and how to differentiate our company from others,” he says. “But now, with increased volume, we have different challenges.” But, he admits, this is certainly the right kind of challenge to have.