Industry Leaders spotlights Instyle Solar

“Thanks for joining us on a brand-new season of industry leaders it’s here that we celebrate the success of big brands their business leaders and how they came to be they’ll tell their story and we’ll find out who they really are on this episode we’ll meet in styleSolar CEO and founder Carl brown from humble beginnings he now heads upQueensland’s leading solar supplier industry leaders brought to you by annex media 39 years of age married with two boys 16 and 20 I grew up in southwest Sydney you know typical blue-collar family have five brothers and a sister a day in the life of what I do wake up in the morning stumbled to my coffee machine usually get a really really strong coffee at about 6:30 spend a bit of time with my dogs and go off my calendar for the day and try and work out how I’m gonna navigate-it and get the best use of my timeI started out in my first full-time job as an apprentice mechanic and realized that wasn’t for me but then went into our family business which my dad had a panel beating shop so I smashed repairs and I start there is an apprentice panel beater and worked there for a number of years basically from there I found sales so one day I was looking in a news paper had no experience necessary and nine hundred dollars a week and back then ay ou know even a tradesmen panel beater on the end around $400 a week so I went and gave that a crack and realized I was quite good at it and it all went from there so for the next you know 20 years of self pretty well been running in managing sales tools you know most of my families around Campbeltown Liverpool solder areas and you sort of learn how to deal with people you know whether that comes from places of you know people trying to do the wrong thing baby start to learn how people work and how they think and learn – I think I learned to read body language and understand tonality and things like a really young age which I didn’t realize with sales skills you know when I started selling I had the knack of being able to talk to somebody and tell what they were thinking before they answered me or andI could work out where I was going with my questioning and what I needed to ask next before I think they’d even worked out what I was saying to them and only alot of that came down to just being able to read people and read people quite wellI mean sounds a very long time my previous roles in the mining industry but I’ve been looking at growth markets and looking at different areas that I wanted to be in for a very long timeI’ve been in telecommunications IT and men and then mining and all that could keep seeing was panels popping up on people’s roofs so you drive around you see more of it see more of it see more of it so when I got out of the mining game where I did take a redundancy from a recruitment role I had a good look at that industry and that was the industry that basically drew me I could see thatit was going to have massive growth it just made sense to have it have a look at it so I took a commission only sales role wasn’t another solid company which was pretty foreign for to take when you’re in a position like I am with you know two kids and a and a wife but I knew I found the right industry and I knew I could back myself and you know that’s pretty well where it started from[Music]in that training for the company I metJonah who’s obviously my business partner after about being there for a month or two we started to work togetherI really had a lot of similar ideologies on how business should be run and obviously how to take customers through a great sales process for a very experienced we sit out working for this company for a fair while set up theirBrisbane operations for them and the company just took a different turn I went into a way where they set up somenew structures around the way sales was gonna work I didn’t actually agree with them at the time so in stock form youknow we had a bit of a chat at our pridewith Christmas in 2013 but we I kickedoff in February 7 to 2014[Music]well we spent a lot of time on the golf course first six months I think most of our meetings for while we’re having ahit of golf so those were the good olddays when we actually golfdon’t have a really golf much since thena lot of strategy you know like the kindof early memories I have is just how much we immerse ourselves in thebusiness so you know it was not onlyjust working a full day but then alsoyou know having strategy calls from youknow 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at nightalmost every single night for the first six months and then we felt like wereally started to get a good businessmodel down we always had a focus oftraining and developing and making surethat we were we’re doing thingscorrectlywhen we first started the business you know I had a vision of where we wantedthe business today and I needed theinitial people to come on board tobelieve in that and that’s your nicheowners and other people are in thebusiness even my wife to an extent you know I had to sell where I thoughtInStyle could be into every 12 monthsand get there you know we didn’t everhit these goals at the start and theydidn’t believe in the visions wewouldn’t keep having more girls to heart he early days were just that fullimmersion of hey what do we need to dofor this to work and and how do we takethe next step in the business[Music]first ever client that we signed I lookand see what they’ve bought I sold itstill ahead on industry leaders willunveil what the first ever client of theaward-winning InStyle solar board duringthe businesses set up phase today theyprovide solar solutions to homes andbusinesses throughout Australia[Music]first every client that we assigned ourlook and tell you what they’ve bought Isold it it was actually sold over thephone which was really weird because weweren’t trying to sell solar systemsover the phone at that time but theythey live at North Lakes on a corner Iwent to their name but they bought a froGnaeus four kilowatt inverter and 14 Qsells panels interesting they’re enoughif you walk outside into our warehouseout here now you’ll see Franny’sinverters everywhere in CUSOs panelseverywhere the experience of the firstever client was obviously exhilaratingbecause you at that point we weren’tgoing long we don’t even go in a fewweeks but that was the setup phase ofthe business so you know I’ve built thefirst website I set up all the tech Iset up all the pitch folders I’ve doneeverything to start to start up thebusiness and then to finally get hersales like I work paid for one of themyou know so it was it was an awesomefield[Music]I’m actually chef by trade so I’ve beena chef most of my life and when I firstcame over to Australia from CanadaI took an amazing chef job for about twomonths kind of had a bit of a mentalreassessment as to whether I wanted tobe a chef for the rest of my life andjust loved the idea of solar and andthat’s how I got into the industry[Music]my dream you is definitely a prettyinteresting one so it’s very hard tostay in Australiasometimes with immigration and stufflike that pretty well had to doeverything possible to stay here wasquite difficult throughout differentprocesses of that but I always saw thevision of what we could do in ourbusiness and that was really how to makethat choice a few times to obviouslystay and take part of this monstercompany that we built[Music]every day is different solar isdefinitely not a boring thing it’s avery complex business with many movingparts not just with the people but howthe systems get installed on theinstallation side of the business weobviously have to lie for skills becausewe need them to have the accreditationso they’re going to be electriciansthey’ve got to have their Clean EnergyCouncil accreditations and and thingslike that on the south side attitude 100percent attitude I don’t want peoplewith solar experience I’d rather peoplecome in and with even limited salesexperience and train them ourselves youknow most of our top performing salesstaff have started in that call centerupstairs in much more junior typeposition try to keep the team small tooyou know I don’t like having overlylarge teams I think it makes it verydifficult to manage and understand wherethey’re going and for each person tofeel like they’re part of it but we givethe team gets the smaller box voicebecomes so I guess it’s like they’reprobably the main things I try to do[Music]I since about 2013 so I started doingsome things within then doing some leadgeneration what sort of stuff which wasreally really fun I was a greatenvironment it was a very differentenvironment then as well like we wereworking out of what we call a shed incomparison to this sort of thingsit was fantastic working for them and Istarted with install in about 2015 andthen from there of obviously I moved onfrom working in the call center thenmoving into the way house and doing afew things in the warehouse and managingthe warehouse work I started here as asales rep so on the road out sellingday-to-day leading with customers andthen work my way through started sellingcommercial systems and then open to theoffice we like the most about sales isis pretty fulfilling and that you’reactually able to help especially in oursituation customers genuinely be able tosave money on their electricity bills orinstalling something as simple as all[Music]I think the biggest thing that separatesin star solar from everyone else’s wedon’t really focus on the technical sideof things with the consumerwhen we go into someone’s home which istechnically where most solar systems aresold we start talking about brands youstart talking about inverters you starttalking about technical specs theyforget it the second year week you knowlike you you want to talk to someoneabout how many busbars a panel has orthe temperature coefficient of a panelor any inverter specs they genuinelyforget it so what we tend to focus on isthe first thing we do is show people howto read their electricity bill you knowmost people genuinely just pay the thingthey’ve got no idea how it’s calculatedand once we do that we’re able to showthem how the savings genuinely worthit’s not a guest game it’s not you knowit’s essentially a financial simulationmodel which shows them what they’regoing to have and that’s where we focusit on that’s what makes us differentthat’s where the customer understands sowe differentiate by educating[Music]coming up on industry leaders a trueromance that blossomed online these daysthe business is a family affair withInStyle Solar CEO and Founder CarlBrown’s eldest son brothers stepfatherand wife Paul on the payroll[Music]so how we met was online so that beforethis was very popular like it is todayso it was a bit sort of more strange wayof meeting someone don’t usually tellpeople that we usually go what was thatand move on to the next question but hadthe same circle of friends we went toneighboring schools that wasn’t like itwas a some weird long-distance thing oranything like that we we had the samecircles of friends and it was kind ofweird that we hadn’t spent more timetogether that make sense so it was allvery bizarre so yeah we clicked straightaway that’s for sure and that was in2002 so 17 yearsNicole and I have two sons one is 16 andhe’s still in high school at the momentand Jaden our 20 year old he works inthe company with us I’ve been workinghere is pretty much since I graduatedschool so about three or four years andmy main role here is customer servicemanager so I take care of all thecustomers from the point that they signup through our solar system welcomethrough the entire installation processand make sure that they’re happy withthe service that they’ve received so farand if they have any technical inquiriesI’m always around to help them withthose as wellhe started out working through schooldoing McDonald’s so he was at McDonald’sfor a couple of years and then he sortof liked the idea of working with hisparents which is unusual I don’t reallysee myself entering the family businessuntil I kind of got the to the end of myschooling years I didn’t really knowwhat I wanted to do until I almostgraduated year 12 and then I decidedthat I really did want to work in thefamily business and it seemed like areally good idea for meit takes after mill absolutely we’reboth chatterboxes I think it’s hard toshut him up sometimes I look at him andI go oh you’re just too much like me butwe are very close mother and son so Ihad him fairly young so we’re good matesas wellI’m the administration manager so I runa team of a few people now it startedoff with just meso I did all of the roles all of thelittle jobs that that was required toyou know get the installation happeningso all the paperwork site of things thepayment side of things and that’s nowexpanded to a big much bigger team thatI manage three of my brothers work inthe business my stepfather works and thebusiness my wife and my oldest son youknow so one of the hardest things we dostruggle with as the family is the factthat we come home and somewhere between5:00 and 7:00 p.m. is usually when I’mhome and the logical next thing is howwas your day well that just means you’retalking about the business again it’shard and I think the biggest thing withit is is because we’re all in it we’vejust got to deal with it but it’s it’sfun that’s the hardest part of what weprobably my my biggest challenge islearning how to switch offmy greatest strength it’s a hard oneI’m a very nurturing person I care a lotabout people their well-being and I’lldo whatever I can to make suresomebody’s okay so a business suspectthey’ve been able to analyze thesituationthat’s probably my kind of strength froma business perspective and while I waswriting I I’m not doing anything from apersonal level everyone’s about familyyou know if I’m not working with myfamily you know I made my wife spend alot of time together and some men fromwhich find that annoying you know thatmyself and my wife we’re pretty wellalways together you know whether it’swork or outside of work you know one ofmy favorite hobbies – I like driving soI usually jump from a town go for adrive and that’s how I tend to you knowI want myself down and get myself readyfor things[Music]Paul is loves to drive his car so Ijoined him on a couple of occasionswhere we’ve gone on on track days andthings like that so that’s been a lot offun anything to do with going away ortraveling we we love to do that togetherand just on the weekends we will justsimply get up let the boys sleep in andgo and grab a coffee and a bite to eattogether that’s our release that’s ourrelax[Music]my grandfather it was a big part of mylife growing up really Stern got oldScottish dog you meant an excavationbusiness so you can understand the typeof topical I wasn’t he was massivelyfair but the main thing with him was iswhen you’re going up in places likeSouthwest Sydney everyone keeps tellingyou you can’t do things you’re nevergonna get there or you’re not gonna beable to do it he had an unwaveringbelief that I could do whatever way todowhen people say in Sikkim I didn’t doingLee there’s not really true I’d love tobe not one doll from the world but anout of the tower yeahbut he was able to literally I guessprovide me with the confidence of thingsthat I was good I have to get better andthen move forward and he died when I was18 but I’d still say that the littlethings that I remember for him going upare probably the biggest things that areprobably shaken in person[Music]darkus point still to come on industryleaders in style Solar CEO and founderKyle Brown reveals how hisall-or-nothing philosophy almost killedhim after his grandfather’s death movingto Brisbane was a game changer for thisyoung entrepreneur[Music]look I was a terrible black teenagerthat was probably just after mygrandfather died it was probably theworst parts of my life the next twoyears you know I went off the rails hada reasonable large drug habit you knowfor a while there I was people gonna beeither dead or in jail that’sessentially where I was gonna end up butI didn’t decide to to change my lifehoneyhuge week of partying a new year periodand just basically woke up one day andsitting with so I’m literally gonna dieif I don’t decide to changes I’mliterally gonna die and one of thebiggest things that was Sam’s you knowstopped me from doing that was just thepeople I hung aroundyou know and there’s nothing wrong withthese people there was nothing wrongwith them my biggest problem I’ve alwaysdaddy’s as I can’t do things in smalldoses i’ma be all in or all out type guy[Music]I had to make a decision wanted to bearound alone I virtually with the helpof my mom booked myself into a rehabfacility window for a little bit cameout looked at it and doing if I stayhere I’m nothing about this I’m justgoing to end up in the same space I wasworking for up this the time I was thereone of those sales managers Itransferred up to Brisbane if I wasearning a little bit under or you know80% of the person back then would Istill be there still the interim circleso I still be doing the same thingshowing you know so I think I think thatshaped me a lotEileen I gave me a lot of mentaltoughness as well a lot of mentaltoughness statement just to be able towalk away from I guess your childhoodfriends and I didn’t have contact withhim for 10 years – and you know and Ithink it you it’s almost a long time[Music]working with call is it’s been anamazing journey he’s probably the mostcompetitive person I’ve ever met of themprobably myself so it’s really great tohave a leader who will push you toalways get the best and do the best[Music]install solos got that really familyvibe sort of thing so you’re alwaysfeeling comfortable everyone’s friendswith each other you know making surethat the environment is really safe withinstall solar I think what makes us verydifferent is that we are actually ableto stand behind our installations so notonly from our products but the actualphysical installation with all our guysbeen fully accredited and licensed youknow we do do a very good qualityinstall which does make it be different[Music]we’re in a very unique business wherewe’ve had an amazing ability to developstaff and have staff take part in thiscrazy journey over a long period of timeyou know if you look at some of ourlongest with helded staff it’s you knowthey’re going on three years in thebusiness what’s amazing about that is isit generally shows that you have a lotof people who actually care what they’reabout what they’re doing and have thatpassion to obviously deliver excellencetop-1 tips for first lines all thecustomers first thing you need isunderstand how your Trish these feel toyou if you don’t understand that you’renever gonna understand soul and that’sthe first thing that we literally sitdownand run them through next thing is thetree that’s there is going to cause aproblem if you’ve got show so manypeople think the trees not going to bean issue and there’s going to leavetheir trees net aligned around you knowthat are going to be in front of theroof it is going to affect the thirdmain thing that they need to understandis if you use more power after we putthe system in or put a system and it’snot going to help you so monitoring isreally important you know a lot ofcustomers don’t want to spend the extramoney to have a well monitored solarsystem by having that it’s actuallygoing to teach you how to use your powerwhich is really important to get themost out of it and to go to get thesavings that you want you actuallygenuinely have an idea have a plan andbelieve it’s something you can executeon don’t listen to everybody don’tlisten to your parents telling you to goand get a job somewhere elsedon’t listen to everyone who thinks thatit’s not not doable even when I startedthis business and it was supposed to sayit was five years ago everyone’s stilltaught me not to do itI think Australians like to pull peopleback a little bit not everybody everyonewants someone to be successful as longas it’s more successful than then yeahif you’ve got a plan Mexico you’re youngyou know Maine have a crack you knowwhat our unity to go work somewhere andwork be a slave to people pretty loftyhonestly genuinely believe that you’vegot something do it[Music]one of the things that’s been great inour business we’ve never had a lot yeahI mean this whole business has beenbootstrap from day dot there’s neverbeen aligned to graphics ever been inthe business and was gone from I’d to anAfghani my bank when I started thebusiness five years ago and last year weturn over 36 million when you look atthat with no loans anything like that’sprobably the biggest achievement we’vehad but being number one in Queens andfor a long period of time now being ableto retain that while everyone’s having acrack tryna bleeders and one of theinteresting facts that I’m relativelypower of as well is that when you lookat the number two business in Queenslandthe number three and the number fourthey’re all its employees a month sothey’ve obviously come into the businesslearned what we do and they’ve gone outand being able to do it themselves sosometimes that’s good sometimes that’sfrustrating because you think you knowwhat if we harvest them differently butat the end of the day I’m still beatingup so what was he doing something wrong[Music]youEnglish (auto-generated)