Hey Zain, tell us more about Sungrade Solar
Zain Jan: Sungrade Solar is a residential scale solar energy company and a part of the new class of Social Benefit Corporations (B-Corp). Sungrade honors a “triple bottom line,” focusing on people, planet, and profit. Sungrade focuses on residential solar installation, direct sales, logistics, and software development.
Why did you decide to start a solar company?
Zain Jan: I helped run one of the largest offices at Tesla owned, Solar City. After becoming extremely successful in the solar industry, I partnered up with Aaron Katz, a well known CEO in the Solar industry, and Owen Gintis, a retired high frequency trader on wall street. I also brought along some of my best friends(Mikey, MJ, Juan, Andrew, Samir) to help start the sales component of the company. Without them we wouldn’t have got to where we have.
What about the competition? How do you stay ahead?
Zain Jan: We recruit young and hungry professionals from all over the nation, and plug them into the #1 sales training platform on the planet, Cardone University. Many companies in the industry don’t provide proper training and guidance for their team, we make training our top priority. Through clear communication, our executive team provides feedback with full transparency, a problem I have seen in many companies. Our leadership has created a great sales team by developing more efficient data and logistical processes. We make sure our sales cycle is simple for the customer and for the sales rep. We have found that many companies in the industry have extremely complicated sales processes, we decided to take a different approach and make our process extremely simple. Because of these reasons, we have been called an anomaly by many power players in the industry such as Spruce Finance, Sunrun, and Solarcity.
When looking for people to partner with, what qualities do you look for?
Zain Jan: Choosing the right business partners is so important, so here are my top tips:
- First off make sure you guys get along. You don’t have to have the same vision, or have the same political thoughts, but you have to respect each others’ opinions and communicate with an open mind.
- You have to make sure your business partners have their ethics in line, and would never lie or hide something from you, no matter what the circumstances are.
- Make sure you know your business partners’ expectations of you, and what they expect out of the business.
- Make sure you know how committed they are to the business, and how much time they are willing to and can dedicate to work.
How will tech affect the way we do business in the next decade?
Zain Jan: I believe business will become more effective especially with the development of artificial intelligence. I think this will make business processes and strategies more efficient, and more economically viable. I think it will be easier to do business with the right people, and technology will help you make better decisions. On a personal level I beleive people that challenge the status quo, and disrupt the marketplace will have more success, and those that don’t adapt will lose their jobs.
What are some of your favorite reads?
Zain Jan: Be Obsessed or Be Average — Grant Cardone
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future — Ashlee Vance
Benjamin Franklin: An American life — Walter Isaacson
Managing Oneself — Peter Drucker
Contagious Why things catch on — Jonah Berger
To any millennial reading this, what's your best entrepreneurial tip?
Zain Jan: Focus on the macro-vision instead of the micro-tasks. I see a lot of millennials seeking instant gratification and losing track of the long-term goals and vision. It is quite sad to see many millennials trying to work on many different things rather than putting their passion into one project and ensuring its success. It is better to dive deeper into one thing and becoming an expert at it than exploring a bunch and becoming an expert in none.
And to wrap it all up: What's the vision with Sungrade? What do you hope to accomplish?
Zain Jan: Our goal with Sungrade is to provide clean and affordable power on a global scale, while maintaining the highest standard of quality using state of the art technology, and keeping a remarkably accelerated timeline. We also spend a lot of time on developing a youthful and energetic culture focused on health, self improvement, ethics, and financial success. My goal is to continue to build with these principles as we continue to scale nationally.