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Thoughts on the rollout of the company & timeline.


In order for a venture like this to succeed and achieve market dominance, a careful introduction is necessary. As well, supply, logistics and information all have to be well formed before we start doing business. I propose a carefully structured, and layered rollout of IES.

We begin with a stand-down. The initial purpose will not be to start selling, but to get our house in order, bring initial staff up to speed, start making overtures to other major players, and generate market awareness via our early advertising. The overhead during this time will essentially be personnel, routine office operations, and marketing. This phase will last 1-3 months, and we will gradually work our way into normal business. We should make our default (but not necessarily unbendable) plans for full operations to begin in winter/early spring of 2010. Our territory goal should be for now Central Ohio - with immediate allowances for expansion into all of Ohio. We must be ready to do the job before we get the order!

Training will be critical during this phase - especially with the marketing and sales staff. They need to be fully aware of the alternative energy paradigm, as well as their particular areas of interest. In order to get going, I propose the following layers. (in no particular order)

  1. Routine office and business operations need to be put in place - Accounting, HR, etc.
  2. Put in place logistics and supply chains.
  3. Sales staff need to start learning about alternative energy.
  4. Put boiler plate necessities in place - Vehicle fleet (PH&H?), Insurance, licensing & bonding.
  5. Sales staff need to start learning their particular areas, and researching them.
  6. At this phase we need to start making contact with and pursuing equipment suppliers and sign agreements.
  7. Initial contact with Utilities - AEP, Duke Energy, etc. Pursue how we can help them achieve their goals.
  8. Start finding installation and maintenance contractors, electrical contractors, verify their credentials, and start training & certifications if need be. Solid contracts need be in place - Including priority and time constraints!
  9. We need to start putting together a database of various local rules, zoning ordinances, regulations, key contacts, etc, for every town & city we will do business in. Make initial contact with key players in these towns -Inspectors, development departments, etc. This will be invaluable down the road.
  10. During this time, the design and architecture staffs will need to learn about options, BIPV, and start putting together some baseline (residential especially) design plans that can be leveraged off of.
  11. Legal staff need to start learning the regulatory requirements and how to satisfy them.

Initial Sales Focus

As the sales staff come up to speed, and start researching their areas of interest, they should start pursuing the following venues:

  1. We need to pursue commercial contacts aggressively, but at a corporate level, not one store at a time. Pursue the companies that own the smaller retail stores and businesses. Fast food, franchises, convenience stores, chain stores. A possible track would also be health care providers, doctors, etc. They often have blanket groups, and real estate investment types of building ownership packages.
  2. In the beginning, we need to focus on larger packages and groups, not walk in sales.
  3. Start making contact with large homeowner associations and boards.
  4. Go after Developers, Sell package deals for specific home designs. Maybe offer ala-carte systems to be offered prospective homeowners during design time. Future homeowner can select what they want installed. This could work very well with custom builders.

Vehicle Manufacturers - Plug In and EV's

This is going to be huge, and we should have a team focusing on this from day one. The team needs to be Auto Industry savvy. The auto manufacturers are very much concerned about the chicken & egg situation of selling plug-ins & EV's, and then having to install charging stations. They do not want to do this, and neither do they want to do it on a customer at a time basis. Here is where the sales staff can make or break us. We can offer regional contracts to install equipment as the cars are sold, and ESPECIALLY to service it (We need to have a mechanism in place for this, as time (and customer service) is critical.). With the blessing of the manufacturers, we can talk to large dealer networks to service their customer base. We should figure out a way to tie Alternative energy into this paradigm. We also need to have available the proper licensed staff - electricians - to cover these. Possibly sub-contracts with local electrical companies (keep them small and vet their technical, time, and customer skills carefully!). We should start a database and service tracking system just for this. We could also - with the agreement of dealers & manufacturers, offer services direct to customers. But, we have to respect the Auto industry's etiqette. Start at the top & go down.


Internships

We need to investigate and start offering Internships immediately. Contact colleges, trade schools, play up that their students can grow with us, and present the solid foundation that we are building off of. Especially in the creative arenas, they could be an invaluable resource, and a source of our own future in-house talent. The design, architecture and technical areas can especially benefit, as would marketing.


Marketing Approach

1 - Initially, we need an aggressive advertising campaign. Focused on awareness and education, what the possibilities are. The brand needs to be solidly presented, but it should not overwhelm. Convince people they need our solutions, then be there to answer the call.

2 - We should start with PSAs, and PSA inspired ads. Making the public aware of the need, that there are solutions, and hinting that 'there will soon be a new game in town'. Ala 'The Pickens Plan'.


Thoughts on Software

We should develop the following software for use by the enterprise

  1. Public Web site - In addition to normal content, should have educational content, product lines, a way for customer to log in to view current project status, timeline, plans, drawings & equipment being used. There should be many ways to contact us and/or thier project rep.
  2. Project tracking software for residential - all docs, order status, times, etc.
  3. Project tracking software for Commercial - Multi point
  4. Field scheduling and tracking software for internal
  5. Field service scheduling, dispatch & tracking software for our contractors
  6. Seperate system for Schedule, dispatch and tracking of Charging station end of business
  7. Complete vendor information, catalogs, equipment datasheets, etc, on line
  8. Project design suite to track and reference designs
  9. Vendor & Supplier collaboration
  10. Regulatory & project financial information system

Some early thoughts on our offices

Thoughts on an office location. While it may seem too early to think about, our home office will be important.

  1. It should be appropriate to the scope and integrity of our business - no strip mall location.
  2. It should lend itself to the installation of our own alternative and PV systems.
  3. It needs to have enough space for our operations, as well as conference/office space for customer consults.
  4. Although we will not routinely keep major materials on hand, we will need space for spares, a working supply of equipment, and all the little bits & pieces necessary for field operations.