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Tip: To Succeed in Specialized Niches, Get a Clear Understanding of the Market

July 17, 2014

The competition for customers in the U.S. solar market is tough, and it’s a new enough market that there isn’t much history to glean lessons from. But a clear understanding of the market your company is operating in will help you compete, says Andy Behr, director of marketing and business development for Hisco Inc., a distributor based in Houston, TX in Challenges & Opportunities in Solar.

Global demand for solar-generated power has doubled every two years since 2004, according to NPD Solarbuzz, and federal requirements for renewable energy production are also pushing development of the technology. That means there is a lot of potential within the market. But because it’s a new market, there are also new risks that need to be identified – a common theme for many niche markets distributors may be considering.

“Risk is a word sort of like integrity. Nobody knows quite how to define it, and when you can’t define something, you can’t manage it,” says Vernon Grose, author of Managing Risk: Systematic Loss Prevention for Executives, in the MDM Interview: Minimizing Risk in Your Business.

When evaluating business risk, include real-time factors and not just what’s happened before, Grose says. Circumstances change, and what worked in the past may not work in the present or future. And with niche markets, such as solar, there may not be any past to fall back on.

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