LLEANA Benjamin set up alternative and renewable energy company SolWind Energy two years ago, to meet a need for curtailing rising electricity costs.Even then, she believes that consumers are yet to fully understand energy solutions.That’s why she ensures that customers understand the benefits of the products offered by the company by carefully walking them through the process.“I can communicate with them without using the technical jargon,” she said. “Buying into alternative and renewable energy is an investment that must be undersood,” she said.Obviously a demand for her products will be good for business, but she hopes that more people will move towards cost-savings solutions.Nevertheless, the entrepreneur is equally concerned that her clients are satisfied.“Once you are honest with a customer and make up for shortcomings, they will stay,” Benjamin said.What’s more, she does custom orders for clients who want products not sourced by her company.“I’ll find it just to make sure that they are pleased,” she said.As the head of a small business, the managing director of SolWind understands what it means to keep energy costs down.“I run my business on a small system. It’s much more economical and it helps to keep the electricity bill at a minimum,” she said.To keep overheads low, she outsources much of the work, such as instalation services.“You have to, in order to stay alive, and if it happens that you aren’t selling, paying staff is paying out money that you didn’t make,” the businesswoman said.Benjamin didn’t pursue a course of study in the field, or work in the area prior to opening the business.But a master’s degree in entrepreneurship has equipped her to do almost anything.“All I need to know is how best to get the clients’ attention,” Benjamin said. “It’s a skill that’s needed to run a business.”The business owner worked in a real estate company in the United States, but figured that there was a niche for the products and services she now offers.On the other hand, there are a lot more businesses offering similar services to SolWind now compared to just a couple of years ago.Apart from stiffer competition, Benjamin also has to face fluctuating tariffs and a sliding Jamaican dollar, both of which affect the cost of doing business, given that her equipment comes from overseas.“You just never know what your price structure will be every six months to a year,” she said.As the head of a small business, the managing director of SolWind Energy Limited understands what it means to keep energy costs down. (PHOTO: BRYAN CUMMINGS)
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