Dan Fournier is a sales consultant for APG Solar which is a family owned and operated Solar company with close to 700 installs, that has always exclusively used American made components and was founded in 2005 exclusively as a Solar Company. Dan got into the Solar industry because he felt that it is important for people to maintain the right to take control of their own energy needs, and also feel that in order for our country to truly pull ourselves out of dependence on foreign oil usage and to help limit the impact that energy consumption has on the environment, solar is the most developed solution.
The Chamber was able to ask Dan a few questions about his business recently. Here are the questions we asked him in bold and his answers.
As a businessman, what is the one thing you do over and over and think others should do as well when they are starting/running a business?
As a businessman I feel the key to success is to develop a consistent pattern for personal development as well as business development. I start each day with an “hour of power” where I take twenty minutes to reflect on the day that lies ahead and what needs to be done, followed by twenty minutes of reading an inspirational or personal development book, then end the hour with a twenty-minute workout. Following this I open my computer to follow up on e-mails and get anything in order for the day’s tasks. In-between appointments and formulating proposals I focus on networking around the community and doing product research.
Did you have a mentor? Who was it? How did they impact your life and business?
I suppose I have several mentors, but the two most important would be my father and grandfather who, regardless of if they were working for themselves or for others always considered themselves self-employed, and consistently were striving to achieve the best possible results for their clients, their employers and themselves, always working hard to reach this goal.
What is something that you believe is true, but no one else agrees with you on?
I don’t necessarily have anything that I believe is true that no one else agrees with me on, but one thing that I am a firm believer in and try to live by is something that Zig Ziglar said which is “if you help enough other people get what they want, then you will get everything that you want”. For me this is a simple reminder that you have to give to get, and we are all in this together.
What current trend is really exciting to you right now?
One thing that is very exciting to me right now is how affordable Solar has become. Over the past few years’ technology has made leaps and bounds with the overall system price coming down in many cases by as much as 70%. What used to cost you $40,000 you can have installed for around $12,000. Solar has always made sense but today with the low cost per watt paired with the 30% federal tax credit that is currently available, systems are paying for themselves in as little as 4 years with as much as a 28% rate of return on cash invested! Investment wise there is nothing that even comes close!
What is the best investment you have made that helped you get where you are today? The investment could be financial, emotional, educational, etc…
The best investment I have made that has helped me get to where I am today is my investment to the people around me and to my own personal development. I believe that to be successful you have to focus on taking care of yourself and your own happiness, while also focusing on those around you, such as your family and members of your community. In addition to this I think it is incredibly important to always maintain an open mind, and pay attention to people’s thoughts, opinions, and feelings about what you are doing, while also maintaining a clear mental image of what you think is the best approach to whatever the subject at hand is and to trust your gut.
What would you consider to be your biggest business success? What would you consider to be your biggest business failure? How would you do it differently?
In business and in life for that matter, I don’t believe in failure. There are plenty of peaks and valleys but when I hit a rut I try my best to just look at it as a learning experience and figure out why it didn’t work, and how I can better set myself up for success through the experience gained.
What are some of the online tools that you use in your business on a regular basis? What about them makes them valuable to you?
Throughout the day I reach out through social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. For research I use Google and YouTube, and for making lists and notes I like to use Workflowy.
Who do you follow on Facebook or Twitter that inspire you in your business career?
I don’t necessarily follow people on social media, but some people that inspire me are Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, and Robert Kiyosaki.
If you had to start your business over again, what would you do differently?
So far in my current business I haven’t had any major hang-ups that I wish I could do differently, although I’m sure there are plenty to come. I did however have a rough go at the first company I started about nine years ago which I was never really able to make profitable. I struggled with it for about four years before deciding to move on, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I went into it having several years of management experience as well as plenty of knowledge in the field and thought I could do no wrong, which ultimately lead to my downfall. It was a few years later that I began to realize that my techniques for dealing with pitfalls was ultimately what led to my lack of success.
Where do you see your business 5 years from now?
In five years from now I see the solar industry continuing to grow at a rapid pace, due to the constant increase in demand, as big utility companies continue to jack up people’s rates. Everyday more people are catching onto the fact that paying a monthly electric bill is like a long term variable rate loan that you never truly benefit from. True, power is a consumable, but when you compare solar to a garden where you get to eat all the free vegetables you want without doing any work, it makes a lot more sense, especially with today’s short payback periods.
If you closed your business today, what would you do tomorrow?
If I suddenly was not working for APG Solar I’m sure I would stay in the industry, although I hope it never comes to that because APG Solar is a great company to work for, that I plan on being with for many years to come.
Name up to 5 people that you would think in your speech for Business Man of the Year, if you won:
If I were to win Businessman of the year I would thank my Wife Kristen for always standing beside me and believing in me, my parents Conrad and Cindy for their lifelong support and inspiration, my boss Brent for providing me with the opportunity to work towards such a great cause and for such a great company, the community of Mariposa for being the greatest community on the planet, and the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce for providing so many valuable resources to support that community.