I started NM Solar Group in 2015. It had always been my dream to start a company. I had been warned of all the risks and challenges, but they didn't scare me. In my heart, I knew I could do it.
As the son of entrepreneurial parents, I learned that the key to any successful business venture is hard work. Quite simply, I was taught that if you just kept the faith and kept working, eventually you’d get to the other side. So that was what I did.
The first year of NM Solar Group was very easily the hardest year of my life to date. As any prospective small business owner will tell you, being solely responsible for the success of your dream can be daunting.
Throughout the stresses of the first year, there were several months where I was sick to my stomach every single minute of every single day. It was during that time that I realized the true challenges of entrepreneurship. No one wanted to help with anything; prospective advertisers, software programmers, and other business owners took advantage of me. I had never felt so alone or frustrated.
But I stuck to my dreams and to parents’ advice. I worked hard, I kept the faith and piece by piece, NM Solar Group came together. In year two, with the right people by my side, the business grew 500%. What a miracle.
With growth, comes problems. As the demand for solar increased, the need for NM Solar group to expand was apparent so we migrated from our home base in Albuquerque and established a second location in Alamogordo. Initially, working in both Alamogordo and Albuquerque proved to be much more difficult than I could’ve imagined. However, thanks to the great people in Alamogordo, and their acceptance of us, the expansion paid off. We were able to bring our solar services to an entire community; they took care of us and we took care of them. Still, having so much growth and only having one me made it somewhat scary to be the sole owner of an LLC.
NM Solar Group quickly became the largest residential solar installer in the state of New Mexico. Our success is primarily attributed to our fair pricing, honest dealings and customer focused values. With all of this evolution and activity, I wanted the culture to continue. I wanted the company to succeed. I wanted the employees who built the company to be rewarded for the hard work. But wanting it wasn’t enough and I knew I needed guidance in getting us to where we wanted to go.
During my research, I explored many different options: business brokers, venture capitalists, partners or even franchising but still, nothing felt quite right. As a company, we had built such an amazing culture of honesty, hard work and trust. I had to protect it! And as I learned more about ESOP programs, I knew it was the right fit.
By choosing the Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), the employees that have worked tirelessly to build this company become it's true owners. That’s right, I’ve sold NM Solar Group! But to the best buyers around: my employees. As an authentically employee-owned company, NM Solar Group will continue to service our clients and provide the best experience possible. Prior to organizing the ESOP, I worked hard to build the best executive team, the best project management teams and the best install crews possible. It was no easy feat and it was certainly not without hardships, but we did it.
So what changes? Giving each employee a vested individual interest in the company’s success guarantees that we will reach new heights in our achievements as a team. It means that every screw on every system will be fastened by an owner of the company. Every service call placed to an NM Solar Group employee will be placed to an owner of the company. The person sweeping the floor in the warehouse? You guessed it. An owner. The successes and challenges of the business will be shared by every employee at NM Solar Group which means our team really, truly cares.
NM Solar Group’s mission is to do as much solar as possible, the right way. I fully believe in our mission, more so every day. Over the past few years, the solar coaster has been more intense than I could’ve imagined but I am looking forward to continuing to lead the company, now as an employee. In doing so, NM Solar Group will continue to lead the industry and personally, I hope to continue to bring solar to home and business owners throughout New Mexico.
NM Solar Group, a local and employee-owned company, would love to bring solar to your home and into your community. We are, without a doubt, the best solar provider for New Mexicans. We’re helping homeowners, we’re growing and we sure aren’t done yet.
--- Ryan Wallace, Founder of NM Solar Group