Namasté Solar pioneering new business model
Conscientious business practices proving to be more successful than conventional models
A solar company in Colorado is not only pioneering the use of renewable power, it’s also developing new ways to do business.
Namasté Solar is an employee-owned, democratically run company that makes decisions using a holistic profit measurement approach that focuses on the long-term.
President Blake Jones says when the three founders established the firm five years ago, they shared the same vision of creating a different kind of company.
“We were all really passionate about solar energy, which is what we do, but we were also really passionate about doing business differently,” says Jones.
“We wanted to create a model that would
work in the capitalistic system — work
within our current culture and societal norms
— but that it could be done in a different
way and still be profitable.”
The trio believed by adopting a more holistic and long-term approach, they could contribute to a larger bottom line, and set their sights on proving the theory.
Included in Namasté’s mission statement is the goal to pioneer conscientious business practices, creating holistic wealth for its community.
Towards this goal, the company bases all decisions
on a holistic profit measurement, which is
a guideline for decision making that incorporates
factors such as environmental impact, company
morale and long-term sustainability.
Long-term thinking is a key tenet to Namasté’s philosophy, which Jones says differs from other business models that emphasize short-term gains.
“In order for our vision to work, we think that we have to have the majority of focus on the long term,” he says.
To encourage staff members to also think and
plan for the long term, the company established
a restricted stock option plan, allowing all
staff members to buy stock from their first
day of employment, becoming co-owners.
Having employees buy stock,
instead of offering stock options or gift
stocks, ensures staff members take greater
ownership in the company, according to Jones.
“We want to share all aspects of ownership,
a true experience of ownership, not just the
rewards, the profits and the good stuff. We
also want to share the risks and the responsibility
and we think that is only possible when people
are putting money on the line.”
As all staff members are co-owners, the company empowers decision making at the local level.
Staff members are granted authority to make decisions on an individual basis, resorting to a peer-review process when they require more input.
Everyone is able to join a volunteer committee in areas such as finance and marketing, which are tasked with making larger decisions.
All major decisions are made during the “big picture” meetings, held each Wednesday, by majority vote.
Jones says the extra time allotted for the company-wide meetings is worthwhile when measured holistically.
“We want everybody to see how their individual role fits into the larger, big picture and strategy. By knowing that, they will be able to do their individual jobs better — they know how they fit in.”
Jones adds these practices
have led Namasté being the “indisputable
top solar company in Colorado” and their
example is proving that conscientious business
practices can be more successful than conventional
“So far in our first five years that’s been correct, but we also recognize that in order for us to really set the positive example . . . we know that we have to be a sustainable company that reforms and proves that theory correct in the long-run.”
— More to come
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