Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Westgate Mfg is an energy-efficient lighting manufacturer and brand name. We are all about providing solutions and products that make using energy-efficient lighting or GREEN products more accessible, easier, and more profitable. At the same time, we improve the user’s quality of life by providing reliable and high-quality illumination. We ship quickly all over the USA and have multiple warehouses in California and Ohio.
Kindly give us a brief description of yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
At age 19, my family & I migrated to Brooklyn, NY. After a few college courses, we started buying Electrical Outlets & Switches from Wholesalers and called on smaller hardware stores and contractors offering delivery services for any QTY. As we built up some momentum, we took a broader look at how the electrical and lighting industry could be streamlined and offer more convenience and profit to the project owners and home users. Later we moved to CA and started our manufacturing & branding activities overseas.
What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
We came to learn that in the USA the competition isn’t about who has goods. It’s about who has the best. And who can offer more reliability, profit, and convenience? The lighting industry could have used an improvement in all of those areas.
What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Stay focused, find what you are good at and keep repeating it while improving our game. Have patient to see results.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Imagination: Having the belief & Vision that one can do it.
Realization: Having the skills to assess reality and realizing the things that need to be done.
Creation: Having the drive and energy to do those things one envisions. The energy must be positive enough to attract others and get them on board for the same missions.
How many hours do you work a day on average?
Always. An entrepreneur always has business in mind and has to think about the welfare and growth of the business. Even vacation time is inspiration time for new bold ideas and actions, thinking about investors, customers, employees, and vendors’ welfare. But I am in the office for 7 hrs and work a couple of hours daily from home or bed.
To what do you most attribute your success?
Creativity & resilience.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Adding a WOW factor with every experience brings the most marketing value from returning customers and word of mouth.
Secondly, Whatever we are trying to sell must be easily understandable. Brochures must deliver information in an organized & unambiguous fashion.
Third I think social media is just the most helpful tool for marketing nowadays.
Where did your organizations funding/capital come from, and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
The initial capital came from other people in the industry interested in adding business ventures.
But a relationship with a good bank can’t be underestimated. Keeping the books clear and healthy and doing taxes properly will go a long way in ensuring continuous funding and capital needed to accelerate growth.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Putting systems in place that can sustain the growth. Being alert about upgrading the offerings to satisfy demand or, even better, creating demand.
Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
$500M to $1B in annual revenue, and our company being present in more industries.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
I like the value, versatility, and reliability that the Kirkland brand offers, with Apple’s innovation, through Amazon speed delivery, AmericaXpress customer service, and Marriott membership benefits.
How important have good employees been to your success?
Extremely important. The first group of employees set the culture for the newcomers.
What motivates you?
Using creativity to Improve the life of myself, my family, and my planet mates.
What are your ideals?
Awareness, understanding, and honesty
How do you generate new ideas?
By thinking about the problems, everyone has in common.
How do you define success?
Comfort and satisfaction with one’s life. With this definition, most people that are viewed as successful are actually not since they always crave more.
How do you build a successful customer base?
Versatile but solutions-focused. We never want to rely on one group of customers. And never want to be the jack of all trades and master of none.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Liberty. At the end of the day, I am following my agenda.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When goals that were set a year ahead or years ahead are met.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
The burden of responsibility. When working for others, the weight of responsibility for the company’s overall success is usually lifted after hours.
What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone, and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
We established our own ten commandments. The culture emphasizes human dignity and company wide unity, followed by a culture of service and respect for the customers. We hang posters with our ten commandments and review them annually.
In a word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Elon Musk for creativity and management of several companies.
What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
The brief history of time by Steven Hawking
How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Imagining the entire reaction chain for the action, we want to take. For every downside, there is an upside.