westfall1The business leaders who share ideas and experiences as members of Sage Executive Group deal daily with the economy and its challenges. They offer their views and advice in Sage’s Barometer on Business blog.
Robert Westfall is president of Solatube International, which manufactures and markets tubular devices that bring daylight into interior spaces for both homes and businesses. The company, a global leader in “daylighting systems” for more than 20 years, is based in Vista, California.
The run-up to the 2016 presidential election could have significant implications for the economy, Westfall said in an interview in late January. Here’s what he had to say:
“I certainly expect our business, both commercial and residential, to grow this year. But we are cautiously optimistic. We’ve been trained that way as we emerged from the recession.
We have a retail part of our residential business, which is often affected by factors like the stock market and home values.  If people don’t feel their investments are solid, they hold back on spending on home improvement. And with an aging population, financial savings and security have gained importance.  This is also affecting spending as the 50-plus market is the consumer for our residential business.  So again, we are cautious.
One of my biggest concerns for the near future is the battling between Democrats and Republicans, which I expect to escalate as we approach the election. It can be very unsettling to the public. Negative campaigning affects people and their confidence,  and this affects consumer spending.  We’ve been on a nice upswing, but all the mudslinging will make people doubtful and insecure. I don’t think it bodes well for the economy. People may freeze and be cautious, at least until the election and everybody sees the world hasn’t come to an end.”
“First of all, don’t lose sight of profitability. When there is a tendency to focus on growth,  never lose sight of profitability.
Second, the quality of your team and the people you hire are the biggest indicators of success. Your business is your people.”
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