Data-Rich Repositories Can Help State’s Businesses Research Their Markets

graphs and charts

By Finance New Mexico

A business plan is incomplete without a financial section that forecasts how the owner expects the company to grow and how much revenue he believes the company will generate based on his reading of the market for its products or services.

But unless that projection is grounded in reality, it won’t make the desired impression on a lender or investor — or even on a landlord who wants some assurance the business will last as long as the commercial lease. Continue reading

Business Tools Empower Owners to Shape Financial Future

By Julianna Silva, Albuquerque Regional Director, WESST

By Julianna Silva, Albuquerque Regional Director, WESST

Entrepreneurs are naturally passionate about providing a service or product, but many avoid digging into the financial aspects of running a small business — perhaps because they don’t have simple tools that can help them understand their finances.

This avoidance can cost a business dearly, because financial success requires that the owner understand the target customer, how to price a product or service and how to keep track of cash flowing in and out of the business. Continue reading

‘Lean Startup’ Turns Traditional Business Model on its Head

By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico team member

By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico team member

Many innovators wouldn’t dream of launching a business without a plan and a pile of money, but that’s precisely the “lean startup” approach that advocates say is revolutionizing and democratizing entrepreneurship.

The methodology, introduced in 2011 by serial entrepreneur and startup coach Eric Ries, shuffles the traditional deck by putting the cart (the product or service idea) before the horse (the business organization), “selling” the wares before investing time and money building something that customers don’t really want.

If it sounds counterintuitive, it’s because the conventional business development template begins with a business plan, followed by a search for financial backing and recruitment of a core management team. Continue reading

Small-Business Champion Brings Lessons From Her Own Business Experiences

John Woosley

By John Woosley, New Mexico District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration

Julianna Silva was a small-business advocate well before she joined the staff of WESST and became the Albuquerque regional manager of the nonprofit business-development organization.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, Silva worked in marketing for various nonprofits, including the Trust for Public Land in Santa Fe. In 1996, she left that job to help her husband with his handcrafted furniture venture. “I got my MBA by building that store,” she quipped.

On May 12, Silva will receive the Small Business Administration’s New Mexico Women in Business Champion of the Year award in recognition of her work at WESST helping other New Mexicans start and sustain businesses of their own. Continue reading

Business Accelerators Invited to Compete for SBA Funds

Competition for accelerator funding

By Finance New Mexico

For the second year in a row, the Small Business Administration is sponsoring a competition to award $50,000 each to 50 business accelerators, incubators, shared tinker spaces and co-working startup communities.

This time around, Javier Saade, associate administrator for the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation, hopes to see more applicants from New Mexico. Continue reading

Character and Teamwork Keep Bus Company in the Family

By Matt Loehman, Development and Special Projects Coordinator, The Loan Fund

By Matt Loehman, Development and Special Projects Coordinator, The Loan Fund

The Silver City economy was thriving in 1996 when Christina Montoya bought her family’s bus company from her parents and continued its contract with the Cobre Consolidated School District to transport students. In 2001, Montoya approached The Loan Fund for money to finance the replacement of two of Montoya Transportation’s older buses.

When two Silver City bus companies announced they were looking for buyers, Montoya secured a loan with local AMBank to buy both fleets and assume their contracts with Silver City schools.

But just as Montoya’s business was expanding, the local economy contracted. Continue reading

Manufacturers Share Machines, Expertise With Outside Entrepreneurs

Claudia Serrano

By Claudia Infante, Projects Coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Any entrepreneur with a product idea or prototype can find someone to build it in New Mexico.

Two companies that do just that for a variety of clients are Marpac, a maker of devices that secure medical tubes and collars, and TEAM Technologies Inc., which designs and fabricates products that require advanced engineering and electronics.

Both Albuquerque companies opened their doors for New Mexico Manufacturing Day activities last fall and plan to participate again this year. Continue reading

Business Volunteers Give Eighth-Graders Incentive to Graduate

By Holly Bradshaw-Eakes, Finance New Mexico (and board member of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce)

By Holly Bradshaw-Eakes, Finance New Mexico (and board member of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce)

The earnings and opportunities gap that separates high school dropouts and graduates is wide, and it’s widening all the time. Yet 40 percent of New Mexico’s public school students quit their formal education before earning a diploma that can improve their options over a lifetime.

Those dismal statistics motivated David Sidebottom, a branch manager of Century Bank, to introduce the Choices education program to Santa Fe schools six years ago. Using a curriculum designed by the nonprofit Choices Education Group, Sidebottom and other volunteers visit eighth-graders for two hour-long workshops that illustrate in tangible, age-appropriate terms the consequences of quitting school prematurely. Continue reading

Get a Handle on Gross Receipts Tax if Doing Business in New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Anyone who operates a business in New Mexico is familiar with the gross receipts tax, or GRT — a tax not on sales but on companies and people who do business here.

Unlike a sales tax, the GRT is imposed on the seller of property or services. It is not a tax the seller collects from the buyer and delivers to the state; it’s due even if the seller doesn’t charge the buyer. Continue reading

Businesses Have Stake in Enhanced Credit Card Security

By Missy Galle, Operations Officer, Los Alamos National Bank

By Missy Galle, Operations Officer, Los Alamos National Bank

Major credit card processors are imposing tougher security measures on credit card issuers in the industry’s ongoing efforts to combat credit card fraud.

These global standards — called EMV for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the companies collaborating on the new system — include embedding computer chips into “smart” credit cards that offer greater security for point of sale (POS) transactions than the magnetic strips on traditional credit cards.

Many chip-embedded cards require a personal identification number (PIN) instead of a signature to complete the POS transaction and close the security loop; these “chip-and-PIN” cards are the norm around the world, though they’ve been slow to catch on in the United States. Continue reading