Bloomfield Businesses See Benefits of Lean Inventory Management

Claudia Serrano

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

Irene Salasar of Twin Stars Ltd. and Cari Drake of Air Star Inc. had a business-to-business relationship for years but didn’t meet in person until both attended an October class on inventory control sponsored by the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Salasar is the warehouse manager at Twin Stars, and Drake owns Air Star with her husband, Kenneth. Both Bloomfield businesses supply parts and services to the oil and gas industry, and both began working with Denise Williams, MEP’s local representative, to improve their inventory management systems.

Interventions began with site visits; separate classroom sessions on lean manufacturing principles helped managers and employees compare the inventory management ideal against their internal procedures. Continue reading

Learning to Negotiate With Suppliers Is a Business Art

By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico team member

By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico team member

Many businesses rely on suppliers or vendors for inventory, raw materials or services, and that makes contract negotiation skills essential to securing the best prices, terms and product quality. Becoming a skillful negotiator requires a business owner to know what his business needs and can do without and what materials costs are common in his industry. It also requires flexibility and a willingness to compromise — qualities that can lead to a sustainable business-to-business relationship.

Price isn’t everything: Sometimes getting the best price for a product requires a business to buy in volume or agree to inconvenient delivery schedules. Sometimes it means getting a product of lower quality. Not all businesses can afford this. Continue reading

New Model for Artists Borrows From Business

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Making a name in the art world used to mean the artist toiled in obscurity and poverty, dependent on galleries and patrons to exhibit and champion his work. This notion — that artistic creativity and business savvy occupy separate worlds — was reinforced by art schools that taught students how to make art but not how to market or sell it.

An emerging, 21st century approach is that art making is a business and the artist should be at the controls — the chief executive officer of her own production and distribution network. This model borrows many ideas from the business world.

Get serious about sales. Artists should tear down the contrived wall between the creative and the commercial, because distribution of artwork is just as important as production. Continue reading

Small Business Saturday Benefits Local Communities

Rich Williams

By Rich Williams, New Mexico MainStreet Director and Arts & Cultural Districts Program Coordinator

Maria-Alicia Cordova cares about her business and the community it serves. Besides offering manicures, haircuts and other personal-care services at Al’s Styling Salon in Belen, Cordova serves on the board of the Belen MainStreet Partnership — a community effort to improve the appearance and economic vitality of the city’s downtown.

Small Business Saturday — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — draws attention to the important role that Cordova and other independent merchants in New Mexico play in the local, state and national economy.

“Belen has always been good to my business,” Cordova said of the venture her father started 57 years ago. “My father raised our family on salon work.” Continue reading

Venture Acceleration Fund Helps Native-Owned Businesses

By Kathy Keith, Executive Director, Regional Development Corporation

By Kathy Keith, Executive Director, Regional Development Corporation

Native-owned businesses in Northern New Mexico are eligible for grants of up to $25,000 to spend on specialized services that will help them increase revenues and create jobs.

One business, Than Povi Gallery, was awarded a Native American Venture Acceleration Fund grant in February 2014 to develop a marketing plan and ad campaign for the business, which moved in 2013 from San Ildefonso Pueblo to a site north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285. That move was partially enabled by a NAVAF grant in 2013, co-owner Elmer Torres said, and resulted in “a lot more foot traffic.”

Torres and his wife, Deborah, both members of the pueblo, eventually hope to move their gallery to downtown Santa Fe so the many artists they represent Continue reading

Entrepreneurs Build Creative Communities at NM’s Startup Weekends

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Steven Eiserling is an idea machine. Ever since he was a teenager, Eiserling has turned ideas into businesses — even during his 20-year career in information technology. Now the Chicago transplant studies business information systems at New Mexico State University and participates in entrepreneurial events. In Las Cruces’ Startup Weekend Oct. 24 to 26, he and his team pitched an application to link nonprofit organizations to volunteers through an online portal. Continue reading

New Mexico MEP Helps Wood-Floor Manufacturer Expand Business’s Reach

By Ron Burke, Center Director, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

By Ron Burke, Center Director, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

When the 2000 Viveash Fire burned through 17 million board feet of timber on his family’s homestead above Pecos, David Old drew on his experience as a sawmill owner-operator to make the best of overwhelming misfortune.

The company David Old built from the ashes of his family’s fire-damaged forest is now a top-drawer manufacturer and global exporter of fine wood floors made from reclaimed wood harvested from private and public lands using environmentally sound forest-management standards.

Sheer grit and entrepreneurial flexibility helped Old and his family-owned enterprise transform crisis into opportunity. In recent years, the Las Vegas, N.M.-based venture welcomed technical and training assistance from the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nonprofit organization Continue reading

Workplace Safety Materials Put Accent on Spanish Speakers

Caution posting

By Finance New Mexico

Spanish-speaking people have been part of New Mexico’s work force for hundreds of years. But the dramatic growth of this population — driven largely by immigration — and the anticipated growth well into the future underscore the urgency of culturally tailored workplace safety training.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries has consistently shown higher workplace fatality rates for Hispanic workers than for workers from other racial or ethnic groups, and these rates are highest among Spanish speakers born outside the U.S. Hispanic workers also suffer higher rates of nonfatal occupational injury and illness. Continue reading

Agriculture Bill Brings Changes for State’s Farmers, Farmer’s Markets

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

The 2014 Farm Bill has something for every New Mexican who makes a living by farming or ranching. The bill, which became law in February, affects Department of Agriculture programs until fiscal year 2018.

Most significantly, the bill replaces direct and countercyclical payments to farmers with expanded crop insurance offerings.
The discontinued program subsidized farmers based on historical acreage and yields rather than actual yield, while countercyclical payments compensated farmers when crop prices fell. Continue reading

State Funds Give Businesses Access to Capital

Russell Cummins

By Russell Cummins, Executive Director and Investment Advisor, New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation

Lots of small-business owners need cash to get their companies off the ground or pursue opportunities to build their client base. But some of those businesses can’t get loans from traditional sources that focus on established businesses.

These are the clients that the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation exists to serve. Since its creation by the Legislature in 2001, NMSBIC has distributed money from the Severance Tax Permanent Fund through its lending partner network to small businesses statewide.
Partner organizations apply their own underwriting standards when deciding which businesses to back, but they generally serve clients with a solid business plan, an ambitious owner or management team and a venture that seems likely to create jobs. Since 2004, the network has approved more than 3,000 loans to businesses in nearly every New Mexico community. Continue reading