Online Tool Helps Manufacturers Measure Themselves Against World-Class Standards

Claudia Serrano

By Claudia Serrano, Projects Coordinator, New Mexico MEP

New Mexico Manufacturing businesses that want to know how their performance stacks up against industry standards have a new tool to make that measurement — and it’s available at no cost.

The Manufacturing Performance Institute, in conjunction with the American Small Manufacturers Coalition and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, created the Next Generation Manufacturing Assessment Tool after surveying thousands of U.S. manufacturers in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

The biennial survey asks manufacturers what strategic benchmarks they use to measure their efficiency and effectiveness in six critical areas: human resources, supply-chain management, sustainability, process improvement, innovation and global engagement. Continue reading

Marketing to State’s Hispanic Population Requires Tailored Approach

By Amanda Molina, Public Relations Director, The Garrity Group Public Relations

By Amanda Molina, Public Relations Director, The Garrity Group Public Relations

Doing business in New Mexico requires an awareness of — and sensitivity to — the attitudes and preferences of people who identify as Hispanic or Latino, because this demographic represents a plurality of New Mexico’s population. Hispanics are 47 percent of the state’s residents — the largest percentage of any other racial or ethnic group.

In its annual statewide perception survey, the Garrity Group learned how Hispanics and Anglos feel about 17 industries and institutions and 14 professions and how people in both groups use different media for news, information and shopping. Continue reading

Accion’s Presto Loans Offer Quick, Affordable Credit to Small Businesses

By Alfonso Ramos, Loan Officer I, Accion New Mexico

Metta Smith, Director of Lending and Client Relations, Accion Albuquerque location

Metta Smith, Director of Lending and Client Relations, Accion Albuquerque location

Small businesses in need of a quick, modest-sized loan often have little choice but to turn to high-cost, yet easy to access, alternative credit products. But New Mexico business borrowers have a new option.

Accion had long been looking for ways to speed up the process of making microloans to borrowers who don’t qualify for loans from traditional lenders and need a relatively small amount of money to take advantage of a time-sensitive business opportunity. Accion also wanted to help businesses respond quickly when faced with an urgent need.

Almost a year ago, the nonprofit lender began piloting quick-turnaround “Presto Loans” of $8,000 or less with interested applicants. The pilot project was a success — with 285 loans totaling $939,000 — and Accion has recently cemented its offering of Presto Loans, moving toward Continue reading

Sustainable Practices Build ‘Triple Bottom Line’ in Business

By Celerah Hewes-Rutledge, Chief Operating Officer, New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce

By Celerah Hewes-Rutledge, Chief Operating Officer, New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce

Renee Frank is perfectly positioned to demonstrate that sustainable practices can improve a business’s bottom line and its “upper line” — its appeal to customers who want to do business with green companies.

Frank is a real estate agent and a certified “ecobroker” — the leader of Steinborn and Associates’ Smart Living Team and a founding member of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce.

Her job is to help clients choose wisely where and how they’ll live in a new home. Her mission is to help other entrepreneurs realize how quickly they’ll recover the costs of incorporating energy-efficient and sustainable features and practices by generating savings and attracting customers. Continue reading

Job Training Program Amends Rules to Help Small Businesses

By Sara Haring, Manager, JTIP Program

By Sara Haring, Manager, JTIP Program

For 42 years, New Mexico’s Job Training Incentive Program has reimbursed qualified companies for some training costs associated with job creation. The program funds a portion of classroom or on-the-job training, reimbursing an expanding or relocating business for up to 75 percent of a trainee’s wages for as long as six months.

The funding aims to help companies that manufacture a product in New Mexico, export a substantial percentage of services out of state or are considered a “green” industry. Eligible workers must be new hires holding full-time year-round jobs in businesses that are expanding in — or moving to — New Mexico. Continue reading

Knowing the Difference Between Goals, Objectives Critical in Business Planning

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

In the world of business, it can be hard to distinguish between a goal and an objective, but the distinction is more than a matter of semantics. When discussing corporate strategy, the difference is critical.

While both are tools that business owners can use to compare where they are with where they want to be, goals represent that distant accomplishment and objectives are mile markers along the way. Goals can be as hazy as an image on the desert horizon, but an objective is fixed and measurable; it follows a series of steps or a timeline. Continue reading

The Secret of the Soft Sell

soft-sellNo one likes to feel hustled while shopping, whether it’s in a retail store or trade show booth.

To attract customers without brazen hawking or downright pushiness, businesses need to refine the art of the soft sell. That begins by making the store or trade show booth an intentional destination for people who are truly interested in what the business sells. Continue reading

Nonprofits in Need: Borrowing Can Be Tool for Financial Stability

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

A nonprofit isn’t in business to enrich its shareholders, but it still needs revenues and incurs operating expenses while pursuing its community service mission. It, too, can experience cash flow problems or require considerable cash to fund a capital project or expanded services.

When that happens, the nonprofit faces many of the same choices a for-profit business does, though it draws from different funding sources.

While a for-profit business can offer investors a chance to share in the company’s fortunes by buying stocks, for example, a nonprofit relies on a stakeholder who’s motivated by public interest rather than self-interest. Continue reading

Web Presence Begins With a Marketing Strategy

By Julianna Silva, Albuquerque Regional Manager, WESST

By Julianna Silva, Regional Manager, WESST

Building a business website is much like any other construction project: The better the foundation, the better the results — and the savings in time and money.

While laying the groundwork for an online debut, the business owner should consider how a website furthers the overall marketing strategy and how much of a website presence is needed to accomplish the company’s goals.

A simple, highly navigable website with key information is essential when starting out. If the foundation is laid correctly, the website can expand as the company grows. Continue reading

Furniture Maker First New Mexico Manufacturer to Earn B Company Status

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

At Dapwood Furniture, artisans craft tables and bed frames using wood grown and harvested from American forests that are certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. An Albuquerque charity gets leftover wood to use in projects that benefit people in need, and some goes to people who rely on wood for winter heating.

The company hopes to convert its smaller byproducts — sawdust and shavings — into useful products, such as biochar — a type of charcoal used to improve soil and plant health.

Every aspect of the business, in fact, is seen through the prism of sustainability and social responsibility. Continue reading