Workshops Aim to Help “Creatives” Learn Career-Shaping Business Basics

By Julianna Silva, Marketing Director and Managing Director, WESST Enterprise Center

By Julianna Silva, Marketing Director and Managing Director, WESST Enterprise Center

Artists, artisans, designers and other “creatives” don’t need an M.B.A. to make a living from their artistic talents, but attaining some fluency in the language of business and finance gives them more control over a creative career.

To that end, WESST and ArtSpark, two New Mexico organizations dedicated to business development and entrepreneurship, are co-sponsoring an immersive, interactive “Business Canvas Workshop for Creatives.” The training will help arts-oriented professionals fashion an uncomplicated and useful blueprint for their chosen vocation.

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New Mexico Shrimp Farmers Secure USDA Grant to Expand Market Reach

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Lemitar is pretty far from the Pacific, but Tim Ott and Abigail “Judy” Armendariz are growing shrimp native to that ocean in a climate-controlled aquaculture plant just north of Socorro.

Their company, Southwestern Seas LLC, has been selling New Mexico-farmed white Pacific shrimp at the Santa Fe Farmers Market for about a year.

The business partners in late November received a $49,500 value-added producer grant from USDA that they plan to use to market their unconventional “crop” to other farmers markets around the state and thus increase sales. Continue reading

New Markets Tax Credit Program Benefits Low-Income Communities

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Business people who want to develop property in economically depressed New Mexico communities — or who want to purchase expensive commercial equipment for use in those communities — often lack the funding they need for such ambitious and capital-intensive ventures.

That’s why the New Mexico Finance Authority created a community development entity, or CDE, in 2006 to raise capital and fill funding gaps for large projects expected to benefit low-income areas.

To be eligible for CDE funding, a project must be in a neighborhood or tract considered low-income in the most recent census. Continue reading

Late Movers Reap Benefits in Select Markets

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Just because a company invents a popular product or introduces a novel service doesn’t mean it won’t face competition from late movers eager to share the action. New Mexico entrepreneurs can fight for a niche in new industries — or even challenge a pioneering company with significant improvements on the original — but they need a clear strategy, good timing and the right product category.

The developer of a new commodity or service has the initial advantage. It sets a standard by which all competitors are judged, and it dominates the market at first because it created the market.
It maintains that place until a rival offers something compelling enough to persuade people to try a fresh alternative. Continue reading

Free Online Tool Aims to Help Businesses Succeed in Las Cruces

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

The City of Las Cruces wants local entrepreneurs to know about a new software tool that can help them succeed by accurately assessing how their existing or prospective business compares to industry competitors.

The Web-based program, SizeUp, gives users immediate access to reliable data from public and private sources that they can use to make informed business decisions and write reality-based business plans.

SizeUp has an interactive map that allows businesses to benchmark their performance against that of their competitors, decide where advertising messages are most likely to be seen by their target audience and identify where to find customers, competitors and suppliers. Continue reading

Nonprofit Lenders Multiply Impact of Philanthropic Gifts

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Philanthropic giving is a $300 billion industry in the United States, and New Mexicans do their part every year to underwrite the causes that matter most to them.

According to one organization that tracks philanthropic giving, the top recipients in 2014 were organizations devoted to education; human services; health; animals and the environment; public-social causes; arts, culture and the humanities; international disaster relief; and religion or spirituality.

While they seem invisible within these general categories, nonprofit organizations that promote grass-roots economic development — The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST among them — also rely on private giving to support and enable individual entrepreneurship in our state. Continue reading

Loan Helps College Student Build Business on Barrel-Racing Bling

Run As One Tack and Equine

By Finance New Mexico

Lyndseyanne Wilken started making custom tack sets to help pay her way through college. Now her small business, Run as One Tack and Equine, is doing so well that she’s starting to think her degree in agricultural sciences will be part of a fallback plan rather than her dominant career path.

The 22-year-old lives in the Doña Ana County community of Salem and attends New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She acquired the skills to create equine finery for rodeo horses in 4-H leatherwork classes and has refined them over more than a decade. Continue reading

Bernalillo County Summits Develop Entrepreneurship

By Finance New Mexico

Los Poblanos RanchWhile Bernalillo County economic developers work hard to attract major industries to Albuquerque and unincorporated parts of the county, they understand that supporting the creation of numerous small businesses can lead to an equal number of jobs and opportunities.

This approach to growth has spawned a series of business summits over the past two years, each hosted by a Bernalillo County commissioner and highlighting a business opportunity or concern identified by that commissioner or the commissioner’s constituents. Continue reading

Succession Planning Should Begin Well Before Owner Exits

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Many small-business owners fantasize about what they’ll do when they retire, but most are too preoccupied with day-to-day survival to devote the same attention to what will become of the business once they’re gone.

Some expect to sell their business or take it public; others assume it’ll stay in the family if an heir or relative shows interest and aptitude. To protect their interests, small-business owners need an exit strategy that includes a well-conceived succession plan that also accounts for unexpected events, such as disability, financial collapse or death. Continue reading

Cross-Promotion Can Help Compatible Businesses Build Client Base

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Sharing customers seems incompatible with a competitive marketplace, but examples of such cross-promotion are everywhere: the bank or coffee shop that occupies its own niche inside a supermarket, for example, or the fast-food chain that promotes a blockbuster movie with theme-related food offerings.

But the large corporations that take advantage of these strategic arrangements don’t have a franchise on cross-pollination. In fact, many small businesses have found that collaborating with a compatible business or businesses can be mutually beneficial: It can help all parties expand their outreach into new sales channels and build a client base while saving marketing costs. Continue reading