Business Owners Can Learn to Get the Groove Back

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Life for a business owner is exhilarating and dynamic, especially in the beginning, as the plan is set in motion and a product or service begins its path to market. The unpredictability of this journey is part of the reason it’s so stimulating to start and build a business, but maintaining that level of excitement and drive can be challenging when the business’s evolution doesn’t unfold according to plan.

When initial funding from family or an investor runs out before benchmarks are met, a startup owner can worry about her ability to repay investors and stay on track. Continue reading

New Creative Industries Startup Accelerator Welcomes Statewide Applicants

By Tom Aageson, Executive Director, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

By Tom Aageson, Executive Director, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

New Mexico is home to the first U.S. startup accelerator aimed at entrepreneurs in the Creative Industries. That Albuquerque-based business, Creative-Startups <www.Creative-Startups.org>, is accepting applications through the end of August for its inaugural class of startup candidates. Acceptance into the accelerator includes six online classes modeled after the Stanford University curriculum and a five-day “deep dive” with mentors.

The new accelerator aims to bring business sensibilities and savvy into fields dominated by “creatives,” including the fields of advertising, architecture, crafts, design (fashion, graphic, product), film, music, the performing arts, photography, publishing, games and apps creation, television and radio. Continue reading

WESST and Etsy Partner to Help Craftspeople Become Entrepreneurs

By Julianna Silva, Albuquerque Regional Manager, WESST

By Julianna Silva, Regional Manager, WESST

Etsy, the leading online craft marketplace, established its Craft Entrepreneurship Program last year to make it easier for artists, craftspeople and other microentrepreneurs — especially those in underserved communities — to sell their products and services directly to consumers.
That program is coming to New Mexico in September, thanks to a partnership with WESST, a private nonprofit economic development organization that provides business training, consulting and loans to small businesses in New Mexico.

The Craft Entrepreneurship Program is a five-week series of classes in which artistically talented low-income adults learn the basics of business so they can set up online venues that enable them to reach new markets. Continue reading

Doing Business With State Benefits Government, Private Contractors

By Lawrence O. Maxwell, State Purchasing Agent and Director, New Mexico General Services Department

By Lawrence O. Maxwell, State Purchasing Agent and Director, New Mexico General Services Department

To serve the people of New Mexico, state government relies on goods and services provided by private-sector businesses. To ensure it spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and gets the best products at the best price, the state uses a competitive purchasing system.

Thousands of businesses each year participate in this $5 billion economy, selling the state everything from cars, trucks, pencils and supercomputers to support services for crime victims, architectural services and museum exhibits.

These businesses all start by learning how to navigate the procurement system — a set of procedures designed to protect public resources. The process isn’t complicated, but it can take time. Continue reading

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