Consultants Help Yarn Cafe Owner Raise Business Profile

By George Kenefic, Director of Enterprise Empowerment, The Loan Fund

About a year after she had secured a small-business startup loan through The Loan Fund, Deborah Grossman got a visit from two consultants who work for the nonprofit lender. The pair — Joaquin Amador and Andrew Carrabus — dropped by Grossman’s Santa Fe store, Yarn & Coffee, to ask if she needed help with marketing, financial record keeping or any of the other tasks involved in starting and sustaining a business.

The timing was fortunate. “I was trying to figure out how to get more people in the door,” Grossman said of her shop, where people can buy yarn, knitting and crocheting tools and accessories, patterns and books or take a needle-craft class — and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or cold drink at the same time. Continue reading

Evolving Business Returns to Accion for Commercial Real-Estate Loan

By Justin Hyde, Accion Market Manager

By Justin Hyde, Accion Market Manager

Cathy Schueler approached Accion, a nonprofit lender, in 1996 to secure her first business loan for her nascent business — a microloan of around $3,000 — to buy equipment and supplies for her private psychotherapy practice in Rio Rancho.  At the time, Schueler was a sole proprietor who wanted to build her new business.

By the time Schueler returned in 2015, she was planning to purchase a home for her thriving S corporation, Bosque Mental Health, in central Albuquerque.

“Cathy’s a great example of how a client can grow with us,” said Metta Smith, vice president of lending and client relations. Continue reading

New Mexico to Join National Celebration of Manufacturing

By Claudia Infante, projects coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

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

While emerging economies get a lot of buzz for their growing role in manufacturing, America remains a global leader in product innovation and fabrication. To draw attention to the industry’s continuing contributions to the domestic and world economies, the nation’s manufacturers invite the public once a year inside the 21st century “factory.”

Manufacturing Day began in 2012 as a coordinated industry effort to generate interest in manufacturing careers. At the time, U.S. manufacturing was in the second year of record job growth — a pace last seen in the 1990s — that added more than 700,000 jobs by 2015. Continue reading

Knowing When To Hire an Accountant Matters for Small Businesses

Businessman writing in an accounting ledgerAt some point in the life of most businesses, finances become complex enough that the owner decides to delegate financial oversight to someone with the training and expertise to provide more than basic bookkeeping or tax preparation services.

If the business is being audited, for example, the owner might hire an enrolled agent to represent it. Enrolled agents are tax-law experts authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department to advise and represent individuals, businesses and other organizations in such situations. Continue reading

Hire Right the First Time

By Amy Lahti, Consultant and Trainer, WESST

By Amy Lahti, Consultant and Trainer, WESST

Entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses are accustomed to doing everything it takes to move their business forward. But there comes a time when even the most efficient entrepreneur must call in help. For most startups and small businesses, hiring workers is the only path to growth.

Many early-stage entrepreneurs outsource work or find contract employees among friends and family. Even if a first employee is a friend of the owner, the business is subject to the laws governing employee-employer relationships as soon as the first paycheck is written. If the business thrives, the first employee will be one of many workers hired in the life of the business. Continue reading

Perfect Pitch: How to Avoid Common Presentation Pitfalls

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

If you’ve ever had to pitch a business or product idea to an investor or potential partner, you know the presentation can make or break the deal.

Because the stakes can be high, serious entrepreneurs quickly learn what to avoid when giving a presentation, whether it’s a 30-minute speech before a peer group or six-minute proposal to Demo Day investors. Continue reading

Demo Day Gives Startups a Platform for New Products

By Kathleen Gardenswartz, marketing and curriculum director, ABQid

By Kathleen Gardenswartz, marketing and curriculum director, ABQid

Trish Lopez is restless, and she has every reason to be. She has spent the last three months in the ABQid accelerator program, testing assumptions, talking to hundreds of users and customers, building a website and logo — all while tenaciously driving her startup, Teeniors, forward.

Lopez’s natural charisma makes the program’s required networking effortless, but it’s Teeniors’ mission — to match tech-savvy teens with seniors who need help using technology to connect with loved ones — that is motivating this intergenerational solution. Continue reading

Ropes Course Builds Communication Skills

By Patricia West-Barker for Finance New Mexico

By Patricia West-Barker for Finance New Mexico

Unless you are an entrepreneur laboring alone in your garage, your company’s success may depend largely on the quality of the team you’ve assembled to conduct your business—whether that team is made up of two, 20 or 200 people.

To find out what makes high-performing teams tick, MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory monitored the communications of large numbers of people as they went about their work. The study, published in the Harvard Business Review in April 2012, found that “communication plays a critical role in building successful teams.” Face-to-face interactions (versus email, phone and text) were extremely important, as were the frequency of non-work related conversations. Continue reading

Federal Programs Can Help Beekeepers Build Habitat, Create Products

By Finance New Mexico (reviewed by Terry Brunner, state director of USDA Rural Development)

By Finance New Mexico (reviewed by Terry Brunner, state director of USDA Rural Development)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has lots of resources for New Mexicans who keep bees for profit — and those who have lost hives to colony collapse.

The federal programs aren’t designed for hobbyists who want to help a critical species, but even small-scale beekeeping operations can qualify for assistance building and protecting their businesses. Terry Brunner, state director of USDA Rural Development, urged beekeepers to research the following programs: Continue reading

Business Development Services Help Clients Improve Bottom Line

By George Kenefic, Director of Enterprise Empowerment, The Loan FundBy the time a client gets a loan from The Loan Fund, she’s in a committed partnership with the nonprofit lender. That’s because The Loan Fund offers business development consulting to all potential clients — not just those who receive loans.

The Loan Fund loan officers provide “pre-loan consulting” the moment they receive an inbound call or greet an office visitor.  And consulting continues after the client walks out the door — either to get more prepared or to start putting the loan money to work building a business, creating jobs and improving communities. The Loan Fund is fully invested with the people whose business startup and expansion plans it helps finance —even with those who aren’t ready for a loan. Continue reading