By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico
Tom Gibbons in his shop
It was a strategy Farmington business owner Tom Gibbons didn’t see coming. Let alone one that would help position him to achieve big results for San Juan Closet Works, his custom closet manufacturing company that specializes in storage and organization solutions for residential and business clients.
The New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM MEP) used a little Japanese-inspired ingenuity, “poka-yoke,” to help Gibbons not only grow business, but focus on his next goal. “I have a plan to retire in two years,” Gibbons said. “I’ve reached the ceiling for how much work I can do with two people.” Continue reading
By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico
Co-founders Andrea Romero and Adam Wachtor of Tall Foods, a 2017 VAF recipient.
Every early stage business needs capital to grow, but a company that lacks collateral to procure traditional debt financing and is too immature to interest equity investment can idle for years in a financing limbo.
In Northern New Mexico, the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) helps promising early stage startups get back in gear. And the VAF Enhancement Project now offers additional technical assistance to current and aspiring VAF recipients. Continue reading
By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico
Whether it’s made on an elevator or on the ground floor, the 30- to 60-second business pitch that’s named for the place it’s often made should sound unrehearsed and authentic even if it’s the product of exhaustive thought and preparation — which it should be.
The “elevator pitch” is a concise summary of a product, service or idea that is so intriguing or compelling that the listener wants to hear more. It’s the hook that catches the attention of the potential investor, client or collaborator. Continue reading
By Claudia Infante, Projects Coordinator, New Mexico MEP
Sisneros Brothers Manufacturing embodies the entrepreneurial notion that finding the right niche can transform talent into business success.
Avenicio Sisneros, founder of the Belen company, began as a cabinetmaker in the 1950s but shifted to making and installing sheet metal ducting for houses in 1987. With him were sons Martin, Alex and Philip.
Demand quickly grew beyond the residential market, and the company began manufacturing and installing ductwork for larger commercial customers. By 1990, Sisneros Brothers abandoned installation altogether to focus on manufacturing custom sheet metal ductwork for a wide variety of customers. Continue reading
By Finance New Mexico
Before putting money into a new venture, savvy entrepreneurs make another kind of investment: the dedication of time for market intelligence. They learn everything possible about the market they wish to enter, who’s succeeding or failing in it and what alternative products or services are currently filling the need the entrepreneur aims to meet.
Market intelligence helps predict demand for a product and can lead to changes in the proposed offering or result in a pivot to another market sector. Continue reading
The tribal administrative offices and community center of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, which received RBDG funds
By Finance New Mexico
Nonprofit organizations and government agencies in rural communities have economic development funds at their fingertips through the Rural Business Development Grant program (RBDG) of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The program is designed to support job creation and economic development efforts of nonprofits and public entities, though small and emerging private businesses can access those funds for certain projects. Continue reading
By Finance New Mexico
It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to start even a small business, and raising that kind of startup capital is challenging to someone with little savings, a blemished or nonexistent credit history or a loan rejection from a bank. If that someone is a relative, there’s a good chance you’ll be approached for a loan.
If you have the means, it’s hard to refuse such a request — especially if you believe your family member has the potential to build a successful, profitable business.
The trick to lending money to a relative is to approach it as a business deal — with generosity and encouragement but also a sober, unemotional understanding of the financial and personal risks involved and a firm set of expectations. Continue reading
By Claudia Infante, Projects Coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership
As Albuquerque-based Dion’s restaurant turned its entrepreneurial vision toward larger markets outside New Mexico in 2014, owners of the privately owned chain thought it was a good time to review operations with an eye to improving efficiency in its 20 existing outlets.
So Dion’s asked the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership to offer its expert assessment of how the restaurant was preparing and serving food and to suggest how it could modify the process to give the restaurant more value for its efforts. Continue reading
By Finance New Mexico
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City wants to hear from small businesses in New Mexico about the experiences they’re having in the credit market.
Every year, most banks in the Federal Reserve system’s 12-bank network participate in a national Small Business Credit Survey to get the data they need to provide policymakers, business representatives and service providers with up-to-date information about business financing and credit conditions. Northern New Mexico falls under the jurisdiction of the Kansas City district, while Southern New Mexico is under Dallas’ district umbrella. Continue reading
Rader Awning shade sails; courtesy Rader Awning
Sometimes it just takes a fresh perspective — and expertise in lean manufacturing — to help a respected manufacturer streamline productivity and increase profitability.
The owners of Rader Awning & Upholstery Inc. requested that type of feedback when their 70-year-old company, New Mexico’s leading supplier of quality custom awnings and shades, faced challenges satisfying growing demand.
The company asked New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to evaluate its operations and offer ideas for improvement. And the rewards of the collaboration were tangible: Productivity improved by 20 percent per salesperson, production defects decreased by 15 percent and installation corrections dropped by 25 percent. Continue reading