Partnership-Style Loan Helps Cedar Crest Grocer Thrive

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

Triangle Grocery, Cedar Crest, NMThe era of big box retailers and internet giants like Amazon have made it easy to write off local independent businesses. But Rita Riebling, co-owner and managing partner of Triangle Grocery in Cedar Crest, has built a business that local and surrounding communities rely on. Nevertheless, you won’t hear Riebling say that running an independent grocery store is an easy task.

To stay relevant and keep business buzzing, Riebling has worked hard and made strategic moves at opportune times. She recently purchased the building that’s home to Triangle Grocery and bought out her partners so that she and her husband Morey would have controlling interest in the grocery store. Continue reading

International Business Opportunities Thrive in New Mexico

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

A road map to exportingInternational trade and export opportunities have been a consistent bright spot in the New Mexico economy. Edward Herrera, director of the Office of International Trade at the New Mexico Economic Development Department, would agree.

The longtime trade expert hopes business owners will take advantage of the services his office offers.  Finance New Mexico asked Herrera what small businesses can do to boost their bottom line through exporting. Continue reading

Farmington Manufacturer’s Growth Doubles With NM MEP’s Help — and ‘Poka-Yoke’ 

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

Enrichment Program Prompts Greater Interest in Venture Acceleration Fund

By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico

Tall Foods co-founders Andrea Romero and Adam Wachtor

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

Successful Elevator Pitches Are Part Prep, Part Improv

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

Continuous Improvement Helps Belen Manufacturer Go Global

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

Investment in Knowledge Can Pay Early Dividends

Market intelligence

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

Rural Development Grant Program Fosters Job Growth

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

Use Caution When Lending Startup Money to Family

Happy family

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

Streamlined Food Prep Helps Local Chain Expand

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

Rolling pizza doughAs 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