Mark Medley was working with a business consultant to recover from identity theft when he heard about Accion New Mexico–Arizona–Colorado. What Medley learned while trying to repair his credit prompted him to start a nonprofit — ID Theft Resolutions — to help others protect themselves from identity thieves and to rebound as quickly and completely as possible if their efforts fail.
Medley got a loan from Accion to help him get the nonprofit going after obtaining his designation as a 501c(3) nonprofit. Accion offers loans as small as $200 and as large as $300,000 to people who might otherwise be turned down by lenders because they are a startup or have credit problems.
Medley qualified in both cases: His credit score was destroyed by identity theft and his nonprofit was the equivalent of a startup.
New Mexico businesses that want help becoming more efficient frequently call on the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership — a nonprofit agency of the U.S. Commerce Department that helps small and mid-sized U.S. businesses create and preserve jobs, become more profitable and save time and money. In New Mexico, where most businesses are small, MEP services are used by doctors’ offices, machine shops, small farms and agricultural operations, and businesses that serve the oil and gas industry.
MEP uses multiple techniques to help businesses increase profits by standardizing production and administration to provide continuous improvement that eliminates waste and strives for perfection.
Job creation is on the minds of many as the economy continues its slow but steady climb from recession. In New Mexico, job creation has been on the agenda of the state Economic Development Department since 1972, when the New Mexico Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) was launched to help businesses defray the cost of hiring and training new employees.
JTIP is one of the most generous training incentive packages in the country, funding classroom and on-the-job training for new jobs in businesses that are expanding in New Mexico or moving here. The department supplemented JTIP in 2005 with STEP-UP to help qualified companies train their existing workforce in new technologies or skills.
Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect
When Gordon Johnston and his wife had trouble getting the fire extinguishers serviced at their Taos bed and breakfast about five years ago, Johnston decided to launch a part-time fire extinguisher business of his own.
That one-time side venture is now the couple’s central enterprise, Alpine Fire Safety Systems Inc. Johnston credits Taos Entrepreneurial Network, or TEN, with the support and connections he needed to pursue the government contracts that have made his business such a success.
TEN is an independent nonprofit organization of entrepreneurs and local community leaders that the McCune Charitable Foundation launched in 2004. TEN is now funded by Northern New Mexico Connect, which coordinates economic development projects for Los Alamos National Security LLC, operator of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Barbara Kline, Founder and President, Breakthru Communications
In some ways, starting a business is a lot like playing poker: An entrepreneur always has to weigh the odds, give herself room to maneuver and know when to hold or fold.
According to recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, 31 percent of businesses fail within the first two years and half within five years. On the other hand, more than 25 percent of all business startups survive for at least 15 years.
A few — but not many — companies succeeded despite a firm hand on the till that kept them from taking a few risks by investing in growth and innovation. For every company that succeeded wildly right after the founder had mortgaged the house and maxed out the credit cards, hundreds went bankrupt or were saddled with debt for many years.
By Kathy Keith, Executive Director (center); pictured with RDC team members Monica Abeita and Gail Gordon
The Regional Development Corporation and its partners are launching the 20/20 Campaign to celebrate the entrepreneurs who have started small businesses in Northern New Mexico, creating jobs, driving innovative industries and providing a solid economic base for our communities.
The 20/20 Campaign aims to recognize and support 20 high-growth companies that could potentially grow to double or triple in size within eight years — by 2020 — to become major employers in Northern New Mexico. A handful of businesses every year will be selected by the collaborating partners, which are service providers, economic development organizations, city and county governments and entrepreneurial support organizations from Española, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Taos. The first crop of 20/20 companies will be announced on October 4th, 2012 during a “Spirit of Innovation” event.
In today’s ultracompetitive environment, businesses need to get their product or service to customers faster than ever. Shorter delivery times aren’t just good for customer satisfaction; the longer it takes to get a product from the order desk to the customer, the longer the business waits to be paid. Meanwhile, the company has its own bills to pay, including loan interest and materials invoices. The briefer an order is in production, the better. Knowing this, savvy companies implement lean manufacturing techniques to periodically evaluate their product flow and processes – and adjust as necessary for maximum efficiency.
Jimmy D. Pendergrass, CPA, Partner, Accounting & Consulting Group LLC
The Internal Revenue Service stipulates that businesses must capitalize expenditures for big-ticket items and recover that cost over several years – a practice known as depreciation – to avoid dramatic changes in the financial statements of a business from one year to the next. Knowing when to depreciate and when to claim a special one-time expense deduction is critical for entrepreneurs.
Jennifer Craig, Regional Manager, WESST Las Cruces
Networking is a form of marketing that exponentially increases the influence that a professional or business owner can have when searching for new markets or clients. WESST, a nonprofit that helps build small businesses in New Mexico, used the occasion of Women’s History Month in March to teach women entrepreneurs how to use this powerful tool: The organization’s Las Cruces enterprise center started an Empowering Women in Business Networking lunch meeting so clients and other women could mingle, share ideas, get acquainted and help one another.
The gatherings started small — about three dozen women — but that number nearly doubled by June, suggesting that WESST had tapped into an unmet need.
Suzanne C. Odom, Attorney at Law, Montgomery & Andrews, P.A.
Under competitive pressures, some employers are tempted to label workers “independent contractors” rather than employees so they can avoid paying benefits, matching Social Security and Medicare taxes, paying federal and state unemployment taxes and following employment laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. This practice of misclassification has created substantial problems for affected employees and for the United States Treasury, the Social Security and Medicare funds, and state unemployment and workers’ compensation funds.
As a result, the U.S. Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2011 so the agencies could work together and share information to reduce employee misclassification, close the tax gap and improve compliance with federal labor laws. Continue reading →