Sandoval Signpost
An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Starting a new business

—Margaret Nava

Some people think starting a new business in the current economy is madness; others believe it makes perfect sense.

Nick Vuillemot, Executive Director of the Greater Sandoval County Chamber of Commerce (GSCCC), says, “Sandoval County issued licenses to 260 new businesses in the last twelve months, and that doesn’t include the number of licenses issued by the City of Rio Rancho. Many experts point out that businesses started during a bad economy may do well because if they can make it through the bad times, they can definitely make it during the good times that follow”

A recent story in US News and World Report seems to agree. “Slowdowns don’t have to be barriers to starting new enterprises…after all, Bill Gates and Paul Allen didn’t wait for the recession to pass before launching Microsoft in 1975.” On the other hand, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that “about half of all small businesses fail within the first five years.”

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when starting new businesses. A depressed economy, uncertain market conditions, financial struggles, and competition all pose legitimate threats to the successful launch of a new company. Business owners must be able to determine the type of risks that are most likely to affect their new venture and proactively create risk management strategies that will enable the company to succeed despite having those risks. Fortunately for new business owners, there are several organizations that can help to do just that.

Part of the vision of the GSCCC is to encourage and support local businesses by providing tools that enable members to reach their goals of being successful and profitable. Seminars are offered on a monthly basis and various networking events are held throughout the year, enabling members to meet with other business owners and decision makers. On October 4, PNM will present an energy saving seminar at El Zocalo from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., and on November 8, local business owners can attend a seminar, also at El Zocalo, about marketing their business.

The October networking event will be held at Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas, and the November event will be at the Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque.

The Sandoval County Small Business Development Center offers free one-on-one business counseling for business start-up and acquisition, marketing and sales, sources of capital and financial analysis, basic bookkeeping including QuickBooks, IRS/New Mexico tax and revenue, extensive demographical data research, and referrals to federal, state and local resources. They also offer low-cost workshops and seminars such as Developing Business Plans, Understanding Legal Structures, Concepts of Leadership and Getting Started in Government Marketing. Dates and times can be found on their website at

The New Mexico Small Business Development Center website ( provides links to on-line guides that can help business owners decide to start a new business. These guides include a Start-up Checklist, Basic Steps to Starting a Business, and the Entrepreneurial Test.

At the Albuquerque SCORE offices, a staff of knowledgeable volunteers provides confidential business counseling services at no charge. This service also offers workshops and round table meetings to help experienced and inexperienced entrepreneurs address the ongoing, open-ended challenges facing any enterprise. The SCORE website ( provides links to hundreds of templates and tools to assist business owners.

Covering a total area of 3,714 square miles and having a population of 131,561 (as of the 2010 Census), Sandoval County is the ideal location for a new business. Taxes are lower than neighboring counties, there is ample room for development, and with 57 percent of the population over eighteen years old there is large opportunity for employees. The number of housing units in 2009 was 50,672 with 89.4 percent of residents being high school graduates (82.1 percent statewide) and 25.7 percent holding Bachelor’s Degrees or higher (25.1% statewide). The median household income in 2009 was $57,378 ($42,830 statewide) and the average retail sales per capita in 2007 was $9,484.

GSCCC’s Nick Vuillemot champions Sandoval County’s entrepreneurs: “In recent months, several new businesses have opened up in Sandoval County: Desi Boo’s Eatery, Georgina’s Jewelry, Big Mikes, Firestone, Dion’s Pizza, IHOP, Crossfit Sandstorm, BBVA Compass Bank, Murphy Oil Co., Watermelon Mountain Ranch Thrift Store, and Lee’s Asian Restaurant. Soon to be opening will be a Panda Express Chinese Restaurant, a Jack in the Box Burger place, and a convenience store/gas station. They all have the same thing in common: entrepreneurship, a belief in the American way of life, capitalism, and a willingness to risk for a greater reward.”

The impact of new businesses on a community can be both positive and negative. On the positive side, new businesses create jobs and provide increased opportunities for shopping. More jobs mean less unemployment and new shopping venues means more local sales dollars. More local sales dollars mean increased sales tax revenues, and increased tax revenues mean increased benefits and services within the county. On the negative side, large businesses can overshadow existing smaller businesses and sometimes even compromise the day-to-day quality of life for residents.

For more information about the Greater Sandoval County Chamber of Commerce call 505-404-8492 or logon to Or, for the Sandoval County Small Business Development Center, call 505-867-5066 for the Bernalillo office or 505-892-1533 for the Rio Rancho office or logon to




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