Five steps to business success in Aztec

Vangie Neil
Aztec Chamber of Commerce
Vangie Garza Neil


The Chamber is excited that new businesses have come to the City of Aztec to sell their wares but at the same time, we have received numerous calls from individuals wishing to start a new business and inquiring as to the steps to take to open their doors in our fair town. It’s more than just selling coffee, clothes, hardware, and food. You must have a plan to be successful. 
According to Alyssa Gregory from The Balance, there are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States, making up a whopping 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. When you consider some of the most popular reasons to start a business, including having a unique business idea, designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself — it's no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.
But not every small business is positioned for success. In fact, only about two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least two years, and about half survive five years. So you may be in for a real challenge when you decide to take the plunge, ditch your day job, and become a business owner. The stage is often set in the beginning, so making sure you follow all of the necessary steps when starting your business can set the foundation for success.
Want to know the secret? Here are the first five of 10 steps that should be considered to start a business successfully. Take one step at a time, and you'll be on your way to successful small business ownership.

Step 1: Do Your Research
Does your idea have the potential to succeed? You will need to run your business idea through a validation process before you go any further. In order for a small business to be successful, it must solve a problem, fulfill a need or offer something the market wants. Consider the HUB and its resources. Some of the resources include the Aztec Chamber of Commerce, the San Juan College Small Business Enterprise, US Department of Agriculture, the City of Aztec, the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership and others based on the type of business. 
There are a number of ways you can identify this need, including research, focus groups, and even trial and error. As you explore the market, some of the questions you should answer include:
• Is there a need for your anticipated products/services?
• Who needs it?
• Are there other companies offering similar products/services now?
• What is the competition like?
• How will your business fit into the market?

Don't forget to ask yourself some questions, too, about starting a business before you take the plunge.

Step 2: Make a Plan
You need a plan in order to make your business idea a reality. A business plan is a blueprint that will guide your business from the start-up phase through establishment and eventually business growth, and it is a must-have for all new businesses. The good news is that there are different types of business plans for different types of businesses.

If you intend to seek financial support from an investor or financial institution, a traditional business plan is a must. This type of business plan is generally long and thorough and has a common set of sections that investors and banks look for when they are validating your idea. 

If you don't anticipate seeking financial support, a simple one-page business plan can give you clarity about what you hope to achieve and how you plan to do it. In fact, you can even create a working business plan on the back of a napkin, and improve it over time. Some kind of plan in writing is always better than nothing, not to mention that you should be looking at the plan every day.

Step 3: Plan Your Finances

Starting a small business doesn't have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses before you are turning a profit.

Put together a spreadsheet to offer you estimates with one-time startup costs for your business. This should include licenses and permits, equipment, legal fees, insurance, branding, market research, inventory, trademarking, grand opening events, property leases, etc. Consider additional funds you may anticipate to keep your business running for at least 12 months (rent, utilities, marketing and advertising, production, supplies, travel expenses, employee salaries, your own salary, etc.). Those numbers combined should be the initial investment you will need.

Now that you have a rough number in mind, there are a number of ways you can fund your small business, including: financing, small business loans, small business grants, and possibly an angel investor or two. You can also attempt to get your business off the ground by bootstrapping (doing this on your own), using as little capital as necessary to start your business. The goal here, though, is to work through the options and create a plan for setting up the monies you need to get your business off the ground.

Step 4: Choose a Business Structure
Your small business can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. The business entity you choose will impact many factors from your business name, to your liability, to how you file your taxes.

You may choose an initial business structure, and then reevaluate and change your structure as your business grows and needs change. Depending on the complexity of your business, it may be worth investing in a consultation from an attorney or CPA to ensure you are making the right structure choice for your business.

Step 5: Pick and Register Your Business Name
Your business name plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one. Make sure you think through all of the potential implications as you explore your options and choose your business name.

Once you have chosen a name for your business, you will need to check if it's trademarked or currently in use. Then, you will need to register it. A sole proprietor must register their business name with either their state or county clerk. Corporations, LLCs, or limited partnerships typically register their business name when the formation paperwork is filed. Don't forget to register your name once you have selected it. 

Are you interested in starting a business or a recently started one? Are you looking for answers on step-by-step guidelines regarding a business license, signage, or resources?
Guidelines can be found on the City of Aztec’s website. For more information contact the Director of the Community Development Department Steven Saavedra or visit his office at 201 W. Chaco St. in Aztec. Contact Mr. Saavedra at (505) 334-7605 or via email at
Come back in August for steps six through 10 to learn more. 

Chamber Spotlight
Welcome Annette Risley, CPA in Farmington, who has joined the Aztec Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for investing in the Aztec Chamber of Commerce. Visit the chamber website at to view details on upcoming ribbon cuttings. 
The Chamber offers more than $1,000 worth of benefits (additional benefits for higher levels) to chamber members and many are taking advantage of our business luncheons, golf passes, workshops, promotions, and advertising. If you are an existing chamber member and have not received your new benefits package please call the Chamber at (505) 334-7646 to learn more or to schedule your orientation. 

Ribbon Cuttings 
A ribbon cutting will be held for Tuff Shed, Saturday, July 15 at their new site located at 2430 W. Aztec Blvd, in Aztec, NM. Join Tuff Shed Manager, Cindy Fisher and Tuff Shed associates for refreshments and festivities.  
A ribbon cutting will also take place in July for Crane Insurance. Visit to learn more. Our most recent ribbon cutting in June included Urban Rebel Antiques a high-scale antique store in downtown Main Street. s in early May included Aztec Chiropractic (Aztec), Garrison Graphics (Farmington), and Wings and Wheels (Aztec). Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and for your investment in the Aztec Chamber of Commerce.

Advertising Benefits
As a Chamber Member, one of your biggest benefits is advertising your business, sales, programs, products, or services in the Chamber’s Weekly newsletter and Facebook page. Send your business cards, flyers, brochures and/or announcements via jpg to the chamber no later than Friday, before the next Tuesday posting to Chamber Members. Your advertisement must arrive no later than 5 pm on Friday. Each member receives one free posting each week. Should you desire additional posting, we can accommodate you with a small fee of $25 per posting. Please send your items to

Join us for our July Chamber Business Luncheon with Guest Speaker, Humorist, Journalist, Author, and Counselor, Ron Price. A best-selling author with his first book, “Play Nice in the Sandbox,” Ron is working on his 2nd book, “Play Nice in the Sandbox at Work.” Look for his next book coming out this summer and a ribbon cutting for his business Productive Outcomes, Inc. 
Join us Wednesday, July 19, Noon (11:30 a.m. for networking) at The Chamber office (The HUB), 119 S. Church in Aztec to be a part of the program, “the Benefits of Laughter” presented by Ron Price. While at the luncheon, don’t hesitate to ask Ron unresolved questions for your personal and professional situations. As an expert counselor, Ron has much to offer. Call the chamber at (505) 334-7646 to reserve your spot now! Please let us know if you prefer a vegetarian lunch.

Business After Hours
Join us July 26 at Anytime Fitness for our next Business After Hours event from 5 to 7 pm along with the Wines of the San Juan. Anytime Fitness is located at 105 W Aztec Blvd. in Aztec. Contact them for membership opportunities to stay fit and healthy! Trainers are also available for hire to guide you through a fun, health regiment. Contact them at (505) 334-9595.
Thank you and stay tuned for more!