Frequently Asked Questions

I want to start a small business. Where do I begin?

The CNM SBDC has a free informational seminar called ‘Pathways to Success’ for potential entrepreneurs. This is a good starting point. The seminar is held on most Wednesday's of each month from 10:00 a.m. until Noon. You will receive the basic information needed to start your business. Please call (505) 224-5250 to reserve a seat, space is limited. This is a free seminar.

From that point you need to contact the CNM SBDC at (505) 224-5250 to set up an appointment with one of the business advisors or to register for any of our workshops. Your business advisor will assist you in developing a business plan. This service is free and confidential. The workshops vary in topic and in price.

How is the CNM Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and different from the Small Business Administration (SBA)?

The CNM SBDC is a unit of the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network (NMSBDC), which consists of 19 centers statewide. Our business advisors provide expert, confidential advice to enterprising New Mexicans. The SBDC offers individual counseling, conducts seminars and training sessions, sponsors conferences, provides information electronically as well as in person and by telephone, and, in general, assists anyone seeking advice about operating a small business. The CNM SBDC services Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. For an SBDC near you visit the NMSBDC web site at .

The SBA is a federal program that provides financial, technical, and management assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their businesses.

The SBDC is an SBA resource partner. Although the SBA sponsors and administers the SBDC program, an important aspect of the program is its acceptance and financial support by state and local governments, educational and business communities, and private foundations. Because these organizations desire to improve economic development through the growth of small businesses, they provide matching funds that frequently exceed the SBA funds allocated to each SBDC.

Does the SBDC charge for its services?

The SBDC does not charge for counseling. However, for most workshops, seminars and conferences, the SBDC does charge a reasonable fee to cover expenses.

Does the SBDC help existing businesses?

Yes, the SBDC assists both the potential and existing entrepreneur. We can assist existing entrepreneurs with the challenges that they often face as they grow: financing an expansion, redesign of a business and/or marketing plan, development of a strategic plan, management reorganization...and much more!

What business should I choose?

This is a question that needs to be answered by you, the potential entrepreneur. All businesses require a lot of hard work and determination, so it is important that before you start a business you research your idea. Your business advisor will talk with you about your ideas and help you decide what business would be best for your particular talents and interests. Assessing your skills and the market are good places to begin.

Can the SBDC tell me what bank, lawyer, accountant or insurance company is the best for me and my business?

Because the SBDC has strong partnerships with all of the local banks, attorneys, accountants, and insurance companies we do not feel that we should recommend one over another. Although both the Society of Certified Public Accountants and State Bar offers referral services.

CPA Referral Service: (505) 246-1699

Lawyer Care Service: (505) 797-6066

It is highly recommended that entrepreneurs seek both legal and accounting advice when starting and maintaining their own businesses. It is also important to maintain a strong relationship with both your banker and insurance agent.

Are there any GRANTS available for my small business?

Generally speaking, grants given to small business start ups are very rare. Information on grants can be obtained at the UNM library or through the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance ( The harsh reality is that 95% of businesses are financed through personal funds (savings, friends, family).

Also, be leery of scams that claim that there are grants for small businesses and that they will provide the information to you for a fee. Please contact the State Attorney General's office ( or check with the Better Business Bureau ( on the status of such organizations.

Please do your research before paying for questionable services.

How do I apply for a loan with the SBDC?

The SBDC does not have any money to loan but your SBDC business advisor will suggest an appropriate source for financing. With a complete business plan you will be able to apply for SBA guaranteed loans and approach local investors and banks for capital.

To find out more about SBA's guaranteed loan programs visit their website at

What do I have to do to get a loan?

Do your homework. Before approaching a lender, get a copy of your credit report and make sure it is accurate. If there is anything amiss, correct it with the reporting agency. If there are blemishes, prepare explanations. Work with your SBDC business advisor to prepare a written business plan with credible financial and market data. If you are already established in business, be prepared to provide two to three years of financial statements and tax returns. Understand that if you have a poor credit record or cannot demonstrate a personal investment and the ability to repay a loan, you will not be considered a good risk. Instead of applying for a loan now, you should work at maintaining good credit (timely and consistent payment of debt) for two years and then apply for a loan.

What is a business plan and do I need one?

A business plan is your 'roadmap' to entrepreneurial success. A good business plan defines your business and the product and service that you are providing to meet the needs of your customers. It is a necessary tool in obtaining financing and assists you on starting and running a profitable business.

Will the SBDC write my business plan for me?

No. The SBDC will pair you with an experienced business advisor who will guide you through the "how-tos" of writing your business plan. Your business advisor will give you advice on developing a comprehensive business plan, project cash flow and capital requirements, and will work one-on-one with you to get your business off the ground. They will work with you for as long as it takes you to accomplish your goals.

How do I license my business?

The Albuquerque SBDC has prepared a helpful handout titled How to License a Business (136KB) for a Sole Proprietor only, which provides step by step instructions for licensing a business in the SBDC's service area.

What are the hours of operation for the Albuquerque SBDC?

The Albuquerque SBDC is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Because we operate on the same schedule as CNM, we are generally closed on most federal holidays.


(All documents provided as links above are PDFs. The Acrobat Reader, which is available free from Adobe®, is required to view and print PDF files.)