I’m somewhat shocked by what I’ve been reading lately regarding Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York City. It’s hard for me to understand how this is a long-term win for that community. The online giant promises to bring 25,000 new jobs with the average salary north of $100,000 a year. That’s $2.5 billion in payroll alone, annually! I think it’s fair to say that, given the opportunity, New Mexico would roll out the red carpet and welcome Amazon with open arms. I know I would.
While the Amazon deal is an incredible game changer, there is an alternative opportunity facing our state that has the potential to create explosive growth in our economy.
That opportunity is small business.
New Mexico is largely a small-business state. There are over 150,000 businesses, and 99 percent of them are small businesses that employ 54 percent of all New Mexicans. The local entrepreneurs that run these companies are the brave souls that ultimately drive this economy. These individuals create the companies that bring new wealth and economic growth to a region in the form of jobs, increased revenues and a thriving business sector. I think it is fair to say that small business is the heartbeat of our economy and certainly the backbone. Since that is the case, we must do everything we can to support our businesses and ensure their success and growth.
Recently, I’ve heard individuals set a vision for New Mexico to become the most business-friendly state in the nation. While that sounds great, truthfully, I think it’s completely unrealistic. We are competing with Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Utah, etc., that all have booming economies, incredibly business-friendly climates, and proven track records. Why would we try to compete with these states at their level? Our strategy for economic growth must be different. Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, wrote, “Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” New Mexico must choose to be different when it comes to our strategy for economic growth. While everyone else is trying to woo the proverbial Amazon, we must choose to invest in our own.