Patterson Hornworks, owned by Jim and Cora Patterson, was founded in 1996 in Los Angles. In 2005, the company relocated to Las Cruces, New Mexico. The company’s main business is selling, customizing and repairing French Horns. These rich sounding instruments, so beautiful to hear but so difficult to play, are the cornerstones of any orchestra’s brass section, and the Patterson instruments are recognized globally for their exceptional quality. The company does, however, have four major competitors, including Yamaha, a global conglomerate. Patterson’s market is thus focused on professional level instruments, which makes them and a few other smaller companies niche players (no pun intended).

By operating in the professional segment, they have attracted a global reputation among players for the London and New York Philharmonics, the Bolshoi Theater, various Hollywood recording studios, and even our own local Las Cruces and El Paso Symphonies. Regardless of the reputation, the market is still very small (these instruments will last a lifetime), so it is difficult to steer such a small company toward growth.

SCORE counselors in the Las Cruces Chapter were able to work with the Pattersons to help them plan for future growth and attract the funding needed to support that future. 

 

My successes. 

Based on the availability of SCORE advice, the quality of the business and marketing plans they helped us generate, the analysis of inventory and other corporate assets, the company was able to secure financing and move ahead with our strategic and marketing initiatives.

How SCORE helped. 
 
 
In late 2008, Counselors from the Las Cruces Chapter of SCORE began working with the company. Many face-to-face meetings were held to make sure the SCORE mentors understood the business background, product segments, customers and competitors. Patterson, with the guidance of SCORE, was then able to develop a historical analysis of sales and cost structure by their product segments, and their contribution to profits. This type of analysis is useful to identify segments that promise growth and those that may not be profitable. It also allowed the company to set some general target guidelines for their business, designating appropriate levels of operating margins, general and administrative costs, the cost of money, and the contribution to margin per unit.
 
In addition, a full inventory of every item, from parts to tools to finished horns, was conducted. This helped identify the market value of this these items and provided input into the market outlook. This type of data is also important when seeking financing, because it helps place a value of the assets against which a loan can be offered.
 
All of this information was used to develop financial projections for several years out. This also helped to provide a framework for coping with a shifting business mix. The final result was a strategic action plan that defined the minimum needs for surviving as a business as well as the needs necessary to grow the business over time. The many ideas and analyses were incorporated into a business plan that was used to seek bank financing. Also a detailed marketing plan was developed, and work was started with an accountant to create a more business friendly financial management and accounting system.
 

Key Topics

Patterson Hornworks  ~ Las Cruces, NM