Maxine McBride says it is important to stay organized and ready for what comes next.
Maxine McBride has owned Clockwork Marketing Services Inc. for 25 years, surviving economic hardships brought on by 9/11 and the Great Recession.
When the coronavirus began impacting the economy, McBride knew she had to be prepared and adjusted her business while looking into options for financial help.
For many of her clients, she shifted from providing them with traditional public relations services to helping them with COVID-19-related messaging.
“Because we do a lot of business writing and strategy planning, that work has really helped us right now,” McBride said.
McBride wanted to apply for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, not because her business was immediately impacted, but out of concern as to what might happen in the future. She received her payment last week.
She said it was too soon to estimate losses since the coronavirus began, but she is making temporary modifications with clients and hopes for new business over the next few months.
In addition to McBride, Clockwork Marketing employs four full-time employees, who will remain on the payroll.
“It’s more of looking at the longer term. There are a lot of unknowns,” McBride said. “What I applied for was the PPP. That was more because of the unknowns of the future rather than the shock of what immediately happened. It was more planning on how do I keep my team together.”
Her bank, BBVA, provided information on PPP loans before applications were accepted.
Once the program opened, McBride said she had the paperwork together to complete the application. That included payroll processing records, payroll tax filings and tax forms.
“As soon as the process opened, my stuff got in,” she said.
McBride said putting together the paperwork along with running her business was draining. She said there were a few hiccups on the government’s side of the application, but the bank helped to prepare her for those.
“I needed to focus on getting everything together quickly,” she said. “But it is also important to me to keep an eye on the ball with my employees and my clients.”
Although the government’s $349 billion PPP funds have been allocated, they are expected to be replenished. Companies can apply in the meantime.
McBride said it’s important to be organized and when the application is in, to start preparing documents needed to prove to the Small Business Administration the funds were used for the intended purpose.
PPP funds don’t need to be repaid if employees are kept on the payroll and the money is used to pay them or to cover mortgages, rent and utilities.
“As a small business owner, whatever your situation is, having some clarity on what’s going to happen next is really helpful,” she said. “I really read the fine print, what sort of documentation are they looking for. I’m hoping to have that soon.”