I hope everyone is safe and well. It has been an eventful week here in Paris, thus the delay in posting. My apologies.
I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to Simone Craig, a U.S. based tax and business consultant who specializes in helping women business owners with their professional and personal finances.
She and I have had in-depth, detailed discussions via Skype over the past few months about the common ground we share, namely, helping people create and preserve wealth. Our conversations have been informative and fun, too good to just keep to myself.
So I posed a few questions to her recently. After a slight delay on my end, I’m finally able to share.
Enjoy, and feel free to reach out to Simone if you have any questions about her professional services, pandemic-related or not.
BYRON: Can you tell us about your background? How long you’ve been in business and what you specialize in?
SIMONE: I have a traditional accounting background — a degree in Accounting and right out of college I worked for KPMG, a Big 4 public accounting firm. After about 2 years there, I began to focus on financial analysis in private accounting. I left corporate and started to pursue the arts for a few years as an actress, singer and songwriter. By time I was 33, I decided to let the arts go and started to work in corporate again. I was doing the work of 3 people. I realized that if I was going to work that hard, it may as well be for myself. I started my accounting business in 2007. Now, I specialize in helping women business owners create generational wealth with tax and money management strategies.
BYRON: How did the pandemic impact your business? And how did it impact you personally?
SIMONE: The pandemic had a mostly positive impact on my business. In April 2020, I started to help women entrepreneurs, who wouldn’t have normally applied, to obtain COVID-19 relief funding. My business really took off from there. I did experience losing some clients last year but it pales in comparison all the clients, old and new, that I was fortunate enough to help during such stressful time.
BYRON: What are the most important things business owners should know about relief funds available from the federal government?
SIMONE: First, here is so much funding available to you at the federal and state level. There is a good amount of focus on the PPP and EIDL federal programs, but don’t forget about your state relief funding programs.
Second, don’t assume you don’t qualify. I’ve talked to so many business owners who knew (or at least heard) about the available programs, but counted themselves out without researching their options. Luckily for most of them, that wasn’t the case. If you are a business owner, and you haven’t applied yet, reconsider. There is a funding program that is a good fit for you.
Third, be sure to have your prior years (2019 and 2020) tax returns available, and even better, have accurate books for 2019 and 2020 done. You’ll want that information. Even if you don’t, don’t count yourself out. There’s still time to get them done, so that you can apply for the relief lending that you as a business owner deserve.
BYRON: What are the big misconceptions?
SIMONE: The first big misconception is that the money will be hard to get. Nothing could be farther from the truth, if you apply through the best vehicles. These lending agencies are going out of their way to make the process easy and efficient. The other big misconception I hear is that there’s something wrong with my business if I have to take the money. This has been a difficult year financially and emotionally for so many of us, especially business owners. There’s no shame in accepting help in such an unprecedented time.
BYRON: When you speak with business owners, are there concerns or themes you hear again and again?
SIMONE: I do hear a consistent concern about what is appropriate for them to use the money for. Each relief program has different guidelines that I help them navigate.
BYRON: What do we have to be optimistic about in the business sector, in your opinion?
SIMONE: I think it’s exciting that the business sector is being challenged to serve and be served in a new and fresh way we hadn’t imagined before. So many new ideas, and thus new businesses will be formed as a result of this pandemic. Also, I think, in order to survive this, we will ironically have to come closer together to cheerlead, network and support each other’s products and services. That is how we will not only get through this time, but thrive through this time. That’s been my experience.
BYRON: How can people get in touch with you?