Providing Main Street a helping hand
Consider these numbers: The United States is comprised of nearly 30 million small businesses, representing more than 99% of all businesses in the country, employing more than 56 million people or nearly half of our country’s workforce. They are hair salons, landscapers, manufacturers, and restaurants. You can find them on Main Streets from Connecticut to California, and with COVID-19, seemingly overnight, they began to close. One by one they scrambled to shift their business model, do their best to retain employees, but many will never be open for business again.
I have shared many times throughout this pandemic that everyone must do their part. At H&R Block, our Foundation has donated to the local recovery fund, we set up an online coronavirus Resource Hub, we joined the Stand for Small coalition and we are offering free tax preparation to frontline workers during the month of May at hrblock.com/frontline. But, I knew we could do more. Our company believes in Main Street America. Henry and Richard Bloch started on Main Street in Kansas City, Mo., 65 years ago with a small $5,000 loan. I love the fact that today, 748 of our locations have an address on a Main Street, including our headquarters…still in Kansas City!
Six months ago we committed to Make Every Block Better by helping small business owners connect with resources and mentors in their community. Supporting small business is rooted in the DNA of H&R Block. It is also core to who I am as CEO. I am the son of small business owners and watched my parents open and close local businesses ranging from bars and nightclubs to video rental stores and tanning salons. We went bankrupt when I was in 9th grade and I’ve wondered many times lately how our family would have fared if my parents were still in business today.
The federal government is doing its part to help keep as many small businesses afloat as possible. Through various assistance programs, there are funds to keep people on payrolls as the country begins to reopen to a new normal. Every day we hear from small business owners trying to make sense of the various programs. That is why we have launched the Recovery Action Plan – an H&R Block consulting service that includes an hour-long one-on-one phone consultation with a small business expert to discuss various assistance options, eligibility requirements and potential actions. After the session, the small business owner will receive a customized action plan outlining the most workable solutions for their business and immediate next steps. In addition, our experts will conduct a free Second Look to review the small business’s prior three years of tax returns to ensure they received all the credits and deductions they deserved.
As a business rooted in communities all across America, we know that Main Street is more than an address. It’s a metaphor for relationships and the value of hard work. While we certainly value technology and all of its possibilities, we know that when our human advantage is combined with digital and data, it is a powerful combination and one we’re excited to bring to small business owners through the Recovery Action Plan consulting service.