The pandemic has had a devastating effect on small businesses, and their fight for survival is only just beginning. Recently at H&R Block, we announced the main findings in the first of a four-part study, “Small Business Recovery Series,” tracking the trends of pandemic-related impacts, attitudes and issues surrounding small business recovery and reopening. What we found was a mix of fear, hope and resiliency – and the urgent need for more help.
Recovery is slow
Our research exposes how small businesses are fighting to survive, with recovery more slow-going than expected. In fact, more than half (56%) have experienced a slower than anticipated recovery after shelter-in-place orders began to expire, with nearly half of small business owners fearing they may need to shutter their business within six months if pandemic restrictions are not lifted or if shelter-in-place orders resume in the near-term.
Survival requires adaptability
Yet despite their fear of survival, small business owners are demonstrating resiliency and adaptability, with about a third (30%) creating products and services to meet new needs and half (50%) with an online presence increasing their digital footprint to meet the moment. And, they’re looking for help in making those changes – nearly 70% of female and 60% of male small business owners say they need one-on-one small business advice.
They depend on their communities
Many small business owners have noted changes in their customers and worry that people will not be able to afford doing business with them. However, half of small business owners believe that there seems to be a renewed interest in “shopping locally” in their area.
As one of the traditional drivers of economic development, small businesses play a critical role in the vibrancy and financial confidence of communities in towns and cities across America. We need to rally around our small business neighbors to ensure they can stay afloat during this crisis. That could mean providing additional financial aid, but it also means ensuring access to the right resources and expertise they desperately need to survive and create a foundation for future success.
Expert help when they need it the most
Small business owners don’t have to navigate these challenges alone. H&R Block is committed to providing the resources and guidance they need for their businesses to survive and ultimately thrive again. We have a long history of supporting the unique needs of more than 2 million small business owners as a year-round small business advisor, putting a financial lens on all aspects of a small business owner’s business. Through tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, we help small business owners increase their cash flow and profitability, identify ways to reduce expenses, understand fixed and variable costs, and more. We also offer accounting, invoicing, payroll, and payment software solutions through our subsidiary, Wave Financial.
The fight for small business survival won’t be won overnight, but I am committed to delivering on the trust small business owners place in us. We are in this for the long-haul.