DeafTax partners: Charles R. Sterling, MBA (L), Joshua R. Beal, MBA (R)
Between shut-downs, stay-at-home orders, and stock market crashes, it’s easy to feel like our worlds, and our economy, are shrinking. But what about businesses that defy the odds and continue to scale, even in the middle of a pandemic?
DeafTax, the only Deaf-owned tax preparation firm in the US, is doing just that. The business recently launched a massive expansion, adding 13 new Associated Preparers to the team. The new team members have allowed them to better serve families across all fifty states, providing customers with a speedy turnaround even as the height of tax season approaches.
So how do businesses like DeafTax continue to thrive in trying times? It’s no surprise that Joshua R. Beal, MBA, Founder of DeafTax, had a visual explanation rooted in economics. Mr. Beal is a trailblazer in the U.S. Deaf community, being the 1st Deaf person to ever graduate with an Economics degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the 1st Deaf person to work in Operations at the World Bank Group in Washington D.C.
The K model economic theory describes the sharp, K-shaped, divide in the performance of different economic sectors. While some businesses continue to struggle and decline, others recover and even surpass their performance expectations. Beal says the resilience of the deaf community has potentially positioned deaf-owned businesses for success on the “upside” of the K.
As observed by CSD’s Social Venture Fund, which invests in businesses like DeafTax which are poised to grow, the deaf community has the potential for success even in difficult times due to its unique problem-solving skillsets. As a geographically diverse community, deaf people were already using remote technology pre-pandemic, and are adept at being flexible, and thinking critically and creatively. Because deaf people must frequently overcome barriers to access in their everyday lives, and they can leverage those skills for success in the business world.
For DeafTax, a partnership with CSD’s Social Venture Fund provided the resources and support to fuel their latest expansion. In particular, CSD developed a specialized marketing campaign that helped the firm find the perfect matches for their Associated Preparer expansion.
And with a bigger team comes bigger dreams. Mr. Beal is now focused on developing additional financial services where the US Deaf community is currently underserved, such as personal insurance, home mortgages, credit & debit services, and additional financial services, through corporate partnerships or stand-alone services.
DeafTax is truly a deaf success story, from its employees and partners to the clients it serves. Knowing how unemployment and underemployment have a grave impact on his community, Beal lamented not being able to hire every one of the many talented applicants he reviewed in the firm’s most recent expansion. But DeafTax’s empowerment of the deaf community at large might be the next best thing; DeafTax takes the hassle out of filing taxes and provides the community the financial literacy and investing skills they need to ride the upside.