Confidence rises for small firms

Confidence among the small business community continues to improve according to a new survey, with 80% of respondents saying they will invest in their company over the next two years.

In response to the second quarter business sentiment survey from the Small Firms Association (SFA), six out of 10 firms said their business would be moving back to a growth phase within the next 12 months, with most of the companies focused on international markets.

In terms of investment, the main areas for spending are brand development, staff development, and IT.

According to SFA director Avine McNally, many firms are investing with the expectation of new orders, increased opportunities, and economic recovery.

However, she suggested a continually weak domestic economy, high business costs, low consumer spending levels, and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the eurozone economy remain “huge challenges”.

Only 4% of respondents to the latest survey said their business is currently in decline; but just 24% rated the current environment as good or very good. Still, 41% of SMEs currently rate their individual company as being in a positive state — a 1% improvement on the preceding quarter.

Just over 30% said their business was maintaining its current level, meanwhile.


Lifestyle

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

When the ferryman pulls away from the pier and the salty spray of the sea hits your face the feeling of release from the mainland is deeply pleasurable. Your island awaits. Whether for a day trip or a holiday, the lure of the islands is as magnetic as ever.The Islands of Ireland: The lure of the less-visited

More From The Irish Examiner