Sentiment improves as 40pc of small firms hopeful business will pick up
Ireland's small businesses are increasingly optimistic about their prospects despite the tough economic environment.
A new survey by the Small Firms' Association (SFA) shows that 40pc of the companies it polled felt their businesses will see either a 'good' or 'very good' performance in the coming three months.
"Business confidence levels for the first quarter of 2013 have improved compared to this time last year," said SFA director Avine McNally.
"While domestic sales remain slow, there are increasing signs of stabilisation and business activity showing positive increases in the coming months."
But despite the somewhat better outlook, many businesses continue to find the going difficult.
The survey results show that 30pc of respondents rate the current overall business environment as 'poor' or 'very poor'.
Despite that high rate, that's lower than the 37.5pc who though that way a year ago. About 23pc of companies that responded to the survey rated the overall business environment as either 'very good' or 'good'.
"Improvement in small business sentiment and business activity levels are also encouraging and indicate that a gradual recovery is taking hold," said Ms MCNally.
"Over a quarter of small firms indicate they were 'more confident' about their own business than they were three months ago."
But she warned that the Government needs to ensure it assists small firms to build on the positive sentiment by creating a business environment conducive to small business survival and growth.