Confidence Tumbles for Small Business Owners

10th January 2022

Posted In: The Topic

Confidence among small business owners has taken a tumble in the last quarter of the year, according to the latest Small Firms Association “Business Sentiment Survey, Winter 2021”, published today (10th January, 2022).

The small business community has muted expectations on their outlook for 2022, with 41% of small business owners being optimistic in winter 2021 compared to 55% in summer 2021.

Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director said: “Many small businesses find themselves back in a situation of Covid restrictions, which they did not expect in the earlier half of the year. This has affected their ability to trade optimally. They have been particularly affected by issues such as an increase in the costs of doing business, the cost of raw materials and restricted supply chains.”

“Domestic economic growth continues to be the primary driver of business opportunities. Ireland’s entrepreneurs continue to seek out new opportunities in their digital transformation and investing in business expansion.”

“When asked separately about the green economy, 61% of small businesses owners said that they view the Green Economy as a priority for their business in 2022. However, when asked about the challenges in a green transition, small businesses identified the high costs involved as the most significant barrier, followed by lack of clear access to information and a disjointed approach by State Agencies.”

In conclusion, Spollen-Behrens stated: “The final quarter of 2021 was a difficult one for the small business community with the stop, start nature of Covid restrictions causing a fall back in confidence levels. We must now find a way to live with Covid safely given the highly successful uptake of booster vaccinations. The SFA will remain focused on working and supporting members, as they navigate this uncertain period.”

Key Findings:

•41% of business saying that the business environment is improving compared with 55% in Summer 2021.

•43% of small businesses saw Covid restrictions on their ability to trade as their biggest challenge of the past 12 months.

•61% of small business see the green economy as a priority for their business in 2022.   High costs identified as the most significant challenge that small businesses face as they consider their green transition.