According to 2014 Q1 findings released by the Small Firms Associate (SFA), confidence levels amongst small business (employing less than 50 people) have shown improvement and business performance is encouraging. 43% of respondents rate the overall business environment as “good” or “very good,” up 8% from Q4 2013. 49% rate their own business as “good” or “very good,” and 38% felt more confident about their business than three months ago. 49% felt however that their business was performing the same, and 11% were less confident. Further to scale of business confidence, 77% had maintained or improved profitability and 91% had expanded or maintained their customer base, both positive indicators according to Patricia Callan, SFA Director. “The survey shows that business conditions are steadily improving and points towards business and economic growth over the coming quarters. The weak performance of the wider European economy, however, remains a concern.” The SFA put forward the following policy suggestions to help small firms: Placing SMEs at the heart of government policy; Increase credit availability to SMEs and ensure the current funding initiatives are functioning effectively; Improved access for SMEs to public procurement contracts; Reduce business costs. © 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Charlie Burns.
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