Posted: Wed 18th May 2022
In a new Small Business Barometer report published by Enterprise Nation this week, 64% of the Irish business owners surveyed felt ‘quite confident’ or ‘very confident’ their business would survive in 2022.
The confidence comes amid another trying period for small Irish businesses. The recent hike in energy bills, inflation, and the rising cost of fuel, coupled with the uncertainty created by the war on Ukraine, leaves small business owners with much lower margins.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:
“It’s good to see there are still signs of relative optimism. Small businesses have been through a lot. Even those that are in the early stages have existed through unprecedented times, so they've built resilience and understand that opportunity sometimes springs from adversity.”
71% of small businesses surveyed say that the rising costs will reduce their profitability. In the second quarter of 2022, they expect energy costs will go up by 25.8%, transport costs by 23.3%, operational costs (for things such as broadband, phones, insurance etc.) by 14% and staff costs by 9%.
The Small Business Barometer was carried out in April 2022 and surveyed business owners across Ireland and the UK, with 6% of those surveyed representing Ireland.
When asked what the future projections of their business looked like, seven out of 10 Irish businesses said they expected their businesses to grow in the next quarter of 2022, while 23% of firms felt their business would stay at the same level. Only one in 10 (9%) expect their business to shrink.
One business owner facing the challenges of competing in the current climate is Studio Dancewear owner Jane Byrne.
“The most challenging thing I’m facing as a small business owner is the rising costs in energy bills, because you just don't know where it's going to go and you don't know how far it is going to go.
“I’d like to see better government support for niche businesses starting out, with a better understanding of sole traders building a business from home, particularly if that business is not positioned to export.”
Of those business owners who took part in the barometer, 57% set up their businesses in the last three years, with the vast majority trading for less than five years.
Emma Jones added:
“Small business owners and entrepreneurs need support and education to develop the skills required to manage in a more difficult trading environment, whether that’s by going digital to access new markets and help spread the risk, or options for sourcing finance.”