The emergence from recession brings with it a slingshot effect in terms of business confidence, as improving prospects can leave large numbers of owner-managers hopeful for the future.
It certainly seems like this is the case in the latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index, which has SME confidence at a record high.
Overall, the barometer-style index is at +41 for the third quarter of 2014, with all sectors reporting a positive outlook for the remainder of the year – the first time the index has been so high with unanimous optimism.
More than three in five businesses (61%) anticipate growth over the coming 12 months, and more than a tenth (11%) expect to grow rapidly during that time.
This is the seventh consecutive quarter in which an overall positive result has been recorded among SMEs, which the FSB says is testament to their contribution in the economic recovery since 2013.
FSB national chairman John Allan says: “We’re seeing record-breaking confidence from our members which suggests small firms will continue to spearhead the UK’s recovery.
“We want policymakers to lock in this optimism and continue to back the self-employed and small businesses.”
The current party conferences are an ideal opportunity to see to what extent the main political parties are willing to support small businesses.
Already, Labour leader Ed Miliband has spoken of potential further increases to the National Minimum Wage which, while likely to be welcomed by those earning the lowest amount, could equally put strain on their employers in owner-managed businesses.
The FSB are calling for the parties to clearly spell out their full range of measures that could affect small businesses, including in particular rewards for entrepreneurship, investment and job creation.