Small business and Irish economyPerhaps in Ireland doom and gloom is just too easy. Sure the Celtic Tiger is long gone, the government is a mess and the banks, well, I suppose the least said the better. However,  I keep coming back to the same thought…what is really going on with small business?

So does Ronan Lyons have it right? He lists “Eleven Reasons To be Cheerful” about the Irish economy. That’s all well and good but what how can you tell on the ground? Where do the small businesses fit in and what are their expectations? If you can believe the Business + Leadership article, less companies are going bust but then in Business World, there is an article about a business survey identifying that Irish business owners have a variety of attitudes that trend to pessimistic.

Where does entrepreneurship fit into this? Lyons didn’t list this in his eleven reasons to be cheerful. It makes one wonder if Irish entrepreneurship is completely separated from small business. It is part and parcel of being entrepreneurial to be optimistic and work towards a better future. Sometimes small business owners get caught up in the day to day, particularly if it involves survival. When you get caught up in the minutiae, it can undermine your attitude, your motivation and your ideals.

Most business owners are working for something beyond the money. Some are working to make sure that they and their families have financial security. Others are seeking to make sure others have a need met. There are other business owners who are motivated to provide something luxurious or pleasuable. This is where it is more than just about the money. These are the ideals that can be hard to keep in mind when the future is looking bleak.

So could 2011 be the year that Ireland can become prosperous and cheerful? It depends on where you are in the economy. Sure various industries recover at different speeds but does size matter? It can since larger organizations can have resources to ride out problems. When a small business has to let go of employees, it is usually someone the business owner knows. Asking employees to take on more work but with no pay rises can be taxing.

So do Irish small business owners have reasons to be cheerful?

Could there be a mindset shift happening and small business is missing out?