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How confident is your small business? How confident is your small business?

Having time to sit back and take stock of what the future might have in store is something many of us convince ourselves we don't have the time to do.

However, for small business owners inaction isn't an option - it's important to look to the future and think carefully about where your company is heading.

Some Australian businesses have done just that and the latest Roy Morgan Research Business Confidence survey suggests optimism is improving as a result.

One of the main areas of concern, however, was access to business finance, as a large number of the organisations polled said they are now financially worse off than they were 12 months ago.

Meanwhile, there has also been a fall in the number of firms who think the next 12 months would be a good time to invest in growing their company.

Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research, explained that confidence may have been down because of worries concerning the forthcoming federal budget.

"The hoped-for improvement in confidence in the key areas of retail, construction and manufacturing, were seen as making up for a slowdown in the mining industry, did not happen during April.

"These sectors all remain below average in confidence, which is not a good sign for economic recovery," Mr Morris noted.

These are among the sectors where confidence is below-average at the moment, which the group believes could spell bad news for the economy as a whole.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for forward-thinking small business owners, however, as there was an improvement in the proportion who believed their company would be financially better off next year.

In addition, business owners were also confident the economy would improve over the coming 12 months.