According to a Barclays Local Business report, small business owners plan to stay in business longer than the span of an average marriage. Now I'm not sure whether this is naive, reassuring, a sad indictment of our times, or evidence of a true British entrepreneurial spirit, but the level of commitment that small business owners are investing in their companies has to be a good sign.

John Davis, marketing director for Barclays Local Business said: "Starting your own business is a serious commitment and for most people it really is about a life-long relationship that needs constant nurturing and attention. For every over-night success there are thousands of business people who have spent years developing a successful business - but there are few things as satisfying as making it a success after all that effort."

The report concludes, "Despite growing concern about an economic downturn, confidence among the small business community remains strong, as three quarters (74 per cent) say they are keen to grow their business this year. Of those that felt growth was not an option, a quarter cited the risks currently posed by the economic climate while nearly one in five (19 per cent) said they simply had no interest in making more money - suggesting it is a love of their business rather than their bank statement which gets entrepreneurs out of bed in the morning."