The latest market report from the 10 small businesses the BBC has been following over the past few months reveals a growing optimism among small firms.

No-one is denying the market is still difficult or that businesses are having to adapt and work harder to get new leads, but there does seem to be an underlying belief that the worst is over. (Let's hope this isn't misplaced optimism.) Banks and their reluctance / inability to lend still feature as a problem, as does paperwork and ensuring a constant workflow. This latest report does mark a change over previous reports in that it is more positive and there does appear to be more confidence amongst small businesses. That isn't to say though, that there aren't many, many other business still desperately trying to stay afloat. I was saddened to hear of a friend's driving school business going bankrupt because of huge tax liabilities they hadn't been aware of until it was too late. Eighteen years of hard graft and not a lot to show for it at the end, except hopefully, a sense of pride and recognition of what they did manage to achieve during those 18 years.