During the last few months we have seen an increase in small business optimism around the world. However, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, that optimism has dropped for business owners in Australia.

Its survey found that optimism among privately-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) dropped to just 38 per cent, down from 79 per cent a year earlier.

“The decline in consumer spending as interest rates increased last year has shaken confidence of Australia’s privately held businesses, making them err on the side of caution when looking ahead to 2011,” Grant Thornton’s national head of privately held business Tony Markwell said releasing the findings on Monday.

He said last year’s expectations were high as most business owners believed that Australia had largely managed to avoid the global financial crisis.

“With soaring confidence in 2010, many businesses were not prepared for the mildly bumpy ride experienced throughout the year as the affects of the crisis trickled though to our economy,” he said.

Photo by Kevin Dooley