By Claire West

With 24 hour news channels, citizen journalism via blogging and social networks it’s sometimes good to take a step back from the media frenzy and see what is happening in the real world.

In many ways we all live in bubbles, bubbles of all sizes — it might be a London bubble or a technology bubble or a retail bubble — but in many cases it’s the micro not the macro that affects small-to-medium size businesses.

To try and find out what UK businesses are really thinking about we recently surveyed Fresh Business Thinking readers about; the 2012 Olympics and whether it would impact their businesses and also about the recent riots.

The BBC is reporting that the number of people in English and Welsh jails jumped by 677 in the last few days as a result of the riots and hopefully this almost draconian short sharp response to civil unrest will send out an appropriate message.

There is no doubt that many small businesses suffered as a result of the civil unrest but to put it into some sort of perspective only 8% of respondents to our survey were affected by the riots.

There was massive sympathy for businesses that did suffer; ‘Can't help feeling desperately sorry for those whose business was ruined by the mindless thugs’ said one reader.

And several organisations said that they had been more vigilant and sent staff home early in certain cities.

When looking forward to the Olympics only 17% thought that the 2012 games were going to be good for business although several readers commented that maybe the country would benefit from a ‘feel-good factor’.

Encouragingly over 70% of readers feel more confident about their business this year than they did in 2010 — this is despite the ‘riots’ and the doom and gloom coming out of the city and financial markets.

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