Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Small Businesses Find That the Internet is Vital

The most recent survey from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index reveals that two-thirds of all small business owners are convinced that the Internet is vital to their success.

As part of the survey, entrepreneurs were also asked how their businesses would be impacted if they were faced with a loss of Internet access. Thirty-five percent said it would have a major impact on their businesses, including 18 percent who said it would force them to shut their doors.

Larger-sized small businesses--with revenues of $2 million or more--report more frequent use of the Internet for business purposes than smaller-sized businesses. Nearly 90 percent of these ventures say they use the Internet three or more times a week, with most using the Internet daily. Comparatively, 67 percent of smaller-sized business owners use the Internet three or more times a week, including 57 percent who claim daily Internet use.

Small business owners use the Internet for various business purposes, ranging from obtaining information to managing their business and personal finances. Seventy-five percent of small business owners regularly gather information as well as business and industry advice online. Other primary uses include online banking, social networking to make professional contacts, advertising and marketing and payroll management.

Small business owners continue to increase their online presence by operating company websites. Forty-four percent report having their own websites, which are used for a variety of business functions ranging from advertising to payment transactions. The top three uses of company websites include advertising company products and services, soliciting customer feedback or queries, and communicating with customers, suppliers and employees. A smaller percentage of small business owners use their company websites to take reservations or orders and accept payment for products and services.

When asked what new technologies they are currently using or plan to purchase for their company in 2007, small business owners pointed to Wi-Fi technologies, global positioning systems and hand-held scanners used for inventory control.

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