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2 In 3 Small Business Owners Say Internet Is Important To Success of Their Businesses

The Internet provides an immediate and accessible set of information, resources and services for small business owners

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Wells Fargo/Gallup survey - small business owners routinely use Internet for professional networking and business purposes

Small Business Trends

The latest survey results from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index reveals that two-thirds of all small business owners use the Internet several times a week for business purposes, making it a vital tool for the success of small business owners. As part of the survey, small business owners were also asked how their businesses would be impacted if they were faced with a loss of the Internet. Thirty-five percent said it would have a major impact on their business, including 18 percent who said it would put them out of business.

Internet Use by Small Businesses

Larger-sized small businesses (with revenues of two million or more) report more frequent use of the Internet for business purposes than smaller-sized businesses. Nearly 90 percent of larger-sized business owners say they use the Internet three or more times a week, with most (86 percent) 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.

Internet Used for Gathering Information

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 (58 percent), social networking to make professional contacts (50 percent), advertising and marketing (45 percent), and payroll management (22 percent).

"The Internet provides an immediate and accessible set of information, resources and services for small business owners," said Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's small business segment. "In the financial services industry, technological innovations are making it possible for small business owners to more easily manage their finances and obtain timely information online."

Small Business Use of Websites

Small business owners continue to increase their online presence by operating company web sites. Forty-four percent report having their own web sites, which are used for a variety of business functions ranging from advertising to payment transactions. The top three uses of company web sites include advertising company products and services (81 percent), soliciting customer feedback or queries (69 percent), and communicating with customers, suppliers and employees (68 percent). A smaller percentage of small business owners use their company web sites to take reservations or orders (34 percent) and accept payment (20 percent) for products and services.

"Technology advances help our company give superior service by maintaining a positive work and life balance," said Fiona McDougall, a principal of OneWorld Communications in San Francisco. "Better technologies help us to have adequate 'think-time' to be highly strategic and creative in our work, while accelerating the speed and reach of our outputs for our clients in today's marketplace."

When asked what new technologies they are currently using or plan to purchase for their company in 2007, surveyed small business owners pointed to Wi-Fi technologies (34%), global positioning systems (25%) and hand-held scanners for inventory control (20%).

About the Small Business Index

Since the third quarter of 2003, the quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index has surveyed small business owners on their perceptions of current conditions and future expectations relating to financial situation, revenues, cash flow, capital spending, number of jobs and credit availability. An Index score of zero reflects that an equal number of small business owners are optimistic and pessimistic about their companies' situation. Results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 600 small business owners nationwide conducted February 2, 2007 through February 19, 2007. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

SOURCE: >Wellsfargo.com

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| green marketing | management | small business |

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