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Small Companies Play Catch-Up On The Internet

Conducting business using the Internet is hardly news. Yet taking a closer look at E-business trends often reveals fresh ideas about how savvy companies exploit new or previously untapped revenue opportunities.
Conducting business using the Internet is hardly news. Yet taking a closer look at E-business trends often reveals fresh ideas about how savvy companies exploit new or previously untapped revenue opportunities.

While large companies have the deep pockets and IT resources to establish themselves as hubs of commerce, smaller companies also are making their presence known. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, small companies--those with six to 99 employees--have caught up to their midsize counterparts in many aspects of Internet use. In fact, only 1% of the 406 small businesses interviewed for the research company's Profiling Small Businesses' Internet Usage report lack Internet access.

chartAs for what those small companies are doing on the Web, almost three in five say they purchase goods and services online. This is on a par with midsize businesses, which Forrester also surveyed to compare initiatives. An additional 24% of small companies use the Internet to integrate and purchase directly from their suppliers' systems. In this respect, smaller companies are still playing catch-up with larger businesses, as 35% of the study's 596 midsize sites are using the Internet to integrate and purchase directly from suppliers' systems.

Although small companies appear to be committed to making purchases over the Web, they aren't so committed to selling online. Only two in five small businesses surveyed by Forrester are using the Internet to sell products and services. The study doesn't account for this disconnect. Perhaps many smaller businesses that aren't yet selling via the Web lack customers willing to use that channel or lack the IT expertise and manpower needed to successfully implement sales transactions electronically.

What would you suggest a small company do to compete in today's online marketplace? Forward your advice to the address below.

Peter Weiss,
Senior Managing Editor, Events
[email protected]


chartOnline Access
Does your company have Internet access?

With information that could benefit a company just a couple of clicks away, it isn't surprising that even small companies are equipping their employees with Internet access. Among the 406 sites surveyed by Forrester Research, 70% access the Web via their own LANs. Another 29% use their Internet service providers to get online. Just 1% of small companies surveyed aren't providing Internet access at this time.

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