You think business uses the Internet? Think again.

Small business owners are seriously bad at using the Internet. Two pieces of research combine to show that significant numbers of small business owners and those running medium sized enterprises are simply not aware they are missing out.

For a start, research commissioned by “The Best Of” chain of web sites shows that significant numbers of businesses still do not even have a web site. Indeed, 55% of retailers have yet to come online – in spite of the fact that analysts are predicting a £10billion spend online this Christmas alone.

What’s interesting about this research is that you can read about it in New Media Age, but you can’t find it on the best of’s own web site, even in the media section. So, that implies either the company doesn’t want us to know about it – or they too are not using the Internet to its full effect. This is not surprising; the company that conducted the survey is called The Survey Shop and you won’t find mention of the study on their web site either. Indeed, their web site says that information is the “oxygen of decision making” and then proceeds not to give us any useful information at all, other than material about The Survey Shop itself.

The data in the survey is useful information and would bring interested people to the commissioning company and the survey firm – if only they’d included it on their own web sites. It just shows a lack of effectiveness and inventiveness in terms of Internet usage by both companies.

But that’s not surprising either. Another study conducted by Marketsafe (a subsidiary of Creditsafe) shows that the vast majority of businesses fail to go to a customer’s web site before contacting them with a sales proposition. Indeed, 16% of businesses confessed they conduct no research whatsoever on potential clients before approaching them. This is in spite of the fact that a quick check on Google would give them reams of information on many firms that could be very useful when conducting sales calls.

These two studies add up to one thing – ignorance about the potential of the Internet for running a business. The companies who are using the Internet well in their businesses clearly represent a tiny minority of firms. Make sure your company is in that minority by using the Internet effectively.

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