Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com
Most small business owners (66%) are using the Internet as a tool to help them run their businesses, according to the OPEN Small Business Network 2002 Monitor from American Express. According to the national survey, the 50% of small business owners who say they plan to make capital investments in the next six months will continue embracing technology. More than 40% said they planned to invest in computers, printers or scanners compared to manufacturing or production equipment (35%) and office furnishings (28%).
According to the study, the most common online business activities include:
* Making travel plans/purchasing office supplies, equipment or other business services (tied at 36%);
* conducting industry or market research (34%) and
* marketing or advertising (29%).
Interestingly, nearly one in four small businesses (24%) said they use the Internet to network with other entrepreneurs. Other online activities include purchasing goods from wholesalers (22%) and managing accounts and making payments (16%).
Among those who do not use the Internet for their small businesses, 39% said they prefer dealing with people face-to-face. This sentiment was felt most strongly in the South compared to other regions of the country. Additionally, 18% of small business that do not use the Internet said they felt searching the Internet was too time consuming.
The OPEN Small Business Network 2002 Monitor is based on a nationally representative sample of small business and included 501 small business owners/managers, each of whom had fewer than 100 employees. The survey, which examines the attitudes and practices of small business owners, was conducted via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR) from February 11- 25, 2002. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.