A press release from AllBusiness.com contains results of the study, “SMB State of the Union,” on small/midsize businesses conducted on its behalf by market research firm Frank N. Magid Associates.
The report quotes the Small Business Association as saying that small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States, currently employ half of the private workforce (50.1 percent) and provide approximately 75 percent of the new jobs added to the economy.
The study was conducted in September-October 2005 covering 1,060 small and midsize companies throughout the United States. Surveyed were the owner, partner, president, CEO, COO or vice president of the selected companies, each with no more than 499 employees.
Survey results showed that an overwhelming majority or 83 percent of the respondents found that the Internet improves their business communication. Furthermore, majority say the Internet has opened new markets for their business (61 percent) and has lowered the cost of doing business (57 percent) even as 60 percent say it has also increased competition. Improved employee performance due to the Internet was, on the other hand, reported by only 31 percent of the respondents.
Only 22 percent of the SMBs surveyed are currently using the Internet as a marketing tool, but another 43 percent intend to follow suit within the next six months. Of the net marketers, 74 percent plan to increase their online marketing investments over the next six months. As of now, 62 percent of them use email marketing, 56 percent use search engine optimization, 36 percent use banner advertising, and 25 percent use pay-per-click advertising.
Peter Horan, CEO of AllBusiness.com, says: “The small business marketplace is gaining ground in online sophistication. SMBs are increasingly coming to the realization that there is an inextricable link between online marketing efforts and future success. SMB leaders planning decreases in online activity are virtually non-existent.”
Other SMBs out there not yet online should perhaps explore net opportunities.