Small Businesses Have Healthy Presence on the Internet

72% of companies have Web sites

ATLANTA -- More than 70% of small businesses have an Internet presence, and of those 78% feel their company is healthier, that is, has a competitive advantage or stronger economic footing, because of their Web site.

The results of the Summer 2005 Business Barometer survey conducted by Atlanta-based Interland should particularly be of interest to the convenience store industry, where more than a third of all stores are owned in groups of one to 10, according to the 2005 NACS State of the Industry Report.

The nationwide [image-nocss] survey of 780 small-business leaders of organizations with 500 or fewer employees shows how the leaders of small U.S. businesses feel on issues important to them. A solid 72% said they have a Web presence. Nineteen percent of the total respondents were retailers.

With regard to the perceived value of their Web sites:

78% of respondents said their company was healthier - had a competitive advantage or stronger economic footing - because of their Web site

76% also identified their Web site as a tool that helps generate business leads

57% of those with Web sites said they generate monthly revenue through online purchases or offline purchases that were influenced by their Web site

53% of small businesses with Web sites say the role it plays in the business is primarily to provide company credibility

54%, of respondents measure Web site success by customer and prospect comments, followed by site traffic (48%)

When asked to define the role of the Web site in their business:

14% rely heavily on the Web site to make sales goals

19% say it is a tool that helps lower costs

15% declare it is the most powerful marketing tool they have

53% feel the Web site provides the company credibility

29% say the Web site provides a critical building block for developing products/services

23% are unsure that it provides any significant value

The response to monthly revenue generated by the Web site shows that:

21% say none of their monthly revenue is generated by their site

32% say less than 10%

10% say 10% to 20%

9% say 21% to 50%

3% say 51% to 75%

2% say 76% to 99%

22% are uncertain

Web site success is measured in a variety of ways:

54% use customer/prospect comments about the site

24% use online sales as the criteria

36% say sales leads

48% consider site activity/traffic/number of visitors the important factor

21% cite efficiency of internal business processes (i.e., faster payment processing, fewer phone calls)