As the web creeps into every part of our working life, business owners are now saying staff should be banned from using Twitter, Facebook et al.
And while While Myer, Harvey Norman & Co face profit catastrophe in the face of e-competition, small business say they are unconcerned abut online.
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That’s according to a Telstra survey, which shows almost seven out of ten SMBs (68%) say they are not concerned about the impact of the Net on their business.
Why? It looks like SMB’s have got their shop in order when it comes to e-commerce and 81% now have a website – a significant increase on previous figures.
Many say they are planning to increase their online presence this year, according to the survey, which quizzed 321 business owners or operators from the self-employed to 200 staff.
Usage of social networks like Facebook and Twitter are also on the up, according to the findings.
The phone is still the main way of directly connecting with customers, in particular via web connected smartphone.
However, at the same time, a startling 60% of business owners said staff should be banned from using social media at work, which appears to be a contradiction, of sorts, since workers now channel these networks to drum up business.
Over 25% of those quizzed said they use social media for direct sales, while customer interaction, promotion and generating sales leads were far more popular uses for Facebook and Co.
The findings also show the Internet is regarded as a powerful and positive tool by small business, says Will Irving, Group MD, Telstra Business.
“Social media has emerged as a prime growth area with just over one-in-five SMBs (21%) now using it in their operations.”
However, “many small business operators will have to change their mindset to embrace social media,” Irving also warned.
“Adding new customers is the top priority for two-thirds of SMBs in 2012 and building a stronger Web presence can do just that.”
The research was commissioned for the Telstra and the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA).
Online advertising was fast overtaking other forms of marketing for small business, accounting for 19% of all ad’s, just behind print ad’s 25% share.
After increasing their web presence, other priorities for 2012 for SMB’s are reducing debt, networking and investing in new technology.