A limited survey conducted for UPS Canada reveals that small businesses are nervous about their ability to succeed in an e-enabled environment. Ipsos-Reid surveyed and analyzed the responses of 400 small business owners/managers:
Generally, small enterprises do not seem very well prepared for e-business. Less than one-fifth (17%) feel they are adequately funded to support developments in this area, and only 29% believe they have an adequate technical platform in place to support e-business. Finally, just 28% think their employees have a clear understanding of the potential for business through this channel.
I was going to make a sarcastic comment about the observation that "four in ten (37%) owners/managers feel that the Internet will have little or no impact on their business over the next 3-5 years," but I couldn't actually imagine a business that would not be affected by e-commerce over the next five years.
Shoe shops, used book stores, holistic health boutiques, stamp dealers and maple syrup manufacturers: they're all on the web or reachable by email.
Who are these 37%? I guess parking lot attendants, construction site lunch trucks, and roofers might be counted.
Those who do imagine impacts were most likely to mention marketing and company exposure (18%), communicating with customers and clients (13%), and growth in sales and profits (10%).
This information would indicate there's a real opportunity to provide personalized IT infrastructure and advice to a large number of small businesses - an opportunity that could be well exploited by an international organization that has established relationships with small business and can pull in corporate resources to provide reliable and local IT products and advice.
Damn - that would be an opportunity for FedEx/Kinkos. Sorry UPS.