Where Do You Stand ?

govnet at my-dejanews.com govnet at my-dejanews.com
Wed Dec 9 01:16:17 EST 1998

Re: OnLine Trade Board Posting
Where Do You Stand ?

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Methodology: Approximately 17,000 Export Hotline customers were faxed an
introductory letter and two-page questionnaire. Export Hotline customers
tend to be technology savvy small businesses that either do business
internationally or have a strong desire to do so.
Responses 675


1. How frequently do you use the Internet for business?

Once a week14%
Once a month4%

Small and medium size firms with an interest in conducting business
overseas have a greater propensity to use the Internet than the general
small business population, and use it more frequently. Other polls place
small business use of the Internet at 40-60 percent. This is no surprise
given the high cost of travel and telecommunications generally associated
with doing business overseas. Further, doing business in different time
zones makes e-mail a more attractive form of communication because business
parties do not have to be available at the same time in order to use it.

1A. Does your company have its own Web site?

If No, do you plan to have a Web site in…
6 months15%
12 months7%
13+ months3%
No, we do not plan on creating a Web site9%

Most other polls show that less than one out of five small firms have Web
sites. These figures further demonstrate the importance and commitment
global small companies have placed on the Internet.

2. Which of the following are most important to you in using the Internet
to support your company's international business?
 (Asked for top three in order of importance.
 Results are a weighted average.)

To communicate with customers and/or suppliers28%
To research information24%
To promote my company through our Web site 17%
To locate potential suppliers/ customers 15%   
To locate potential sales channels 7%  
To conduct electronic commerce 5%   
To advertise via banner or direct e-mail messages 3%   
Do not use the Internet for international business  1%    

These results underscore the importance of e-mail as a communications tool
for small firms doing business overseas. As other polls have shown, the
Internet is also an important tool for compiling statistics and other
relevant information small businesses can use to succeed.

3. What are the biggest problems you have in using the Internet for
international business?

Cannot find what I need 42%
Too slow 35%
Nothing relevant to what I do 10%
No access 6%
Too expensive 3%
Other: (access in other countries, language barriers,) 4%

The Internet's popularity among small business owners has grown almost in
spite of itself. While the Internet offers the ability to research markets,
contact potential customers and partners and advertise a company's products
and services, it also is an increasingly cumbersome tool to use. Small
business owners wish to use the Internet to reduce the time they spend on
these activities, but because of the growing number of Web sites and the
information available, finding relevant information is becoming ever more
difficult. Further, with more people using the Internet, the World Wide Web
is growing more congested.

4. If you could improve the Web, what would you like to see change?

Better search engines for business 30%
Directories 24%
Better speed/access 10%
Translation services 9%
Security 9%
A service that can certify business legitamcy 8%
Telco related services 4%
Trade leads/project bids 3%
The ability to make payments 3%

Small and medium size business owners don't know where to go on the Web
when they are looking for information to help them run their companies.

5. How has the use of the Internet affected your business costs?

Significantly reduced costs 14%
Reduced costs somewhat 41%
Increased costs somewhat 17%
Significantly increased costs 1%
No impact 26%

5a. What costs do you believe the Internet has reduced?

Speeds decision making, thus reducing management costs 22%
Reduces the cost of marketing and advertising 19%
Reduces need and therefore, cost of international travel 18%
*Other - reduce telecommunications costs 18% 
Reduces administrative costs of handling orders and payments 16% 
Cost of research 3% 
Cost of shipping 2% 
Other - < 1% 

Globally aware small and medium size firms are reaping substantial cost
benefits from using the Web, principally in the forms of greater efficiency
and lowered communications expenses. The Internet brings smaller firms
closer to their customers, suppliers and partners without incurring
significant costs long associated with doing business overseas (i.e. T&E
expenses and long-distance telephone charges). The Internet also speeds the
sharing of information, so business managers can make decisions quicker.
Some small and medium size businesses also are using the Web to reduce the
amount of time and money spent tracking orders and payments.

6. Which of the following problems does your company face when making
international payments in foreign currencies?

Transaction fees too high 23%
Payments not made in a timely fashion 14%
Bank or service provider difficult to reach when needed 11%
Transactions difficult to trace 9%
Exchange rates not competitive 9%
Customer service representatives lack foreign exchange expertise 7%
On-line foreign exchange services poor or non existent 4%
Service providers only offer USD transactions 3%
There are no problems 18%
Other 2%

While small and medium size firms feel that international payment
transaction fees are too high, a greater percentage of respondents point to
the inconvenience of traditional services as an obstacle for them. For
example, 11% claim providers are difficult to reach when needed; 9% say
transactions are difficult to trace and another 7% say that customer
service representatives lack foreign exchange expertise. On-line
international payments services could reduce this dissatisfaction.

7. How will the new Euro currency impact any business you do in Europe?

Doing business will become easier 26%
Doing business will become more difficult 6%
It will have no impact on my business 42%
We do not do business in Europe 26%

When the eleven nations in the "euro-zone" move to pricing products and
services in a single currency (the Euro) on Jan. 1, 1999, there is the
potential that doing business will become easier. Pricing across countries
will become more transparent, for example, making it easier for smaller
firms to compare the cost of doing business in one nation vs. another.

------------------------------------END OF SURVEY

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