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Survey Finds Small Businesses Slow To Realize Software Benefits

A nationwide suvery found that despite the affordability of business software, many small businesses are still using paper methods for organizing business information.

While business software has become more powerful and affordable, many small businesses are failing to take advantage of software to grow their sales and profits, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by FileMaker Inc., a maker of database software.

According to the survey's findings, 48 percent of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees say they still use a paper-based system to organize key business data, such as customer information. The survey also says that 45 percent of small businesses agree that their business would "grow significantly" if they could automate more of their marketing activities.

"Although many small businesses have the basic technology tools they need to succeed, it's clear that most of them are not maximizing the power of databases and the Web to serve their customers more effectively," said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker Inc. "Web-based and e-mail marketing can automate many strategic functions for time-pressed small businesses."

The survey found that 77 percent of small businesses will spend about the same or more on technology in 2006 compared to 2005.

According to the survey results, small businesses aren't effectively using technology for marketing, despite having affordable access to the same technology corporations use to automate many marketing and sales activities.

The survey of 211 small business owners and managers was conducted in November 2005, by Greenfield Online, an independent data collection firm, on behalf of FileMaker Inc. Respondents to the survey included 200 business owners and managers whose companies' employed less than 100 people. Quotas were set regionally, to ensure nationally representative results. The margin of error is +/- 6.75 percent.