Resellers can make money by helping small firms set up on the internet, a study has found.
The European Small Business Directors' Report, commissioned by Compaq and Novell, reported that only seven per cent of small European firms have started trading online, although 61 per cent recognised that ecommerce will "revolutionise the way firms do business in the next five years".
There is also resistance to selling online, with only 19 per cent of small firms planning to trade over the internet in future.
Of the nine out of 10 firms that do not trade online, 32 per cent do not see how it can be of use to the company and 28 per cent feel ecommerce will reap no benefits. One in 10 said they lacked the knowledge to set up an ebusiness, while 12 per cent said they did not trade online because their customers and suppliers did not have net access. Nine per cent had security concerns.
The survey - which canvassed 1,023 firms of between 10 and 99 staff - found that while six out of 10 small firms have set up websites, most are used as billboards to promote the companies or as a means of communication with customers and suppliers.
Only 43 per cent believe the internet can be used for generating extra sales.
The study revealed that Vars and ISPs could play a key role in helping small businesses understand the benefits of e-business.
"The days where a DIY home page pasted up on the internet can be considered sufficient are dead, and partnership with Vars and ISPs is the logical way forward for the majority of these companies," the study said.
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