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UK small businesses are losing money because of their failure to grasp the importance of the Internet as a communication and business tool, according to a KPMG and Microsoft study.

A separate survey from Hewlett-Packard, published yesterday, suggests that European small businesses understand the importance of what it quaintly calls electronic communications. But they still have trouble implementing the technology, and are unsure how to take it further.

HP found that across Europe 63 per cent of small businesses have a Web presence. Microsoft found roughly the same proportion - 69 per cent - but it stresses that being online is not enough. Where is the advantage, unless you use the Web as a business tool?
Small businesses know they should improve the way the handle electronic communication, with 88 per cent of respondents to HP's survey saying that they wanted to improve their use of electronic communication.

Microsoft found that 20 per cent of small businesses had not considered using the Net to find new business, a third were indifferent about using the Net to increase productivity and two thirds hadn't thought of the tax benefits. ®

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