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Broadband is the most important technology issue for small businesses, according to new research.

A survey of its own advisers by Technology Means Business found eight out of ten reported an increase in the number of enquiries about broadband in the past 12 months. And 85 per cent anticipated that this will increase over the next year.

Web services and web development are also hot topics with seven out of ten advisers noting an increase in enquiries about these area.

The overwhelming majority (93%) of TMB's clients are businesses with under 100 employees and most have at least a basic website; but one in five are also able to take customer enquiries, orders and credit card details online.

Says the TMB report: "In certain sectors, having a website is a must, while in others it's is a nice thing, but there are other aspects of e-commerce that they do not see until they are advised.

"Many businesses see ICT (Information and Communication Technology) as a tool, but do not budget for replacements, expecting their computers etc. to carry on working forever – they are getting left behind by technology because they have budgeted for replacement or improvement."

According to TMB, there appears to be a correlation between the length of time an company has been in business and the importance it places on ICT.

Around nine out of ten advisers felt that organisations that had been in business for three years or more found ICT very important or important, but this falls to 84 per cent of firms in business for one to three years, and 60 per cent of startups.

The importance attached to ICT also differs by sector with marketing and communications firms rating the importance of ICT much more highly than, say, agricultural firms.

© Startups.co.uk is the biggest independent small business site in the UK. It has more than 2500 articles covering everything from taking on staff to dealing with VAT.

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