Half of Britain's 3.7 million small businesses are failing to embrace the opportunities of the Internet because they are confused about how it could help their business.
Research compiled by e-business incubator Xworks showed that:
The research also revealed that many small companies do not know the cost of setting up an e-commerce site. More than 90% of those that were not online thought it would cost less than £1,000 - but the average cost is between £6,000 and £10,000, said Xworks.
Justin Drummond, chief executive officer at Xworks, said, "Small firms should be aware of the costs of setting up a professional Web site, but also the benefits of going online so that they can make a reasoned decision about using the Internet for business purposes."
In partnership with Barclays Merchant Development, Xworks has launched a service that will assist companies in setting up ePDQ (swipe card) technology on their Web sites.
This allows them to accept and process payments online.