Most of the users that make up the Internet's impressive growth statistics aren't using the Web or downloading files. They're simply sending and receiving electronic mail along the Net's phone lines. But our sampling of small businesses indicates that those companies' E-mail isn't wired to the world quite yet. The majority limit E-mail to internal or telecommuting employees. Very few businesses use the Net to contact clients, prospects, or advisers. "Our industry just hasn't accepted E-mail yet as a regular form of communication," says Harvey Friedman of Hatfield Electric, an electrical contractor based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Hatfield has Windows-driven PCs with desktop modems for most of the office employees, who use Lotus cc:Mail. "We do a lot of faxing via modem but no E-mail. Our vendors and other contractors just aren't using E-mail technology at this point," says Friedman.
The results of the survey:
56% use E-mail within the company
41% exchange E-mail with off-site employees
38% have regularly telecommuting employees
23% exchange E-mail with suppliers
18% exchange E-mail with business advisers
Source: A survey of 273 small to midsize businesses, conducted by the Executive Committee, San Diego, April 1995.* * *