For most small-business owners, e-mail now plays a crucial role in the success of their businesses, according to a new survey.

In a survey of 240 owners nationwide, 80 percent said e-mail is important for business success, while 62 percent said e-mail is as effective or more effective than in-person or phone communications, according to SurePayroll, a Chicago-based payroll services firm. Sixty-four percent said they use more than one e-mail address, with several using three or more, the survey found.

Despite its many benefits, 41 percent of owners polled said they receive too many e-mails and prefer to supplement Web communications with in-person or phone contact.

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