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Small Businesses Are Missing Out on Benefits of New Software

National Survey Reveals That Half of U.S. Small Businesses Still Use Paper for Organizing Business Information; Only 18 Percent

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While business software has become more powerful and affordable, many small businesses are failing to take advantage of software to grow their sales and profits.

In a nationwide survey commissioned by FileMaker, Inc., 48 percent of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees say they still use a paper-based system to organize key business data, such as customer information. The survey also revealed that 45 percent of small businesses agree that their business would "grow significantly" if they could automate more of their marketing activities.

"Although many small businesses have the basic technology tools they need to succeed, it's clear that most of them are not maximizing the power of databases and the Web to serve their customers more effectively," said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker, Inc. "Web-based and email marketing can automate many strategic functions for time-pressed small businesses."

New Email Marketing Guide Available Soon From FileMaker

FileMaker recently released "How to Start Email Marketing in 10 Easy Steps," a downloadable guide designed specifically for small businesses is available at http://www.filemaker.com/email_marketing

The view from International Data Corporation (IDC)

"Just look at small business marketing and promotion," said Ray Boggs, IDC's vice president of SMB research. "More than 80% of online small businesses now have their own Web sites, but when it comes to using the Internet to reach out to customers proactively, the percentage is far smaller. It's almost as if small businesses prefer to spend their $14.4 billion marketing and promotion budgets on the things that worked in the 19th century (signs and flyers) than the tactics that work in the 21st century."

On the plus side, the FileMaker survey found that 77 percent of small businesses will spend about the same or more on technology in 2006 compared to 2005.

Major Small Business Survey Findings

The November 2005 survey uncovered small business trends in several areas, including:

"What Paperless Office?"

Ten years after the "Paperless Office Revolution," half of all small businesses are still using paper files.

-- Nearly half (48%) of small businesses still use paper file folders to organize important non-financial information. -- 30% of small businesses still use paper-based system to store and manage customer-related information. "Information Overload Is Slowing Productivity"

Small businesses are concerned about finding business information and the accuracy of that information.

-- Of small businesses that use spreadsheet software to organize non-financial information, 47 percent are concerned their employees are spending too much time looking for specific information. -- 42 percent of small businesses are concerned about the "ability of their employees to access accurate information." -- Employees at 52 percent of small business do not have any access to business information when they are out of the office.

"Small businesses are not using technology productively for marketing and sales"

Small businesses aren't effectively using technology for marketing. And yet, small businesses now have affordable access to the same technology corporations use to automate many marketing and sales activities.

-- Nearly 44 percent of small businesses spend little-to-no time on sales and marketing. -- And yet 45 percent of small businesses agree or strongly agree that their business would "grow significantly" if they could automate more of their marketing activities. -- Only 18 percent of small businesses use email marketing. -- 49 percent of small businesses are not even considering doing email campaigns to their customers and prospective customers. -- 27 percent of small businesses say they will not be using the web for some of the marketing and sales. -- Only 33 percent of small business managers think their Web site is important to business. 21 percent don't think it's important. Small Businesses Sees Technology Use as an Opportunity for Growth -- 49% say business would grow if I could automate ... -- 31% will be spending more on tech in 2006 versus only 14% who will spend less (46% will spend the same) -- 33% see their company's website as MORE important to business success in 2006 compared to 2005. Only 21% see the website as less important) -- While only 18% are doing email campaigns today, 32% more are currently looking to add this capability in the future Background and Methodology

The nationwide survey of 211 small business owners and managers was conducted in November 2005, by Greenfield Online (http://www.greenfieldonline.com/), an independent data collection firm, on behalf of FileMaker Inc. Respondents to the survey included 200 business owners and managers whose companies' employed less than 100 people. Quotas were set regionally, to ensure nationally representative results. The margin of error is +/- 6.75 percent.

About FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker Pro is used by millions of small businesses worldwide to manage people, projects, images, assets and other information. In addition to being the number one-selling easy-to-use database software, the award-winning FileMaker product line also includes low-cost Applications that automate basic business tasks, ready-to-use Starter Solutions for businesses, and tools to create and share solutions from the desktop to the web.

NOTE: FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

FileMaker, Inc.

CONTACT: Customer contact, 800-325-2747; or media, Kevin Mallon of
FileMaker, Inc., +1-408-987-7227, or [email protected]

Web site: http://www.greenfieldonline.com/

Web site: http://www.filemaker.com/

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