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A survey commissioned by B2B website, ehook.co.uk, reveals that many SMEs do not have the time or budget to invest in new business

London, 19th April 2001 - ehook.co.uk, the online B2B marketplace and information source, today announces the results of a major survey exploring the generation of new business by SMEs in the UK.

The survey, conducted by Outlook Research, found that, of the 500 UK SMEs questioned, 71% do not have a formal marketing budget aimed at sourcing new business and over two thirds spend less than £5K per annum on new business generation. The survey also discovered that almost 90% of SMEs do not have a targeted new business strategy, with up to 59% feeling they lack sufficient time to find new business.

When it comes to the Internet, many SMEs still shy away from venturing online. Less than a third of those questioned have a website, but of these, 50% were intending to set one up in the near future. Around nine out of ten of those who were intending to launch a website expected it to make a contribution to new business generation.

Mark Malley, founder and MD of ehook.co.uk comments:
‘For companies in the UK to truly flourish they need to balance resources and maximise sales through the generation of new business leads. The internet provides a great medium for doing this, but due to high set up costs the internet can be a daunting prospect for UK SMEs. This survey illustrates some of the problems facing these companies. Even with Government initiatives such as ‘UK online’ supporting UK companies through the announcement that they aim to have 1.5million trading online by the end of 2002, companies are still finding it hard to develop new business in a cost/time effective way.”

Malley continues:
“ehook.co.uk can help companies utilise the internet as a sales tool by providing them with free business leads, and so allowing them to spend more time on the generation of new business. ehook provides SMEs with an intermediary 'one stop' internet solution, which we hope will lead to each SME fully integrating the internet into their business.”

Launched in September 2000, ehook.co.uk is an online B2B information source. It provides SMEs with a unique opportunity to streamline the process of finding services and attracting new business. Covering a variety of business sectors, ehook.co.uk, provides companies with the opportunity to source business services over the Internet, free of charge, along with offering their own services to a large base of potential new customers.

ehook.co.uk already has over 8,000 service suppliers signed up across 73 different business categories and has traded over £2,500,000 worth of business since its launch in November 2000.


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Outlook Research Highlights:
· 71% of SMEs have no formal marketing budget
· Two thirds of SMEs spend less than £5,000 per annum on marketing
· Word of mouth was the most widely used method of new business generation across all company sizes - 90% of companies rated it
· High proportion of SMEs had no means of establishing the effectiveness of the marketing activity which they were undertaking
· Only 2% of those using a website for new business generation believed that this was their most effective method
· Total average cost per new business lead is £650
· Two thirds of SMEs do not have their own website
· The main benefit of web based new business activity were considered to be; accessing broader market, ease of use, future of communications, interesting/novelty, speed of response, cheaper than alternatives
· Of those who do not have a website, 50% were intending to set one up in the future
· Nine out of ten of those who were intending to launch a website expected it to make some contribution to new business generation
· 49% of SMEs do not feel that they have sufficient time available to look for new business (this increases to 59% in companies with over 50 employees)
· Two thirds of SMEs agree that looking for new business is a time consuming and costly activity
· Two thirds of SMEs agree that new business is an area of business activity which tends to get neglected during busy periods


Notes to Editors:
1. Outlook Research conducted a telephone interview amongst the decision makers in 500 small to medium sized companies in the UK
2. Full research results are available
3. ehook.co.uk is a completely free service aimed at SMEs in the UK, looking for, or looking to provide, a business service
4. As a user, looking to source a business service, ehook.co.uk, researches the most appropriate supplier for your task
5. As a business supplier, ehook.co.uk, provides you with free quality leads for potential new business
6. ehook.co.uk, is unique in that, for every new business request, ehook.co.uk will only forward the details of the first 15 most relevant companies. This means users only get approached by select and relevant companies and that suppliers submitting a proposal are not competing against large numbers of companies

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