Connectivity & Communication: A Study of How Small Wine Businesses Use the Internet
This paper addresses the development and effects of Internet use by small wine businesses. It includes useful insights that can be applied to other small businesses, and also provides helpful information for consultants and entrepreneurship educators. An exploratory framework is presented that includes a four-stage sequence through which small businesses typically progress in relation to the use of Internet-related tools. The stages include awareness, design, implementation, and practice. Propositions are also developed to guide analysis of the framework, and an empirical test of various parts of the framework is performed using a sample of 382 wineries. Results showed that, beyond the use of e-mail for communication and connectivity, awareness of the Internet's uses is moderate, while implementation is moderate to low. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents believe the Internet will make a strong contribution to sales and profitability in the future, though only 9% report they are currently achieving this with Internet utilization.
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