Technology has certainly changed the way we do business. From social networking sites to email and websites, the Internet has allowed us to market our businesses far beyond physical boundaries. The internet has opened so many doors for business owners who were once limited to their hometown.

How Small Businesses are Benefiting Online

The latest statistics on Internet use among small business, which was recently released by Citibank Small Business, shows just how much businesses have come to rely on the power of the Internet to market and sell their businesses.

For example, the survey - which was conducted over the phone with 500 small business executives (of less than 100 employees) across the country from August 20 through August 27 - showed that nearly 42 percent of small business have used their company's website as a way to generate business leads and sales.

In addition, the survey showed that 28 percent of small businesses were employing email marketing, and nearly 25 percent of the businesses were using online advertising as a way of increasing their business sales and leads.

Social Media Sites still not Taking off Among Small Businesses

However, what came as a bit of a surprise is that social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, are not being used very often for business use. In fact, the survey by Citibank Small Business showed that just one quarter of businesses have used these social media sites to market their business.

Many small business executives saw these sites as not being very helpful when it comes to generating business leads or expanding business.

The number of social networking sites used by small businesses to seek business advice or information was also very small, as more than 86 percent of the small businesses surveyed said they have not used social networking sites for this purpose. Only ten percent of business owners surveyed actually sought out business advice on social sites and blogs.

With the popularity of social media sites taking off over this past year, it came as quite a bit of a surprise to learn that few small companies used them. However, when given the state of the economy and the difficulty that many businesses have faced over the last year, it becomes clear that many businesses were simply too focused on running their businesses and managing their cash flow to capitalize on social media sites.