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Small Business

Small Change for B2B Vendors

When it comes to business-to-business on the Internet, more companies would rather buy than sell. In its survey of fast-growth companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 59% of so-called "trendsetter" companies are buying from other businesses over the Internet, accounting for slightly more than 8% of their last quarter's purchases, on average. Only 25% of such companies, however, are selling to other businesses over the Internet.

The survey's authors speculate that staffing and security issues might make some companies leery about jumping into B2B sales, or that they might be wary of disrupting a current relationship with a distributor. Others might want to sell their products only close to home, where they can be serviced more easily.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY? "They have chosen to get their feet wet through purchasing," says Steve Hamm, managing partner of middle-market advisory services for PwC. "But in time, when they're more comfortable, those already in B2B purchasing...and others...will begin to see business-direct sales as a missed opportunity," he predicts.

In its ongoing "Trendsetter Barometer" surveys, PwC interviews CEOs of 425 product and service companies identified in the media as the fastest-growing U.S. businesses over the last five years. By Theresa Forsman in New York

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