Too few small firms are using the internet to promote their business, something that is damaging their prospects of success according to new research.A study from UK Online warns that two third of the small businesses surveyed did not have an internet connection, email access or a website, reports IT Pro.Medium-sized enterprises were found to be much more likely to have embraced the opportunities offered by the internet, using websites to improve company awareness, boost contact from potential customers and often directly sell products."Small businesses have been relatively slow to reap the rewards that an effective online presence can bring," said Shane Redding, chairman of the Institute of Direct Marketing, reports IT Pro."There is a clear need for small business owners to better understand the opportunities available so that they can continue to thrive and compete against larger businesses," he added.The study also warns that some firms take cut-price consumer internet access packages, and then struggle with the lack of dedicated support when something goes wrong.A separate OFT study released this week puts UK internet spending at £21.4 billion a year, but warns that both consumers and companies still aren't taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them online.© Adfero Ltd