Artificial intelligence, or AI, exploded onto the scene in recent years and is now everywhere, with no signs of slowing down. Between 2023 and 2030, AI is expected to see annual growth of 37.3%. Huge companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are leaning into AI to move their businesses forward, but the idea of adopting AI can seem daunting for small businesses.
Here’s the truth: AI is an invaluable tool for any growing business, regardless of size. Taking time to understand and adopt AI now can set you up for future success and growth opportunities.
Here’s your AI primer for small business owners to give you confidence to take the plunge into the exciting (and transformative) world of AI:
What Can AI Do for Your Small Business?
Small business owners wear many hats, and AI is a powerful resource for expanding your efforts and reach. One recent survey found that 91% of small business owners using AI say it has made their business more successful. Think of AI as a boost to your workforce and systems and use it to access skills you or your employees don’t possess. Don't know how to code an app or manage inventory? Turn to AI and alleviate costs associated with upskilling or hiring new employees. AI can fill in the knowledge gaps and alleviate many repetitive tasks, such as data entry, to free up more time for creativity and building partnerships and customer relationships.
Generative AI can also enhance marketing, content, and the customer experience by creating personalized marketing campaigns and product recommendations and increasing access to customer data for a customized in-store or online shopping experience. By automatically storing and organizing data through AI, small business owners can easily understand their customers to provide better and more relevant service.
But even with its benefits and applications, AI also brings potential pitfalls. Perhaps the most common is incorrect or unreliable results, which frequently make the news when they happen to large companies. If an algorithm is incorrect or pulls from outdated data, it can lead to poor results and cause a business to lose credibility. Businesses can also fall into the trap of leaning too heavily on AI and missing the human element of their services.
Creating a Strategic Approach to AI
With so many potential AI applications, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. And while AI can likely transform nearly every aspect of your business, you don’t have to adopt it all overnight.
Start by evaluating your current processes. What are the pain points for employees and customers? What is slowing you down from expanding more quickly? Where do you face friction in your current processes? These answers can be a great jumping-off point to find the matching AI tool.
For example, if you struggle to convert leads to clients, you may want to adopt an AI tool to automate lead cultivation with personalized communication. If your marketing and branding needs an update, look into AI tools that can quickly produce high-quality marketing materials.
As you adopt AI tools to fix pain points, you can expand your reach and strategically move to the next priority while leveraging AI to grow your business.
AI Resources for Small Business Owners
When you’re ready to get started with AI in your business, a huge variety of tools and online resources are available.
Consider these four top AI resources for small business owners:
- ChatGPT can perform a variety of tasks with two-way natural language. Use it to write marketing copy that matches your brand’s tone, calculate potential discounts, and create code.
- DALL-E is a text-to-art generator, meaning you can ask it to create any type of art instantly. This tool is useful for creating marketing materials and new product mockups.
- Motion is an AI-powered scheduling tool that can integrate into email and calendar tools for seamless and fast meeting and appointment scheduling.
- ClickUp uses AI to streamline business operations and project management, allowing for more efficient meetings and faster turnarounds.
There are countless other AI tools for small business owners. Join industry groups, ask around, and experiment with new applications to find the best fit for your company.
AI is a must for today’s small businesses. Adopting AI can provide small business owners with a competitive advantage and save you time, money, and other resources. It’s essential to stay up-to-date in today’s digital world. And when approached strategically, AI isn’t just a possibility for small businesses — it’s transformative.
Disclaimer: Fundbox and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.