Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be all over the news these days. Since the arrival of ChatGPT, more and more companies are touting the use of AI. With this increase in attention to AI, there have also been some concerns from policymakers, advocates, and others around job displacement, disinformation, and data security. While skepticism of new technology is expected, it’s important to recognize that AI has been around for a while and has been making it easier for small businesses to reach new customers, streamline their business, and achieve success. And with AI expected to deliver up to $26 trillion in economic activity, now is the time for small businesses to develop a plan for harnessing these technologies.
At its core, AI involves building computers and applications that can reason, learn, and act in a way that augments the abilities of people and businesses to carry out tasks. For example, AI-driven algorithms help small businesses build online ads and marketing campaigns to reach the right audience, offer spelling and grammar suggestions for emails, and curate content for streaming services based on users’ preferences.
As AI-powered tools become more affordable and available, there are a number of ways AI can help small businesses, including:
- Improving productivity: AI technology can automate tasks that are currently done manually, helping free up employees to focus on strategy and business development. For example, AI can be used to recruit and train employees, analyze data, manage customer relationships, and create marketing campaigns to reach new customers.
- Enhancing operations: AI can help small businesses improve their operations by optimizing product inventory levels, managing supply chains, and increasing security.
- Creating better customer experiences: AI empowers small businesses to elevate customer experiences through personalized interactions, answering questions, and resolving issues more efficiently.
In fact, according to a recent survey from American Express, more than half of small businesses say they’re already using AI-powered digital tools. Similarly, a report from Bredin Insight shows that 70% of small businesses identify AI as making substantial contributions to their business, and 80% are currently prioritizing or are considering using AI to help enhance their business, according to research from Unbounce.
There are several commonly used platforms and tools powered by AI that small businesses are currently using, including:
- Recruiting and job search platforms like LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter to match jobs with users more effectively.
- E-commerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Google Shopping to help businesses sell their products to customers.
- Marketing tools like Google’s Performance Max, Creatopy, and Omneky generate and optimize advertising campaigns and target ads more effectively.
- Customer Service tools like chatbots and data management services integrated with CRM software from platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot.
As improvements in technology provide small businesses with broader access to previously unaffordable tools, AI will help increase productivity, enhance operations, and create new and improved experiences for customers. By embracing AI responsibly and with a focus on collaboration between small businesses and policymakers, we can harness the full potential of AI to create a brighter future for small businesses and the economy.