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Unlocking potential: How small businesses can thrive with artificial intelligence

Published on Jun 20, 2024

Unlocking potential: How small businesses can thrive with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a buzzword for big corporations; it’s a transformative tool that’s revolutionizing business operations across industries, including small businesses.

According to recent research conducted by Slack involving 2,000 business owners, AI is a top priority for many. Thirty-five percent are eager to implement new technology or update existing solutions, and of those who plan to increase their budget, 50% plan to allocate the increase toward technology and infrastructure. Notably, 50% identified AI as their technology of choice.

As AI technology advances and new applications emerge, small businesses have unprecedented opportunities to leverage this powerful tool. But how exactly can small businesses benefit from AI?

Types of benefits AI delivers for small businesses

AI is not just a futuristic concept; it’s a practical tool that can transform small business operations. It can automate repetitive tasks, enhance customer service, streamline business processes, enable data-driven decision-making, and lead to significant cost savings. Here are some specific benefits AI can deliver for small businesses.

Automation of repetitive tasks

One of AI’s primary benefits is empowering small business owners by relieving them from repetitive tasks. By embedding AI, small businesses can accomplish more with the same number of employees, generate faster outcomes, and free up time for strategic/higher-value tasks. This can give employees a sense of control, capability, and relief from mundane work.

Enhanced customer service

An AI-powered chatbot can enhance customer service by responding to inquiries around the clock. Suppose a customer has a question about shipping or returning a product. The chatbot can provide up-to-date information that would otherwise require a call and an employee’s assistance. This instills confidence in the business’s ability to provide excellent service and foster customer loyalty.

AI can also use its predictive capabilities to offer personalized recommendations to new and existing customers. Just as importantly, a chatbot can also identify problems beyond its scope and escalate to a human customer service representative for resolution.

Streamlined business processes

AI can streamline processes across the entire organization. From inventory management to accounting to recruitment, AI can assume tasks that would otherwise require humans to complete. For example, AI can analyze historical sales data, current stock levels, and ordering lead times and recommend when and how much inventory to buy to avoid running out of products.

Data-Driven decision making

AI’s ability to handle vast amounts of data and extract insights enables better decision-making, market understanding, and responsiveness. For example, for an online business, AI can analyze sales data, browsing patterns, the devices they use, and other factors to segment customers and deliver tailored marketing messages.

Cost savings

AI can lead to significant cost savings by optimizing business processes and reducing manual labor. For example, AI can automate elements of the bookkeeping process, such as extracting relevant data from receipts and invoices using optical character recognition. It can also classify routine transactions in the general ledger, removing the need for employees to do so.

Artificial intelligence is no longer a luxury reserved for large corporations. It’s a tool that small businesses can leverage to automate tasks, make data-driven decisions, and cut costs. To make AI work effectively, it is essential to begin with small steps, invest in training, and monitor the impact on customers and employees.

As AI continues to advance, it’s crucial for small business owners to consider and actively embrace this technology to stay competitive and propel their businesses forward.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. 

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