By: Alexis Dishman
Being a small business owner can be a juggling act. On any given day, you might be tasked with handling operations, marketing, accounting, and more. With this workload, there aren’t always enough hours in the day to focus on the long-term growth of the business.
In fact, a recent small business study by Microsoft found that nearly half of small business owners are too busy with everyday tasks to focus on the future of their business.
But what if there was a way to expedite some of these processes? You might find yourself with more time for big-picture planning.
If you haven’t done so yet, you might want to consider artificial intelligence and the potential benefits it could have for your small business.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the ability of machines to sort through information, mimic human learning, and problem-solve. One example of AI in the business world you might be familiar with is the use of chatbots.
Many businesses use chatbots on their website to serve as first-line customer service representatives. A customer can type in their question, and the chatbot may be able to provide them with a quick answer based on available information. This is just one example of how AI is changing the business landscape and helping companies save time and resources.
And as this technology evolves, more and more entrepreneurs are finding ways to utilize AI. A 2022 study commissioned by IBM found that 35% of companies reported using AI in their businesses, which was a 4% increase from the previous year.
There are a variety of ways AI can potentially benefit entrepreneurs, and we’ve provided a few examples that demonstrate how it is being used.
One area where AI may help marketing efforts is through content creation. Different AI tools can be used to create content such as blog posts, emails, graphics, videos, and more. There are even some AI tools that can help create a website for small businesses.
The key to using AI for content creation is to maintain a human element. You will need to review the generated material to ensure it is factual, aligns with your brand’s identity, and resonates with your audience.
Another way AI may be helpful in marketing is by performing market research. AI tools can quickly process large amounts of data, which can save you time identifying market trends and performing competitor analysis. This could result in more time to be used for planning and executing marketing strategies.
Chatbots are not the only AI technology changing the customer service landscape. Some small businesses are utilizing AI to provide customers with personalized recommendations as well.
AI can analyze customer data to offer tailored products or services that match an individual’s interests. This could potentially enhance the customer experience and increase the likelihood of converting a sale.
Additionally, AI can potentially save you time by performing social media monitoring. AI tools can monitor social media platforms for mentions of your brand or products, which can help you provide timely responses to customers, answer questions, and more actively engage with your audience.
One area that bogs down many small business owners – especially when they are first starting out – is accounting. However many of the tasks associated with accounting can be automated by AI, such as data entry, expense categorization, and invoice processing.
There are also AI accounting tools that can provide real-time insights into a business’s financial health. These allow small business owners to access dashboards that display performance indicators, cash flow projections, and expense patterns.
Additionally, AI technology has the potential to reduce the likelihood of human error when it comes to small business accounting. Automating certain processes may help ensure that financial records are accurate.
As AI becomes more embedded in today’s business practices, you may want to consider its potential benefits for your company. You might start by determining what tasks are most time-consuming and researching available AI solutions.
It is also important to consider the cost and time associated with integrating AI into your business. There are some free AI tools available that can fulfill certain needs, but others require payment. You may need to spend time learning how to use the technology, training employees, and changing processes and procedures.
Like any decision you make with your business, it is critical to first perform due diligence and consult with relevant advisors. After taking these steps, you may have a better understanding of AI and if it can help your small business.
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Disclaimer: the information provided on this page is meant for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current resources and recommendations available. Please consult with your financial, tax, legal, and other relevant advisors when making decisions about your small business.