9 Ways AI Can Help Small Businesses to Scale Up


Artificial intelligence (AI) has become part and parcel of our lives. It’s impossible to imagine work, entertainment, health, and many other industries without AI.

One area that has benefitted the most from AI is the business sector. A growing body of evidence suggests that AI boosts productivity and business growth.

Many business owners are yet to take advantage of the offering available in AI. One global survey suggests that only 50% of companies use AI in their business processes.

Unfortunately, fewer small businesses use artificial intelligence. This negligence can cost business owners thousands of dollars.

Contrary to popular opinion, AI tools are affordable and easy to use. The type of AI you need depends on what you want to achieve at any point to grow your small business.

Are you a small business owner yet to embrace AI? This article will examine the various ways AI can help your business to:

  • Generate sales and profits
  • Automate customer interaction
  • Efficient recruitment
  • Get a competitive advantage
  • Smarter marketing
  • Improved online security
  • Improved budgeting
  • Boost productivity
  • Gather and analyze big data


1. Generate Sales and Profits

The principal aim of every business organization is to generate sales and profits. Without sales and profits, every business—big and small will close down.

There are several ways AI can help small businesses generate sales and profits. The decision on how to use AI is at the discretion of the management.

Migros Profits

Migros is a supermarket chain in Turkey that has successfully used AI to increase sales. While many customers visit other stores because of a shortage of products, Migros uses AI to keep their shelves well-stocked at all times.

When products are available, it keeps the customers satisfied and coming back for more. Migros uses AI to discover the shopping habits of their customers. They can ensure that customers have access to their favorite products with that information.

With AI, small businesses can:

  • Generate leads. — In sales, lead generation involves capturing your audience’s attention before selling to them.
  • Send personalized content. — Some studies suggest shoppers prefer products or services that offer a personalized experience. Small businesses can use AI to send personalized information to their customers.
  • Customer relationship management. — Before AI, the average salesperson spent a lot of time managing data with customers. Thanks to AI, it is possible to automate customer relationship management processes. Salespersons now have more time to close deals with customers.
  • Accurate data-based sales forecast. — Small businesses can make accurate sales forecasts which help them predict performance outcomes.

Identifying trends in consumer behavior is one way to generate leads and increase sales.

2. Automate Customer Interaction

Some form of communication takes place before a business sells a product to a customer. Salespeople spend hours convincing a potential customer to buy a product or service. This resulted in enormous costs in lost time and resources for businesses.

Today, AI has revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers. There are now chatbots that can start and communicate with customers 24 hours a day.

Babylon Health Chat

Chat boxes are now a common feature of many businesses. And as chat boxes get smarter at interacting with people, they are encroaching into areas once considered exclusive to humans.

Some hospitals engage their clients with an AI chatbox technology known as Babylon Health in the UK. The bot can use someone’s responses to determine if seeing a doctor is necessary or not. Babylon can help patients develop healthcare goals, book appointments, and manage their ailments.

Small businesses are in a prime position to enjoy AI technology. Big corporations can hire the best customer service teams, but small businesses cannot.

Small businesses use interactive voice response (IVR) systems to engage their customers round the clock. The IVR system ensures that no inbound call to your office goes unanswered.

You can also use AI in your payment and contract management systems. A company like Mckesson has automated its contract and payment processes. It is now easy for their clients to do business with them.

3. Efficient Recruitment

A lot goes into hiring the right people to fill vacant positions in an organization. Deciding on the best candidate can be difficult.

Before AI, the HR departments recruited candidates based on what they saw, heard, and felt. Relying on instincts and feelings is costly. Many business organizations have made the wrong decisions in their recruitment exercises.

Below are the ways AI can help small businesses improve the recruitment process.

  • Attract the best candidates. — Sometimes, businesses fail to find the candidate with the right qualifications they want. In the recruitment process, you only hire from among those who applied for the job. But how do you ensure the best candidates show interest in the advertised position? One way to attract the best candidates in your recruitment process is to make the procedure easy. But AI tools can help candidates navigate the recruiting process on time.
  • Cut down on hiring time. — For many small businesses, filling a vacant position is not a straightforward exercise. The hiring process takes time. Most times, it involves going through many applications and choosing the best candidates for the job. Using AI reduces the time needed to find the right candidates.
  • Reduces recruitment cost. — Many business organizations will agree that the recruitment process is a costly exercise. Hiring new employees involves several stages. From advertising the positions, to screening, and interviewing the applicants. The longer the recruitment process, the more it will cost. AI can aid small businesses in identifying recruitment bottlenecks and reduce hiring costs.

HireVue Recruitment

A popular AI recruitment software already being used by many businesses is HireVue. The technology has saved a company like Unilever over a million pounds in recruitment costs. HireVue has an algorithm that analyzes applicants’ data and determines if they are fit for the position.

With AI, the recruitment process has never been more efficient. Businesses with AI will have a good return on their investment.

4. Get A Competitive Advantage

In every area of business, some seem to be ahead of others. Sometimes, the only way to compete is to know what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Ant Financial Competitive Advantage
It took a company like the Ant Financial Services Group just five years to attract over one billion customers. That outstanding achievement was down to their use of AI to run a variety of businesses from health insurance to wealth management. Ant uses AI to set interest rates, credit card limits, and make other financial decisions based on history.

Several AI tools can give you a peek into what your competitors are doing. The purpose of keeping tabs on your competition is to learn what works and what does not.

The behavior of customers can change for many reasons. If you do not know the changes, you will keep doing the same old things and might get left behind. For example, an unsatisfied customer is unlikely to buy from you again or recommend you to others.

With AI, small businesses can measure their customers’ satisfaction levels. Knowing how your customers feel about your products will help improve your business.

5. Smarter Marketing

Big corporations spend enormous resources on marketing to reach potential customers. Most small businesses lack the financial base to engage in big marketing.

But small businesses need marketing to stand any chance of surviving. Most small businesses go all out to tell people about their products and services.

The benefits of marketing are enormous for all enterprises. Marketing helps you build a consistent customer base to keep your business afloat.

Carphone Marketing

One company that has harnessed the power of AI in marketing is Dixons Carphone. According to a report, the company used AI software to write an advertising slogan that generated more leads than those produced by their human copywriters.

Dixons Carphone wanted to promote their Black Friday sales and asked their copywriters to write a catchy phrase that will attract shoppers. According to Saul Lopes, the company’s head of marketing, all the human copywriters wrote a line with Black Friday in it. The AI software’s line had no Black Friday in it, but it had the biggest hit.

Another area of marketing that AI has revolutionized is email marketing. Email marketing has the highest return on investment for all marketing strategies.

Before AI, many marketers committed a lot of errors in their marketing campaigns. One of these errors was not knowing the right time to install a particular strategy. For example, a premature sale to a potential customer may chase the prospect away.

AI ads management tools, like Braxy, also exist. This lets you automatically create new ads, find new keywords, set schedules, and optimize your campaigns. This use of AI takes a lot of the pressure and risk off of businesses looking to run high-impact ad campaigns.

With AI, marketers can program their campaigns to target potential customers only when they are ready to take a step.

6. Improved Online Security

One problem with online business transactions is cyber-crime. Criminals have taken advantage of the internet to attack online businesses.

Cybercriminals attack small businesses for many reasons, like

  • fraud,
  • stealing funds,
  • or blocking a company’s network for ransom.

The threat posed by cybercriminals is on the rise. Small businesses seem to be the worst-hit of all internet users.

Statistics show that cyber-attacks have resulted in the closing down of many small businesses that do not know how to deal with the threats.

The most common online attacks that threaten small businesses include:

  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Phishing
  • Weak online security

The best way small businesses can protect themselves from cyber-attacks is through security convergence and AI cybersecurity. AI can detect and block irregular online activities.

Many small businesses have little or no cyber-security. This is because it costs a lot of money to install one. AI is a cost-effective way to protect yourself from most cyberattacks.

AI can protect your small business from cyberattacks by alerting you of malicious emails and email trackers.

Cisco Improved Security

A company like Cisco has developed an AI security software ‘Designed for Business’, specifically for small businesses. The implication is that small businesses can now take advantage of advanced cyber security that was once the preserve of big corporations.

7. Improved Budgeting

If you think as a small business, you do not need a budget—think again. Creating a budget is one thing that will make your business thrive.

A budget is the estimated financial plan over a specified period. A budget helps small businesses ensure they get and spend money from the right source and on the correct projects.

But many small businesses do not have a proper budget, resulting in poor financial decisions. Creating a budget can be challenging, especially without artificial intelligence. Many businesses have embraced AI to help them predict and manage cash flow.

With AI technology, you can:

  • Ensure you are paying the correct taxes
  • Track your income and expenses
  • Follow and generate your profit-and-loss records
  • Review past performance

Fraedom Budgeting

For many small businesses, the time and process of expense management can be costly. Some IT companies, like Fraedom, have developed an AI solution to some problems faced by small businesses. Using Fraedom’s AI budget software, small businesses can reduce budget time and reduce financial errors.

As a small business, you cannot run away from budgeting. Leveraging AI will help you gain financial insights for creating a business budget.

8. Boost Productivity

Small enterprises account for the vast majority of businesses in most countries. Studies show that AI leads to economic growth by increasing the productivity of businesses.

For performing repetitive tasks, there is no contest between humans and AI. One can perform more tasks in a shorter time with AI.

Automation of processes and tasks with AI increases your operational efficiencies and productivity.

AI boosts productivity through:

  • Efficient production. — Applying AI to the production process reduces errors and increases production runs.
  • Task automation. — Artificial intelligence boosts productivity by automating repetitive and cumbersome tasks.
  • No supervision. — Unlike humans, AI machines do not need constant monitoring to be productive.
  • Adaptability. — AI technology can adjust and adapt to different roles in the production process.
  • Fast data processing. — Another way AI boosts productivity is by processing a vast amount of data in record time.

Productivity AI

A company helping small businesses boost productivity through AI is Gluru. According to the founder, Tim Porter, Gluru’s AI technology will help small businesses organize their data and, in the process, save time and money.

9. Gather and Analyze Big Data

In business, big data refers to any information related to the operation of a company. Generating big data helps small businesses understand and improve their operational methods.

Although you may not see them, big data is a tremendous asset for small businesses. It allows small businesses to make more sales by providing their customers with what they want at the right time.

AI helps small businesses to track their remote work employees. AI allows managers to have an insight into their workers’ productivity performance.

Some information small businesses need to know about their business includes:

  • Website traffic
  • Customer contact information
  • Customer’s age
  • What customers like or don’t like about your product and services
  • Customer’s buying preferences
  • How customers discovered your business

Big Data

The gap between data gathering and data analysis has led some financial institutions to create AI technologies to help business owners make sense of their information. While it is good to gather data, it is even more important to analyze them.

Descartes Labs understands this and uses AI in its data analysis and forecast. The company applies AI to satellite imagery data to forecast crop yields. This technology can also offer valuable insights to small businesses.

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Wrapping it up

There’s no denying it anymore. You cannot grow your small business if you do not incorporate AI into your processes. A summary of the article shows how AI can help your small business scale up, including:

  • Generate sales and profits
  • Automate customer interaction
  • Efficient recruitment
  • Get competitive advantage
  • Smarter marketing
  • Improved online security
  • Improved budgeting
  • Boost productivity
  • Gather and analyze big data

AI will provide you with insights into what you need to do to thrive and stay competitive in your line of business. To stop repetitive tasks, human errors, and increase productivity, embrace AI technology today.

Remember that when you’re getting more sales and your business grows, you must plan your inventory accordingly. You must have proper forecast accuracy or all those sales will result in negativity for your business!

This list is not exhaustive. There are other ways AI can boost your business. So keep learning to discover the best ways AI can help you grow your small business.

Written by our guest writer Andreyana Kulina, a Digital Marketing Specialist at Brosix

She specializes in content marketing and outreach strategies. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes hiking and mountain biking.


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