4 ways small business owners can benefit from artificial intelligence

By Chloe Smith

Running a business today is like being in the middle of a cold war. Survival is measured in the amount of data and information a company possesses. If you’re running a small business, gathering that data and information might seem more than you can handle, but, luckily, the development of artificial intelligence can enable you to stay in the saddle.

Every expert IT Company professional is aware that AI has become an essential tool for gaining an advantage over the rapidly growing competition. With this machine learning, the big corporations will no longer have the monopoly over the large amounts of data. The automatization of basic tasks that need hours to be completed by humans will lead to a better and quicker insight into the needs and desires of customers, enabling you to form the right strategy with enough time on your hands. Your business will become more informed, making it more productive and efficient. You’ll be able to take your stand before the larger corporations and your unique small business characteristics – strong company identity and close customer engagement – will be the ace upon your sleeve. The integration of AI into your business can be a larger investment, but we’ve prepared a list of benefits that will make your second thoughts disappear.

– Every war is fought by minds

The minds of your employees are your biggest weapon, so you can’t have them clogged by some repetitive and boring tasks. They can’t be fresh and ready if the balance between their life and work is lost somewhere underneath the pile of paperwork. Unfortunately, these administrative tasks are needed to keep the business (especially a small one) afloat, but you can’t waste your top talents in these routine tasks. If you integrate AI into your business, many of those time-consuming and repetitive obligations will go away, leaving your employees with the time for entrepreneurial and strategic work they’re here to do in the first place. Artificial intelligence can’t get tired of same old customer service inquiries or of crunching the numbers for accounting needs. But they’re not intelligent enough to think of a way to improve customer relationship either, and that’s what your employees are here really for.

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When you’re running a small business you have to make multiple difficult decisions almost every day. The pressure is so great that sometimes you don’t think things through before reaching the certain decision, and sometimes you simply don’t have the time to do it. This becomes a real problem when those decisions are of financial nature, which means that the survival of the company is at stake. But there are a lot of AI tools that can perform a complete analysis of the situation in no time, making a process of reaching a decision much less complicated. You’ll always know what to do when all the facts are at the table, and AI is designed to do just that.

– Know every breath of your customers

In the business world, the strength of your ‛army’ is measured by the size of your customer base. We already said that small business has the advantage of having a more intimate relationship with their customers, but AI technology can get that advantage to an even higher level. The process of machine learning enables you to learn every last detail about your customers’ preferences.

AI uses algorithms to obtain all the insight you would need months to obtain by yourself and immediately creates a highly personalized experience for a targeted group of customers. If you think of Amazon and Netflix recommendations, you’ll realize that you’ve already seen this process at work. These personalized product experiences are the core of every small business, providing a personal touch that builds long-term friendship and trust. Machine learning requires a vast amount of data that was pretty much unaffordable to small businesses in the past, but today there are a number of open source software and third-party tools such as the Acquisio marketing tool that is built precisely for small businesses, helping them to optimize the online acquisition process.

– Predict the future and tailor it to their needs

AI gives you far more than just an insight into your customers’ behavior – it also uses the collected data to come up with the best possible way how to improve customer service in the future. The only way to stay competitive is to predict the evolution of customers needs in the future and AI can be your crystal ball. With the vast customer information it can collect, you can identify certain patterns that will help you to evolve your products and services so they can meet these future expectations. One of those ‛crystal ball’ programmes is IBM’s Watson Analytics, which uses the information gathered from HR, finance, marketing, sales, etc, to make predictions about the future.

As you can see, AI benefits are numerous – they don’t just take away the burden of time-consuming and repetitive administrative tasks, they also allow you to come close to your customers and open the door to a certain kind of future – the future of success.

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Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success. When she’s not working, she’s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea (or more honestly, binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show).

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