Artificial Intelligence and Small Business

Be it in the form of Virtual Personal Assistance ( VPA) s,Chatpots or Robotic automation — Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are building business advantage by improving productivity and efficiency , improving sales efforts and even in HR-related functions. As of 2021, approximately 70% of global organisations have integrated AI into the workplace to boost employee productivity.

Among the common misconceptions, AI technologies are deemed to be only suited for large corporations and not feasible for small businesses or start-ups. With the gradual advancement and cost-effectiveness of this technology, AI for small businesses is now becoming an industry reality.

A I applications for small business are benefiting them in the following ways :

Improving sales and marketing efforts — AI tools for small business enterprises are certainly useful for extracting sales-related insights from customer data .For example, the AI enabled Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are enabling small business owners in analysing their customer feedback and accordingly adapt their sales lead generation activities.

Automate Customer Service and Communications — Through the use of automated Chatbots or Digital Assistants that work 24 x 7 around the clock , small businesses are elevating their customer service and communication without hiring and training a dedicated customer support team. For example, the AI powered Answer Bot from Intercom is resolving nearly 30% of the customer queries received by the organisation / company.

Improving Recruitment and HR Activities — Among the prominent benefits of AI for small business ,AI technology is streamlining the entire employee hiring process along with improving the HR function through employee feedback. For instance, an AI enabled applicant tracking tool is reducing the hiring time and cost for the small businesses in filtering through job applications by candidates and selecting the ones that are best suited for the job.

As AI technologies become more accessible and affordable , industry leaders in the small business space must evaluate the multiple components of AI including Robotics, Machine Learning , Natural Language Processing and Machine Vision to see which fits the best into their business model.

Despite the growing corporate investments into AI technologies, small businesses are still apprehensive of the potential use of AI in their business process. To resolve this issue, small business enterprises must first identify AI applications that can have a positive impact on their business operations. For instance, they can leverage on AI applications offered by Google & Facebook to advertise their business to online users on these platforms.

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