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Top AI Tools for Small Businesses

The era of Artificial Intelligence is well underway. Discover the best AI tools for small businesses that can elevate your operations.
Top AI Tools for Small Businesses - Image of a hand interacting with a robotic hand, symbolizing AI

You can’t look at any news source today and not see a headline about Artificial Intelligence (AI), or computers performing tasks that humans usually perform. AI — along with Machine Learning, or ML (a branch of AI that mimics how humans learn) — is truly the technology on everyone’s radar, especially for entrepreneurs and business owners. While some are skeptics and others are optimists about AI, no one can argue that these advancements are useful for businesses, particularly small businesses that often run short on funds, time, resources, and employees.

The findings from our latest Small Business Trends study reveal a significant gap in the adoption of AI technologies among small business owners. A staggering 83 percent of those surveyed indicated that they have not yet integrated AI into their business practices. This is in stark contrast to the 17 percent who have embraced AI to enhance their operations. Among the small fraction of businesses leveraging AI, writing tools like Chat GPT or Jasper emerge as the most popular, with 21 percent of AI adopters using these technologies. One thing is clear: AI isn’t going anywhere — and we anticipate seeing more small businesses leverage AI in coming years.

It doesn’t matter what type of industry you’re in today — from business consulting to accounting to financial services — AI is here and accessible for small business owners and entrepreneurs. If you’re not sure if AI is right for you and your business, let’s look at some real-world examples to help you see just how impactful AI-based tools can be.

Harnessing the Potential of AI: From Customer Service to Analytics to Inventory

A man holding a phone talking to a virtual assistant. (Top AI Tools for Small Businesses - Guidant Blog).

Did you know that when you message with a chatbot on your favorite retail site that it’s often an AI-powered tool? AI-powered chatbots are extremely common in customer service and online customer interactions. Whether it’s an AI-driven chatbot or virtual assistant, you are often working with AI already in your daily life.

Why use chatbots? According to Motley Fool, chatbots can often give customer service in less time than a human. So, the customer gets a quick answer — and the business owner pays less for a human customer service representative. In other words, it’s a cost-effective way to intelligently automate a repetitive task such as basic customer inquiries.

Besides customer service, many companies are performing AI-driven analytics to help with business decision-making and predictive systems for inventory management. For example, a company may use AI programs to collect data and view reports to help make better decisions about potential customers or business processes. When it comes to routine tasks such as inventory management, small businesses often struggle with the time and effort required to complete this necessary task. But with AI, forecasting and planning can be modernized and completed with ease. Companies such as Amazon also use AI to predict what their customers will purchase, among other uses.

Need to fund your business? Check out the 7 Best Options for Small Business Financing.

Benefits of Artificial Intelligence for Small Businesses and Top AI Tools for Small Businesses

Man in foreground holding out his hands, showing a visual of AI and data metrics. (Top AI Tools for Small Businesses - Guidant Blog).

Now that you know a bit more about AI and how it’s used in a variety of industries, let’s look at how AI can benefit you and your small business or venture — and look at some of the top AI tools for small businesses:

1. Streamline Operations. AI can analyze your business data and provide targeted reports to help you run your business operations as efficiently as possible. One example, according to Entrepreneur, is IBM Cognos, a business intelligence tool that can help you leverage data to boost your business. Another option is Trello, a tool designed to help you streamline the management of your critical projects. Whichever tool you use, streamlining operations with AI could lead to valuable insights and informed decisions that lead to business growth and success.

2. Increase Efficiency. Social media is crucial in business today. But it can take a lot of resources to write and design effective social media campaigns to post on your website and social media channels. Whatever your needs may be, there’s an AI-powered solution ready to help boost your efficiency and marketing efforts. Here are some of the most popular tools business owners are utilizing today:

  • Canva is a free design tool to help you create professional-looking marketing materials quickly and easily.
  • Grammarly is a free, AI-powered writing assistant to help you improve your writing, from comma placement to wordiness.
  • ChatGPT offers a cutting-edge conversational AI platform capable of generating human-like text responses, providing assistance, information, and engaging in dialogue on a wide range of topics and applications.
  • Jasper.ai is another writing tool designed to help users generate high-quality written content quickly and efficiently through natural language processing and machine learning algorithms.
  • Neuraltext is a content creation tool that boasts its ability to do SEO keyword searches and copywriting.
  • Hootsuite can help you schedule all your social media posts and manage all your marketing campaigns in one place.

3. Enhance Customer Service. As previously mentioned, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can help you make your customer service functions more efficient, saving you time and money — and providing your customers with the customer experiences and answers they desire. ChatFuel is one free option if you want to try out AI for customer service without any costly investment or big commitment.

4. Increase Sales Leads. It can take a lot of time, money, and effort to find sales leads. One major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company, Salesforce, offers AI CRM solutions to help you generate leads with ease. These AI CRM tools do this by analyzing historical data, identifying trends, completing lead prioritization/scoring, and highlighting cross-sell opportunities, according to TechBullion.

Looking to boost your marketing game? See How to Market Your Business Successfully.

Welcoming the World of AI

AI is a powerful tool that’s not too complex or expensive for small business owners. You just need to be smart about where and how you invest in AI-based tools. Whether you are using AI for your customer service interactions or your business analytics, options are available for all budget levels, and some are free (like Google Analytics).

If you have an area of your business with a ton of data, or costly, time-consuming and complex tasks, then there is an opportunity there for you to utilize new technology. Remember: AI usage has grown exponentially in the last few years. It may be time to dig into AI tools for small businesses so you can stay competitive in an increasingly digital world.

Ready to fund your business? Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!

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Tom Gonzalez, Woof Academy

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