It’s safe to say that the artificial intelligence (AI) hype has not died down. It’s got everyone from everyday users like us to big corporations wondering what AI can do for them.

But there’s one group we can’t leave out of the conversation: small businesses. 

Don’t let the name fool you - the impact of small businesses is far from “small”. In fact, there’s over 30 million of them in the US, they employ nearly half of the US workforce, and they account for over 40% of US GDP. Crazy, right?!? 

So today we’re breaking down a couple of ways that AI can empower small businesses and help them grow. 

Here’s how AI can support small businesses 

While many businesses dream of gaining virality or becoming billion dollar enterprises, this kind of sudden unprecedented growth can also create a lot of headaches. This can include lines wrapping around the block, backup logs of orders and delays, marking up prices to meet new inventory costs, and many more. 

Thankfully, we at Nexwave firmly believe that AI can do a lot to help business owners, their teams, and customers. Let’s dive in: 

Cutting wait times 

One thing we can all agree on is that waiting, whether in-line or online for an order to arrive, is not cute. On top of that, you’d hate to wait that long only to find out the product you’ve seen all over your Tiktok “For You” page isn’t available. This is where AI comes in. Businesses can establish a database of customer transactions, including preferences, ticket sizes, and more, and employ AI to analyze the data and address specific customer needs. 

One really cool application of AI in a suite of solutions that we all know and love is Microsoft Co-pilot. It’s available as an add-on and does all of the work to analyze trends and create professional-looking data visualizations that anyone can read in a matter of seconds. Armed with this information, businesses can anticipate which products will be popular and when, and even engage with customers before they arrive, significantly reducing wait times and ensuring a stock is in-demand.

Creating the best designs at the click of a button 

When businesses start booming, sometimes employees don’t have the time for other areas that also help the business, like advertising or growing their presence on social media. While some businesses have found ways to break through the noise and generate buzz, it’s not always a guarantee. For instance, let’s say a business wanted to do a rebrand one day. In the midst of fulfilling orders and making sure their service remains top tier, they also would have to find time (and the funds!) to create a new logo, revamp the website, and more. This is where AI comes in to make lives easier, once again. 

A simple Google search for “AI-generated websites and logos” will take you to a million and one different options. The beautiful thing about this is that creating the sites usually don’t involve any coding, can be generated within 30 seconds with the right inputs, and cost on average about 10x less than a designer. A few AI-generated website and logo sites that people having been raving about lately are: 

- Wix ADI for most people and businesses 

- Jimdo for a free AI website builder with affordable upgrades 

- Unbounce for an AI landing page builder 

- for beautifully designed yet affordable logos 

Another cool marketing play is to use ChatGPT to create a content calendar for social media. It can give you ideas for what to post, when to post, and how to best target your audience in a creative way. 

Keeping suppliers and contracts in check 

For a small business to deliver for their customers, they’re often relying on a bunch of other small businesses. However, more often than not, business to business (B2B) transactions take a reeaaaallly long time to process. Why? A lot of it is manual. We’re three quarters of the way through 2023 and tons of small businesses still rely on pen and paper for these transactions! 

Thankfully, AI can speed up this process and cut down the number of headaches. Not only can AI digitize this process, it can also create checks and balances. Let’s say a business wants to place a bulk order of product from a new vendor but isn’t sure if they are trustworthy. Instead of wondering whether this vendor will follow through on time for the order, companies like Tradeshift leverage AI to pre-screen businesses, helping the business understand the risk of fraud or order fulfillment. And if there happen to be any types of delays, their AI can help them adjust and predict cash flows, helping them know when to expect (or not expect) products or charges from vendors. 

Using AI agents to keep the operations flowing

Now this might be one of the most applicable use cases that comes out of AI. In the simplest terms, AI agents are models that use artificial intelligence techniques to perform tasks or make decisions autonomously. 

But of course we’ve gotta make one thing very clear – AI doesn’t have to replace the people who have made the business what it is in the first place! 

It would actually just be a tool to make their lives easier, especially with nonstop customers throughout the day. Think of an AI agent as an internal personal assistant that can do things such as easily maintain the process flow of customer orders, create a schedule based on demand, monitor product usage and feedback, and generate automated reorder notifications. A great example of this is Genesys, a customer experience platform that uses AI to personalize the experience and improve satisfaction can be used to create AI agents that can understand customer needs and provide tailored recommendations, automate tasks such as customer service and support, and collect feedback to improve the customer experience. Not only does the AI agent help reduce bottlenecks and increase efficiency, but it also makes decisions that creates a more positive experience for both of the employees and the customers. 

At the end of the day, AI can help small businesses thrive 

All in all, AI is a powerful tool that can empower small businesses in a variety of ways. By automating tasks, improving customer service, and streamlining operations, AI can help businesses save time and money, while making them more efficient and productive. 

So, if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, consider how you can use these recommendations to make your life easier and continue driving success in your business. We’re rooting for you and always here to support you with the latest insights!