6 Tips for Effectively Managing a Small Business with AI
By Kamy Anderson, guest contributor.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere.
A recent global consumer survey has shown that while 33% of consumers think they use AI tech, the actual number is much higher. Currently, around 77% of people use popular AI-enabled devices and services whether they’re aware of that or not.
The same goes for businesses.
Modern-day entrepreneurs falsely believe that AI-driven business technology cannot be afforded at the small to medium-sized business (SMB) level. They associate machine intelligence with mega-brands such as Apple or Google, failing to realize that AI has already been commercialized.
In reality, AI boasts numerous benefits for businesses, both large and small. Regardless of how small and no matter which industry, your business can leverage its immense potential, too. The only thing you need is an AI tool that’s suitable for your needs.
Here’s how to make the most of AI biz tech:
1. Big Data Analysis & Decision Making
AI is a brilliant research tool.
Not only are there various AI-driven tools that can help you sift thought business-related online data in a matter of minutes, but there are also AI solutions that excel at collecting data from your leads, customers, and even competitors. You only need to know where to look.
At an SMB level, the so-called big data analysis implies deep research of market fluctuations, economic trends, and customer behaviour. These tools provide you with actionable insight that you can use for both on-the-spot problem-solving and long-term decision-making.
Needless to say, (pre)knowledge is often the most reliable growth hack.
2. Better, Smarter, and Faster Marketing
The most obvious use of modern-day AI tools is in marketing, where every aspect of artificial intelligence can help contribute to your overall goal – delighting, attracting, and eventually converting new customers. AI automation plays a crucial role in modern lead generation.
Consider email marketing, for instance.
Without AI to automate triggered emails and match the right type of response to the right audience segment at the most opportune moment of their customer journey, SMBs would hardly be able to compete with their heavily automated large-scale competitors and their tools.
Similar AI solutions are available for social media marketing as well and, lately, content curation. SMBs usually cannot meet the modern content demand on their own, but AI can help them with research, curation, and writing. Though still in the development phase, these tools will be the next big thing.
3. Targeted Sales & AI-Based Conversion
You may already be employing some of the most effective lead generation strategies out there, leveraging the power of LinkedIn, for example. But, presuming your lead generation tactics don’t lead to instant on-site conversions, your organization needs an effective sales optimization solution as well. Luckily for you, there are different types of solutions available. Look for the best sales automation tool based on your sales strategy.
If you’re hoping to boost your website traffic and increase your on-site conversions, then deploying a chatbot may be the best idea. These AI-based digital assistants are very cheap, available 24/7, and capable of providing real-time guidance.
Using machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP), chatbots carry out smart and engaging conversations with website visitors, thus reducing your organization’s bounce rate and pushing leads further down the sales funnel.
4. Building Profitable Customer Relations
Chatbots are also highly effective when it comes to customer retention.
Having said that, there are other far better ways for SMBs to build long-lasting customer relationships using AI. The so-called sentiment analysis, for instance. This AI-powered solution allows you to understand exactly how your customers are feeling while they are interacting with your brand.
Sentiment analysis relies on AI to scan, analyze, and classify different human emotions by taking textual cues from emails and other text messages. It may sound futuristic, but sentiment analysis tools are already being used by huge corporations and many SMBs all around the world.
5. Finding the Right Hire for a Company Culture
While not applicable to sole proprietorships, AI’s capabilities as a potent research and analysis tool are being leveraged by HR specialists in mid-to-large-sized operations to help automate and improve the recruitment process. Not only is AI able to search the global databases in pursuit of talent, but it’s also able to recognize the right cultural fit when it sees it.
AI-based automation contributes to modern-day recruiting in numerous ways. By putting the screening process on auto-pilot, AI eliminates the unconscious bias and allows recruiters to stay focused on more essential parts of the process, such as conducting interviews.
But the best thing about AI-driven recruitment is that it allows SMBs to hire for attitude and train for skills. This is another aspect of business where sentiment analysis can be of immense help and separate great hires from average ones.
6. Employee Satisfaction & Personalized Learning and Development (L&D)
Happy employees are productive employees.
No business, big or small, can hope to stay relevant and competitive without happy and productive employees. Fortunately, AI can help you create a stimulating and fulfilling work environment. Intelligent tech can serve as both facilitator and a method of continual improvement.
As a facilitator, AI allows employees to establish a healthy work-life balance and stay motivated by their jobs. With automation tools and digital assistants being able to complete routine tasks, your employees can focus on creative problem-solving, which is key to business innovation.
But AI is also a crucial part of today’semployee training software.
Using sentiment analysis and other assessment solutions, career development specialists can create a course and provide personalized training programs for clients and career paths for employees, if applicable. This keeps employees motivated to learn and improve, which in return contributes to your bottom line.
In a Nutshell
It’s a dangerous myth that AI is reserved solely for big shots.
Not only are AI-powered business solutions already affordable to SMBs, and not only do we already have a host of great practices and growth hacks that rely on these solutions, but it’s also a fact that AI is yet to reach its full potential. This is the tech that keeps growing together with people.
Sooner or later, it will start offering full-blown robotic process automation (RPA) at budget prices.
Until then, tech-savvy SMBs would be smart to keep investing in available AI tools. Being so potent and versatile, these solutions help streamline everything from decision-making and strategizing to day-to-day operations, including marketing. Most importantly, they help keep customers and employees happy.
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management systems & eLearning authoring tools and is currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.
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