May 15, 2023

Small Business Can Harness the Power of Artificial Intelligence To Compete With Larger Corporations (Part I)

By Shannen Patel

In recent months, we have seen the beginnings of significant economic changes due to the technological paradigm shift caused by the advent of ubiquitous artificial intelligence. The significant effects of AI tools like ChatGPT that once seemed distant are now just over the horizon. The realm of possibilities for education and research is often discussed, but somewhat overlooked is the potential for AI to become a significant player in small businesses and provide them the ability to compete on a larger scale than previously possible.

Small business (SMB) owners can use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to reduce costs, operate more efficiently, and even gain an edge over competitors. For example, “many small businesses don’t have formal onboarding or training processes because they’re usually really time-consuming to create,” describes Erny Peibst, founder and CEO of Inside Bodybuilding. “ChatGPT can help many businesses get started by using just a simple request, providing a platform perfect for iterating to get just what you need.” Moreover, other AI-powered tools, like Grammarly can help proof documents; Otter can record meetings and transcribe notes, and Jasper can write social media or website content.

Today, it is impossible to see exactly where the new age of AI technology may lead. Still, it is important to note this technology’s potential for small business owners. Previously, to compete with large corporations, small business owners had to scale up their businesses and hire more employees to come close to meeting the production of a company composed of hundreds of employees. However, due to the advent of AI technology that could replace the work of employees in some fields or increase efficiency and output, it may be possible for a small business of only two or three employees to compete head-to-head with a large corporation by artfully utilizing AI. 

Even still, most small businesses aren’t using AI for their business. Why? For a number of reasons – including a lack of strategy, a lack of technological infrastructure to support AI, and a lack of talent with appropriate skill sets for AI work. 

Adopting AI can be daunting for a small business. However, some companies are adding AI-powered tools to enhance their offerings already used by many small businesses. We’ve seen B2SMB companies like Adobe, Canva, and MailChimp do just that. For small business owners already using offerings from these digital tool providers, tools like Canva Magic and MailChimp’s Email Content Generator may act as an approachable, measured way for them to dip their toes into using AI – and harness the power of this mighty technology. 

To read Part II, visit here.

Shannen Patel is Managing Editor of the Data Catalyst Institute.

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