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5 ways AI can help small businesses save significant money

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

Small businesses aren’t moving as fast as enterprises when it comes to integrating AI, perhaps feeling like the benefits are more designed for larger-scale operations. Plus, these leaders find it harder to find the time to work in their AI acumen—only 29 percent of startups / small businesses have adopted AI in their operations, citing lack of expertise as their main reason for not doing so. However, harnessing AI effectively can significantly alleviate stress for business owners, with a recent AIPRM survey revealing that one in eight US businesses have saved between $1,000 and $5,000 by replacing simple tasks with AI. 

Amid reports of a fifth of small business owners battling depression, Christoph C. Cemper, an AI expert on behalf of AIPRM, provides his insight on how artificial intelligence can easily act as a crucial tool for entrepreneurs, easing the burden on small business owners, in honor of Stress Awareness Month.

Ease the load: Five ways AI can assist your startup or small business

1. Marketing

Marketing is a crucial element for any startup or small business—not just for building brand awareness, credibility and trust, but also for positive customer retention and long term-growth.

Using AI in your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overly complex, and it’s usually very accessible—with free to use tools such as Chat GPT. With more than three in five (61 percent) marketers now using AI to save time and resources, it’s clear to see how AI can work as a trusty sidekick to assist your natural workflow of content creation, analyzing performance and predicting improvements for better engagement. 

In fact, a global study by Statista reported that 47 percent of marketers trust the use of AI for generating target ads, 42 percent use the tool for personalizing content, 33 percent for optimizing subject email lines and 32 percent for conducting live chat sessions with customers.

2. Understand consumer behavior

If you’re just starting out your business, you’ll want to understand your consumer pretty quickly. You can even use AI to develop a personalized customer avatar to target potential customers through AI-based ad tools, such as social media or Google Ads. 

Although AI can assist with data-driven approaches, there still needs to be oversight from human beings, and the people maintaining these datasets have to be diverse so that the data sets are also diverse enough to reach a wider audience whilst still targeting your ideal customer.

3. Competitor analysis

AI can assist in analyzing not only your own customer behavior, but competitor trends, which can be used to adapt your own strategies accordingly. You can use AI to gain large amounts of data at the drop of a hat, and use this as a benchmark for your own strategies, and analyze how you measure against the competition.

To do this is actually relatively easy. You can use quick analytic tools such as Hootsuite or Brandwatch to generate reports on your competitors’ social media, engagement and growth, as well as their websites and any industry news sites to identify emerging patterns and trends. This can help you identify any gaps in the market, and leverage any customer feedback and satisfaction.

4. Product development

If you have a startup or small business, you also have a product it revolves around. Using AI for improving product design, development processes, prototyping and testing lands you with a good chance of a product that’s likely to perform.

You can leverage AI from day one by using market intelligence tools to analyze how similar products are performing on the market, and use this to one up your competitors. Easy to use, free tools such as Figma can also assist prototyping, which instantly converts concepts into visual product prototypes.

5. Security

Reports show that small businesses and startups are three times more likely to be targeted by cyber crime than larger companies, with threats including phishing,  malware attacks, social engineering, data theft, and insider threats. 60 percent of SMEs that suffer cyber attacks also go out of business within six months.

Despite this,security within startups and small businesses are often overlooked. Recent reports found that 51 percent of small businesses don’t utilize any IT security measures—with 36 percent of small businesses having no concern whatsoever about cyberattacks.

So how can AI help? AI can analyze vast amounts of data in real time to identify any suspicious patterns or anomalies associated with cyber security threats, and block any attempts to cause harm. AI can also scan your systems for any vulnerabilities and manage this accordingly. You can even utilize AI platforms for training employees on best practices, and reducing human error that can lead to vulnerabilities in security.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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