How AI Will Help Mom and Pop Shops Grow

Artificial Intelligence

When we talk about AI, for some reasons, small businesses are never a part of the conversation. Honestly, this doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially since considering that according to the SBA, small businesses make up approximately 99% of firms. However, despite the talks about AI being a game changer, no one is really after how it’ll help small business, the backbone of our economic system.

The potential AI technology holds for small business is endless, from being able to tap into customers on a micro-level to understanding partnerships on a macro level. These relationships are some that have been around for as long as we’ve had transactions, but are now coming to fruition in a way that will make everyone involved smarter, faster, and more skilled at their jobs. And even if you’re someone that usually goes against the hype, you might want to reconsider AI, as it’s going to change small business for good. Here’s how:

You Can Grow A Much Deeper Knowledge of The Market

No matter what your small business sells, AI can help tremendously in not only understanding your market but additionally helping with your marketing efforts. After all, the secret sauce to AI is its ability to understand current and future behaviors, having a level of predictability that ensures a better sense of success. And whether it be analyzing your existing mailing list or sales pipeline, you’ll be able to know who’s going to buy and why.

According to HubSpot, a staggering 80% of marketers state that their lead generation efforts are only somewhat effective. Why is that the case? Because sales is a game based more on a gut feeling than it is a science. However, for how much we invest in trying to gain insights as a whole, we rarely consider that it’s possible to study our own business’s demographic in a cost-efficient way, which is exactly where AI helps.

Let’s say for example that you’re an online retailer specializing in used vinyl. AI can look at your customer list, their purchases, and the commonalities in saying “if Person A and Person B buy X but Person B buys Y and Z, then we can suggest Person A with Y or Z as something they’d want to buy.” Furthermore, it can predict how behaviors work on a broader scale as well, focusing on enterprise-scale growth. This is really where AI is going to shine for small businesses, especially in bringing up their revenues.

Cutting Out The Excess

It’s no secret that the role of a salesperson is largely going to change within the next few years, which is going to make a much more significant impact economically than you might think. According to Brevet Group, nearly 13% of all jobs in the U.S. are full-time sales positions. Additionally, when you pair that with Gartner’s prediction that by 2020, 85% of customer service interactions will be AI, where does that leave your business? More importantly, how will it impact your bottom line?

If your sales team is stressing over being replaced by robots, they should rest easy, as believe it or not, their jobs are safe. Yes, AI’s main goal in the sales realm is in three parts: First, AI is going to help salespeople acquire better leads, saving time and money for your business. Second, AI (more specifically, chatbots) are going to take care of a lot of the logistical entry points that sales teams loathe. But the best part, by far, is that AI will make sales cheaper, thus bringing the most significant increase on your bottom line.

Bringing Up Your Revenues

As noted by Quickbooks, the average revenue of a business with 5-9 employees clocks in around a little over $1 million. The profits from that, however, will be much higher with AI, especially given the money saved on research, A/B testing, wasted efforts in unsuccessful leads, and even handling simple customer service questions. This is going to give you quite the advantage over the competition, and something you should not take lightly.

Considering that we’re still in AI’s infancy on a commercial level, integrating it into your business could be incredibly advantageous. Not only will you have a better understanding of it as the technology grows, but the price will go down significantly. Make no mistake, this is a train you should hop on now, as it might be a definitive trait of what separates the good from the great companies later on. The question is: what’s stopping you from taking that leap?