A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Incorporate AI into Your Small Business


Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the way of the future, it is the present and can be visible in almost every aspect of business.

AI is particularly helpful when starting a business and rapid expansion is not a viable option. Simply put, using various AI tools can cut the workload in half at a fraction of the cost.

It can also help you bring money into the business without you having to be there physically.

Everyday Encounters with AI

Here are instances you may have use AI but not realised it were being used:

Unlocking your phone

Facial recognition technology is a type of biometric technology that recognises a person by their face. It is also known as biometric artificial intelligence and it is used to record a person’s facial recognition and texture, including their nose, eyes, and facial features.

Automatic security check-ups

These days social media platforms like Facebook or email service providers like Gmail or even streaming services like Netflix, have a security check-up to help keep your account secure. They would alert you (the user) if they suspect it’s not you trying to log into their platforms. Some even allow for a two-factor authentication process.

Email messaging and security

Grammar and spell checkers are email tools that use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to draft messages free from errors. Spam filters block suspected spam emails or identify desired emails, while anti-virus software uses machine learning to protect email accounts.

Search engines

AI plays a crucial role in search engines, enabling personalised ads based on the user’s search history. These ads follow users around the internet, aiming to display items that the algorithms believe users will value.

Smart homes

Smart homes are becoming increasingly common, with thermostats learning heating/cooling preferences and habits. Smart refrigerators create lists based on what’s no longer in the fridge and offer wine recommendations. These smart appliances are expected to become more common in the future.


Artificial intelligence plays a crucial role in the banking system, ensuring transaction security and fraud detection. It helps verify transactions and access online banking accounts. Additionally, AI verifies purchases in stores, determining if they are normal transactions to prevent the unauthorised use of credit cards.

Online bookings

Travel agents and companies can use AI to predict customer behaviours and also provide an efficient service to their customers online. Booking platforms can, for example, use the data from a traveller to offer suggestions and predict offerings to the potential customer.

Getting Started

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are three types of AI within the business sphere, when looking at AI through the lens of business capabilities rather than technologies.

AI can support three business needs, these are:

  • Automating business processes
  • Gaining insight through data analysis
  • Engaging with customers and employees.

Before embarking on an AI initiative companies must understand which technology performs what types of tasks. It is also very important to know the strengths and limitations of the technologies you wish to implement.

AI FAQs for your Business

Questions you should ask before utilising AI in your business

  1. What is the goal behind your AI implementation?

Be sure that you are not just jumping on the latest technology bandwagon. Set out your goals and how you want to achieve them first.

  1. What problems within your business have you noted that could do with AI intervention?

Are you looking to enhance your customer support, streamline data analysis, optimise campaigns, or increase productivity? Knowing what you need help with will assist you in choosing the right software.

  1. Are there any risks your products or services could face because of AI?

Think of security, deep fakes, or copyright infringements. Are there any possible risks and how can you be alerted and avoid these risks?

  1. How will AI affect your team?

Note which roles are most at risk of being eliminated or reduced in your organisation. Also, be aware of the new training and upskilling your team might need when adopting AI.

Implementing AI into your business

Start by leveraging AI in marketing

With its unparalleled automation capabilities and insightful insights, artificial intelligence (AI) technology has ushered in a new era of marketing and sales strategies. Businesses can improve internal sales tactics and create tailored marketing campaigns by utilising AI-powered analytics to obtain a deeper understanding of their target audience.

AI technology is becoming a more crucial component of managing a business as it advances. By implementing AI today and learning how to use it most effectively, you can position your company for long-term success.

These are just a few of the most effective ways to incorporate AI into your marketing plan. The more AI you use and experiment with, the more proficient you’ll be able to use it. This can have a significant impact on a small business’s overall productivity and efficiency.

There are ways you can use AI in marketing without losing your brand identity.

Personalized marketing

AI can assist you in developing individualised marketing campaigns by analysing consumer data. AI, for instance, can make personalized product or service recommendations to each customer based on their past purchasing patterns and preferences.

Email marketing

Email is one of the most dependable marketing channel and small business owners can greatly streamline their email marketing process by utilising AI. Small businesses can send targeted emails to particular audience segments with the aid of AI-powered email marketing tools. To increase open and click-through rates, these tools can optimise send timings, subject lines, and content.


AI chatbots can help small businesses by answering frequently asked questions, offering round-the-clock customer service, and assisting website visitors with the sales process. Using an AI chatbot on your website can save a lot of time spent responding to customer inquiries if you’re a small business with a small staff.

Social media management

Social media is a crucial component of any marketing plan for small businesses. To strengthen a business’s social media presence, AI tools can help plan social media posts, evaluate engagement metrics, and make content recommendations. AI can also be used to assist in the creation of social media captions.

Ad campaign optimization

If your company uses paid advertisements, you can maximize your ad spend by utilising AI tools. AI can maximize return on investment (ROI) in online advertising campaigns by instantly modifying bidding tactics, targeting choices, and ad creatives. AI tools can also help you create ad copy and content, making it simpler to manage successful paid campaigns.

Leveraging AI in your Business Operations

One of the benefits of using AI is that it can save you time and increase your productivity.

Use AI for customer service and support

Customer support and service is one of the most popular use cases for artificial intelligence in small enterprises. By answering consumer inquiries and automating customer support, AI systems can significantly reduce the workload for customer service representatives. This can be very helpful for small businesses, as they may not even have a team dedicated to customer service.

  • How AI-powered customer service tools save time and boost efficiency: AI can help with customer service by assigning tickets to the most qualified team or person to promptly address a customer’s concerns. AI-powered systems like Zendesk can evaluate client chats to determine the type of issue at hand and allocate tickets to the most appropriate team. Intercom, for example, has different language models to help interpret and respond to inquiries, and Freshdesk offers AI chatbots that can engage with customers on different channels such as WhatsApp, Instagram, SMS and email.

Utilise it for marketing and sales campaigns

Sales and marketing are two of the areas where AI is being used in small businesses the most. Many AI tools are available to assist with creating sales and marketing content, automating marketing procedures, making better use of data, customizing customer journeys, and more. AI can be used in a variety of ways by small businesses to improve their marketing campaigns, from AI writers to tools for creating videos. This relieves a great deal of the burden on marketing teams and can help small businesses market more effectively with fewer staff members and specializations.

  • How AI-driven tools can boost sales and marketing goals: By automating data analysis, identifying user behaviour trends, and making recommendations for content optimisation, AI solutions can help you enhance your SEO approach. You can also save time by doing it, which will free up more time for you to focus on strategy. Some of the AI-powered tools to use are Jasper, which helps businesses to create marketing content; Surfer SEO, which helps you generate SEO-friendly content; Hubspot, to assist with marketing automation and CRM tools; and Mailchimp, a platform that can host and produce email marketing campaigns and specialises in audience segmentation.

Use AI for business operations and productivity

As a small business, you have limited time and resources. It thus makes sense to increase productivity with AI-powered tools. Here, automation is essential because software can be used to automate a wide range of manual tasks that would otherwise take a lot of time.

  • How the tools can help increase productivity: The ability of AI to automate tasks is one of the biggest benefits for project managers. AI-driven solutions like Zapier, Trello and com effectively manage monotonous duties, allowing you and your group to focus on more important projects. Project managers may make quick, accurate, and well-informed decisions by using AI’s real-time insights provided by these tools.

Optimise your business’s financial management with AI

Using AI to simplify financial management in a company makes perfect sense. Numerous tools are available to help small businesses save a tonne of time and effort while increasing the accuracy of their bookkeeping. If you lack extensive expertise in accounting and financial management, employing appropriate artificial intelligence tools can greatly simplify your life.

  • AI-powered financial management services to consider: AI in accounting is the application of AI technology, such as natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, to improve and automate a range of accounting tasks. This covers data analysis, fraud detection, audit and compliance, and financial reporting. Accounting software tools that specialise in AI technology include Quickbooks, Xero and Expensify – each of them provide specialised (or unique) features.

Embrace AI in Human Resources

AI can be used in HR, whether you’re hiring new employees or looking to streamline your employee management process.

  • HR tools to use in your small business: Automation and AI make the hiring process quicker and more effective. Recruiters may save a significant amount of time by using AI-powered technologies (such as Ideal) to filter resumes and discover the most qualified prospects. Cost-effective: Selecting the best applicant for a position can be costly, but the price of a poor choice can be much greater. A tool like HireVue provides an AI-powered feature for tasks like video interviewing and candidate assessment.

Leverage AI in cybersecurity

In the digital age, protecting your company is crucial. You can do this with the aid of the appropriate AI tools. AI-powered solutions can shift through vast amounts of data to identify abnormal behaviour and detect malicious activity.

  • Programs that deal with online security: As attack vectors change, traditional cybersecurity solutions may become ineffective as they frequently use established rules and signatures to identify threats. In the battle against cyber threats, artificial intelligence (AI) is a vital tool since it offers a dynamic and flexible approach to threat identification. Businesses can make use of tools like Darktrace which offers AI-driven cybersecurity solutions for threat detection.

Now that you have all the information you need, where in your business do you think you can use AI first?

Read Also: Your SME Guide to Cybersecurity