• Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

What AI Can and Can’t Do for Small Businesses


Oct 18, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) does more for the business world than many imagined. In fact, it’s proving to do so many things well that people are fearful of these tools taking over the world. However, we can all find some comfort in knowing that AI can’t do everything.

We’re a long way away from an AI takeover. However, small businesses can benefit tremendously from AI tools, particularly how they streamline processes, improve productivity, and enhance data analysis. Let’s look at these three advantages in more detail below.

Streamline processes

One of the best things AI tools can do for small businesses is to streamline processes. Small companies don’t have huge teams and multiple departments to rely on. In fact, many small businesses are run by one person.

Thus, tools that can help small operations save time and energy are critical to their success. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in. These tools can complete specific tasks without the need for human direction.

For example, AI-based graphic design tools can help designers create better company logos, brand packaging, social media graphics, and presentation slide decks faster. An AI web developer can create an entire website for you.

You can also automate customer communications, like emails and messages, through auto-responders and chatbots.

AI tools like the above reduce human errors and speed up processes, improving overall efficiency. They can also improve productivity.

Improve productivity

When you’re more efficient, you’re also more productive. AI can play a critical role in nearly every business operation, which tips the productivity scale in your favor.

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For example, instead of having someone on your team put an event or meeting in the calendar, you can use a voice assistant. You can automate daily tasks like reporting, sending invoices, or posting on social media.

AI tools can also boost SMB productivity by creating a highly-personalized content experience for your customers without you having to figure out what your customers want manually.

Enhance data analysis

Lastly, AI can enhance data analysis. Small businesses that have yet to take advantage of data analysis are definitely a step behind their biggest competition.

Collecting, processing, and pulling meaningful insights from massive datasets is a huge advantage.

You can use the information to better critical parts of your business, like how you understand, connect with, and market to your customers. AI tools can not only collect vast amounts of data on their own, but they can also analyze and implement insights for you.


What AI Can’t Do for Small Businesses

Although AI can be beneficial for small businesses, you must still keep in mind that these tools can’t do everything. In particular, AI tools can’t mask a bad company culture, show empathy, or think creatively. Let’s look at these in more detail below.

Mask a bad company culture

As wonderful as AI can be for a small company, even the best tools can’t mask a flawed company culture. In other words, technology isn’t a cure for toxic company culture.

Whether it’s AI technology or another kind, the right technological tools can only enhance a company’s culture. They can’t change its core — much like money can improve our lives but it can’t change our true feelings about ourselves.

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If AI tools are to do any good for your small business, you must create a company culture that welcomes their use. For example, regular discrimination training can make your company culture more accepting of diversity and inclusion. And with that appreciation for diversity and inclusion, you can eliminate implicit bias in AI.

Show empathy

Another thing AI can’t do is show empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand, be aware of, and share the feelings of others.

It’s imperative in customer interactions. If you can’t understand your customers’ feelings and perspectives, you can’t build a genuine connection with them. You probably won’t be able to solve many of their issues either.

For example, a customer can ask a chatbot for help with a complex issue. However, they won’t get the care and kindness, let alone the understanding needed to solve it. That’s why live customer service agents are still highly regarded.

Often, your customers need to talk to a real person to feel like they matter and to get things done.

Think creatively

Creative thinking isn’t anywhere on an AI tool’s radar. These tools can’t think outside the box. They do what they’re programmed to do and learn what we program them to learn.

AI tools can free up your employees for tasks that require creativity, collaboration, and technique. However, they can’t do the jobs that require these things themselves. Creativity is critical because you need it to develop innovative small business solutions and unique products/services that serve your customers best.


Although there is some hesitancy to dive fully into AI tools, they’ll likely end up on every must-have business technology list because of their benefits. That said, it’s essential to understand what AI can’t do to avoid investing in tools that just aren’t right for your business. Weigh the pros and cons of AI tools equally before deciding whether to implement them in your small business.

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