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How Business Owners Can Use AI To Save Time and Money

3 min. read

Has the moment to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) arrived? AI is not just for large enterprises. A growing number of small to medium-sized businesses are using automation for back-office functions so that they can do what they do best — engage personally with customers.

A 2023 U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey reports that nearly a quarter of businesses are using AI in some capacity and have seen an increase in profits, yet 77 percent of respondents said they didn't know enough about AI and its risks and benefits to begin using it. Wondering what tasks you can surrender to AI versus what you can keep doing the traditional way? Outsourcing the repetitive, simplistic tasks to AI can save you time and money and help redirect your energy toward the relationship-building and expert services your customers value.

Useful ways AI can optimize your business operations


Thompson-Reuters surveyed large and small accounting firms and found that while only about 15 percent are using AI now, 51 percent plan to start using it within the next year. AI is suitable for taking over work that includes payroll management, billing, financial forecasting, and tax preparation. And AI is faster and more accurate than humans for detecting fraud.

Human resource tasks

Computers may be no substitute for a face-to-face meeting when it comes to evaluating a potential hire. However, AI can save work on either side of the interview process by pre-screening applications, creating compelling interview questions, performing background checks, and helping candidates with logistics. It can also “check the pulse” of your workforce by analyzing data from surveys, performance scores, absenteeism, and other factors, which can aid programs for employee retention and motivation.

It's important to ensure that all HR functions are done fairly, transparently, ethically, and preserve candidates' privacy. And of course, sensitive tasks like letting an employee go is best done through personal, human communications.

Customer experience functions

McKinsey & Company consulting firm notes that in the past few years, customers have begun to rely on self-service—but now they expect highly competent AI.  It’s expected that AI provide standard information such as return policies, operating hours and locations. Businesses can outsource shipping and logistics support to AI. And AI can also quickly detect issues raised via a chatbot, email or phone call and route them to the correct departments so that representatives can use their time to solve more complex issues.

Marketing tasks

The creativity and nuance of the entrepreneur's unique voice can't be replaced by AI. But, if you need quick content ideas for blog posts, social media channels, newsletters and seasonal or specialized campaigns, you can get a head start by using AI prompts and then fact-check and customize the content to fit your audience. There are also numerous programs that can help edit videos into smaller, relevant clips.

When you're ready to post your content, look for tools that can help launch and test campaigns, analyze results, and track customer engagement.

Another marketing function that AI is useful for is quickly analyzing trends, patterns and predictions based on data from individualized marketing to consumers. For example, customers ordering a red scarf may tend to look for matching gloves. AI can suggest the matching red gloves and help boost sales in an instant, just from an algorithm.

How to begin implementing AI tools

Audit all the tasks that could be done better through AI without sacrificing the personal service that's valuable to your customers. Then, think through the risks--real and imagined—and how to mitigate them. AI content isn't always accurate, so you'll need to double down on fact-checking public-facing information. Always check for instances where AI may have missed nuance or misinterpreted the tone of the content.

Once you decide which elements of your business you can integrate with AI, find your software by searching online for function or by asking industry associates what has worked for them.

AI is still relatively new and evolving every day. But business owners who are open to adopting these emerging tools might find they’re able to operationalize and scale their businesses with less resources.

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