AI for Small Businesses: A Guide to Business Automation

Rana Bano
June 3, 2023
min read
September 19, 2023
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How To Use AI To Automate Your Business Processes
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The State of AI in the Enterprise, 5th edition report recently published by Deloitte found that 25 percent of small businesses are using AI in some form or another, including predictive analysis, marketing automation and chatbots. And this number is only going to grow.

But why should small businesses implement AI—and more importantly, why should you?

AI provides SMB owners the game-changing opportunity to simplify complex tasks requiring human intelligence like content creation and decision-making. Products like GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT are increasingly being used to personalize customer experiences and automate repetitive tasks. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss how small business owners can use AI to automate business processes, reduce costs and increase revenue.


  • AI can simplify complex tasks and provide personalized customer experiences for small businesses.
  • With AI, you can automate routine tasks, optimize inventory and supply chain management and allocate resources efficiently.
  • Use AI to enhance sales, marketing and customer service efforts through chatbots, predictive analytics and content creation tools.
  • Drive sustainable growth by enabling scalability and efficiency with AI.
  • To implement AI successfully, SMBs should focus on the right business problems, define desired outcomes, collect and organize data, and choose the right AI solutions.

But first…

What is AI for small businesses?

AI goes beyond programming, empowering machines to think, learn and make decisions like humans do. Picture a world where machines can perform complex tasks, analyze data and even respond to inquiries with human-like intelligence.

But how does AI accomplish this?

The secret lies in algorithms, which serve as guiding principles that drive the problem-solving process. By exposing machines to vast amounts of data and establishing rules, AI empowers computers to provide responses and make decisions that closely resemble human thought processes.

AI for small business: streamlining business processes

As a small business owner, you’re likely familiar with the challenges of limited resources, tight budgets and ever-growing competition. This creates the need for streamlined processes and workflows to optimize operations, save time and money and eliminate efficiency bottlenecks.

By harnessing AI tech, you can overcome these challenges and transform your business in remarkable ways.

📌 Dive deeper: Implementing AI: How Your Business Can Overcome Challenges

Automation of routine business tasks

AI software plays a vital role in automating repetitive administrative tasks. By eliminating the need for manual data entry, process documentation and invoicing, businesses can save time and reduce the risk of errors.

For example, you can quickly use AI-powered tools like Scribe to create visual documentation. Documentation helps you streamline processes and facilitate staff and customer training.

Here’s a Scribe showing you how to use our Pages features that let you combine multiple scribes, a handy feature for developing detailed documentation:

Optimizing inventory management

AI-powered systems revolutionize inventory management by analyzing vast amounts of data, including inventory levels, customer preferences and market trends.

Accurate demand forecasts, pattern identification and optimal inventory level suggestions empower businesses to fine-tune their stock. This minimizes the risks of stockouts or overstocking, ensuring a balanced inventory.

Streamlining supply chain management

With AI algorithms, you can unravel the complexities of your supply chain networks, pinpointing hidden bottlenecks that hinder efficiency.

AI helps optimize the flow of goods and services while streamlining vital processes like production planning, procurement and logistics.

You can use demand forecasting models to calibrate procurement schedules and maintain only the necessary inventory, avoiding excess.

Optimal resource allocation

Sophisticated AI systems also offer insights and recommendations for resource allocation. This can help with optimizing staff schedules and available machinery and equipment. AI algorithms even aid in allocating marketing budgets based on predictive returns on investment, making sure resources are used efficiently.

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Enhancing sales, marketing & customer service with AI

Despite the big differences in budget and available resources, SMBs also compete with larger enterprises. This makes it more challenging to market, sell and manage customers.

Luckily, AI has opened up new possibilities for businesses of all sizes.

AI tools for enhancing customer service & support

SMBs face challenges in marketing, selling and managing customers—a perfect area for AI solutions.

AI-powered chatbots are one valuable application. They provide round-the-clock availability to address customer queries and concerns.

These virtual assistants use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to engage with customers, answer FAQs and offer personalized recommendations.

With the help of AI tools like Scribe, you can also document processes and make guides to share with your customers. Scribe is a process documentation tool that writes customer-facing guides for you—complete with text and annotated screenshots.


In seconds, you can create visual documents that:

  • Highlight new features.
  • Train customers.
  • Simplify even your most complicated processes.
  • Offer universal updates.
  • Include top-notch security.
  • Quickly edit, share, store and embed in your favorite tools.
  • Export to PDF and other forums.


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♬ In the Bosom - Sweet After Tears
By reducing wait times and eliminating the need for extensive customer support teams, AI tools enhance customer experience and satisfaction.‎‎‎
💡Get Happier Satisfied Customers With These 13 Customer Service Software Tools

Streamlining sales efforts with AI automation tools

Scaling sales efforts can be difficult for small business owners with limited resources. AI offers automation tools to help you:

  • Streamline routine sales tasks.
  • Personalize and send sales emails.
  • Schedule appointments.
  • Improve operational efficiency.

By freeing up valuable resources and time, SMB owners can focus on core business activities.

📌 Drive business growth with AI in Sales

Optimizing marketing & sales with predictive analytics

AI algorithms, such as predictive analytics, help optimize marketing, sales and customer success efforts. These algorithms analyze customer data to extract insights and patterns.

Gaining a deeper understanding of customer preferences and behaviors aids with personalized marketing campaigns and tailored content, fostering brand loyalty.

Data-driven decision-making also enables SMB owners to forecast opportunities, identify risks and make informed decisions.

Content creation made easier with AI

AI can play a role in content creation for small businesses. Platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard help brainstorm relevant topics and generate quality content aligned with your brand's unique voice.

AI tools help you maintain a consistent content schedule, overcome writer's block and produce magnetic material regularly.

These resources make it easier for SMB owners to engage with their audience more effectively.

🎓 How to Use the ChatGPT App: A Beginner's Guide

AI for monitoring & enhancing online reputation

Monitoring and analyzing online reputation is important for SMB owners. AI-powered sentiment analysis tools scan social media, review platforms and other online resources to gauge customer sentiment.

These tools can help your business:

  • Identify and address potential issues proactively.
  • Protect your brand image.
  • Improve your online presence.

By building trust with customers, small businesses can thrive in the digital landscape.

AI for small businesses: Driving sustainable growth

When used correctly, AI can help businesses gain a competitive advantage while enabling scalability like never before.

Think about it—traditionally, scaling up a business meant hiring more employees, investing in infrastructure and increasing operational costs. That’s no longer the case, thanks to AI. 

AI can help you can scale more efficiently by:

  • Automating processes.
  • Delivering personalized experiences.
  • Handling a higher volume of workload and customer interactions.

All without increasing your current workforce.

However, it’s important to know that AI isn’t a genie in a bottle that guarantees success on its own. It’s a powerful tool that should be used in combination with human creativity, intuition and critical thinking.

To harness the benefits of AI and drive growth, you have to be proactive in embracing AI technology. This includes:

  • Staying updated with the latest advancements in AI.
  • Keeping an eye on emerging AI power tools and solutions.
  • Identifying opportunities where you can integrate AI into your operations.

You can also collaborate with AI experts or partner with AI-focused companies for expertise and support to successfully implement AI at scale at your company.

📌 Discover how companies are transforming operations with AI

Tips for creating an AI strategy for your small business

Before kickstarting your AI journey, you'll need to build a robust AI strategy to guide your efforts. Here are four essential tips to help you get started with the right approach that drives real results.

📌 Learn more about top strategies for your business: AI in Business: Strategies You'll Want to Use Today

1. Focus on the right business problems

When it comes to implementing AI, it's tempting to immediately tackle the most ambitious and complex projects. However, the key to success lies in improving existing operations. 

Start by identifying repetitive or manual tasks that involve straightforward decision-making. Tasks that require processing large amounts of data, or classifying and extracting information.

Take, for instance, legal teams manually reviewing and organizing contracts. You can free up their valuable time for more impactful work, while AI efficiently handles data classification and extraction. 

Look for similar workflows and tasks in your organization and map out how AI can fit in.

2. Define your desired business outcomes

To fully leverage the power of AI, view it as a tool rather than a final solution. 

AI provides valuable insights that can drive business value, but you must clearly define your ideal outcomes.

Also, depending on your use case, AI's impact can vary. You could use it to accelerate processes and personalize customer experiences. Or you can enhance knowledge worker productivity and reduce the risks associated with error-prone classification processes. 

Understanding these outcomes will help you measure success and identify potential AI use cases. 

3. Collect & organize your data

Two major hurdles often hinder successful AI adoption:

  • Proper access to information.
  • Well-organized data.

Without addressing these challenges, it can be difficult to see AI's benefits. Many organizations struggle with data fragmentation across different systems and tools, which can sidetrack AI initiatives. 

To ensure accurate AI analysis, you need abundant and centralized data. Consider using a cloud storage platform or data warehouse as a single source of truth. Be sure that the cloud platform you choose provides APIs for seamless data integration with AI technologies. 

Many AI solutions require "clean data" readable by algorithms. For example, if you want to gain insights from call recordings, you need high-quality recordings that allow for objective analysis.

For effective pattern recognition, you need clean, consistent data in a format compatible with AI algorithms.

4. Choose the right AI solutions

Once you've defined the problem, established outcomes and prepared your data, it's time to select the right AI technology. 

When selecting an AI technology, consider more than its capabilities.

  • Test the algorithm with sample data and explore case studies and customer references to see it in action.
  • Evaluate security, privacy and compliance standards, particularly if you operate in a heavily regulated industry.
  • Developer-friendly technologies with comprehensive documentation, software development kits (SDKs) and sample code will expedite integration into your IT stack.

There's been a ton of innovation in the machine learning as a service or MLaaS space. Providers offer algorithms tailored to specific industries or use cases, like specialized computer vision algorithms for insurance claim analysis.

To avoid overwhelming your team with new tools and processes, you can use Scribe, another AI-powered tool, to create comprehensive documents to facilitate the transition and eliminate errors.


Here's what small business founder and COO Will S. has to say about Scribe: 

Scribe is by far the fastest way to create help documentation that I've found. Literally 10x's the speed of manually creating documentation. We love it so much that we recommend it to all of our customers and even embed it in our product. Also, the few times that I've had questions, the Scribe team has responded very quickly. Fantastic product.

These tips will help you navigate AI and the future of work to successfully revolutionize your business processes and unlock new growth and innovation opportunities.

And when you're ready to take your first toward AI, don't forget to get Scribe — it's free!

Ready to try Scribe?

Scribe automatically generates how-to guides and serves them to your team when they need them most. Save time, stay focused, help others.