Business Basics
5 ways AI tools for business can help you grow and thrive

5 ways AI tools for business can help you grow and thrive

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While artificial intelligence has been used in industries worldwide for decades, it’s increasingly going mainstream, thanks to the rise of consumer-friendly generative AI tools, image manipulation platforms powered by complex machine learning algorithms, and virtual assistants that use natural language processing and speech recognition patterns. And as technology advances, AI’s potential to revolutionize the way you do business grows more significant every day.

AI tools for business can help you automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and deliver a superior customer experience. How might AI-powered tools shape the way you do business?

Here are five ways AI can help small businesses thrive.

What are AI tools for business?

An AI tool is a software application that relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to complete a specific task.

Artificial intelligence technology is designed to replicate or augment the decision-making power of a human being. Machine learning is a branch of AI that relies on data and machine learning algorithms to adapt and improve accuracy over time.

AI tools have applications in various fields, including healthcare, education, finance, marketing, and business. An AI tool can be used to help you:

  • Automate tasks
  • Analyze data
  • Create high-quality content
  • Make well-informed decisions

Even small business owners can leverage AI-powered tools to augment their core business processes, making AI technology an essential part of their operations.

5 ways to use AI to grow your business

How can small businesses leverage AI tools to grow and thrive? Here are five ways companies are using AI in business applications.

1. Automate repetitive tasks

Save time by using AI tools to automate repetitive tasks. This can include administrative tasks, such as recording sales data, reconciling accounts, reporting expenses, creating invoices, issuing payments, and even running complex processes like payroll.

But an AI-powered platform can also tap into other areas of your business. For instance, you can use AI tools to manage your inventory, and the software can analyze past sales history to anticipate future demand.

This reduces your administrative tasks and helps you make the most of your inventory management processes and overcome setbacks created by supply chain disruptions.

By automating repetitive tasks, you and your employees will have more time to devote to the revenue-generating activities that make your business prosper. And by using AI systems to complete these tasks, you'll minimize human error caused by manual data entry.

2. Improve customer engagement with AI-powered chatbots

AI-powered chatbots can reduce friction in the customer journey by:

  • Answering customer inquiries about a specific product
  • Providing detailed explanations about a product or service
  • Resolving customer service issues

How do I use a chatbot for my business? Chatbots can be integrated into your website or social media platform to interact with customers in real time. They can answer your most frequently asked questions.

But that's just one of the benefits of chatbots. They can also deliver a personalized customer experience that leads users through your sales funnel. Natural language processing (NLP) ensures the bot delivers friendly, accurate responses to each user.

And if you’re worried that leveraging chatbots would risk harming the customer experience, the truth is that consumers want the benefits that AI has to offer. For example, 64% of one survey’s respondents report that they would appreciate the 24-hour service that chatbots could provide. In a fast-paced, modern world, this could be the differentiator that sets your brand apart.

3. Create content to support your marketing efforts

AI software can also be used for content creation. For example, an AI-powered writing assistant can help you produce content such as:

  • Marketing content
  • Scripts for video content
  • Social media captions
  • Product descriptions

For small businesses, AI can help generate material for content marketing campaigns, saving time while delivering high-quality content.

Additionally, an AI tool can also help you optimize articles so that your website rises to the top of search engine results pages. Keyword research tools will help you identify the most relevant terms to include in your web content to attract and engage website visitors.

4. Analyze customer data

AI tools can analyze customer data and help small business capitalize on key trends. And what's most impressive is that AI-powered tools can analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently—all while delivering actionable information.

For instance, AI tools can analyze sales data to make predictions and forecasts for the future. Or AI tools might be used to analyze customer data to better understand user behavior. This can help you optimize your marketing campaigns and measure the engagement of your social media posts.

5. Deliver a personalized customer experience

Chatbots and other AI tools can do more than just answer customer inquiries about your products. The best AI tools can adapt and learn from customer behavior and deliver a personalized customer journey.

For instance, AI tools can generate targeted advertisements aimed at distinct customer segments. Suppose a customer has recently looked at certain products on your e-commerce page. In that case, your AI tool might send them additional suggestions for similar products or encourage them to complete their initial purchase.

How AI is used as a business tool

Artificial intelligence and machine learning provide state-of-the-art solutions for small businesses. Here are some ways companies can use AI for business functions.

AI tools for customer support tools

Many artificial intelligence tools focus on the customers themselves. For instance, customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you organize sales leads and create a sales pipeline to guide your target audience through the customer journey.

Chatbots make a particularly helpful AI-powered customer support tool. A chatbot can respond to customers in real-time, offering additional information about your products or services or even fielding customer service questions.

AI tools for marketing

AI-powered marketing tools can be used for content creation, social media management, and more.

Businesses can use text generation tools to create web copy, social media content, or compelling scripts for creating video-based marketing campaigns. An AI-powered marketing tool can also assist in sifting through images published on social media, giving you a better idea of customer behavior and how your products are being used in the "real" world.

AI tools for tracking and analytics

AI tools can improve your business productivity. Not only will they enable you to automate repetitive tasks, but they'll also help you analyze customer data and keep track of your core business processes. For example, Finmark from BILL helps businesses track, analyze, and forecast their finances to improve decision making‌. Some of the best AI tools can also integrate with your inventory management system, identifying sales trends and optimizing your procurement process accordingly.

AI tools for accounting and compliance

AI tools can also automate processes related to your accounting and compliance requirements. Today's AI tools can perform tasks such as categorizing transactions, reconciling accounts, and correlating data from receipts and invoices. Automating repetitive tasks such as these will save time, and can also help you improve accuracy.

Some of the best AI tools enable businesses to control their risk management and compliance processes. AI-powered software can review internal documents to ensure business processes conform to established industry or government regulations. This can deliver considerable cost savings since you'll avoid penalties and fines for regulatory violations.

AI tools for cyber security

Security breaches can jeopardize customer data as well as your brand reputation. But by leveraging advanced AI capabilities, even small businesses can scan large amounts of business data and identify potential threats.

And thanks to advanced machine learning, an AI security platform can adapt to new security challenges. AI tools can identify bots and other forms of malware, determine their patterns, and take steps to neutralize these threats before they can impact your digital infrastructure.

The best AI tools for business

The following is a select list of some of the best and often free AI tools that can boost your business productivity and perform critical tasks to streamline your business.

1. Chatbots

Chatbots are rapidly gaining traction for business owners looking for assistance with everything from composing emails to creating blog posts to note-taking and more.

Some tools even have a dictation feature, effectively allowing you to "ramble" and then the software can organize your thoughts into a more cohesive structure.

2. Image generators

Image generation platforms enable you to create images based on a prompt or adapt existing images in creative ways, allowing you to generate high-quality images to enhance your marketing materials.

Some tools now bring content and image creation features together, enabling you to more quickly create materials to support your efforts.

3. Accounts payable automation

When it comes to financial operations, one of the best ways to implement AI tools for business is through your accounts payable processes. The right AI platform can help you extract and autofill invoice data, avoid human error, and streamline the entire process. These tools can help you spend significantly less time on your AP, freeing up more bandwidth to focus on your high-level goals.

4. Research assistants

Looking for an AI-powered research assistant? There are also tools designed to help you perform research and refine your marketing content.

For example, you can enter your input and the AI will compare your content with other similar content (such as from your competitors), and provide suggestions for keywords and more.

5. Voice editing

Voice editing tools allow you to create custom voiceovers for your video content. These programs rely on a text-to-speech feature, while the AI features can infuse your writing with inflection and emotion.

Alternatively, you can record your own voice, then use a voice editing tool to replace it with one of the AI voices available through the interface.

6. Social media insights

You may already rely on a social media management tool to automate your social media tasks. But new AI tools take this further by helping you monitor your brand reputation, track your competitors, and gain insights regarding social media user behavior.

7. Video editing

Video editing platforms can now automate much of the video creation process. These platforms typically offer stock footage, background music, and other elements to streamline the process of creating custom videos. Once complete, you can easily upload your content to your preferred platform.

8. Website analytics

Thanks to machine learning, some website analytics programs can answer questions about your website performance and help you analyze data regarding unique visitors, conversion rates, and more.

Streamline your business with AI-enabled business payments

BILL can help your business improve operations thanks to AI-powered business payment technology. BILL's advanced software eliminates human error caused by manual data entry and lets you accomplish more tasks in less time.

Repurpose, a plant-based materials company, has recently seen the benefits BILL can offer. "Our AP manager is very impressed by the AI technology that BILL employs," says senior controller Sarah Sanders. "The pre-populated invoice information makes the bill recording very painless."

To learn more, visit BILL's AI-enabled business platform, and discover how BILL can take your business to the next level.

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.