Artificial intelligence is everywhere and it’s not just big companies relying on the technology.

Research shows many small businesses are using AI tools to grow amid financial pressures from inflation.

“We like to work smarter than harder over here,” said Lakesha Cole, founder of she PR.

Lakesha Cole is the woman behind she PR, a boutique public relations agency in Tampa, Florida. She manages as small team of 6-10 freelancers and now the newest member of her team is artificial intelligence.

“You don’t want to get left behind, right? And so, my job as a business owner is to make sure that I am giving my team members the tools that they need to be able to do their job as efficiently as possible,” she said.

A recent survey from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC) shows 75 percent of surveyed companies (507 out of 676) use artificial intelligence tools as part of their operations. The most common are AI tools for financial management, cybersecurity, and AI-powered email marketing.

“We like to say the ChatGPT helps us get started with our copywriting. But you still need a human on the other side to make sure that your messaging kind of resonates with the person that’s reading it,” said Cole.

The same SBEC survey shows many small businesses want the federal government to establish guidelines for using AI.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is keeping tabs on it too.

“I’m really keen on making sure that small businesses continue to adopt technology, leverage technology, including AI, to improve their productivity across their workforce and improve their capacity to continue to deliver output for this country,” said Administrator Isabel Guzman of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman said she believes AI tools can help entrepreneurs keep up with larger competitors.

“Because we know small business owners wear so many hats, oftentimes, they’re writing their own press releases, writing their own social media to be able to leverage AI to help even with the draft so they can bring their ideas to life,” said Administrator Guzman.

She said AI powered tools can also help small businesses improve productivity.

“For small business to be able to grow they need strong customer service,” said Administrator Guzman. “So, chatbots and AI to help power your customer service is really, truly a remarkable way for small businesses to maintain good customer support while a growing and expanding and making room to hire up in the process.”

The SBA has also launched a Small Business Digital Alliance to provide free tools and trainings to companies.

This week, the agency is also hosting a National Small Business Week Virtual Summit where there will be several sessions about AI tools. You can find more information here.

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