Artificial intelligence has been used by big businesses for years, but the buzz over generative tools like ChatGPT that are available to everyone has drawn the attention of small businesses. And nearly all those utilizing the technology are seeing a boost, according to fresh data.
Survey results released Wednesday by Constant Contact found 91% of small business owners using AI say it has made their companies more successful, and more than a quarter (28%) of those respondents said they expect it to save them at least $5,000 over the next year.
Small business leaders using AI overwhelmingly agreed automating tasks using the tools has helped them cut costs and improve efficiency, Constant Contact reported. Sixty percent of small businesses that use AI say it has saved them time, with more than a third estimating it has saved them more than 40 minutes per week.
Constant Contact CEO Frank Vella told FOX Business the findings show small businesses “are focused on achieving their intended outcomes with tools that make it easy and intuitive for them to achieve their goals.”
“We discovered that their level of excitement is growing, and those who are already leveraging these technologies are seeing impactful results at a business level,” he said.
Twenty-six percent of small businesses surveyed said they are using AI. Another 44% said they were not using the tools for business but would like to start, and 16% were unsure. Only 14% of those not using the tools said they had no interest in giving them a try.
Of those not using the technology, 74% of decision-makers surveyed said they were interested in using AI or automation in their businesses, and 55% reported their interest grew in the last six months.
“Small businesses and nonprofit organizations are using tools that leverage AI for better outcomes — to enhance their creativity, get closer to their target audiences and drive more sales volume,” Vella said. “As their marketing sophistication grows, we also see them look to incorporate AI and automations into more areas of their marketing.”
Justin Fortier, an expert on AI usage in businesses and the CEO of FYC Labs, agrees.
“AI has become a major trend as of late, but we are seeing it become an even bigger part of how small businesses run and operate,” he told FOX Business, adding “small businesses are increasingly realizing they can use AI to reduce the time it takes to a lot of menial, day-to-day tasks.”
Mary Ginder, co-owner of hot sauce maker Gindo’s Spice of Life, utilizes AI in several ways and says it is a huge time saver.
“I use AI when I’m looking for new ideas on how to describe a flavor profile for our sauces or when I’m in a hurry to get a newsletter generated and don’t have time to write my own copy,” she said. “I love how it gives me fresh ideas when I feel stuck, and it helps me formulate my thoughts and execute them much quicker than I could on my own. I’d say AI has helped cut my work time in half on average.”
Spartan Media founder Jeremy Knauff says he first started experimenting with AI years before it went mainstream and that it was terrible at first.
“But, within the last year, it’s started to become exponentially useful,” Knauff said.
He now uses ChatGPT for transcribing videos and says the task that could take several hours before has now been reduced down to less than one minute.
“We’ve used the same approach to ghostwrite articles for clients from our interviews with them, and we’re also starting to experiment with other uses, including monitoring mentions of clients online, evaluating trending topics to identify opportunities for pitches and looking for new job roles among journalists,” Knauff said.
Matt Hope, co-founder of ElderGuide, says his company uses AI to help identify opportunities by evaluating industry trends, consumer questions and concerns and other data. He said it gives his small business a powerful advantage because “we can spot and leverage opportunities long before our competitors even know they exist.”
Knowing that AI is still a budding technology, Hope says his team is still experimenting with other ways to use it.
“Ultimately, AI is a powerful tool that’s here to stay. But, in my experience, it’s like the Wild West, so you need to be prepared for uncharted territory, lots of testing and more trial and error than you’re probably expecting,” Hope said. “But it’s well worth the time and energy.”