Is Your Small Business Using AI Yet? It Should Be

It’s been another busy week for small businesses here with plenty of good and exciting news on the economy.

But I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about some of the other top stories I found this week on Small Business Trends for the latest This Week in Small Business.

In this week’s show, you’ll see that I’m alone for half of it. That’s because I was at the latest Inbound conference . You can check out my in-depth conversation with Jon Dick of HubSpot here and he’s also featured later in this show.

This week, a recent article by Michael Guta got my attention and I wanted to focus in on that quickly. In it, he’s covering the top AI solutions for small businesses that cloud service providers can offer today.

I picked this article because one of those services I know fairly well, that’s CRM or customer relationship management.

In this show, I say, “There are so many service offerings now that are levering AI in their CRM applications.”

And that’s true. One, for example, is predictive lead scoring. This is where machine learning helps you analyze your sales leads and assigns scores to help you decide whether a prospective client is worth pursuing before you divert resources to do so.

“It gives you an idea of how close-able that lead is. Instead of burning cycles trying to figure out if a lead is good, now you have CRM applications help with that. CRM and AI go hand-in-glove at this point,” I say in the show.

Check out that whole article for more AI services that can be offered to small businesses. And even if you’re not a cloud service provider, look at this list as a resource of AI services that you could implement at your own small business.

You’ll also want to check out, as I did in this week’s show, Larry Kim’s latest on the 25 skills businesses need right now. To put it bluntly, if you’ve got some of these skills, the time is now to start cashing in on them.

At the end of This Week in Small Business this week, I have attached some of my conversations from the Inbound conference so check those out, too.

Remember, don’t miss future episodes of This Week in Small Business by subscribing to the Small Business Trends YouTube channel today.

And for the rest of the week in small business news, check out the Small Business Trends news roundup below:

Small Business Operations

Small Businesses in Wilmington, NC Prepare for Worst of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is slogging its way toward the North and South Carolina coastline. But in one community smack in the middle of the cone of uncertainty, small restaurant owners are telling Flo to kiss their grits … or fondue. As it sits now just off the coast of Wilmington, NC, Florence is a Category 2 hurricane.

Microsoft Will Require Suppliers – Including Some Small Businesses – to Provide Paid Parental Leave

The support for parental leave is gaining steam in the US, especially with millennials who seek a work/life balance in their lives. Building on a 2015 announcement, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) says it will require more of its suppliers within the US to provide paid parental leave for their employees.

Job Satisfaction Hits 51% But Small Businesses Must Still Work to Retain Employees

More than half (51%) of U.S. employees are experiencing greater job satisfaction today than ever before. This follows seven consecutive years of improved employee attitudes about wages and job security, according to a recent study conducted by The Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research association headquartered in New York City.


Small Business Optimism Smashes Reagan-Era Record for August

Who’s really to credit for the booming economy? The party responsible may more likely be found in a small business office than the Oval. NFIB Small Business Optimism Index August 2018 The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index reading for August hit 108.8, the organization reported this week.


Thinking of Changing Your Business Structure in Light of Latest Tax Reform? Read This First

With the dramatic drop in the corporate tax rate to 21% and the introduction of the new 20% qualified business income (QBI) deduction for owners of pass-through entities, there has been growing focus on whether businesses should change their legal status to take advantage of new tax breaks.

Technology Trends

Microsoft Ends Enrollment for Program Helping Small Businesses Finance Surface Plus

Almost a year to the date after Microsoft launched the Surface Plus Program, new enrollments officially ended on August 31, 2018. Although Microsoft has stopped accepting new applicants, those who are already enrolled can continue with their plans, including upgrading their device.

New HTC Phone Offers High End Features at a Business Friendly Cost

The flagship phones from Samsung, Apple and Google might get all the headlines, but they are not the phones the vast majority of the people around the world buy. The new HTC U12 Life, on the other hand, is in that sweet spot when it comes to price, so it will get the attention of budget-conscious buyers who want value for every dollar — including small business owners.

New Dell 2-in-1 Devices Built for the Fast-Paced Small Business Owner

US-based Dell (NYSE: DVMT) launched a slew of devices at the recent IFA in Berlin, including the new Inspiron 5000 and 7000 laptops, Vostro 14 and 15 5000 and premium 27 USB-C ultrathin displays and entry-level SE monitors. Dell says the new devices are built to deliver top performance to everyday users and even fast-paced small business owners.

Medical Practices, Other Small Businesses Give Customers 24/7 Response with ProfessionalChats

Live chat has become the norm on a lot of websites. Customers want a fast and easy way to communicate with the brands they’re considering buying from. And for small businesses that don’t have the ability to always be on call for those conversations, it makes sense to outsource to a dedicated chat service.

New Tool Helps Small Retail Merchants Determine Their Cybersecurity Readiness

Small businesses have become a big target for cybercriminals and one of the vectors of their attacks are payment systems. Retail Cybersecurity In order to combat this problem, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council or PCI SSC has launched a new tool along with updated educational resources to help small merchants.

New G7 Smartphones From LG Might Benefit Business – Depending on the Price

The South Korean multinational electronics company, LG Electronics, has announced that it will be revealing two new additions to the G7 series of smartphones at IFA 2018. The LG G7 One and LG G7 Fit are LG’s first Android One-powered smartphones and they build on the foundation of the advanced LG G7 ThinQ.

Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.