Machine Learning (ML) has been in the news recently with impressive new breakthroughs. The technology is transforming how businesses operate. ML is rapidly becoming an important part of the enterprise. But decision-makers at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are unsure how to leverage machine learning and how it might fit into their company’s technology strategy.

ML is not just for big companies. In a 2020 IBM survey, 29% of small businesses reported they had employed AI or machine learning in their operations.

How can entrepreneurs and small businesses leverage ML to drive business growth? More small businesses are using ML to reduce time spent on mundane tasks, lower costs, improve service, understand their customers, and improve their offerings.

In this piece, we look at a few ways small business owners can develop a machine learning strategy to benefit their small business – even without being an expert in the technology.


Customer Service

Today, over 70% of all customer interactions are powered by technologies like machine learning and chatbots, according to Gartner. SMBs can maintain a high level of service by using smart assistants and ML-driven tools that anticipate a customer’s need and direct them to the resources they need.

ML can help businesses improve customer service by analyzing customer sentiment and categorizing support requests. It can help them develop insights on customer behavior and sentiment, which is critical for improving customer support and product offerings.


Resource Management

ML-powered systems don’t stop working when employees go home for the night. Machine learning can do many of the tasks that require human intelligence — from recognizing patterns and understanding language to picking up on cues and solving problems.

That means businesses can use machine learning for highly specialized tasks and keep human staff focused on other high-value areas to drive innovation. Having a good machine learning strategy is a competitive advantage.


Personalized E-Commerce Recommendations

One example is the movie recommendations on the Netflix home page or Spotify’s suggested playlists. These are powered by machine learning algorithms, which analyze users’ entertainment preferences and create recommendations around preferred artists, genres, and moods.

Small businesses can use this technology to enhance their digital storefronts. With ML, they can leverage data insights from tracking website visitors’ interests and purchased products to suggest similar products. And they can improve their site search functions to deliver smarter, data-informed results that promote conversions.


Data-Driven Marketing Strategies

AI is transforming marketing. However, it can be a challenge for small businesses to make sense of all their marketing data and leverage it effectively. Developing a good machine learning strategy can help.

Small businesses can use ML to better understand their customers, grow brand awareness, identify and engage new customers, and ultimately maximize the value of their marketing efforts. ML-powered tools can help marketers automatically present targeted content to guide customers to the next step of the buyer’s journey.

Struggling to figure out the right customer messaging? ML can help with A/B testing tools to help identify the best messages and streamline customer acquisition.


Streamlined Operations

As small businesses learn to harness the power of ML, they are finding that it can power a wide variety of their day-to-day operations.

They can use ML to simplify inventory management with better insights on the relationship between e-commerce sales, warehouse operations, shipping logistics, customer data, and marketing. ML-powered systems help connect the dots from all these data sources and home in on areas to improve workflow efficiency.


Machine learning is becoming ever easier to implement for any business. Solutions that enable non-experts to harness the power of AI and machine learning to gain competitive advantage are become ever more accessible.

Sidespin Group provides technology strategy consulting services to small- to medium-sized businesses to enhance their critical business systems with AI and ML capabilities by developing an appropriate machine learning strategy and supervising their implementation. Contact us to learn more.

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