15 Top AI Tools for Small Businesses in 2024

15 Top AI Tools for Small Businesses in 2024

15 Top AI Tools for Small Businesses in 2024

New AI tools are being released on a daily basis, and it’s easy to feel like you may already be falling behind. But you don’t have to be an expert in AI to use it in your business. In fact, you’re probably already using AI tools like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. You may use an app that tells you which business credit card to use for a specific purchase to maximize rewards. Or, if you use Nav, you see small business loan and product recommendations based on your business data.

And guess what? Your customers and clients may want you to use AI if it means a better customer experience. (And perhaps less cost for them, too.)

Orbit Media surveyed more than 1000 people in 2023 and found that most preferred their service providers use AI to help them do their jobs, and that included doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, pilots and more. The notable exception was haircuts where the strong preference was for a 100% human-delivered experience. 

In a moment we’ll share top AI tools you may want to leverage in your small business. But first, let’s take a step back and look at where we’ve come, and where this may be going. 

The Rise Of AI Technology In The Small Business World

To illustrate how these tools can help small business, I asked ChatGPT to “explain the rise of AI Technology in the small business world” and here’s the response it gave:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is becoming increasingly popular among small business owners due to its ability to automate mundane tasks and improve productivity. This technology has revolutionized the way small businesses operate and has enabled them to compete with larger corporations by offering the same level of efficiency.

AI technology can be used in various ways to benefit small businesses, such as chatbots, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and predictive analytics. Chatbots can handle customer inquiries, orders, and complaints, freeing up staff to focus on more complex tasks. CRM tools can track customer interactions, manage leads, and streamline sales processes. Predictive analytics can help small business owners make informed decisions based on data trends and patterns.

In conclusion, the rise of AI technology in the small business world has leveled the playing field, allowing small businesses to compete with larger corporations. AI technology is essential for small businesses looking to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction. With the right AI tools, small businesses can improve productivity, save time, and increase profits.

It’s not bad for an AI-generated response. Though articles written entirely by AI are generally at a disadvantage over human-written ones, they can be helpful for idea generation, and tools that use AI like Grammarly or Hemingway can come in handy for proofreading and editing. (Remember the Orbit survey mentioned earlier? 45% of respondents prefer news/journalism created entirely by humans, while 35% chose news generated with AI tools.) 

Importance And Impact Of AI Tools For Small Businesses

AI tools have a staggering potential to transform many businesses. Forward-thinking businesses are using them to improve their business processes, and entire new businesses are being built on AI, including the ones on our list of top picks. 

A 2022 McKinsey report, The state of AI in 2022—and a half decade in review, found that adoption of AI by businesses surveyed had more than doubled in the five years prior. And that survey was conducted before ChatGPT drew one million users in the first few days after it was released and became the fastest-growing platform of all time. 

Next year’s results may blow those out of the water. 

Some of the top uses of AI identified in the McKinsey study include robotic process automation, computer vision, natural-language text understanding, virtual agents or conversational interfaces and deep learning. 

Small businesses are using AI to save time on repetitive tasks, improve business operations and decision-making, and to create or improve email marketing and other marketing campaigns with better insights into customer behavior, among other tasks. 

Types of AI Tools for Small Business

Predictive AI uses machine learning and statistical modeling to analyze data and make predictions about different outcomes. Business owners can use this type of AI to make recommendations, or improve processes such as customer service, for example. 

Generative AI are trained and then create something that doesn’t yet exist, whether that’s an image, an article or code, for example.

Practically speaking, business owners often look at AI tools in terms of the types of problems or tasks they solve. AI marketing tools, for example, can be used to create ad copy or images to use in ads, schedule campaigns and analyze previous performance to improve paid ad performance. AI productivity tools are designed to save time, usually through automating tasks or processes such as scheduling, meeting notes, responding to queries etc.  AI content tools help write copy for blogs, reports, webinars and more, or can edit copy, write headlines or captions and more.

It may sound like hyperbole to say the possibilities are endless, but given the speed of developments in AI tools, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a tool for the most common business challenges (and some obscure ones as well.)

Top 15 AI Tools for Small Businesses

New AI tools are coming out so fast that trying to track them all—much less learn how to use each of them—will make your head spin. That makes it hard to choose the best AI tools for entrepreneurs.  

And it also means it may make sense to choose tools that have proven to be popular with businesses. While it may be fun to try many of the free tools out there, paid tools are more likely to provide better training and customer support since they want you to find them indispensable, and continue as a paying customer. In business, time is money, and you want to invest yours wisely. 

1. ChatGPT

ChatGPT— GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer—uses natural language processing to generate responses to prompts (questions/instructions) of many types. 

It’s being used in myriad ways by business owners, including to create email and website copy, code websites or apps, automate marketing and social media tasks, analyze customer data and more. 

In fact, ChatGPT may be the AI engine behind some of the other AI tools your business uses. Businesses on a budget can use the free plan, but you’ll likely experience faster response times and enhanced features on the paid plan. 

Pricing: Free and paid plan ($20/month) available. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Fast responses, able to multitask, and scalable. 
  • Highly customizable; businesses can train ChatGPT on information specific to their business needs. 
  • Extensive functionality can handle a wide variety of business tasks with training. 

2. Jasper.Ai

A very popular generative AI tool for content creation, Jasper AI can be used to generate all kinds of content including, social media posts and social media ads, blog posts, product descriptions, reports, emails and more. Jasper Brand Voice allows you to train it and customize content to your industry and voice. 

Pricing: Starts at $24/month for “hobbyists” with limited use. “Boss Mode” plans start at $49/month to $500/month while Business plans for more than 5 users and with custom words are quoted on an individual basis. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Create copy as well as art for thumbnails, illustrations etc. 
  • Use AI templates and automated workflows (Boss Mode and above).
  • 30+ languages currently supported.
  • Surfer SEO integration available to write keyword-optimized content.

3. Tidio 

Use Tidio to add an AI powered chatbot to your website. Answer customer questions, make product recommendations and offer custom discounts. Great for repetitive questions, it can help your customer service team reduce its workload while providing solid customer support. 

Pricing: Free plan for limited number of responses, then plans start at $15.83/month for basic plans to $329/month for full feature set.

Core Features and Benefits

  • Livechat, chatbots, canned and offline responses in multiple languages. Surveys and ticketing are also available. 
  • Centralize and handle messaging from multiple channels including email and Instagram. 
  • Multiple integrations including Shopify, Squarespace, WordPress, Google Analytics, Hubspot, Zapier, and Drupal.  

4. Searchie 

If you’ve created a lot of content housed in various places—think articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, Facebook Lives, Zoom videos and more—Searchie can help you organize and share it with your prospects or customers, or turn it into a paid membership or course. Multiple AI tools can help streamline the process or turn longer content into promotional snippets. 

Pricing: Plans start at $29/month for basic, $99/month for pro and $199/month for business.

Core Features and Benefits

  • Upload content from multiple sources into Searchie and make it completely searchable for users. Use AI to create transcripts for video and audio content.
  • Drag and drop builder for creating public or paid courses, and take advantage of the Canva integration to create the look you want.
  • Use Searchie AI, which leverages OpenAI to generate headlines, takeaways, descriptions, etc., for audio and video uploaded to Searchie. 
  • Use WisdomAI by Searchie to transform your content into conversational responses. 

5. Fireflies

Invite Fireflies.ai to your next meeting, and this AI assistant will record, transcribe and analyze conversations. Use it to automate meeting note taking, generate follow up actions, draft reports and more. It can also be used to transcribe and generate captions for podcasts, videos and more. 

Pricing: Free plan offers limited use. The Pro Plan is $10/seat per month (annual billing), the Business Plan is $19 per seat/month and custom pricing is available. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Transcribe video and audio calls and content quickly and efficiently
  • Use AI Super Summaries to capture key meeting points without having to read entire transcript
  • Use analytics tools to evaluate speaker talk-time, detect key topics and tasks and more
  • Integrations include Zoom, Google Meet, Teams Webex, Ringcentral, and more.

6. Beautiful.ai 

Use Beautiful.ai to create beautiful presentations, including pitch decks, marketing reports, sales reports, customer presentations and more. 

Pricing: Pro plan is $12/month (billed annually), Team plan is $40/month per user, and custom enterprise plans are available. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Hundreds of pre-built slides and templates to choose from.
  • Data visualization tools to present any kind of data.
  • Add audio or narration, plus access free photos, videos and icons. 
  • View on any device, and share to PowerPoint if needed. 

7. Pictory

If you know you should be using more video in your business, whether it’s on your website or social media, Pictory can help by turning your long-form video, audio or written content into short, shareable videos. Turn scripts into video sales letters, for example, or create videos from blog posts. And you don’t need any video editing skills to use it. 

Pricing: Free trial allows you to create three videos, no credit card required. Standard Plan is $19/user /month, Premium Plan is $39/user/month and enterprise pricing is available. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Automatically extract short shareable videos from longer form video.
  • Turn written content into video. 
  • Edit video using text and remove filler words and silence. 
  • Add captions or transcribe video automatically.
  • Narration using your voice or AI.

8. Zapier OpenAI Integrations

OpenAI is the company behind ChatGPT and image generator DALL-E. While there is a lot you can do with either of those programs, there can be a steep learning curve. Zapier can help you automate tasks by connecting with these two AI platforms. Automate tasks, product development and more. 

One example: Create email copy from OpenAI from new Gmail emails and save as drafts in Gmail: When you get a new customer email, create different email responses with OpenAI and save them automatically as Gmail drafts. Send faster, better email responses. 

Pricing: Free forever for basic level. The Starter Plan is  $19.99/month (billed annually), the Professional Plan is $49.99/month, and higher plans are available. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Connect OpenAI to more than 5000 apps, including virtually all popular business apps. 
  • Choose from hundreds of zaps (workflows that connect your apps to automate repetitive tasks) or create your own. 
  • No-code editor makes it accessible. 

9. Legalese Decoder

As a business owner, you’re probably going to sign a lot of contracts, whether it’s a subscription for software, contracts with service professionals, or small business loan agreements. And while it’s important to read the fine print, and consult an attorney to protect your interests, there are times when you will first just want to understand what you’re being asked to sign. While it’s not a substitute for legal advice, Legalese Decoder can help you understand key contract terms . 

Pricing: Free version for up to 150 words/500 characters max. Pro is $49.95 with a free 7-day trial. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Get a plain language version of a legal document. 
  • “Translate” contracts and agreements including documents related to raising capital and investment. 

10. Timely

As an entrepreneur, you know it’s essential to focus on activities with the highest ROI. Timely works automatically behind the scenes to track the time you spend on various activities, no manual time tracking needed. Use drag and drop tools to create a timesheet if you need one. If you bill clients, you can also use it to track billable time. And you can use it to track employee or team time. 

Pricing: Starter plan is $9/user/month (billed annually), Premium is $16/user/month, and Unlimited is $22/user/month. Add Tasks (track against deliverables) for $5/person. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Automatic, yet 100% private. Choose what to share. 
  • Track projects, track teams, track plans. 
  • Bill accurately, down to the minute if you choose. 

11. Looka

Part of the fun of a business startup is coming up with a name, logo and brand image. Looka offers easy-to-use AI powered tools to help you create a high-quality brand identity. Create a logo and, if you choose, a complete brand kit, including social media cover photos, business card designs, advertisements, business proposals, invoices, and more. 

Pricing: Create a logo and only pay for it if you want to use it. The Basic Logo Package is currently $20 and the Premium Logo Package is $65. Brand Kit Subscription is $95/year or the Brand Kit + AI generated website is $165/year. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Generate hundreds of logos to choose from 
  • Create a brand kit to create a consistent brand image
  • 300+ templates tailored to different industries

12. Descript

Descript is a one-stop shop for all your video editing needs. Whether you are looking to create podcast episodes, edit videos, generate captions, or even just transcribe your videos, Descript can be a game-changer.  

Pricing: You can try it for free or use one of the paid plans. Creator is $12/month, Pro is $24/month, Business is $40/month. An Enterprise plan offers custom pricing based on your business needs.

Core Features and Benefits 

  • Edit videos, generate captions, transcribe videos, create show notes easily
  • Remove filler words, fix eye contact, eliminate noise, fix speaker tone, and more
  • You can create a voice clone to use when editing videos

13. Otter.ai 

If you are looking for a powerful transcription tool, Otter.ai is definitely worth considering. The app takes notes on calls, online meetings, and even presentations for you. It can provide summaries, action items, and answer questions about the meeting so all you have to do is be present in the moment.

Pricing: There is a free option for Otter.ai so you can give it a try and see if it fits your needs. If you want to upgrade to a paid plan, the Basic plan starts at $10/month and Business is $20/month. There is also an Enterprise plan which is customized to your business needs. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Numerous apps/integrations including Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Slack
  • Take automatic notes and action items, transcribe conversations, answer questions, and much more
  • Works for calls, presentations, and online meetings

14. Ollama

If you are looking for generative AI for privacy tools, and are comfortable working with open-source AI code, then check out Ollama. It lets you run large language models locally, rather than in the cloud, for greater control, flexibility, and privacy. It offers a wide range of APIs, and can be integrated into a wide range of programs easily, and its interface is considered user friendly. (This Linkedin article provides a helpful overview.)

Pricing: Free for personal use. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Open source AI code 
  • Secure and private data (if you run the LLMs locally)
  • Can be integrated with a wide variety of applications

15. LM Studio

Another option for running large language models locally and privately, LM Studio lets you try open source and local LLMs offline on your laptop, rather than in the cloud. As it states on its site: Your data remains private and local to your machine. If you are comfortable with open-source AI code and want to explore large language models, LM Studio may be a good fit.

Pricing: Free for personal use. Reach out to LM Studio for business use pricing. 

Core Features and Benefits

  • Your data is secure
  • Can be used offline
  • Download a variety of LLMs

Pros And Cons Of Using Artificial Intelligence Tools

How Can Your Small Business Leverage AI Tools

Feel like you’re missing out? The best way to leverage AI tools is to start by testing tools for routine tasks. Keep in mind that you or your team doesn’t have to become an expert on AI or hire a prompt engineer to mine the possibilities of ChatGPT, Google Bard or other AI platforms. 

You can use tools like the ones we’ve mentioned here, or others. Those companies have already done the heavy lifting and packaged AI technology into user-friendly tools for time-starved business owners.  (AI Tool Directory, Futurepedia and Futuretools both maintain updated and extensive lists of tools in many different categories.) 

Popular uses of AI tools include:

  • Draft emails and website copy
  • Use AI chatbots to answer routine questions
  • Create and schedule social media posts
  • Deliver content easily in multiple formats (audio, video, written)
  • Gather and analyze key metrics to improve results
  • Code apps or tools

Nav’s Verdict

AI tools can help small business owners save time and money, and do more with less. However, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and distracted by the sheer number of tools available. It’s important to take the time to understand where it can have the greatest impact on your business, choose wisely, and focus on implementation so you can really use these tools to help accomplish your business goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best 5 AI tools for small business owners?

We’ve listed some top tools above; so here let’s focus on the types of tools most businesses—from e-commerce to service businesses—can use: 

1. Writing assistant: Train AI to help you write drafts, edit copy, proofread, or repurpose articles, emails or reports. 

2. Project management: Let AI-driven tools help you plan and execute projects more effectively. 

3. Customer service: Save time and money with chatbots that are available 24/7 to answer basic questions and provide resources. 

4. Social media marketing: Streamline your social media marketing efforts with tools that can help you generate, repurpose and schedule AI for your business. 

5. Data Analytics: Get real-time insights into what’s working in your business and what may need your attention. This can be anything from financial performance, to sales, to customer feedback. 

What is the best free AI tool for business?

ChatGPT from OpenAI is the most popular AI app, and is a great place to start. 

Which is the most common AI application in today’s business?

The most common AI application depends on the type of business using AI. Deloitte reports, for example, that within financial services, voice assistants, chatbots

and conversational AI tools are the most popular applications for customer experience and marketing, while financial reporting and accounting are most popular for operations and finance.

As a business owner, you can start by finding one business challenge that can be streamlined with AI and make it work for your business. You don’t have to do everything  at once. 

How are small businesses using AI?

According to small business research firm Bredin, SMBs the top uses for AI for small business are:

  1. Virtual assistant 
  2. Marketing/ecommerce/advertising/media management 
  3. Business intelligence/analytics
  4. Customer service/support/experience 
  5. Website/social media analytics
  6. Sales
  7. Workflow automation
  8. Financial Management
  9. HR/recruiting
  10. Operations

This article was originally written on June 13, 2023 and updated on June 10, 2024.

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