How Much Can AI Save Small Businesses?

August 24, 2023
ChatGPT Bard

For many businesses that have yet to implement artificial intelligence, the reason almost always comes down to cost. After all, every business has a budget and we at are very familiar with the multitude of costs that come with AI, from the hardware needed to run the algorithms to the fees for hiring data scientists or software developers, or even training existing staff on how to use AI systems.

In December 2019, KPMG announced that it was investing $5 billion into artificial intelligence; PWC allocated $3 billion, while Ernst & Young have been allocating $1 billion a year since 2018. Statistics such as these don’t serve small businesses well though, making artificial intelligence seem ever more unobtainable. For the larger firms, staying ahead of the competition is a key driver to the adoption of AI, but small businesses simply do not have the same impetus and this is particularly so in the midst of a cost of living crisis

While budgets may be tight, the majority of small businesses would in fact find that the return on investment (ROI) is well worth the expenditure. According to a recent report, Small Business Now: An AI Awakening, 91% of small businesses that have adopted artificial intelligence believe that it has made their business more successful. This success owes itself to two key factors:  that it has saved the business time, and that it has also saved money. 

  • 33% of small businesses saved over 40 minutes a week after adopting AI
  • 37% of respondents would use the time saved by AI to plan what’s next for their business
  • 58% of small businesses have saved at least $1,000 from implementing AI 


AI Saves Businesses Time:

33% of small and medium businesses have saved themselves over 40 minutes a week since implementing artificial intelligence. Furthermore, 60% of all businesses that are using artificial intelligence believe that it has made their business more successful by promoting and facilitating more efficient working practices. 

A saving of 40 minutes per week translates to 34.6 hours annually. Based on a normal working day of 8 hours, artificial intelligence saves small and medium businesses 4.35 working days a year.  With an extra hour in the working week, 37% of all business owners reported that they would use the bonus time to plan what’s next for their business, whilst 10% would use it to get involved in charitable pursuits and give back to their local community.

Even a saving of 25 minutes per week would equate to almost three extra working days a year. 31% of respondents would spend this time fine-tuning their marketing strategy, while a similar number (30%) would prioritise improving their products or services.

While saving time is undoubtedly one of the key benefits of artificial intelligence, there are a host of other benefits to adopting the new technology. 44% of businesses with between 10-49 employees believe they have made fewer errors since taking up AI, and this in turn saves the time required to undo errors and make any corrections. It is perhaps the benefit of the additional time freed up by AI-powered automation processes that enables 29% of larger businesses (with 50+ employees) to get to know their customers better. In the same survey, 26% of small business owners reported that they would use an extra hour in their working week to interact with customers more. 

Luke Eales, founder of, is not surprised by the plethora of benefits that small businesses owners have been reporting since adopting artificial intelligence:

What’s interesting is that for many small and medium business owners there is almost this initial reluctance to adopt artificial intelligence for fear of not being able to do it on the same scale or with the same budget as some of their larger competitors. Yet more than a quarter of businesses that have since adopted AI believe that they are now more competitive with these big companies as a result”. 

With more than a third of small businesses with 10+ employees reporting that artificial intelligence has helped to grow their business faster, one of the key benefits of adopting AI is the return on investment that it yields. 


AI Saves Businesses Money:

58% of all small and medium businesses expect to save at least $1,000 in the next 12 months as a result of implementing automation or artificial intelligence. With 22% of SMB owners or decision-makers stating that they would use an extra hour in the working week to rest or take time for themselves, we’re sure this saving could go a long way towards that golf or gym membership. 

More than a quarter of SMBs (28%) believe that their savings could in fact exceed $5,000 per year. This would undoubtedly help the 12% who would like to update their systems and technology to invest in newer models or software. 

A recent report from the BCG highlights that companies with revenues of $10 billion or more can expect to see an annual ROI of $100 million in new revenue or cost savings following the adoption of AI, but figures such as these are harder to calculate for SMBs. While time and cost savings are the most tangible benefits for smaller companies that are considering implementing AI, decision-makers should also look at the bigger picture and reflect on the potential gains that are perhaps not quite so easily measured. These include productivity increases, improved customer experiences and potential revenue increases from new service offerings. 


We at believe that the business owners who truly understand what artificial intelligence can offer, and who have the courage of conviction to make that investment, will be those who lead in their markets, whether small or large, local or international, in the years to come.

Join The Future


Clear, concise, comprehensive. Get a grip on AI developments with DailyAI

Eugene van der Watt

Eugene comes from an electronic engineering background and loves all things tech. When he takes a break from consuming AI news you'll find him at the snooker table.


Stay Ahead with DailyAI


Sign up for our weekly newsletter and receive exclusive access to DailyAI's Latest eBook: 'Mastering AI Tools: Your 2024 Guide to Enhanced Productivity'.


*By subscribing to our newsletter you accept our Privacy Policy and our Terms and Conditions