Bredin Report: Why Some SMBs Have No Interest in AI

In a recent Bredin Report, we discussed new research from the most recent wave of our SMB Pulse survey of 500 U.S.-based principals on how SMBs who aren’t yet using AI – but are interested in it – expect to benefit from it, and what’s keeping them from adopting it.

In that survey, we also asked SMBs who aren’t at all interested in AI why they aren’t.

It’s interesting to note that of the SMBs who aren’t at all interested in AI, the vast majority are very small businesses (VSBs, with fewer than 20 employees). Relatively few companies with 20 to 99 employees (small businesses, or SBs) and even fewer with 100 to 500 employees (midsized businesses, or MBs) are not interested in AI.

For those who aren’t interested, the reason is simple: they just don’t see the benefit. It hasn’t been made clear to them how their business will be better off with AI. The implication is that there is a huge opportunity for marketers to educate SMBs – especially smaller SMBs – on the applications and benefits of AI.

Why Some SMBs Aren't Interested in AI

On the flip side – for SMBs who are using, piloting or interested in AI – we wanted to understand how many companies have created, or expect to create, an AI usage policy – for example, to prohibit the use of ChatGPT. These policies are not widespread among VSBs; only about two in five have or plan to have an AI usage policy, increasing to only 47% of SBs. Policy use is higher among MBs, at 63%, but that still means a third of companies with 100 to 500 employees don’t have an AI usage policy. This is another great educational opportunity for marketers who want to encourage successful use of AI by SMBs.

AI Usage Policy Incidence

Need research to learn about your SMB target? Place a few questions in Bredin’s monthly SMB Pulse or let our experienced team design and execute a custom research project to uncover actionable insights.

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About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.