Bredin Report: SMB & AI – What’s Working and What’s Not

Bredin’s recent Pulse survey found that most SMBs using or piloting AI are happy with it — even though the training and customization required to use it are a challenge.

On a 10-point scale (with 10 being extremely satisfied), the average SMB satisfaction is roughly eight. As a result, it’s not surprising that 90% of SMBs predict AI will play a “somewhat or much more” important role in their company going forward.

SMB Satisfaction with AI

SMB Satisfaction with AI by company size

The benefits driving SMB satisfaction vary significantly by company size.

Very small businesses (VSBs, with fewer than 20 employees) are most likely to say that AI has improved their marketing and sales, followed by gains in product quality, customer service, and insight. Small businesses (SBs, with 20 to 99 employees) report that AI has been a boon to quality, internal operations, and customer experience/satisfaction. Midsized businesses (MBs, with 100 to 500 employees) report that the biggest gains from AI have been increased productivity and making better business decisions. AI has also helped MBs accelerate business growth.

How SMBs Benefit from AI

How SMBs Benefit from AI by company size

Despite their enthusiasm for AI, SMBs say that AI presents some unique challenges. For VSBs, the leading issue is high implementation costs, followed by the cost and expense of training required to use it.

The No. 1 challenge of AI for SBs and MBs is the extensive customization required. Training end users is also a challenge for larger SMBs; it ranked second for MBs and third for SBs.

SMB Challenges with AI

SMB Challenges with AI by company size

Want to better understand your U.S. or international SMB target? 
Bredin’s global research capabilities can help you gain valuable insights to improve your go-to-market and product strategies. We can conduct research in any market to develop in-depth, actionable custom insights to optimize your go-to-market, product, pricing, UX, and other strategies.


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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.