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Here are key areas of investment to help entrepreneurs transform their business operations and catapult their business growth.

Key Takeaways

  • 1. Unlock the power of AI and automation.
  • 2. Manage the employee experience.
  • 3. Reach new and existing customers with breakthrough marketing.

I’ve been fortunate to spend more than a decade of my career serving the small business industry. One thing that I’ve seen consistently over the years — whether it’s a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Missouri, an ecommerce business based in Virginia or a hair salon in Texas — is that in order for a small business to grow and thrive, owners must invest strategically in tools and technologies to help them succeed.

This extends beyond simply going online to order a laptop for all your business dealings or setting up a company website — although those are good places to start! The right tools can help power a business, taking it to the next level of growth while making the owner’s life easier and more manageable.

Here are three areas business owners should consider investing in that can help transform their operations and catapult their growth.

1. Unlocking the power of AI and automation

Artificial intelligence is the hot, new buzzword — the technology trend that’s generating the most excitement around its potential use cases, particularly as more and more people experiment with generative AI like ChatGPT.

For business owners who are strapped for time, the opportunity to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks is extremely appealing. In fact, according to a recent survey we did, almost all small business owners are eager to automate operational tasks with the help of AI: from expense management (69%), to invoicing (68%) and completing payroll (51%). They look forward to offloading some of these monotonous but important tasks to technology solutions.

I recommend evaluating key areas of your business operations that are critical to your cash flow, for example, monthly invoicing. Finding ways to improve efficiency by automating repetitive tasks will help save time and money every month, compounding the overall benefit.


The impact of the potential time savings from AI is huge, with 43% of business owners saying they’d use the time to develop customer relationships and 36% would develop more products and services with the extra time. The true power of AI is it creates the capacity to focus on building relationships, creating new offerings, and innovating — areas where the human touch is still essential to success.

2. Managing the employee experience

Another area where technology can make a huge difference is the complicated process of onboarding, managing and paying employees. Personal relationships between a business owner and employees are of course crucial, but by investing in a human capital management (HCM) software solution upfront, business owners can greatly simplify some routine tasks.

Calculating payroll for hourly workers, managing schedules and deducting appropriate taxes are all things HCM solutions can effectively take off a business owner’s plate. This results in significant time savings (similar to the monthly invoicing example above, these are tasks that repeat consistently, compounding the overall benefit). It also ensures greater peace of mind as tax compliance is an area that many business owners struggle to navigate with confidence. Finally, it helps employees, as it provides greater transparency and accessibility to paystubs and other important financial documents.

Related: Three Reasons Why It’s Never Too Early to Invest in HR

3. Reach new and existing customers with breakthrough marketing

According to our recent survey, half of small business owners agree that customer retention is among the most important business metrics for judging the success of a business. Businesses need customers to buy their products and services, but 20% of businesses said acquiring customers is the biggest obstacle inhibiting their growth, second only to the rising cost of inflation.

Automation tools can help with both of these challenges by making it faster and more efficient to manage your company email and social media marketing. Whether it’s leveraging an email marketing solution to reach new and existing customers or experimenting with paid ads on social media platforms, more and more companies are taking the guesswork out of marketing for business owners so they can better target, reach and communicate with their intended audiences. Now businesses can leverage the templates, insights and best practices that are available to them via these platforms rather than reinventing the wheel with every ad or email blast. Additionally, the metrics and insights provided on the backend can help businesses to test and learn, seeing what resonates with their audiences and truly moves the needle.


Our survey found that four in five small business owners plan to invest in digital tools this year. That’s great news for all of us who love and support small businesses, as it will undoubtedly help many companies continue to grow and reach new goals. For any entrepreneurs ready to invest in their brand’s future but unsure where to start, I recommend exploring the capabilities of AI and automation and how tools can help streamline the employee management experience, customer communication and marketing. With the help of technology and tools, the sky is truly the limit for small businesses everywhere.


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