Today’s digital advancements, including the evolution of AI technology, are increasingly helping small businesses compete with big corporations. In some cases, corporations themselves are even empowering smaller companies with unique tools and programs.

During a panel discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s America's Top Small Business Summit: Ready. Set. Scale., Ashley Hubka, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Walmart Business, and Ciara McCoy, Meta’s Head of North America Small Business Advocacy, discussed the growing role of technology — including their companies’ own resources — in promoting marketplace democratization. Read on for insights from their conversation with Barbara Thau, Editorial Director, Features at CO—, including how big businesses’ digital infrastructure can support small businesses, as well as Hubka's and McCoy’s best advice for small business owners.

[Read More: Missed the Summit? Catch the replay here.]

Big business infrastructure and AI are propelling a small business revolution

Meta’s and Walmart’s digital infrastructure, combined with advancements in logistics, is helping small businesses to compete with larger enterprises in a historically unprecedented way.

“[At] Walmart, we are growing together with small businesses, and we do that by operating as an ecosystem,” said Hubka.

By taking advantage of Walmart Marketplace and other digital fulfillment platforms, small businesses can both cut costs and operate at the same scale as businesses with larger budgets and infrastructure.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to intensify these trends, according to McCoy.

“When technology advances … it really democratizes the ability for small businesses to be in spaces that might have traditionally been reserved for bigger businesses … with bigger budgets,” she said. “This is why I get so excited about AI, because … it has the ability to give businesses time back [and] … allow you to … spend your mind working on new things that could grow your business to the next level.”

[Read More: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Changing How Marketers Sell Everything From Food to Fashion]

Meta and Walmart are spearheading marketplace democratization

With omnichannel digital services like Walmart Business, Facebook Marketplace, and Facebook groups, Walmart and Meta are putting tools to cut costs and expand services directly into the hands of small businesses everywhere.

“We built [Walmart Business] around three ideas,” Hubka explained. “One, how do we help you simplify and save money on your business purchasing? Two, how do we help you stay in control and in stock? And … third, [how do we] create efficiencies to operate and to grow?”

Omnichannel services like the ones pioneered by Meta and Walmart are helping to provide a concrete return on investment to small businesses.

“Fifty-five percent of small business owners tell us that inflation and costs are a barrier to growth,” Hubka added. “So … the heart and foundation of Walmart Business is bringing the scale of Walmart to small businesses through EDLP [Everyday Low Prices].”

[Read More: How Walmart Is Building a New Shopping Channel for Small Businesses]

With omnichannel digital services like Walmart Business, Facebook Marketplace, and Facebook groups, Walmart and Meta are putting tools to cut costs and expand services directly into the hands of small businesses everywhere.

Planning ahead and finding community can help small businesses grow

By providing digital omnichannel platforms and the supply chain infrastructure to match, Meta and Walmart are helping not only to reduce costs and scale up small businesses to compete with larger companies — they’re also creating a digital ecosystem that lets small businesses interact with customers, and each other, more directly.

“People do business with people,” said McCoy. “We are continuing to invest in ways that allow small businesses to tell their stories in authentic ways and connect with their customers.”

In addition to leveraging support from big business, McCoy added that small businesses and entrepreneurs can work together to meet their goals and grow.

“Find your small business community,” she advised. “Go find other business owners. You’re not doing this alone. There’s so much to learn from other business owners.”

Hubka closed with one key piece of advice for small business owners: Have a plan.

“You probably won’t execute it, but … going through that thinking, picking one alternative versus another, [will] make the thing you pick better,” Hubka elaborated. “You’ll have a fallback if the first thing doesn’t work out, and then when you have to pivot, you’ve done some of that groundwork.”

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CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.