Lillian Chase
Intern, Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


June 28, 2024


Small business owners think AI will benefit their businesses in the long run, according to the latest MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce quarterly Small Business Index. In fact, many small business owners say they have already experimented with AI and use it to assist them in certain tasks.  

The new data shows that small business owners are optimistic about the future of AI and feel it could save them time and money. Almost half of small business owners surveyed say they have plans to try AI tools in the coming year. 

Small Business Owners in Early Stages of AI Adoption 

Small business owners see a future where AI becomes an integral part of the workplace, but many are still in the early stages of adoption. The Small Business Index found that 65% of small business owners expect AI to change future job roles, and 64% expect AI proficiency to be in future job listings.  

Many small businesses have already experimented with AI technology. For example, Michael Canty, president and CEO of Alloy Precision Technologies Inc., has added this emerging technology into his operations.  

“I have read about 2,000 pages to learn more, assigned my senior team to the development of AI uses at our company, and we have begun to use it in lead generation, vendor identification, the development of marketing materials, and a few other applications,” says Canty, a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Small Business Council.  

Although small businesses are intrigued by how AI can help improve business, many are still in the early stages of determining how best to use this new technology, as well as the recruitment of employees with AI skills.  

Four in 10 small businesses report having tried out different AI tools to see which best suits their individual needs, and almost half (49%) say they plan to incorporate AI soon. Just a few small businesses say they have added AI skills to job postings (16%) or established a company-wide AI policy (15%).  

David Jankowsky, founder and CEO of electric vehicle charging network Francis Energy, says he has not yet taken concrete action to implement AI-driven solutions but expects that AI will play a large role in the future in helping to manage the company’s charging stations. 

Small Business Owners Are Taking Initiative to Learn More About AI 

All the intrigue around AI has some small business owners thinking about how AI could give them an edge compared to their peers. Three in four small businesses (74%) say that having employees who use AI tools could give them an edge against competitors. 

Additionally, 71% of small business owners think hiring employees with AI skills could save them time in the long run, and 67% say it could save them money in the long term.  

When it comes to learning about AI, small businesses are turning to some familiar resources. Most small business owners are using Google (82%), other business owners (72%), and AI experts (71%) to learn more about AI. Others report using social media (62%) to learn more.  

Younger Business Owners See Greater AI Potential  

The Small Business Index shows that Gen-Z and millennials are much more familiar with AI than Gen X-owned or baby boomer-owned small businesses.  

Small businesses owned by baby boomers and older (27%) are less likely to say they have tried out different AI tools compared to those owned by Gen Z-ers and millennials (45%) or those owned by Gen Xers (42%).  

In the next year, small businesses owned by baby boomers and older generations are also more likely to say they are not planning to do anything to prepare for AI in the workplace (45%) compared to those owned by Gen Z-ers and millennials (15%) or those owned by Gen Xers (25%). 

Overall, 87% of small business owners are generally familiar with AI, and 38% say they are very familiar with AI.   

The AI findings are part of the quarterly MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, which measures small business owners’ perceptions of business operations, environment, and expectations. Explore more of this quarter’s findings at  

The Chamber explored these trends further in a recent report on the impact of technology on small business. 

About the authors

Lillian Chase

Lillian Chase is a communications intern at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.