In your opinion, why are small businesses the backbone of the American economy?

Our entrepreneurial spirit is what makes us different from every other country in the world. It’s the reason that the United States has been the home for almost every new technological innovation of the last 50 years. Every business — no matter how big today — started small.  It’s what sets us apart. 

From your time working with numerous small business owners, what is the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs when looking to grow their business?

The biggest challenge is having the ability to focus on making a great product or service and delivering it in a manner their customers love. Most people don't realize how hard a grind it is and how long it takes.

How is modern technology helping to both create a competitive advantage for small businesses and drive growth?

Technology is available to anyone willing to take the time to learn how to use it. Any entrepreneur can dig in and figure out how to use tech that can give them a competitive advantage. 

In what ways have you seen artificial intelligence both drive business efficiency as well as increase the customer experience?

With chatbots, pricing, scheduling for service calls and determining the optimal look for an ad, companies are starting to use AI wherever they can.

Why is it important for small businesses today to create an omni-channel experience for their customers?

It’s not necessary to be in every channel, but you have to be where your customers are. With the rise of social media, people want to have a positive association with brands. When they post online, they want to know they can be proud of the brands shown in the picture.