Small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the United States continue to be the backbone of the economy, accounting for 99 percent of all businesses and employing more than 60 million workers—nearly half of the US workforce.1 From the rise of remote work to the emergence of AI, SMBs are poised to benefit greatly from a new generation of technology to help grow and scale businesses.
There are 11 million SMBs that now rely on Microsoft 365 solutions to help them achieve more than ever. Read on to learn more about new investments Microsoft is making to help SMBs achieve more than ever before.
We are excited about our recent AI announcement that will transform the way you work and streamline your business operations. Below, we will discuss what these new AI capabilities mean to businesses like yours. We have also partnered with GoDaddy, PayPal, and Stripe to bring you a first-of-its-kind Teams Payments app that helps you close new business and get paid directly in Microsoft Teams meetings; we will highlight a project organization app that helps your employees better collaborate and create together; and share new security features that can protect your team’s devices.
We are partnering with the Small Business Association to sponsor National Small Business Week (NSBW) in the United States. As someone who has a strong passion for the success of small businesses, I am also thrilled to personally present at the NSBW Virtual Summit and show you how your business can benefit from AI to achieve your business goals.
Get ready to put the power of AI to work for your business
SMBs are rapidly becoming the new adopters of AI. Businesses are using AI-powered tools for sales and marketing automation and business operations automation. In fact, in a recent survey of 550 businesses with fewer than 200 employees, 72 percent said they are familiar with AI tools, with 48 percent using them daily.2
In March, we announced Microsoft 365 Copilot, which will transform the way you work and free you to focus on the things most important to your business.
Copilot saves you time by automating routine tasks, streamlining business workflows, and providing valuable insights to help you make the right decisions. It brings together your own data—your internal documents, presentations, chat, and email—and uses it to help you draft emails, summarize meetings, and more. Let’s walk through a scenario to help you visualize some of the ways Copilot can help small and medium businesses.
Drafting customer responses: A clothing store owner asks Copilot to summarize the morning’s emails, flag messages that include customer feedback and supplier concerns, and draft customized responses to each inquiry.
Analyzing data: The store owner uses Excel to break down sales by type and channel to determine profitability, project the impact of increasing the store’s online inventory, then reformat data into visual charts to model how inventory shifts could impact the business’s gross margin.
Wanting to write a business planning overview, the owner uses Microsoft Word to summarize customer feedback—pulling data from email and Teams chats—as well as integrate the newly-analyzed data and determine the benefits of increasing online inventory.
Creating a proposal: Next, the owner asks PowerPoint to draft a two-page project proposal to share with business stakeholders, based on customer feedback and the earlier analysis—then further uses Copilot to summarize the information in just one slide.
Summarizing meetings: The store owner meets with the retail store team to discuss business strategies and asks Teams to summarize key discussion points and opinions and suggest action items—all in real-time during a meeting.
These are just a few examples of how Copilot can benefit your business. To learn more about AI and Copilot, read the Microsoft 365 Copilot blog or deep dive into the technology and science with Worklab: AI-a whole new way of working.
Use the new Teams Payments app to help you close business and get paid
Getting paid for appointments, classes, and webinars—essentially any meeting you host in Teams—has just become easier. We are launching the Teams Payments app, which allows SMBs to easily manage and collect payments from within Teams meetings on your desktop or mobile device during a meeting.
We have partnered with leading players in the payments space to combine the core collaboration capabilities in Teams with powerful commerce features in this first-of-its-kind app. With a mutual focus on helping SMBs prosper, we are excited to partner with GoDaddy, PayPal, and Stripe to make it even easier for customers to interact with you and help you get paid faster.
The Teams Payments app is currently available in public preview in the Teams Store for Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 business subscribers at no charge for businesses registered in the United States and Canada. PayPal and Stripe are both available today within the app; GoDaddy is coming soon. Read more about this announcement in our Teams Payments blog.
Think, plan, and create together like never before with Microsoft Loop
We recently launched the Loop app, a new way for your employees to organize all of their project needs in one central place—including thoughts, links, and documents. Loop even helps you get started by suggesting relevant files to include as you start a new workspace. Its flexible interface helps you organize your workspace the way that works best for you.
With Loop, your work is not confined to a single space. You can turn parts of your workspace into Loop components, which are portable pieces of content that stay in sync across all the places they are shared—be it in Teams, Outlook, Microsoft Whiteboard, or Word for the web—allowing your teams to co-create and work together seamlessly as you create lists, tables, notes, and more.
With the release of Copilot, you will soon be able to use its capabilities in Loop to better ideate together. As you and your teammates work, you can return to earlier prompts, add language to refine the output, and edit the generated responses to get better, more personalized results.
Safeguard your business with security solutions built for SMBs
Protecting your business against the ever-evolving threat of cybercrime is vital, and we remain committed to delivering security solutions that help small and medium businesses stay safe from cyberattacks. We’re pleased to bring new security capabilities to Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft Defender for Business to help make security more accessible.
Defender for Business now simplifies security for mobile devices, protecting you from threats such as malware and ransomware on iOS and Android—without the need for add-ons or device management—helping your employees stay secure on the go.
Monthly security reports have been added to help simplify your business’s security status across identity, devices, information, and apps and provide recommendations for improvement, close gaps, and instill confidence in stakeholders.
At Microsoft, we are dedicated to delivering powerful tools that help you grow your small business. Explore our latest Microsoft 365 products to help you get AI ready, as well as these useful resources for SMBs:
- Small business help and learning: Learn more about how to set up and use your Microsoft 365 subscription, find tips and templates to help you accomplish your business tasks, and get the most out of hybrid work.
- Small business resources: Get free resources, tech training, and guidance to keep your business thriving and growing.
- Microsoft 365 Copilot: AI tool combines the power of language models with your data to turn your words into powerful information.
1Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business, US Small Business Administration, March 2023.