It’s been less than a year since ChatGPT was launched, and already it’s changed the business landscape in ways we can only begin to imagine.

But even a few years ago, if you’d told me I’d soon be publishing an article on how to use AI for small business, I would have thought you were out of your mind.

Up until recently, the idea of artificial intelligence seemed like something straight out of a science fiction flick, and the thought of it being readily available to anyone with an internet connection had never even seemed like a possibility.

But lo and behold, AI is now the hottest thing in business, and quickly becoming something that business owners across the board can no longer afford to ignore.

The applications of AI are truly staggering, and like it or not, businesses are going to have to learn to leverage these tools if they want to continue to compete.

And even with all the negativity, hesitation, and suspicion surrounding this software, it seems like most businesses have already started using it, or are at least planning to do so.

According to a survey from Intuit QuickBooks, which targeted small businesses, more than eight out of ten respondents are already using AI at work, more than a third of them use it every day, and 65 per cent of them said they want to make more use of AI than they already are.

What’s more, the survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents agree that AI could contribute to the success of their businesses and 70 per cent agree that AI could help them to compete with larger businesses.

Aside from exploring the reasons why people are choosing to use AI for small business, the survey also exposed why some businesses are still hesitant to use these tools.

Despite the overwhelming enthusiasm that these small business owners seem to have for AI, more than 90 per cent of respondents have at least one concern about it, with the top three concerns being issues related to privacy, lack of regulation, and how this technology may end up taking people’s jobs.

All things considered, it’s obvious that small business owners are excited about using AI, and the benefits it can offer their businesses, but they’re also quite worried about the potential implications of using this technology, and rightfully so.

That being said, a lot of ridiculous claims have been made about AI in terms of what it’s capable of doing and the effects it might have on society, not least when it comes to business.

But as I mentioned earlier, this technology is something that can no longer be ignored if companies want to continue to be able to compete in their industries.

With that in mind, I wrote this article to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions about this technology and provide greater context on how you can use AI for your small business, so you can get ahead of the curve now before it’s too late in the game.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about AI applications for small business or somewhat skeptical of this technology and still on the fence about using it, then you’re going to want to keep reading.

My Take on AI for Small Business
I think it’s safe to say that I and my team would be considered early adopters of AI tools like ChatGPT, both for eVision Media, and my own personal brand.

Truth be told, we all had our own worries about AI, and we even held a couple of meetings to discuss our concerns and explore how we could use this technology to benefit eVision Media and our clients.

But before the dust settled on all the myths and misconceptions surrounding AI, I already knew that this was something we were going to have to get used to using, otherwise we’d be left in the dust.

The controversy around AI always reminds me of what happened when WordPress came out, and we were having meetings to decide whether or not we were going to use that tool.

Fast forward 20 years, and WordPress is now used to build the majority of websites, and no web developer in their right mind would debate whether or not we should be using it.

So, as I became aware of the seemingly endless applications of AI, and the speed with which it grew in popularity, the writing was already on the wall – this was something we were going to have to use, and we needed to figure it out fast.

Less than 12 months later, both I and my team have fully embraced the use of AI in our work, and have been incredibly excited to see how this technology has made our work easier and allowed us to provide better services and more value for our clients.

However, right from the get-go, people were making a bunch of claims about AI that always seemed pretty far-fetched, and luckily, for the most part, they’ve proven to be untrue.

Unfortunately, a lot of this ridiculous rhetoric continues to persist, even almost a year after ChatGPT’s release, so before I get into talking about how to leverage AI for small business, I want to address some of this stuff.

First off, as I’m sure you already know, even though these AI tools have been publicly available for nearly a year, we still haven’t been made obsolete.

Clients continue to come to us to handle their marketing, and if anything, they’re happier with our services than they ever have been, as these tools have just made us better at everything we do.

Moreover, as far as I know, entire industries have not been wiped out as a result of AI, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen – at least not any time soon.

As for whether or not AI will inevitably surpass humanity in every conceivable way and end up enslaving us all, that’s a subject for another article.

But if you want to use AI for small business marketing, you still need to have a deep understanding of marketing and know how to properly use AI to get it to do what you want.

What’s more, after almost a year of pumping out blog articles, social media posts, and email campaigns, many people can tell when content has been created by AI, and this is something that also has to be accounted for.

So, despite what you may have been told, AI won’t allow you to fire your entire marketing team and do everything yourself.

But just like it has for us, AI tools like ChatGPT can make your marketing team more productive, and improve the quality of the content they’re creating.

On that note, let’s explore what you need to know to leverage AI for your small business.

Read: Why Is Everyone so Afraid of ChatGPT?

If you want to understand how best to benefit your business using tools like ChatGPT, you’re going to need a deep understanding of what they’re capable of doing, and what they’re not able to do.

It’s also not a bad idea to gain a better grasp of all the apprehension surrounding these tools, so you’re not being misled or thinking they’re something they’re not.

So, if you want to learn more about ChatGPT, and why everyone seems to be so scared of it, then this is an article you’re not going to want to miss.

Read more on our website.

6 Ways to Leverage AI for Your Small Business
I understand that you might still be skeptical of AI, and hesitant to use it for your small business, but the fact of the matter is your competitors are already using AI, and if you don’t learn to leverage it for your business, you’re going to get left behind.

With that in mind, let’s explore some of the most exciting AI applications for small business and how you can go about implementing this technology.

1. Streamlining Operations and Automating Tasks
AI-powered automation tools can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing you to provide relief for employees, and spend time focusing on more lucrative endeavours.

Chatbots, for instance, can manage customer inquiries and provide basic support 24/7, reducing the burden on your sales and customer service teams.

2. Personalizing Customer Experiences
AI gives you the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of customer data, which can allow you to personalize interactions with customers.

Recommendation engines, for instance, which are based on AI algorithms, can suggest products or services tailored to individual preferences, thereby increasing sales, and ensuring you’ll have even more satisfied customers.

3. Enhancing Marketing Strategies
As we’ve learned over the last 12 months, small businesses can leverage AI to understand consumer behaviour, optimize marketing campaigns, create content more quickly than a human could ever dream of, and target specific demographics more effectively.

For example, AI tools like ChatGPT can predict trends, identify patterns, and optimize ad placements across various platforms, allowing you to get a better return on investment.

4. Improving Decision-Making with Data Insights
AI-powered analytics tools can process and interpret data infinitely faster and more accurately than their human counterparts.

This provides the opportunity to make more data-driven decisions, uncover insights, and forecast trends, leading to better strategies and increased competitiveness.

5. Automating HR Processes
AI tools are already being used to streamline various HR functions, such as resume screening, candidate sourcing, and even employee onboarding.

Furthermore, AI-powered tools can also assess employee performance and suggest personalized training programs, which can help to make your team even better at what they do.

6. Managing Finances and Predicting Trends
Algorithms can use AI to analyze financial data, predict cash flow, and identify potential risks, and this can make it much easier to make informed financial decisions for your business.

At the same time, AI can help in predicting market trends and fluctuations in demand, allowing you to adjust much more quickly than you could on your own.

Implementation Strategies for Small Business AI
Now that you’re aware of some of the most valuable applications of AI for small business, you’ve got a much better idea of what this technology is capable of doing.

But knowing what it can do and being able to apply it to your business are two very different things, so below, I’ve offered some advice on how to actually go about implementing this technology in your business.

Start Small and Identify Specific Needs
If you’re new to using AI for small business, it might be a good idea to start with a pilot project addressing a particular pain point.

Identifying areas where AI can add immediate value, such as customer service or data analysis, can help you to better understand the advantages it provides and gain greater buy-in from your team by showcasing the tangible benefits of this technology.

Leverage AI-Enabled Tools and Platforms
Numerous AI tools and platforms offer cost-effective solutions for small businesses.

The base version of ChatGPT is completely free to use, and cloud-based AI services like Google Cloud AI, Microsoft Azure AI, or Amazon AI also provide highly accessible and easily scalable options that don’t require heavy initial investments.

Invest in Employee Training
While AI can automate tasks, it’s not going to do everything on its own, and human oversight and expertise are still incredibly important.

That being said, providing training programs for your employees to help them understand and work alongside AI tools will help to ensure a smoother transition and maximize the potential of this technology.

Ensure Data Security and Compliance
Because AI relies heavily on data, ensuring robust data security measures and compliance with regulations is absolutely critical, and this is something that will become increasingly apparent moving forward.

With that in mind, you should try to learn everything you can on this subject now, otherwise, you could put customers’ data at risk, erode the trust that they have in your brand, and expose your business to potentially serious legal consequences.

Do you want to learn more about how AI can benefit your business? Why not book a free 30-minute consultation with me to find out how we can help?

To your business success,
Susan Friesen

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Author's Bio: 

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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