How to make Generative AI work for Your Small Business

The rapid evolution of AI over the past year has been nothing short of revolutionary, especially generative AI – technologies that generate text, images, video, 3-D models, and even code – which saw a breakout year in 2023. ChatGPT, for instance, amassed 57 million users in its first month, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history, according to UBS.

Despite its popularity, some business leaders remain uncertain. SMB leaders are asking big questions: What’s the real deal with AI beyond the buzz? How can it actually benefit my business? How do we use it responsibly and protect customer data? 

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The key to navigating these questions is all about experimenting with AI, focusing on the significant wins it can deliver, and learning best practices for responsible use.  If you haven’t, I recommend you pause here – download ChatGPT now, open it up, and try it out anonymously. I spent months keeping a health log for a recent concern in a single ChatGPT channel. With my trial in hand and an anonymous name, I would voice-to-text notes, dates, and times every few days. When I visited the doctor, I said, “Please format my notes in a chronological table that is easily and quickly digestible for my doctor.” I reviewed the notes for accuracy, and the doctor assured me they were the best notes he’d received in years.

What AI Can Do for Your Business

A 2023 survey by ResumeBuilder revealed that one in four businesses using ChatGPT have already saved over $75,000! Additionally, 49% of companies are using ChatGPT, with another 30% planning to adopt it. 

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Claude, and DALL·E are gaining traction due to their affordability (subscriptions around $20 per user/month) and effectiveness. These tools can take on many valuable roles, such as content creation. Small Businesses and Healthcare can save significantly on content creation without spending more on ads or agencies. AI can also quickly analyze market trends and generate reports, reducing research and paperwork costs and allowing leaders to focus on higher-value activities.

Here are more ways AI can benefit your business:

  • Content Assistant: Tools like ChatGPT and Claude can create marketing materials, blog posts, and social media content, ensuring a consistent brand voice across all channels. They can also analyze vast online resources to craft job descriptions and write SOPs, proposals, contracts, and leases (Be sure your attorney reviews these before the ink!).
  • Get to the Point: In a world of shorts, Generative AI can distill lengthy documents, articles, and emails into concise summaries, making it easier to grasp key points quickly.
  • Personalize Your Marketing: Create a Brand Promise, Writing Style Guide, and Share your mission vision anonymously with AI – Use it to ensure your email marketing campaigns or personalized product or service recommendations are aligned.
  • Product Discovery and Innovation: Use AI to analyze customer feedback and market trends for new product ideas or improvements, speeding up innovation.
  • Data Analyst: Employ AI (in a private container!) for deep data analysis, uncovering insights into customer behavior, operational efficiencies, and market opportunities.
  • Automate Routine Tasks: From scheduling to insightfully reviewing monthly reports, AI can automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks, such as drafting meeting summaries or generating reports, allowing teams to focus on more strategic work.

AI Best Practices

While AI can dramatically enhance efficiency and creativity, it’s crucial to ensure its use is both effective and ethical:

1. Never Share Sensitive Information: Avoid using personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) with AI tools to protect privacy. Assume anything you input into ChatGPT is public information – Use identifiers that only you know and do it in a private container.

2. Verify and Review: AI is powerful but not infallible. It can inherit biases from training data or generate incorrect answers. Always review its outputs as you would a human co-worker’s work.

3. Experiment: The best way to understand AI’s potential is to experiment. As mentioned earlier, start small, then try it with a social media post and go further. As you gain confidence, integrate generative AI where it can add the most value, such as automating routine tasks, enhancing creative processes, or improving decision-making with data analysis.

⚠️ The Consequences of Ignoring AI ⚠️

AI isn’t just on the horizon – it’s already here. With billions in investment and some of the brightest minds and largest companies driving its development, AI is reshaping the business landscape in ways we’re only beginning to understand. Choosing not to integrate AI into business operations is akin to refusing to use email in the 1990s. Without it, you might soon find yourself in a world you can’t navigate.

Instead of seeing AI as a looming threat, view it as an opportunity to solve old problems with innovative solutions. AI is changing the business playbook, but it’s also empowering us to deliver extraordinary value to our customers, dream bigger, and serve better.

Although generative AI is exciting, the real key to business success lies in having a comprehensive technology strategy and a team that continuously keeps fresh recommendations coming your way. At Entech, we specialize in aligning technology with your business goals, providing proactive assessments, and offering tailored IT solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business thrive.