Is using AI for your business a good thing? A peek inside the world of automation and optimisation.
Whenever something ‘new’ pops up our reaction can be fear of change. There has been a lot of talk about AI in small businesses and just about everyone has heard about ChatGPT by now. Opinions are still greatly divided and there are many people wondering if it is actually a good thing.
Think back to what you have heard so far about AI and how you feel about it (notice your internal bias here either way). You might be overwhelmed by learning something new or maybe worried about what it might mean for jobs. You might even have a subconscious belief that you don’t earn your money if you don’t work ‘hard’ and naturally resist changes that feel like a shortcut.
How AI Already Exists in Small Business and in Personal Life
The thing you might not even realise though is that you are likely already using AI on a frequent if not daily basis. Let me give you some examples.
1. Social Media Management: Every time you utilise the ‘best time to post’ feature on your favourite scheduling tool this is powered by AI. Same too if you have ever used Tailwind’s Ghostwriter to generate a Pinterest Description. But more than that; the very algorithm running your chosen social media application is another complex AI that is managing which content it thinks you or your audience are most likely to engage with every single time you open it!
2. Customer Service: Ever used a chatbot either for your own business or to reach technical support for yourself? There is a good chance that was AI! There are some really clever programs out there managing social media engagement on a post all the way through to signing a new lead-up for a new challenge and offering them a tripwire! I’ve even participated in them myself and it is super convenient as the user to click a button and get sent the details I want on the spot.
3. Inventory Management: If you are after a specific item and the first business you contact is out are you going to wait for it to arrive? Or go elsewhere? Ensuring you have the right stock levels is protective for your growing business. This is exactly where Inventory management AI comes in to manage inventory, track sales, and forecast demand. If you have a product-based offering you may use these programs on a regular basis.
4. Sales and Marketing: If you have a Meta pixel or Google Analytics Pixel on your website congratulations – you have enabled sales and marketing AI to help you reach your warmest audience! This is also the information that you need handy to have successful paid advertising where AI will again try to win new leads for your business. Or you might have made use of the image creation tools found on programs like Canva to generate images for your marketing content. Yep – more AI here too.
5. Your Tech: Even logging into your mobile device, banking app or online account is a level of AI! Whether you use facial recognition, thumbprint, or a passcode there is AI used to gain access and check for any suspicious activity.
You are already using AI in your business – maybe in more ways than you even realised.
How AI might help small businesses in 2023
It doesn’t take very much digging through Instagram reels, Tik Tok or even Pinterest Idea pins to stumble across 100’s of creative ways that small businesses can use AI. From generating content ideas, automating parts of your business, and getting better analytics right through to writing copy with tools like ChatGPT. There are so many ways to utilise AI in your business in ways that save time, honour your values and serve your clients.
Benefits of AI in Small Business:
1. Cost Savings: AI-powered tools can help small businesses save money by automating tasks and reducing the need for human labor. This can lead to lower operational costs and increased profitability.
2. Increased Efficiency: AI can help small businesses become more efficient by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing business owners to focus on more critical operations.
Improved Customer Experience: AI-powered chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support, helping to improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.
3. Better Decision Making: AI-powered tools can help small businesses analyze data and derive insights, allowing business owners to make better-informed decisions that can drive growth and success.
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The role of AI in your business in 2023 and beyond
As much as so many small business owners are wary of using AI in business I think it is safe to say that it is not going anywhere. Technology is advancing exponentially and AI is no exception. I see AI continuing to be developed to be especially useful to micro-small businesses making it possible for one person to make the most of their valuable time. But leveraging AI doesn’t mean you need to jump right in and put your entire business on autopilot!
Start small and keep your audience and your brand at the forefront. The goal is to work smarter so you can add MORE value to your audience in less time.
Take advantage of smart algorithms! Learn from the ‘best time to post’ advice coming through tailwind or your scheduling app. Tailwind will even help generate a posting plan based on how much content you plan to post. Other scheduling apps do similar even helping plan the best time across multiple platforms from the one scheduling tool. The AI is there to help get your content out to your audience so lean into that.
Experiment with AI-generated copy for your short-form content like Instagram captions or Pinterest descriptions. There are dozens of options out there including Canva’s native MagicWrite, Tailwind’s Ghostwriter, ChapGPT, Open AI, and Jasper. Rachel Pederson has some great videos like this one here showing you how to generate captions in an AI platform and then auto create your social media graphics in Canva. Super cool right? For the ultimate time hack combine this trick with my completely customisable templates to batch-create your content in no time!
Another AI tool you might like to try to use in your business is chatbots. You could start with building a basic chatbot for your next freebie, webinar, event, or offer.
AI can bring a multitude of benefits to small businesses. From automation and improved customer experience to better decision-making, AI has the potential to transform the way small businesses operate. It isn’t going anywhere but remember; it will never be YOU! You have a combination of skills, experiences, values, and a voice that cannot be matched. Remember to tweak your AI-generated content and be intentional. You don’t need to do everything! Keep your goals at the front of your mind – to serve your clients and to use your time efficiently.