Published:
January 31, 2023

Using AI to Work More Efficiently as a Small Business

Published:
January 31, 2023
AI has gained considerable popularity over the past years, and for good reason: it can automate tasks and reduce manual labor, making it ideal for small businesses looking to streamline their operations.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

As a small business owner, you understand how critical it is to work as efficiently as possible. But with the ever-evolving technological landscape, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends. One of the most exciting advancements in technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI can revolutionize how businesses operate, and small businesses are no exception. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore how AI can be used to help small businesses work more efficiently.

What is AI

AI, or artificial intelligence, teaches machines how to think, act, and interact with humans. The technology has been around for a while but has recently gained more attention and applications in various industries.

AI is capable of taking large amounts of data, analyzing it, and then making decisions that mimic the behavior of a human being.

At its core, AI consists of computer programs and algorithms designed to replicate human intelligence.

These programs and algorithms can learn from experience, make decisions based on what it learns, and adapt to changing environments. AI can be used to recognize patterns, solve problems, or complete tasks that would otherwise require a human to do. 

AI can take many forms, from something as simple as voice recognition technology to something as complex as self-driving cars. As a result, AI can be applied in almost any industry, from healthcare to finance, to improve efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. It can also personalize customer experiences, automate mundane tasks, and make more accurate predictions.

For small businesses, AI is a valuable tool that can help them work smarter and more efficiently.

The dilemma with artificial intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic of discussion recently.

Many people have expressed concerns about the potential for AI to cause job loss and replace human labor. As well as ethical questions about AI’s ability to make decisions and act independently. Some also worry that AI could lead to a loss of privacy, with machines able to learn and remember information about us that we would rather keep private.

As a result, there is an understandable hesitation among many people when it comes to utilizing AI in their businesses or personal lives. 

At the same time, the potential benefits of using AI in business are numerous. And it can allow others who may face challenges in business due to health issues to level the playing field. 

Blog Coach Sadie Smiley stated, “I love AI. As someone who loves to write but is also autistic, what I want to say is sometimes extra difficult to put into words. AI tools help me better convey things to my audience. AI also helps me save energy for more important things by cutting my workload in half for many tasks. Tools that make writing more accessible and/or lighten our workload get my stamp of approval!”

AI can help companies save time and money by automating mundane tasks like customer service, marketing research, and photo editing. It can also be used to improve processes, increase efficiency, and gain insights into customer behavior. For small businesses, this presents a dilemma: how do you weigh the potential risks of using AI against the potential rewards?

Let’s talk about it…

The risk of using AI in business

When using artificial intelligence (AI) in business, there are risks and rewards. It’s important to understand the potential risks associated with AI before you jump into using it in your business operations. 

The most obvious risk is the potential for job losses due to automation. AI systems can replace certain workplace roles.  And the concern is that it will lead to fewer jobs and lower wages for those that are left. This is a major concern for many small businesses that may need more resources to create a larger workforce or retrain existing staff to do other jobs. 

Another risk associated with AI is the potential for errors and mistakes. As AI systems are still in their early stages, they can be prone to making mistakes that may lead to costly errors or losses. In addition, AI systems can be hacked or manipulated to provide inaccurate or false information, which could lead to dangerous situations in certain industries. 

Finally, the potential for over-dependence on technology. By relying too heavily on AI, businesses may lose the ability to make decisions independently and quickly, putting them at a disadvantage when responding to customer needs or changing markets. 

It’s important to understand these risks before investing in AI technologies. However, if businesses use AI correctly, they can reduce their reliance on manual labor and increase efficiency, ultimately improving their bottom line.

The benefits (rewards) of using AI

When it comes to running a business, artificial intelligence (AI) can provide numerous rewards. AI helps businesses run more efficiently and cost-effectively. It can also help you make better decisions, streamline processes, and improve customer service.

By automating mundane tasks, AI can free up time for more strategic and creative activities. For example, you can use AI to automate social media posts or manage customer service inquiries.

This saves your team members from tedious tasks so they can focus on more meaningful work.

AI can also make it easier to analyze data, such as customer purchase history or website activity. By analyzing this data, you can gain valuable insights into customer behaviors and preferences, which can help inform marketing strategies and other decisions.

Many in the creative space use AI for inspiration or to help them expand on an idea.

Interior Designer at KH Home Design, Kimberly Horton stated, “I was in the process of rebranding and cultivating my new storybrand and STRUGGLING! Have the AI has helped me get creative with my copy, save me hours and hours of work, and gave me content at my fingertips. It’s been one of the best things I’ve utilized for my business. I use it for website copy, marketing, social media posts, blogging, newsletters, etc. “

In addition, AI can help businesses save money in the long run. By automating repetitive tasks and streamlining operations, AI can reduce labor costs and improve the bottom line. With AI-driven processes, businesses can do more with fewer resources. 

Finally, AI can help businesses stay ahead of their competition by enabling them to respond quickly to customer inquiries or identify new opportunities. By leveraging AI technology, businesses can be faster, smarter, and more efficient.

So let’s talk about how small businesses can use artificial intelligence.

Ways To Use AI in Your Small Business

Implement an AI chatbot

Artificial intelligence chatbots are a valuable asset for smaller businesses. They can save time and resources by offering customers “round-the-clock” support and providing them with information about products and services. AI chatbots can also help automate mundane tasks and free up more of your team’s time for higher-value projects.  Especially for solopreneurs.

AI chatbot technology has come a long way in recent years. And many platforms now offer features like natural language processing (NLP) and automatic speech recognition (ASR). NLP enables the chatbot to understand what customers are asking, while ASR allows the chatbot to respond in a human like way.

Some chatbot platforms also offer customizable workflows, so you can set up an automated workflow that will answer customer queries quickly and efficiently.

When setting up an AI chatbot, you’ll need to determine the conversations you want it to handle. For example, It could possibly handle customer service inquiries, as well as marketing opportunities, such as offering discounts or promotions.

By implementing an AI chatbot, small businesses can save time and money. All while also providing their customers with a convenient and efficient way to access information and assistance.

Implementing an AI chatbot is a great place to start. Especially if you’re looking to streamline your customer service process or simply want to increase your brand’s visibility.

Use AI to automate your social media

Social media has become a critical part of any business’s marketing plan. So it is important to make sure you are maximizing its potential. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in. AI can automate many aspects of your social media presence, freeing up time for more critical tasks.

Using AI to automate your social media can provide many benefits. For example, it can save you time by scheduling posts in advance and automating responses to comments or messages.

AI can also analyze your followers’ behavior. Allowing you to target your content better and suggest relevant topics that are likely to be popular with them.

This allows you to focus on creating engaging content instead of worrying about the “when” and “what” of posting.

Using AI for social media automation doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many tools available specifically designed for this purpose. For example, tools like CoSchedule and SocialBee are great for automating your content.  SocialBee even offers concierge services where you hire humans for certain parts of your processes at really reasonable rates.

But it’s important to remember that AI technology Is not a beneficial when used alone. 

Shelby Smith Allen, Founder of Epaulette Agency specializing in digital marketing, stated, “I work in social media & digital marketing and AI is an incredible tool. But just like any other tool, it’s useless on its own and it’s easy to see when it’s being used by professionals to enhance their work vs. by someone to try to cut corners and replace their work.”

Use AI to do your marketing research

AI-driven marketing research is becoming increasingly important as businesses try to stay ahead of their competition. AI can help businesses analyze customer data, determine market trends, and develop more effective marketing strategies.

AI-driven marketing research tools can provide an in-depth analysis of customer data. This includes segmenting customers into groups based on their behaviors.

But also understanding how customers interact with the business and even predicting customer behavior in the future. AI can also analyze competitor data, such as pricing and promotional campaigns, and uncover industry trends.

With AI, businesses can more accurately understand their customers and develop strategies that better meet their needs.

Use AI to improve your copy

If you’re a small business owner, you understand the importance of having compelling copy to help you reach more customers. But what if there was a way to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help you improve your copy? Well, now there is!

Here at Studio117, I have found it beneficial in helping me improve the copy on sales pages, product descriptions, and bios, and sometimes to find new topics to add to the blog.  While it is not something I recommend for fully building out copy on your website or projects, it can certainly provide inspiration.

Using AI for copywriting can be incredibly helpful for small businesses. It can give you the insight you need to create persuasive and engaging content that resonates with your target audience. 

Victoria Glass of Thrive with Tech stated, “I use it to enhance my copy. Mainly to rewrite my intros as I struggle to get that right.  I also use it for post outlines, but most of the time, I’ve got the outline in my head. It’s just nice to have someone (or something) confirm that I’m thinking along the right lines.  I’ve also started using ChatGPT before Google for research in some cases.”

One thing to keep in mind is that there are several sources out there for artificial copy. But they are not all created equal.

Siobhan Fletcher of JUPITR Digital stated, “As a website designer, I use ChatGPT to help generate content outlines for a client’s project. It’s really enhanced my creative process so far. I feel like I can help clients with copy easily (which used to be a huge headache for both them and me, and it used to really drag projects) and come up with visual ideas easily as well. It’s been great and only improving!”

Use AI for photo editing

Using AI for photo editing can help small businesses save time and money. All while also allowing them to create more polished, professional looking images.

One of the benefits of using AI for photo editing is that it can identify elements in an image and make quick adjustments. 

Another benefit of using AI for photo editing is that it can easily apply filters or effects to images. For example, AI technology can analyze an image, recognize elements like skin tones and textures, and apply a filter to give the photo a particular look or feel. This allows businesses to easily create stunning visuals without spending hours tweaking images in a graphics program.

Small business photographers can use artificial intelligence to detect discrepancies in focus and clarity in their images.

This can help them create more professional-looking photos. By analyzing the elements of an image, AI can detect issues like blurriness or soft focus and make adjustments to ensure the image is crystal clear and sharp. 

Additionally, small business photographers can use AI technology to apply automatic editing techniques. Such as color correction, sharpening, and even adding film-like effects, without manually adjusting each image.

With AI for photo editing, small businesses can quickly and easily create beautiful visuals that stand out on websites and social media platforms.

Dr. Tomaiya Colvin, Founder of Tomayia Colvin Education and a leader in the photography community, has shared on her platforms that she uses AI for simple photo edits, “I use a software called PHAiTO for photo editing. It color corrects the white balance and automatically straightens with the help of AI. And instead of taking four to five hours to edit, it takes about 10 minutes now.”

The ;TLDR

AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be a great asset to small businesses.  Allowing them to become more efficient and productive. AI can be used to automate social media and marketing tasks, do research, improve copywriting, and even do photo editing. 

However, businesses should consider the risks associated with using AI before implementing it into their operations. Businesses should also be aware of the potential rewards that come with using AI. Such as improved customer satisfaction and reduced labor costs. 

Ultimately, AI can help small businesses work smarter, not harder.