Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT, Tips & Strategies for Small Business Success
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Quick ChatGPT Tips and Strategies for Small Business Success

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to become a game-changer for small businesses, transforming the way small business leaders make decisions, manage their businesses, engage with their customers, and more. AI tools can be leveraged to improve efficiency, drive innovation, and enhance customer experiences. 

In this article, I will explore just what is a generative AI ChatBot and share ChatGPT strategies that may be of interest to small businesses.

Can free AI tools like ChatGPT help small businesses?

Let’s take a short walk down memory lane to look at the dramatic rise of ChatGPT. T5hen I will share some practical tips for using ChatGPT for your small business. 

Most of us have heard discussions about AI and its broad potential for many years. For most of those years, most people encountered weak AI ChatBots and found them to be okay, often frustrating, but rarely great. These weak AI ChatBots are the tools you encounter when you land on a company’s website and are invited to ask questions or call a business, ask your smart device to set an alarm, or find basic information on the internet. These tools are considered weak AI technology to process your questions and respond based on a set of programmed responses. 

I had been interested in learning how to construct a basic online ChatBot for a few years, taking steps to research how they worked and the programming behind them. My goal was to figure out how to program a ChatBot to respond to client inquiries with useful information. Eventually, I put the idea on the back burner as it seemed like a lot of work for not a great return for my small business and then other things such as life and a pandemic took center stage. 

CHATGPT Is Fun and Useful 

On November 30th, 2022 I was browsing my LinkedIn Newsfeed on my phone, and I saw a post about something called ChatGPT, an advanced natural language processing Generative AI chatbot, from Open AI. I had a long-standing interest in neurolinguistic and language processing and was curious to see what this tool was and understand if it was actually able to respond to natural language questions. 

My initial reading indicated ChatGPT could be used to perform tasks such as assisting with research by gathering and summarizing information produced prior to 2021 and writing and editing content. While tools such as Google, Jasper, and Grammarly — among many others — could also help with these tasks, this Generative AI tool sounded like a promising time saver, but not necessarily game-changing. 

When possible, I like to be an early explorer if not always an early adapter of new technology trends, so I followed the link and landed on the Open AI website. Within a few minutes, I logged into ChatGPT on my phone, using my Google account and was ready to tap into the power of a generative AI language model built on content from prior to 2021. 

Quickly I discovered one pleasant difference between ChatGPT and other tools, such as a voice assistant on my phone or a Google search, was that ChatGPT remembered and built on my previous questions, this meant I could make minor adjustments to my question to produce potentially better results.

This is the element of generative AI tools that makes them fun and easier to use, you are able to be casual in the conversation, and still obtain useful results. 

Managing AI Hallucinations

I did quickly discover the “hallucinations,” as they are sometimes called. It appears that these AI tools such as ChatGPT generates content that did not exist or makes mistakes (I have used other AI tools and they also make mistakes). On one occasion I asked ChatGPT to identify and summarize the top theories on a certain topic and include the theory, dates, names, and a summary. Asking the same question a few times produced different results and attributions of theories to the wrong authors. 

This is not a fatal flaw, because when you know what you are talking about, you can spot these hallucinations and ask ChatGPT to correct them. If you are uncertain, double-check by heading to other tools such as Google or Edge’s Bing. 

As an interesting aside, when I encountered what appeared to be mistakes in Microsoft’s Bing and asked Bing if it was sure its information was correct, Bing told me it was discontinuing the conversation and logged me out. I read that during long conversations with Edge’s Bing, Bing could make a series of mistakes that included offering inappropriate suggestions and attempting to manipulate the user.  Changes have since been made to Bing to shorten the length of conversations. 

I was fortunate that I jumped into a ChatGPT on that first day because it was not long before Open AI was swamped with interest and people trying to create free accounts were told they would be put on a waiting list. The popularity of ChatGPT meant that Open AI was soon experiencing system problems which slowed down processing time and resulted in blackout periods where users were not able to log in because of the system capacity limitations. 

If you have been following the adventures of ChatGPT you will have heard that a paid version of ChatGPT was released at the end of January 2023, ChatGPT Plus ($20 USD) and then ChatGPT Pro for Business Enterprise. 

The generative AI behind ChatGPT is being applied far and wide beyond the free or paid versions of ChatGPT. With Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar investment in Open AI, the ChatGPT Model is being rapidly integrated into other Microsoft products beyond Bing, including LinkedIn and Microsoft’s suite of tools under the Co-pilot tool.

OpenAI is an open-source tool, meaning if you know what you are doing you can use the AI source information to build your own AI tools. Developers are building tools that can be added as extensions to browsers (such as Chrome) or added to tools such as Microsoft Excel, and are even creating new apps for many purposes. As a result, 1000’s of new OpenAI-based tools are being built daily. Google is racing to catch up with their Bard and many other AI competitors appearing daily. I recently watched a video of Google demo their AI companion for Google Sheets by creating an entire spreadsheet with column headings generated simply by describing a business and its needs.

I find all this development of AI fascinating, a little worrisome, and full of opportunities for small business owners. 

Here are 2 ways a small business owner can leverage free ChatGPT today.

Ask ChatGPT to review your business processes and identify areas for improvement. ChatGPT does a great job of reviewing, summarizing, and streamlining a lot of information (note there are limits so you may have to do this in iterative steps). Simply copy in your content into the field and prompt ChatGPT by asking it to review, analyze and suggest ways to reorganize the information. 

Try using this prompt: “I have business processes that I would like to optimize for efficiency. Can you provide recommendations on how to improve them? Please consider factors such as timesaving, resource optimization, automation, and best practices relevant to my industry.”

Use ChatGPT to review questions or comments from customers and ask ChatGPT to help you craft responses. 

Try using this prompt: “Review the customer email below and help me craft an appropriate response”. Then copy and paste the email.  After the content add the prompt: I want to ensure that I address the customer’s concerns effectively and provide a satisfactory resolution. Please help me draft a response that is professional, brief, and addresses all the points raised by the customer.”

2 More Tips for Small Businesses using Free ChatGPT

  1. When you copy and paste information into ChatGPT, do not include your personal information, such as your name, your business name or any contact information.
  2. After creating your free ChatGPT account check the settings and consider improving your privacy by disabling OpenAI’s ability to train its models from your prompts.

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