How Small Businesses Are Using Generative AI

AI digital finger

Share This Post

FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting software company that targets small- and medium-size businesses, polled more than 1,000 small-business owners across North America to see what they thought the usefulness of generative AI could be and how it could impact their operations.

  • Two-thirds plan to test the technology in the next year.
  • Twenty-five percent said they’re already testing such tools — ChatGPT, Google’s Bard and Microsoft Bing — in their business. They’re using the tools to generate text for their websites and social media accounts.
  • Two-thirds said they don’t worry that these technologies will replace them or their employees, and 60% expect the tools to change their businesses in the next five years.
  • Respondents said that the impact on their businesses would be in analytics, sales and marketing, and customer communications. Hiring/recruiting and service delivery are expected to be the areas least affected, and 44% expect to hire fewer workers in the future because of AI capabilities.

If you’re still getting your head around what generative AI is, it’s a type of machine learning that uses algorithms to generate new data. How? By training the algorithm on a large dataset and generating new data similar to the input information. It can generate images, video and music by using pre-built tools — chatbots and language models.

Amazon announced that it’s making the writing of its product listings easier for small-business sellers via generative AI, reducing the need to enter many pieces of specific product data. Amazon touts it can recognize, summarize, translate, predict and generate text and other content to build more comprehensive product descriptions. How? The models learn to infer product information from descriptions and even images. Sellers can provide more complete information with less effort, says the company.

What are companies doing?

Forbes asked small-business owners how they’re looking at using generative AI, and responses ranged from communications to customer service to coding, including using the technology to:

  • Help companies organize scattered data.
  • Automate test writing for code and autocomplete code, which would be a time-saver.
  • Help companies get started on a marketing or sales plan, including asking the AI system to build an outline that the company can customize for its market and competition. The framework keeps the company focused on details rather than format.
    • Chatbots learn from previous conversations, adapt to different contexts and generate humanlike responses for generating company leads and answering FAQs.
  • Connect productivity apps — calendars, email, chat, documents and meetings.
  • Augment digital marketing and online communication efforts. Generate personalized product recommendations and promotional messages based on customer preferences and past purchases.
  • Apply sentiment analysis to online feedback and comments.
  • Instead of rigid scripts, provide service teams with tailored, informed responses drawn from past customer dialogues and industry know-how.
  • Provide help in launching an online presence.
  • Automate threat intelligence briefings — when a new type of compromised credential is detected, the company would be able to rapidly disseminate critical information to clients and/or internal teams.
  • Tailor job descriptions, ensuring specific and compelling narratives.
  • Leverage Excel macros — a time-saver by providing quick time to value.
  • Use large language models to create topics and bullet points, and ask for the points to be summarized in a way that can be usable in a policy, agreement or email to save hours of churn per week.
  • Clean up written drafts; ensure emails are crisp and grammatically clean.
  • Provide the AI system with prompts related to product development, marketing campaigns or new service offerings so it can generate creative ideas and suggestions to spark brainstorming.
  • Develop employee training programs, e-learning courses and testing with cost savings.

The promise of generative AI? To help automate customer service, content and data analysis so you can save time and resources while differentiating your company from competitors. The technology is evolving and is expected to become more accessible and affordable.


Share This Post

More To Explore

Find solutions to manage and enhance the people side of business at every stage.

Connect with our team

We're real people, easy to reach, there to help you when you need it most.