19 Effective Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Generative AI

Originally published by: Forbes Technology Council | Sept. 06, 2023

In recent months, it’s likely that small-business owners have been reading the many, many stories about generative artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT and thinking, “It sounds great, and it seems cost-effective, but what exactly is in this technology for me?” The answer? It’s very likely one or more of the tasks needed to run a small business—any small business—can be streamlined or even handled in entirety by generative AI tools.

From communications to customer service to coding, tech experts see a lot of ways that generative AI can boost a small business (indeed, many of these experts leverage it daily themselves). Below, 19 members of Forbes Technology Council share just a few of the ways small businesses can effectively use generative AI—starting today.

1. Improving Operational Reliability

Small businesses can use generative AI such as ChatGPT for better operational reliability, reducing waste and boosting efficiency. Generative AI can help companies organize scattered data and provide helpful, actionable insights in natural language. It can help in maintaining smooth and reliable operations, investigating risks and speeding up decisions. – Soudip Roy Chowdhury, Eugenie.ai

2. Automating Test Writing For Code

No software business ever feels like it has enough engineers! But AI can help. If you have software engineers on your team, get GitHub’s Copilot. It uses AI to automate test writing for code (one of the most time-consuming and tedious tasks), and acts as an “autocomplete” for coding. We’ve been using it in our team, and the time savings has been comparable to growing our engineering team by 10% to 15%. – Jessica Tenuta, Packback

3. Creating Chatbots

Create personalized automated chatbots on company websites to provide 24/7 service, qualify and generate new leads, and answer FAQs. Generative AI such as ChatGPT can enhance chatbots, allowing them to learn from previous conversations, adapt to different contexts and generate human-like responses. This can improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention; reduce costs; and increase revenue for small businesses. – Aaron Lazor, MyChargeBack

4. Building Customized Marketing Plans

ChatGPT is a great asset for a business looking to get started on a marketing or sales plan. Ask it to build an outline, and then you can customize it for your market and competition. The framework alone will keep you focused on the details rather than the format. – Spencer O’Leary, ActiveOps

5. Streamlining External Communications

ChatGPT and generative AI can solve small businesses’ ongoing communication and marketing challenges. Using ChatGPT smartly, businesses can streamline their external communications, especially on websites. They can index marketing content with large language models and utilize the ChatGPT engine to provide contextual responses to customer needs, enhancing sales and marketing efforts. – Mohit Gupta, Damco Solutions

6. Supplementing Managed Offerings

A business can leverage ChatGPT’s technology with an existing managed offering. Microsoft’s Copilot connects productivity apps, including calendars, email, chat, documents and meetings, with generative AI to increase productivity while protecting company data through reasonable security and privacy tradeoffs. One potential use case is using generative AI to create an animated PowerPoint presentation summarizing key quarterly sales metrics. – Jeffrey Engle, Conquest Cyber

7. Augmenting Digital Marketing

Generative AI such as ChatGPT can be used by small businesses to augment their digital marketing and online communication efforts. For instance, a local retailer could use AI to generate personalized product recommendations and promotional messages based on customer preferences and past purchases, fostering a more personalized shopping experience. – Julie Davila, Sophos

8. Applying Sentiment Analysis To Online Feedback

Small businesses in any industry can leverage generative AI to apply sentiment analysis to online feedback and commentary. By automating the process of identifying high-impact goods and services as well as areas for improvement, leaders can more quickly leverage the data to create insights and strategies that enable the company to achieve its larger business goals. – Muamer Cisija, Symphony

9. Guiding Customer Service Interactions

In sectors where client interactions are critical, linguistic AI models such as ChatGPT can markedly optimize operations. Instead of rigid scripts, service teams can harness generative AI in text chats or as a call agent guide, delivering tailored, informed responses. This technique, drawing from past customer dialogues and industry acumen, could optimally enhance communication protocols. – Alex Oakley, Triumph Labs

10. Optimizing Supply Chain Operations

Generative AI can revolutionize supply chain sustainability in retail. It automates supplier communications and promotes corporate social responsibility transparency. It can educate employees on sustainability and evaluate suppliers’ eco-credentials. By integrating AI, small retailers can optimize operations, reduce waste and align with global sustainability standards, meeting the demands of eco-conscious consumers. – Justin Goldston, Georgetown University

11. Launching An Online Presence

Generative AI can help a small business launch its online presence. For example, it can help with designing and creating a boilerplate website. No longer does a small business need to rely on platforms such as Yelp to provide its only online presence. Generative AI can help anyone create a polished design without hiring designers. Additionally, it can help a small business generate content that reflects the owner’s voice. – Derric Gilling, Moesif

12. Automating Threat Intelligence Briefings

In the cybersecurity sector, small businesses such as mine can leverage generative AI, including ChatGPT, to automate threat intelligence briefings. When a new type of compromised credential is detected, ChatGPT can instantly generate a comprehensive report. This not only saves time, but also ensures the rapid dissemination of critical information to clients and/or internal teams. – Youssef Mohamed, Buguard

13. Crafting Tailored Job Descriptions

A potent way small software businesses can leverage generative AI is in crafting tailored job descriptions for engineering roles. We’ve successfully automated this task, ensuring each description is as specific and compelling as possible. We even crafted a completely free tool that uses ChatGPT so everyone can try it out. It saves us time and helps us attract the right talent more effectively. – Serge Lavrinchuk, Wild.Codes

14. Building Excel Macros

One of the ways I’ve seen small businesses use ChatGPT is to help them leverage Excel. Giving ChatGPT some requirements and having it build Excel macros is an incredible time-saver for small businesses, whose leaders tend to live in spreadsheets! It might not be “instant” automation, but it provides quick time to value! – Andy Barratt, Coalfire

15. Prescreening Patients And Customers

Businesses, including those in healthcare, can use natural language to answer client or patient questions prior to an appointment, with rules applied for what AI may or may not answer. Any simple questions that were not answered—or weren’t answered to the satisfaction of the patient or customer—can be added to a list for the clinician, expert or salesperson to cover in the appointment. – Shawna Koch Mishael, Quantori

16. Creating Outlines For Business Communications

ChatGPT, and more precisely, large language models, are really effective at processing, comparing and predicting language. One of the ways I use LLMs in my daily work is to create a list of topics and bullet points and then ask for those points to be summarized in a way that could be usable in a policy, agreement or even just an email. This saves me hours of churn per week. – Lee Mangold, Fortress Information Security

17. Cleaning Up Written Drafts

When writing or replying to an email, many people struggle with crafting a grammatically correct, effective message. ChatGPT can help ensure your writing is clean and crisp—which is a must for any organization, because when an email leaves your outbox, it’s a representation of your company. – Bhavna Juneja, Infinity, a Stamford Technology Company

18. Ideating And Brainstorming

Generative AI is great for ideation and brainstorming sessions. Businesses can provide the AI system with prompts related to product development, marketing campaigns or new service offerings. The AI can then generate creative ideas and suggestions to spark conversation. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses looking to diversify their offerings and stand out in a competitive market. – Heather Renze, theDifference Consulting

19. Developing Employee Training Programs

It is just as important for small businesses as it is for larger companies to provide quality, continuous training to their employees for effective growth. ChatGPT and other generative AI tools can be indispensable helpers in the formation of training programs, e-learning courses and testing—with significant cost savings for small businesses. – Jane Medwin, LEAFIO AI

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