Anyone whose worked for a small local company, or started their own business will know that it’s a completely different challenge than working for a large corporation.
Most small businesses have limited resources, the primary ones being money and time. Entrepreneurs will especially be keen to note that no matter how many hours they work in a day there is still more work than there are hours of daylight.
Fortunately new tools such as Chat GPT and Google Bard are here to help.
What is Chat GPT?
Chat GPT or Generative Pre-Trained Transformer is a Large Language Model (LLM) developed by OpenAI. In simpler terms, it’s an online chat bot that understands questions that you type in, and answers you like a human would.
It was developed using massive amounts of data, so it can help you will all sorts of different tasks from writing papers, responding to e-mails, general market research, to computer programming, and assisting with marketing tasks. It’s as easy to use as typing a question or request into a chat prompt, and it even has contextual awareness so you can ask follow-up questions and reference answers that it previously gave you.
It’s rapidly improving and after Microsoft Invested $10 Billion they have more than enough cash on hand to keep the improvements coming.
You can sign up for a free Chat GPT account at OpenAI’s Website and start testing it out today!
What are the limitations of Chat GPT?
We want to point out up front that there are a few limitations to using Chat GPT. A lot of data it was trained on came from the internet. As we all know, the information we find on the internet is not always 100% accurate. The same limitations apply to Chat GPT.
Chat GPT was also trained on data up through September 2021. So, if you want to get information that is more up to date, we recommend trying out Google Bard which is Google’s version of Chat GPT. It’s free to use, there is no longer a wait list and Google just pushed out a new update to improve its capabilities.
The other option is try out Bing Chat. It’ free to use, and uses the latest version of Chat GPT-4. The only limitation is that its answers can be a bit shorter than regular Chat GPT but it does contain up to date information.
In this article we’ll flip back and forth between the different solutions depending on whether we are looking for current information or if it’s more generic.
Using Chat GPT to Identify Local Small Business Grants
Every business needs money. The more money you have to start up, the quicker you can scale and grow your business. In this example, we use Google Bard as the information that it pulls in is more up to date than Chat GPT.
We asked it to give us a list of 25 small business grants available in the Portland, Oregon area. You could ask it to give you 30, 50 or however many items that you’re curious about. The true power of this is that you can ask follow-up questions.
It comes up short of actually applying to a grant program on your behalf, but it’s a very quick way to gain some insights on programs that may be available in your area. We recommend using this as a broader research tool and once you’ve identified specific programs read the fine print on the website of that particular government agency.
Google Bard can provide additional detail on a specific program from the list that you’re interested in, reducing the amount of high level research you need to do on your own.
We found that you can apply the same technique to identifying other potential sources of money by asking questions, and following a similar follow-up question process.
Using Chat GPT to Identify Federal Grants
On a larger scale, there are many programs put forward by the Federal Government. The primary one being GSA (General Services Administration) or the DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) but every Federal Agency has to buy things. You could use Chat GPT or Google Bard to help you better understand which programs are available and what you need to do to apply to them.
Using Chat GPT to Find Small Business Tax Credits
Taxes are nobody’s favorite thing. However, there are a lot of tax credits available for small businesses if you know where to look. Google Bard or Bing Chat are the best resources for this as tax rules are constantly changing and you need the most up to date information.
These tools can provide high level information on things like the Workers Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) or the many different payroll and tax relief programs that came up during the Covid Pandemic which may still be available. Even if you missed them at the time, you can often apply for them retroactively through amended returns.
An AI assistant can help walk you through the processes, but due to the potential implications of bad information, we recommend talking with a qualified tax advisor or reaching out to one of the many companies that specializes in filing amended payroll tax returns for companies, typically at the cost of charging a small commission on the amount of money collected retroactively.
Chat GPT Makes Marketing and Advertising Easy
After a long day of knocking out work, it can be a big ask to sit down and plan your next big promotion or advertising campaign. Chat GPT is part of a broader set of tools referred to as Generative AI. It’s artificial intelligence that generates content on your behalf.
In this example, we asked Chat GPT to come up with 15 promotional slogans for us. On the whole they’re pretty good. Our recommendation is to ask Chat GPT to generate 50 slogans and start picking and choosing parts from the ones that you like best and make it your own.
Chat GPT generates different results for each user that types in a question. The source data changes over time and the way you ask and the wording of what you ask will create different results which limits the probability that your slogan will be used by someone else.
Tip: You can also ask Chat GPT to write longer or shorter versions of a particular sentence or promotion. In fact, you can select the promotional slogan that you like the best and ask Chat GPT to write a couple paragraphs of advertising copy for you and it will write a more extensive article.
Use Chat GPT to Write Compelling Job Descriptions
Good help is hard to find, and it’s even harder to write a quality job listing. The following example was written by Chat GPT-4, it includes the generation of emoji’s and is really quite impressive with how creative it is.
Try adjusting your request to make the job listing more witty, professional, whimsical, or any other type of attribute that would be a great fit for your business.
Let Chat GPT Respond to Difficult Customers
Chat GPT is the cool calm and collected voice that you need when responding to angry customers. If you get an e-mail from a disgruntled customer it’s pretty tempting to fire back with the first thing that pops into your head. Unfortunately, in a world where people can quickly screenshot a response and send it out to social media, it’s not the best idea.
Try copying and pasting the e-mail from a customer that you don’t want to respond to at the moment and let the robot take a first pass at it. It’s up to you how you want to calibrate the response, but you can easily have it generate a polite and courteous response even if you’re coming off a 14 hour work day and are not in the mood to do so yourself.
Beyond helping you cope with angry customers, you can actually employ Chat GPT to help you write all sorts of e-mail responses. Whether it’s putting a sales quote together, or asking for pricing on a dozen different gauges of still wire, you can copy and paste some base data into Chat GPT and let it do the rest.
Tip: If you use the Microsoft Edge Browser, Microsoft has integrated Chat GPT-4 into it with a big Blue B button in the top right corner. It pops out an AI Chat panel that les you select e-mail responses and it will generate them without you having to log into OpenAI’s Chat GPT.
We expect more AI powered features to make their way into Microsoft Office and Google Workplace in the near future to make this process even faster and easier.
Using Chat GPT and Generative AI for Content Generation
If you take content generation a step further, Chat GPT can be used for a lot more than e-mails. If you need to write some standard operating procedures, a draft of an employee handbook, blog articles, a script for your podcast or anything else it will be able to help you.
The information is often high level and generic, but it gives you a starting point that’s much further along than opening up Word and beginning with a blank page.
Using Generative AI for Stock Photo and Art Creation
Stock photos have been the go to resource for creating flyers and adding illustrations to websites for years. The bad thing is that after looking at enough of them they all start to blend together and look the same or look repetitive with competitors in your same niche.
Open AI DallE-2 is a free image generator. It works similar to using Chat GPT in that you can give it a text prompt and it will generate an image based on your description. DallE-2 is free to use after signing up for an account.
The photos it generates may take a decent amount of prompting to get exactly what you want and there is a lot of trial and error in the process. We can’t say that this solution is necessarily faster than picking a stock photo, but it does give you some original options.
Using Midjourney as a Better Alternative to DallE-2
If you really want to use AI generated art, be sure to look at midjourney.com They’re a newer entrant to the field of generative AI for stock photos and art, but the results are very impressive.
Midjourney starts at around $10 per month for the ability to generate 200 images. If you’re looking for a quick way to get some high quality original art without waiting for a freelancer to put something together from a site like Fiverr or UpWork, it’s a fantastic bargain.
Chat GPT Can Summarize Product Reviews
There is a limit to the amount of data that you can currently copy and paste into Chat GPT. However, you can copy and paste a decent amount of information from websites like Amazon.com product reviews.
Simply prompt Chat GPT to summarize these reviews, followed by pasting the reviews of a product. It’s not as robust as a paid service that does competitor analysis or setting up something like Power BI or Azure Cognitive Services to generate word clouds and perform sentiment analysis, but Chat GPT is free and can save you some time of not having to read through a bunch of competitor reviews.
As a general function, Chat GPT is very good at summarizing data that you copy and paste into it. Try applying it to different aspects of your business or market research efforts.
The number of ways that you can use Chat GPT and Generative AI as a whole are almost endless. We are closer to the beginning of an AI powered revolution in the way that people work than we are to the end of it.
We recommend people embrace these new tools and learn as much about them as possible. The biggest benefit of Chat GPT is how easy it is to use. There are some great free alternatives on the market today that will continue to improve over time and give people access to real time information.
AI won’t eliminate the mundane or do the work for you, but it can make you more efficient at some of the tasks that you don’t always have time to do. It can save you money but not having to outsource tasks that are not necessarily difficult but do take up time that you don’t have to give.
Sign up for an account and give it a try, with a little imagination you may find that it saves you hours each week and help bring some work life balance back into a hectic world of work.