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4 helpful tips for using AI in your business

The chatter around generative AI is ongoing, so here are four further tips for small business owners to make the most of AI tools  

At a glance

Here’s a snapshot of the articles’ insights:

  • Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in AI to make sure you don’t miss anything useful.
  • Consider whether a custom version of a tool such as ChatGPT could work for your business’s specific needs.
  • You might like to attend an in-person event to network and learn from the example of other businesses
  • Prioritise good cyber security practices to protect data about customers, clients and your business.
By Lachlan Haycock

The chatter around generative AI is ongoing, and there are opportunities for small businesses to make the most of the many tools out there as they launch into the new year.

In previous articles exploring how small business owners can make and have made the most of emerging trends in AI, we’ve explored how to use ChatGPT to help write blog articles, speech-to-text tools to reduce admin, and more.

Although it may not do all the work for you, AI can assist you in streamlining operations, cutting back on admin and brainstorming new ideas.

Here are four more tips for how small business owners can use AI to improve and grow

1. Keep yourself informed

First, it’s worth getting up-to-date with the latest developments.

Changes are always being made, including the tool probably most well-known in the market: Open AI’s ChatGPT.

Producing text was ChatGPT’s only function when it was introduced, but in the year since the platform has expanded to cover image and audio generation as well (and AI is getting much better at doing that).

Open AI has recently released a new business plan called ChatGPT Team, which promises to provide faster and more efficient responses to prompts, deeper insights into the data you input, and greater customisation.

You can also browse through custom versions of ChatGPT on the GPT Store. Some of these can help with coding, website design, or social media posts.

Consider looking into whether these custom versions or enhanced capabilities could suit your business’s needs.

2. Play around

Experimentation is at the core of AI, and doing some playing around could be worthwhile.

Stuff explored how businesspeople such as Sam Alexander, the owner of an Airbnb cleaning business, have used AI to produce ad and social media copy.

He told the publication doing so had saved the business a lot of time when it came to creative copywriting.

And AI Innovisory suggests AI can be used to help structure reams of business data.

Indeed, by turning a clunky and overstuffed spreadsheet into a more accessible summary of the information held in dozens or hundreds of files, small businesses could glean more relevant insights and improve service delivery, reporting or stakeholder relationships, for example.

It’s about having a play, trying tools out and seeing what works for your situation.

3. Attend an event

The advice of experts can be fruitful and clarify what can be a confusing topic for some small businesses.

So an event or workshop that breaks down how to use AI and allows you to network with those with industry know-how could increase your confidence.

NewZealand.ai is one company offering interactive sessions designed to educate and inform on all things AI, for a business audience.

The AI Show, a showcase held monthly in Auckland, offers a chance to consider case studies of businesses using AI in marketing or product design, and to network with peers.

4. Stay conscious of security

It goes without saying that data pertaining to customers, clients, suppliers and your business itself can be private.

A Xero survey of more than 3,000 small business owners, including those from New Zealand, found that information disclosure (according to 41% of respondents) and data privacy violations (also according to 41% of respondents) are the biggest ethical challenges relating to AI use in their business.

That makes it important to prioritise effective data protection policies, regardless of whether your business employs three or 30 people, and whether it’s run out of your spare room or involves dozens of suppliers.

For example, avoid putting such data into a generative AI tool without first confirming that data won’t be used by or to train the platform.

You’ll then be set to make the most of fast-evolving technology and maintain a high level of data security.

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