Buckle Up for 2024: Artificial Intelligence is Vastly Accelerating Small Business Efficiency

10 Min Read

Is ChatGPT joining mainstream America faster than humans can manage it?

Wrapped in soft throws and sipping warm lattes, five women business owners gathered on overstuffed couches in a Charleston, South Carolina, beach house in October to mastermind strategies for overcoming challenges and positioning themselves for 2024. Their expertise spanned real estate, finance, marketing, business leadership and energy healing.

Ideas were flowing like the gentle waves rolling to shore just outside the home. However, all motion stopped inside with the task of creating online content to promote the services of the spiritual healer, Claire (not her real name).

That’s when the group leader invited in another guest to have a seat on the sofa: ChatGPT.

Jaws dropped, eyes grew wide, and spines straightened to attention as artificial intelligence rolled up its sleeves and got to work like a well-informed copywriter. Faster than the women could process and without coffee, artificial intelligence poured out a steady stream of lyrical language to beautifully populate Claire’s website.

By brainstorming words and phrases associated with mindfulness, intuition and spiritual journeys, and typing them into ChatGPT, the app immediately generated copy that not only sounded as if it had been carefully and professionally crafted, it accurately described workshops that this individual provides and also explained how her soul work benefits her clients,” said Mesa-based Business Coach Colleen Biggs.

Using AI, the website copy was completed in less than an hour, a project that Biggs said had stymied Claire for months. “This barrier was limiting her ability to attract more clients.”

ChatGPT launched in November 2022, and already has solidly docked generative AI into the American mainstream harbor. A new study, “Empowering Small Business: The Impact of Technology on U.S. Small Business,” found that almost one in four (23%) small businesses have adopted artificial intelligence, “leading to improved performance in marketing and communications.”

Early adopter Bloom Facilitation of Flagstaff is one of them. Sitting in Dottie’s Garden Coffee Shoppe at Warner’s Nursery and enjoying a latte on a wintry afternoon, business founder Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom snapped a photo of her notebook, coffee cup and pen with her smartphone and created a description of the image in seconds to demonstrate AI’s abilities and speed.

Please write alt text for my website for this image,” she asked of ChatGPT, explaining that describing pictures well is important in communications, especially for those who are visually impaired.

Almost as soon as she asked the question, she received this: “A ready-to-go workspace featuring a takeout coffee cup and a closed notebook with a black pen on top, all set on a wooden table with a rich, polished grain.”

The use of artificial intelligence apps has increased my efficiency and revenue to the point that I am now able to hire an assistant,” she said, as apps like ChatGPT, Fireflies and Canva have saved her five to 10 hours a week by hyper-speeding her ability to organize notes, create action plans and market her business.

While AI has been floating about in our day-to-day activities for some time, keeping our cars in their lanes and answering our customer service questions, Tewksbury-Bloom says it’s now performing like a very pleasant assistant in our small businesses.

It wants to please you,” she said. “It’s like a nice, positive, collaborative assistant that is very good at following rules, never misses a day at work and knows how to spell.”

ChatGPT is a language-based tool that is good at writing, editing, summarizing and brainstorming ideas, said Tewksbury-Bloom. “Coming up with a title for a new workshop drives me crazy. It will take me forever. But now I’ll write a description of the workshop and ask ChatGPT to please give me 10 titles. Usually, I like several of them, but even if it doesn’t give me the perfect title, it helps me understand how to be clearer.”

She explains that ChatGPT performs best when we teach it our writing style. “If you ask it to create something and you don’t get what you want, you have to give it more information. I’ve provided custom instructions, so it knows how I want things written. I have a brand voice and key words that I prefer.”

The paid version of ChatGPT does even more. A subscription to ChatGPT Plus is $20 a month. It can transcribe handwritten notes from images of flipcharts and journals and be an invaluable time-saver for people like historians and researchers who are transcribing letters and documents.

ChatGPT is learning all the time,” said Tewksbury-Bloom.

And it’s that ability to learn that seems to anchor humans in a love-hate relationship with AI. “It’s learning from people who want to do good in the world and also from those who want to do bad with it,” she said.

For example, AI is getting better at fooling us. “Quickly and cheaply, these tools are being used to sound more like real people, tricking people into opening and engaging in emails that lead to romance scams and phishing scams. AI also is getting better at stealing identities,” she added. “It learns to mimic individuals like social media influencers who have a large following and so much content out there.”

Meanwhile, universities continue to struggle to determine whether ChatGPT did a student’s homework. Along the same line, the boundaries of plagiarism get fuzzy as ChatGPT can be asked to produce a poem in the style of a famous writer, like this:

FBN: Can you use the style of Dr. Seuss to write a poem about Makenzie, who loves princesses and animals, and her brother, Jackson, who loves trucks and building blocks?


In a kingdom of play, where
laughter’s the norm,

Lived Makenzie and Jackson in sunshine and storm.

Makenzie, a princess with a crown so divine,

Loved animals, giggles, in her castle she’d shine.

With critters and bunnies, she’d frolic all day,

In a world full of wonders, in a princessy way.

Her dresses, a rainbow, her joy, a parade,

In the realm of make-believe she happily stayed.

Now Jackson, her brother, with a hard hat on head,

Loved trucks and built towers while munching on bread.

With blocks and with toy cars, his hands in a race,

In the land of creation, he found his own space.

Makenzie and Jackson, an odd pair you might say,

A princess, a builder, in their own special play.

Through castles and towers, through giggles and roars,

They’d explore their own kingdom, opening doors.

In the magical land where their imaginations soared,

A princess and builder, a duo adored.

In the story of playtime, where joy never stops,

Lived Makenzie and Jackson, with trucks and tiptops.

It’s important to note that ChatGPT does not provide up-to-the-minute data, such as current weather conditions, and doesn’t work like a Google search. And, as Tewksbury-Bloom cautions, anything typed into the app becomes part of the collective pool of public information.

You have to be careful about what you submit. You might not want to share the secret formula to your grandmother’s burger sauce,” she warns.

Further, ChatGPT does not discern between fact and fiction or right from wrong. So, just like having a human assistant, AI users encourage us to proofread everything before sending it on to avoid leading readers into a sea of confusion. Similarly, in the case of AI in our cars, we don’t want to let go of the steering wheel just yet, to avoid leading ourselves into an actual sea. FBN

By Bonnie Stevens, FBN

Photo by Bonnie Stevens: In a Flagstaff coffee shop, Bloom Facilitation founder Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom demonstrates the speed and ease of using artificial intelligence app ChatGPT for social media posts. 

FBN www.flagstaffbusinessnews.com Business,Local News,Sedona,Tourism,Williams,Winslow,Artificial Intelligence,Bloom Facilitation of Flagstaff,ChatGPT,Dottie’s Garden Coffee Shoppe,Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom,small business,Warner’s Nursery

2024-01-07 19:33:16 , Flagstaff Business News

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