Bonus episode | Host Emily Washcovick does a quick deep dive into a topic affecting small businesses, sharing small but mighty changes you can implement in your business.
In episode six of the “Biz Bites” series, we discuss how small businesses can utilize ChatGPT and AI as tools to help them with things like preparing their taxes or putting together a social media content calendar. We also dig into some of the limitations of the technology and the importance of human oversight and a personalized touch. ChatGPT and AI will never replace humans in your business, but it can help enhance your operations.
Hey there. I’m Emily Washcovick, Yelp’s Small Business Expert and the host of this podcast, Behind the Review.
Welcome to “Biz Bites,” our biweekly extra episode where we share a few minutes of tactical advice about topics affecting small business owners. If you have a topic or question that you’d like us to cover on Biz Bites, just send me an email! You can reach me at Podcasts@yelp.com. We’d love to hear from you. And just for submitting a question we’ll send you a link to request a copy of one of our current business book giveaways.
Now, let’s dive right in. Biz Bites episode six: Chat GPT & AI for Business Owners.
Let me start by saying that AI and Chat GPT are relatively new to me, even though they’ve been around for a while. And AI in general has been around for a long while. Companies like Yelp have been using it for years, and you even see it in common things you use every day. Like on your cell phone, when you go to write a text message and your phone gives you predictive text, or it shows you options of what you might be trying to say.
This is an example of AI or an LLM, a large language model. What it’s doing is it’s guessing the next word that you want to use based on what’s commonly strung together in a human response. And that’s how ChatGPT works. It takes tons of information that’s been fed into it, all of the things we know in books and on the World Wide Web and it then answers prompts and questions using that data.
But there’s a couple things that you have to keep in mind when you’re gonna use AI or ChatGPT. The first thing is: it was trained to string together words to mimic the way that humans write about a topic. The topic that you put in. But it really has no understanding at all of factual correctness other than what’s in its training data. It can be inaccurate and is even known to “hallucinate” incorrect facts. It can also directly copy things, so it can be a plagiarizer of things that have already been written in that way.
The last thing to know is ChatGPT is a tool to get you started, a copilot of sorts. In its current state, it’s not going to finish a project for you. But it can be used in tons of ways by small businesses to get things started or to help eliminate certain tasks in a process. And today I want to dig into some of those examples of how you can use ChatGPT, this free tool, to maybe make some of your processes a little bit easier.
For example, things like responding to customers. You can take advantage of AI to help you draft those potential responses. Maybe it’s an email to a partner or supplier that you want to figure out how to write a professional response to. ChatGPT is great to get you started, but then you’re going to need to put your own human element and personality on that text. But especially if you’re just at a roadblock of what to even say to get started, it’s a great jumping off point. It can also help you stay focused and efficient, while still bringing your own personality into the ultimate reply. You don’t ever want to just copy and paste something from ChatGPT.
AI can give you helpful information that you can put into play at your business. So maybe with tax season coming up, you want to ask it questions like how do I do my business taxes? What are some common tax returns or tax credits that small business owners can leverage? These are the types of questions that when you ask AI, it can go out and get you some really good information, but it can also help you structure something that you customize and personalize.
If you’ve been struggling with social media, you could use ChatGPT to put together a calendar for you with different topics – things that you would post about. For example, if you own a bakery or cafe, ChatGPT could help identify upcoming holidays, so that you could create a content calendar around it. Like Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. But there’s even more holidays like National Coffee Day. And then you can take it one step further and have it help you write captions.
Now, when you’re having it write captions for you, maybe you’re going to feed it information about your business. That’s where ChatGPT is really useful. When developing prompts, the more information you share about your business, the more specific and effective the response will be. You don’t want to just write “give me an example of a Valentine’s Day post for a bakery.” Instead, you want to get more detailed. Try writing something like this. “I own a bakery in Sedona, Arizona. I serve cupcakes, cookies, baked goods like eclairs and croissants, coffee and hot sandwiches. My target audience is young moms and business professionals. You’re running a social media account for my bakery. Develop a 6 month social media content calendar sharing times of the year like Valentine’s Day and National Coffee Day. Give me copy and photo captions for each social post.”
If you were to plug something like that into an AI platform like ChatGPT, it can use that information to create impactful content that will help you streamline your social media. You’re still going to need to read all of the posts and approve them. But it’s a jumping off point and a framework for how to get started.
At the end of the day, AI is a tool and something that you can leverage to help you in your business. It’s never going to replace a person. It also has a lot of shortcomings. It is, after all, artificial intelligence, right? It’s not a human. It’s never going to be as good as a human, but it can help you. Remember, everything you do has to have that angle of who you are and who your business is, in order to be personable and make that connection with your customers.