Practical ways to use it in business and what to avoid
At first glance, especially for people who have trouble writing or have difficulty starting out and collecting their thoughts at a keyboard, AI can feel like the smartest kid in the class offering to do your homework for free, forever. It seems like a huge win and I’m not saying it isn’t. But there are a few things you should be aware of as well as some tasks it does tremendously well that could save you a lot of time and energy.
AI “Doesn’t Always Get It Right”
Google’s new Bard (AI) issued this statement to all users, “Bard will not always get it right.
Bard may give inaccurate or inappropriate responses. When in doubt, use the ‘Google it’ button to check Bard’s responses.” This is true of all AI. AI is not a sentient being. It gets its answers and content by crawling the web and condensing information. Sometimes that can cause problems.
AI Has Different Levels of Sophistication
There are many free options out there as well as AI/bot starters where you can build your own “in minutes.” It’s important to know that each one has different capabilities and claims—some have a plagiarism detector, for instance, so you needn’t worry about the copy it creates for you being flagged as duplicate content.
It’s Only as Good as What You Feed It
The real benefit of using AI lies in its ability to create content in a fraction of the time it takes for a human to write it. Even talented writers using dictation software or ones blessed with 100+ words per minute typing skills, can’t research and write a 300-word blog post in a minute.
But the content is only as good as the instructions you give it. For instance, if you were producing a blog post about Golden Retrievers, as a dog walker your blog would be different than that of a dog breeder/dog show participant, which would be different still from a vet’s perspective written for other vets. The level of sophistication and knowledge is different for each of those audiences. You will need to express that in the directions you provide the AI if you want a good piece of content that fits the needs and understanding of your audience.
AIs Struggle with Same Names
When I asked Google’s AI Bard what Bard does really well as research for this article, it responded with things that a bard/storyteller excels at, not what it does. (However, when I asked “what do you do well?,” it provided a satisfactory answer.
So, if your business shares a name with something else or you’re using a play on words or employing a name/word in a different context, the program may not produce helpful results.
5 Things AI Does Well
Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s cover a few things it does really well. Using AI for these things can save you lots of time.
Is using AI right for you and your business? Perhaps. But keep in mind, it is a tool, not an additional employee. It can produce content in a fraction of the time, but it requires oversight. It does not always generate content ready to be used as is. If you envision what it creates as a starting point product like how a sous chef does the prep work for a top chef, you have a good understanding of how you might use it in your business.
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce
What you need to know about small business in America including the latest data on job creation, business starts, and more.
In terms of their impact on the economy, small businesses aren’t actually that small.
Small businesses is generally defined by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) as independent businesses having fewer than 500 employees. Based on SBA's definition, there are 33.2 million small businesses in America, which account for 99.9% of all U.S. firms.
Small businesses are credited with just under two-thirds (63%) of the new jobs created from 1995 to 2021 or 17.3 million new jobs. Small businesses represent 97.3% of all exporters and 32.6% of known export value ($413.3 billion). They also employ almost half (46%) of America's private sector workforce and represent 43.5% of gross domestic product.
By almost any measure, small businesses are a vital part of the American economy and workforce.
Small business starts reach new highsEntrepreneurship is booming in the U.S. In 2021 alone, a record breaking 5.4 million new business applications were filed, and nearly as many (5.1 million) were filed in 2022.
"Entrepreneurship is booming in the U.S. In 2021 alone, a record breaking 5.4 million new business applications were filed."
New economic needs and changing consumer preferences during the COVID-19 pandemic created more circumstances for new businesses to start. Many individuals turned their ideas and hobbies into a business that could be run from home and the number of e-commerce retailers skyrocketed. Professional and business services was not far behind, as entrepreneurs tapped into the need for personal consulting services.
The U.S. Chamber has set up an interactive map to track the increase in new business applications by state.
Inflation bitesAmid historically high inflation, many small businesses are struggling to keep up with rising prices. Over the past year, inflation has been the top concern of small businesses by far, according to the MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index. In the latest survey, over half of small businesses said inflation is the top challenge facing the small business community.
Access to capital declinesOver the long term, small businesses’ perceived access to capital to fund and grow their business has declined.
According to the Q1 2023 Small Business Index, almost half (49%) of small business owners said their current access to capital or loans is good. This is slightly lower than those who rated their access to capital as good in Q2 2022 (54%) and significantly lower than in Q2 2017 (67%).
Small business owners are working harderSmall business owners report working longer hours than they used to just a few years ago.
Six years ago, 30% of small business said they were working more hours than they were a year ago. In 2022, half (50%) of small business owners said they are working more hours now than they were a year ago. This equates to a very significant 20-percentage point increase in the share of small business owners that report working more hours.
One factor that might be contributing to owners working longer hours is the persistent worker shortage. Right now, we have more than 10.8 million open jobs in the U.S., but only 5.9 million unemployed workers. In other words, if every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have almost 5 million open jobs. The lack of workers is hitting small businesses across almost every industry: Recently, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that almost half (47%) of small business owners reported job openings that were hard to fill.
Strengthening local communitiesConsumers are increasingly looking to support businesses in their local communities. Small Business Saturday has become a great way to support small business owners in neighborhoods across the country every year around the holidays—but there are many reasons to support local businesses year-round.
At the same time, small businesses are looking to reciprocate the goodwill and give back to their local communities in return. When asked about how they have engaged with their community in the past year, here are small businesses’ most popular answers:
Richmond, Ind. – The Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated 120 area high school seniors with a big bash. Their School Is Cool program rewards students with near-perfect attendance, and the culmination of the program is the annual Senior Celebration.
The program is in partnership with Wetzel Auto and First Bank Richmond along with about 200 other Chamber members contributing to the prize stash totaling more than $287,000. The top prize went to one lucky recipient – Austin Rohe of Richmond High School – receiving his choice of a car or scholarship from Wetzel Auto.
“Our family loves this event,” said Jera (Wetzel) Schwer of Wetzel Auto. “It has been a joy to play a role in the School Is Cool program for now 13 years. Seeing the excitement of the winners over the year has been extremely rewarding.” In 13 years, the company has now donated $268,000 in scholarships and cars.
All 120 qualifying students received a $1,000 scholarship from both Indiana University East and Ivy Tech Richmond, both of which joined the cause and participated, for now, three years. Chancellor Chad Bolser of Ivy Tech and IU East’s Interim Chancellor, Michelle Mallott, both say they are happy to invest in this group of promising future students.
“Adding these scholarships to the lineup has been another layer of validation that showing up every day counts,” said Chamber President and CEO Melissa Vance. “Being present helps students succeed in school, employees succeed at work, and it helps us all succeed in life.”
Students arrived at the First Bank Kuhlman Center to find a wall of numbers where they chose their own lucky number for the night. Then, they enjoyed a photo booth, music, pizza, and games while they waited for everyone to get signed in and confirmed. Eastern Indiana Works brought their virtual reality goggles and a large screen for others to view as graduates took turns trying out various careers and workforce activities.
The evening was emceed by G101.3’s Keith Kassidy. One by one numbers were drawn and students invited to the stage for their photo opportunity. Then they moved to stations around the room, receiving thermal water bottles from First Bank Richmond, their scholarships, and finally their prize. The energy built throughout the night as even some mascots and cheerleaders celebrated with their respective schools.
The prize pool began with a value of at least $50. Then, they slowly increased to include items such as Airpods, Northface backpacks, gift cards, speakers, and TVs. Finally, the winners were narrowed to the final two recipients. One would receive a $500 Best Buy gift card and the other their choice of a Honda HRV, a Chevy Trailblazer, or a scholarship in the same amount.
“When we began the School Is Cool program in 2009, we knew we needed to reach kids at a young age with the message that attendance matters. Hopefully, as these kids grow up learning that determination, it will become a lifelong habit,” said Garry Kleer of First Bank Richmond. Kleer was serving on the Chamber board and worked with other business leaders along with Chamber staff to begin pulling the program together.
Now, the School Is Cool program is far-reaching, encompassing all five public school districts and Seton Catholic School. At the elementary level, one name is drawn from those achieving at least 98 percent attendance. That student receives a bike, sponsored by Meijer and Walmart. Middle schools do the same with the Chamber presenting winners with an electric scooter. All six high schools receive ticket bundles from G101.3 for winners from grades 9-11. In all, 26 schools benefit from this potentially life-changing initiative.
Vance summed up the event by saying, “Wayne County is incredibly fortunate to have organizations so invested in the future leaders of our community. Nights like tonight shout that from the rooftop!”
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.