Notice: Function register_rest_route was called incorrectly. REST API routes must be registered on the rest_api_init action. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.1.0.) in /home/thrivethemes/dev/thrivethemes/staging.thrivethemes.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078

Notice: Function register_rest_route was called incorrectly. The REST API route definition for membership/v1/tags/schema is missing the required permission_callback argument. For REST API routes that are intended to be public, use __return_true as the permission callback. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.5.0.) in /home/thrivethemes/dev/thrivethemes/staging.thrivethemes.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078

Notice: Function register_rest_route was called incorrectly. The REST API route definition for membership/v1/tags/activity/(?P[\d]+)/(?P[\d]+) is missing the required permission_callback argument. For REST API routes that are intended to be public, use __return_true as the permission callback. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.5.0.) in /home/thrivethemes/dev/thrivethemes/staging.thrivethemes.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078

Notice: Function register_rest_route was called incorrectly. The REST API route definition for tve-dash/v1/growth-tools is missing the required permission_callback argument. For REST API routes that are intended to be public, use __return_true as the permission callback. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.5.0.) in /home/thrivethemes/dev/thrivethemes/staging.thrivethemes.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078

Notice: Function register_rest_route was called incorrectly. The REST API route definition for tve-dash/v1/growth-tools is missing the required permission_callback argument. For REST API routes that are intended to be public, use __return_true as the permission callback. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.5.0.) in /home/thrivethemes/dev/thrivethemes/staging.thrivethemes.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078
AI Made Simple: How to Choose the Right Tools to Optimize Your Small Business

You don’t have to turn far to find blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, and social media posts telling you to “adopt AI now before it’s too late”.

As a small business owner, with limited tech experience, this might be a bit confusing for you.

Where do you start? How do you integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) with your business?

Do you even need to?

If you’re struggling to figure out artificial intelligence, why it’s so important, and how to incorporate it into your small business – this blog post is for you.

You’ll learn about:

  • The basics of AI
  • Everyday examples of AI
  • Potential areas in your business to optimize with AI
  • How to implement AI tools in your business

Let’s dive in.

More...

Are You Using the Right Tools for Your Online Business?



Before you dive into AI, you need to be sure that you’re using the right tools for your online business.


AI can certainly bring major benefits to your business like automation, data analysis, and predictive insights, but you must make sure you have a solid foundation in place first.


That's where Thrive Suite comes in.


Thrive Suite is your all-in-one solution to building a thriving online business on WordPress – all by yourself


Use Thrive Suite to:

With Thrive Suite and the right AI tools for your business, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.

What is AI?

AI (or Artificial Intelligence) is a field of computer science dedicated to training computer systems to perform tasks that are typically performed by humans.

Some of these tasks include visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.

AI works by using algorithms — sets of rules — to analyze data and find patterns. Based on those patterns, AI makes predictions, recognizes speech or images, writes text or code, and even plays games. The more data the AI is trained on, the better it becomes at recognizing patterns and making decisions.

In a business context, you can use AI to:

  • Automate repetitive or labor-intensive tasks
  • Analyze large volumes of data (e.g. customer purchasing behavior), and
  • Make predictions and recommendations based on that data

AI isn’t just a buzzword, it's a game-changer for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge.

By leveraging AI tools, you can streamline certain business processes, improve efficiency, and make data-driven decisions that can ultimately result in increased profitability.

How Does AI Work?

It’s important to understand that AI is not a single technology or tool, but a field that encompasses a wide range of techniques and approaches.

Some of the most commonly used AI techniques include machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision.

The more you learn about AI, the more these terms will pop up. To help you understand them better, we’ve provided simple definitions for each one:

  • Machine Learning (ML)

    Machine Learning focuses on “teaching” computers to learn and improve on their own — without being explicitly programmed to do so.

    ML involves training a computer model on a large amount of data and using that training to make predictions or decisions about new data it encounters. It's like teaching a computer to recognize patterns and make decisions based on those patterns.

    Most online applications use machine learning to make their users’ lives easier.

    For example, social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube use machine learning algorithms to tailor their users’ experiences according to their content preferences.

  • Deep Learning

    Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks  to learn and recognize patterns in data. It’s called "deep learning" because the neural networks used are typically composed of many layers, allowing for complex patterns and features to be learned.

    Smart assistants (e.g. Siri, Alexa), translation tools, and facial recognition systems are popular examples of deep learning.

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

    Natural Language Processing is also a subset of machine learning, and helps machines process and understand human language so that they can automatically perform repetitive tasks.

    NLP is a core function of proofreading tools like Grammarly, writing tools like Copy.ai as well as language translation tools and smart assistants.

  • Computer Vision 

    Computer Vision enables computers to interpret, understand, and analyze visual information (e.g. videos, images) from the world around them. 

    This technology is used to identify and label objects in an image or video, divide an image into different regions or segments based on common characteristics, and create 3D models of a scene or based on multiple images or video frames. 

    A few real-life use cases for this tech include navigation for self-driving cars, X-ray and MRI analysis, and self-checkout systems (think Amazon).

Examples of AI in Everyday Life

If you’re new to the AI scene, you might feel like this technology is super complicated and far beyond your reach.

But AI has been around for years – and you’re probably using it right now to make your life easier.

Here are a few examples of AI in popular tools that have been around for the last couple of years:

  • Smart assistants (Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant) use AI to understand and respond to user requests, making it easier for people to access information, set reminders, and control their smart homes.
  • Maps and navigation apps like Google Maps use AI to predict traffic and suggest alternative routes.
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, etc.) use AI to recommend movies, TV shows, and music based on your viewing or listening history.
  • Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft use AI algorithms to determine the best routes, predict demand, and set prices.
  • Online shopping platforms like Amazon and Alibaba use AI to recommend relevant products based on your browsing and purchasing history.
  • Proofreading tools (e.g. Grammarly) use AI to identify spelling and grammar mistakes, and suggest corrections.
  • Transcription tools like Otter, Trint, and Fireflies use AI to transcribe audio and video files.
  • Copywriting tools like Copy.ai and Jasper use AI to generate high quality marketing copy for sales pages, emails, blog posts, product descriptions, etc.
  • Fraud detection systems in banks and financial institutions use AI to identify and flag unusual or suspicious transactions.
  • Chatbots use AI to process and answer user queries. Some are simple customer service chatbots that offer quick answers to customer questions. More advanced models, like ChatGPT, can answer questions, provide detailed recommendations, engage in conversations, assist with tasks like proofreading or coding, and even generate creative content such as stories, poems, or marketing copy.

AI has become an integral part of our daily lives, from the smart assistants on our phones and in our homes, to the personalized recommendations we receive from our favorite apps.

With its ability to analyze vast amounts of data – in rapid time – and learn from it, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we work and live.

In the next section, we’ll explore how AI can benefit your business and help you stay competitive in an ever-changing marketplace.

AI + Your Business

If you’re still on the fence about integrating AI with your business … take this as your sign to hop off the fence and start researching.

AI could be the missing key to revving up your business’ efficiency and saving you hours of time – and money.

In this section, we'll explore how AI can benefit your business, and what factors you need to consider when choosing AI tools to implement. Whether you're a small start-up or a large corporation, AI can help drive growth and improve your bottom line.

There are many business processes that can be improved with AI. Here are some common examples:

Marketing

If you’re a bootstrapped solopreneur with limited time and resources, a content-generating AI tool could be a game changer for your content marketing strategy.

Tools like ChatGPT, Copy.ai, and Jasper are designed to generate basic marketing copy for you to edit and use in your emails, social media posts, video captions, and even landing pages.

Check out this email we asked ChatGPT to write, promoting a new:

Example of a conversion-focused email generated by ChatGPT

Example of a conversion-focused email generated by ChatGPT

Pretty cool, right?

But - and this is a BIG but - the work is far from perfect.

What you receive from ChatGPT and other copywriting AI tools often lacks the tone, emotion and accuracy you find in human-generated content.

So we definitely don’t recommend copying, pasting, and publishing content straight from the generator.

Use this tool - and other AI tools - as a content creation aid.

And if podcasting, webinars, or video marketing are a core part of your marketing strategy, then you should consider using transcription tools like Otter, Trint, or Fireflies to save your hours of time.

You’ll still need to check the tool’s work for spelling and grammatical errors - but that’s way better than spending hours transcribing the audio yourself.

ChatGPT and the Future of Online Marketing


ChatGPT took the world by storm and brought a new dimension to content creation. Now, written content – long and short – can be generated for a variety of marketing materials in seconds.


Is this a good thing?


Can we trust the content it provides? Does this mean the marketing profession is in trouble?


If any of these questions have crossed your mind, the video below is for you.


Tune in to watch the Thrive Themes marketing team break down ChatGPT, it’s capabilities and limitations, and how it stands to change the online marketing landscape.

Operations

Small business owners often neglect the operations aspect of their businesses because they just don’t have the time.

AI can give that time back to you, by automating these repetitive, time-consuming tasks. From streamlining your email inbox, to managing detailed spreadsheets, and even automating your invoicing – you can use AI to save you tons of time while you focus on higher-level, margin-moving tasks in your business.

If you run an online store selling physical products, AI can help monitor and manage your inventory, supply chain, and logistics more efficiently by analyzing data on customer demand and forecasting future needs.

For example, you can use an AI tool to determine the best time to reorder inventory, and optimize shipping routes to prevent delays and save costs.

Finance

Key areas that AI can assist with in finance include financial forecasting, fraud detection, and risk management.

AI can use your prior financial data, as well as current market trends, to predict future revenue and expenses in your business. With this information, you can make better financial decisions for business and prevent problems like overspending from happening.

AI can also identify suspicious transactions and flag fraudulent activity, saving you from major financial losses.

In terms of risk management, AI can analyze historical data and market trends to predict future scenarios that could affect your business – e.g. changes in consumer behavior or shifts in market demand.

It can also use its findings from this data to pinpoint potential financial risks to your business — e.g. cash flow shortages or even bankruptcy.

Customer Service

Picture this:

A potential customer lands on your conversion-focused landing page, reads through what you have to offer, and gets this close to buying …

But they have a couple of questions to ask and your FAQ page doesn’t have the answers. If this customer is in a different timezone to you, or happens to be on your website after business hours … 

This is the perfect opportunity for a chatbot to pop up and help answer your prospects’ questions.

AI-powered chatbots can offer round-the-clock support, answering frequently asked questions and resolving simple customer issues.

If you do have a customer service rep, chatbots can help free up their time to focus on more complex inquiries; also boosting customer satisfaction as a result of faster response times.

Chatbots aside, AI can also analyze customer feedback to identify areas where your business can improve its products, services, or even the quality of customer service. This will help you identify customer pain points and take proactive measures to address them. 

How to Identify Areas in Your Business that Would Benefit Most from AI

Identifying key areas in your business that would benefit most from AI isn’t always straightforward. 

Here are several simple steps to pinpoint the areas that would benefit most from implementing some kind of AI assistance:

  1. 1
    Evaluate your business processes: Start by evaluating your current business processes. Look for processes that are repetitive, time-consuming, or inundated with errors, delays, or setbacks that could easily be handled by an AI.
  2. 2
    Talk to your employees: Your employees are often the best source of information when it comes to finding areas in your business to optimize. Talk to them about their day-to-day tasks to identify the repetitive and time-consuming tasks that could be better completed by an AI, freeing them up to do more valuable and higher leverage work.
  3. 3
    Analyze your data: Most times, the answer is in the data. Data is a key driver of AI, so look for patterns and trends in your business’ performance metrics, customer data, sales data, and operational data to identify the bottlenecks in your business that could be optimized by AI.
  4. 4
    Learn from your competitors: Study what your competitors are doing with AI. Identify areas where they are using AI to gain a competitive advantage, and evaluate whether you can adopt similar strategies in your own business.
  5. 5
    Consider your customer needs: Think about your customers' needs and how AI could be used to improve their experience. For example, AI-powered chatbots could help customers get the support they need quickly and efficiently.

How to Find and Implement AI Tools in Your Business

Now that you’ve identified the areas in your business to optimize with AI, it’s time to find the right tools to get the job done.

Start by researching the latest AI solutions and tools that are available on the market. Look for solutions that align with your business goals and address your specific pain points.

Pay attention to customer reviews, to see how these tools have actually helped other businesses.

Once you have a list of potential AI tools, evaluate each one carefully to determine which is the best fit for your business. Consider the following factors, before choosing one:

  • Ease of Integration: Can this tool integrate with your current tech stack, and seamlessly work with your current systems?
  • Cost: Is the price of this tool within your budget and can it generate a positive ROI?
  • Support: Does the business selling the tool offer useful resources to help you set up and implement the tool with ease? Is there a reliable support team you can contact should you encounter an issue?

After you’ve identified the right AI tool(s) for your business needs, test it out on a pilot project.

Implementing AI tools can be a big change for your business, so it's a good idea to start with a pilot project before rolling out the tool more broadly. This gives you the opportunity to test the tool and make sure it works as expected before expanding its implementation company-wide.

Remember: AI tools are only effective if you or your employees know how to use them properly. Make sure to provide adequate training and support to ensure that you and your team can implement the tool effectively.

Tips for Monitoring Your AI Tools

Implementing AI tools in your business is just one step. The next — and more important — step is to monitor your tools’ performance to see if it’s helping your business or not.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating the performance of your tools, but these tips can help you get started:

  • Set specific goals: These goals should be aligned with your business objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, if you're implementing an AI-powered chatbot for customer service, a specific goal might be to reduce customer wait times by 50%.
  • Track key performance indicators (KPIs): KPIs could include metrics such as accuracy, speed, cost savings, or customer satisfaction. For example, if you're using AI to improve customer service, you could track the percentage of defects produced before and after implementation to measure accuracy.
  • Run A/B tests: If you're using AI to optimize your emails and website's user experience you must conduct A/B tests to compare conversion rates before and after implementation. For testing landing pages, we recommend Thrive Optimize.
  • Monitor feedback: Monitor feedback from your employees and customers to understand the impact of your AI tools on your business. Feedback can come in the form of customer surveys, interviews with your team, or reviews left by customers post-implementing AI tools in your business. 

Conclusion: Ready to Introduce Your Business to AI?

And that’s it!

Now that you have a better idea of what AI is and how you can integrate it into your business, it’s time to turn your learning into action.

Start with the basics – like your website.

If you don’t have a website – or feel like your current one is in desperate need of an update – we recommend using Thrive Suite, our all-in-one toolbox for building a thriving online business.

Watch Tony’s video on how to use Thrive Suite and ChatGPT to build a stunning, conversion focused website in rapid time.

About the Author Chipo


Chipo is a content marketer, digital consultant, and seasoned freelancer with a keen interest in tech, marketing, and the future of work. She helps both graduates and solopreneurs set up their personal brands so they can thrive online. When she’s not working, she’s reading, dining out, and watching old seasons of Grey's Anatomy.

Get In Touch
>