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ChatGPT - What it is, and how local small businesses can take advantage

As a small business owner, you wear most of the hats in your business: chief order-taker, customer service lead, housekeeping, you name it. Research and development lands on your plate, as well as content creation and website copywriting. Frankly it can be hard to keep your head on straight with the many roles entrepreneurs have to play.

Enter ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a free informational resource with encyclopedic knowledge that comes in the form of an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot. Unlike Google or Wikipedia, where you obtain information by typing in a search and getting a list or page of results, you get answers from ChatGPT by participating in a conversation. And the implications of this really advanced chatbot created by Open AI are many.

The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Summit this year featured a session by Paul Bowen from the Washington SBDC 100% dedicated to ChatGPT and its potential to impact small business. If you missed that session on April 19, don’t worry - we’re sure it’s not the last you’ve heard about ChatGPT and this post will fill in some of the blanks.

With ChatGPT, you can:

  • Write all kinds of things: code, blog posts, marketing copy and press releases, stories, poems, emails, essays, proposals, you name it.
  • Beat creative blocks! ChatGPT can generate ideas and examples, and even come up with multiple choice questions.
  • Act as your personal / business assistant by recommending products, services, even YouTube videos or online courses to further your learning in a specific skill.
  • Speaking of learning, ChatGPT can explain complicated topics in simplified terms.
  • It can even translate text into 95 languages.

Great, now I can quit all those jobs, right?

Well, not exactly. ChatGPT is not a replacement for human capital. At its essence, ChatGPT is simply a computer without the full context of your business, your needs, your unique tone and voice. So, you can’t just pass content creation off to ChatGPT. And you can’t use ChatGPT in place of a lawyer, marketing consultant, or business financial advisor either.

If you’re curious about ChatGPT and how it can help your small business in the Columbia Valley, here are a few exercises to try:

Try ChatGPT to create or enhance your marketing copy!

From blog posts to email campaigns, product descriptions to social media captions, ChatGPT can give you a head start when it comes to putting words on paper. This isn’t completely novel to ChatGPT. Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and email service providers like MailChimp have AI-driven content tools that you’ve likely bumped into on occasion. But unlike some of those examples, ChatGPT can be leveraged for any kind of marketing content, not specifically social media or email marketing. If you need to get a marketing copy project done and fast, consider letting ChatGPT start the process, then edit for your unique business tone and voice from there.

Don’t have any ideas? Use ChatGPT to come up with them!

Most small businesses have content needs, whether to support SEO or to announce a product launch. But if you need website content ideas, ChatGPT can help. Ask it for post ideas about a general theme or existing products. Or ask ChatGPT to do some research for you to support topics you already plan to write about for your business. Save time hunting and pecking around the internet and let ChatGPT do the heavy lifting for you in mere seconds.

Speaking of saving time, ChatGPT can help you with data and analytics formulas

Maybe nobody warned you when you went into business that you would become Frenemies with Excel. Buzz over to ChatGPT to get regular expressions and spreadsheet formulas that help you extract information from your reports more efficiently.

That’s just a primer, but you see where we’re going with this.

ChatGPT is worth experimenting with on one, or all, of the ideas we shared today. With the time you save using ChatGPT maybe you can dig deeper into using it for for customer service and surveys, business forecasting and product ideas, the list goes on.

In fact, to dip your toes in the waters why not ask ChatGPT for yourself, like we did when getting ready to create this blog post? Look what happened when we went from asking ChatGPT how it could help small businesses to how it can help a Walla Walla-based small business. Pretty neat, right?

So go out and give it a try. We’d be curious to hear your findings AND to hear what you do with all the time you save. Because as an entrepreneur, your time is your most valuable business asset. Use it wisely (and save some of it with ChatGPT).