Learning how small businesses in Wichita can leverage AI

I was fortunate to attend a Cox Business event hosted at Hutton Construction to learn about how small businesses can leverage AI. After all, I speak with many small businesses in town and am always happy to pass on what I learn.

Titled, Survey says: AI isn’t just for big business, there was a panel featuring local business leaders that discussed insight from a 2024 small business survey and how their businesses have been leveraging AI to succeed.

On the panel was:

I’m sure many people in the community have either heard of Hutton Construction or Mamarazzi Communications. They’ve been doing a lot in the community, so it was pretty cool to hear how they apply AI. It’s something I’ve been dabbling in over the past year and am always open to learning more.

With a long career in IT, AI has always intrigued me. Over the years, big businesses have adopted AI while small businesses have fallen behind. A lot of that due to lack of knowledge, budget, personnel, or general worries about using technology.

After the one and a half hour session, what did I learn? And how can that pertain to the local businesses in town?

How Can Small Businesses Use AI?

For starters, AI is something that can be used by businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a soloprenuer like Hardwell, a team of five or even bigger like Hutton Constructions, there’s use cases for everyone.

In the Cox Business 2024 Small Business Survey, it was noted that 39% of business owners leverage AI for marketing, 30% for sales, and 34% for customer service.

I would wager to say that Wichita is probably dragging a little behind, but that just gives us more room to catch up.

Hardwell, who has many small business clients around town, has used AI as a sounding board to help generate ideas on how to strategically market and support her clients.

If you’re a small business owner, such tools like ChatGPT, can quickly be of assistance. With an AI tool, a small business could:

  • Create social post copy. So many business owners in Wichita suffer from the inability to properly use social media. Some of that is because they may not feel suited enough to make posts for a Facebook or Instagram post. There’s where a tool like ChatGPT can be of assistance.
  • Newsletter. A huge marketing tool that can help any-sized business is the use of a newsletter. When customers are checking out, they can input their email and subscribe to a newsletter. As you gain subscribers, you can then leverage AI to help with the newsletter. This helps keep customers informed of what’s going on with your business, possible sales you want to advertise, events, customer success stories, the options are endless. A weekly newsletter is something that Hutton uses.
  • Chat bot. Do you have a customer-facing website? Whether it’s retail or even a restaurant, a chatbot is an easy and effective tool that allows customers to chat with a bot to have their questions answered. Over time, the bot will be trained to answer more questions making it accessible for customers to make for a near 24-hour shopping experience with the customer service aspect built in.

AI is becoming more useful year over year. And the best thing to do is hop on and try it. Don’t fall behind. Evolving is a key factor to success. Even today, you can utilize a free tool like ChatGPT, play with it and see what benefits it can provide you. Trust me, you can’t break it.

As a small business owner, taking advantage of every tool at your disposal will only benefit you.

I’m actually speaking to a couple of business owners in town to consult them on what they could do better to reach customers and potential prospects and AI will be something I definitely bring up.

As a city, we are just scratching the surface of what is capable. It was great to listen to leaders in our community. Hardwell, Hutton and Barnes all provided some great insight at the Cox event. I was really glad to get the invite to go.

If you are eager to learn more about the Small Business Survey or get further information on AI, Cox has a page set up called CoxBlue.com. There are plenty more resources to help you out.

 


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This post was shared in partnership with Cox Business.

 

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