Thursday, 25 May 2023 | 20 min read
The best AI tools for small businesses (That aren't ChatGPT)
Depending on who you ask, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making our lives easier, creating opportunities, taking our jobs, or ending human civilisation as we know it.
All of the above is probably true. But as a business owner, it's best to focus on the positives - and there are plenty of them. Because AI, just like every emerging technology, offers businesses a wealth of opportunities.
By now, even if you haven't used OpenAI's ChatGPT, you've probably heard of it. Likewise, you might have marvelled at DALL-E 2's creations, as AI-generated art wins prestigious awards and draws the ire of artists everywhere. But it won't just be artists, writers and research assistants whose careers AI turns on its head. From receptionists to CEOs, AI will make its mark on every function of every business.
The benefits of AI for small businesses
When used correctly, AI presents an abundance of benefits for small businesses. Here's how AI is helping small businesses improve:
Increased efficiency: AI helps you complete essential tasks quicker. That means you've got more time to dedicate to high-value, strategic activities that require human intervention (for now…). You can expect faster turnaround times and higher-quality work with AI assistance.
Automation: You know those repetitive, mundane, yet essential tasks you do daily in your business? AI can automate a lot of those for you. Say you've completed a piece of work for a client. You can set up an AI automation that will immediately send them an email, an invoice and a follow-up email. With AI, you can maintain an effective workflow with minimal effort.
Expanded skillsets: As a small business, you don't have the budget to fill every skill gap in your business with an employee or external contractor. That's where AI can help. AI tools offer virtual expertise you'd otherwise have had to either pay for or go without. Some roles AI can fill in your business are content creators, data analysts, consultants and virtual assistants.
Better decision-making: AI can help you make critical business decisions faster through its ability to perform high-level data analysis quickly.
Profitability: Using AI effectively will make your business money. AI saves your business unnecessary labour costs by performing tasks that would otherwise have required human labour. Likewise, AI frees up you and your team's time, letting you focus on the tasks that offer the highest returns.
So, what are the best AI tools for small businesses?
Here are 10 AI tools that every business should have in its virtual toolbox.
All but one of these tools are free to try. However, some have limitations on what you can do on those free versions - such as reduced functionality or a limit on the number of prompts you can generate.
12 AI tools every business should know
1. Bard - Conversational AI
What it does: Generates “human-like” text responses to written prompts
What have you Googled today?
Google has become synonymous with internet searching - so much so that we sometimes forget other search engines exist.
And Google didn’t make it to the top by accident. It’s simple, minimal, user-friendly, and its suite of useful tools make for a better internet experience.
The rise of conversational AI such as ChatGPT looks set to upend the way we search the internet. And Google has come to the party.
Bard is Google’s answer to ChatGPT. Currently still in an experimental stage, it brings the clean Google look we know and love to conversational AI.
What separates Bard from its competition is its code dataset, which allows it to provide more detailed and factual information - ridding AI of its most glaring limitation.
One handy feature Bard offers is access to Google’s search engine. Alongside each answer is a Google search button, that provides links to Google searches relevant to your prompt.
Google has changed the way we find things out. So will conversational AI. And Bard is Google’s way of making sure that in the era of AI, we'll still be Googling.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit the Bard website.
Official Google Bard Demo
2. Grammarly - AI text editor
What it does: Edits anything you write, wherever you write it.
As a business owner, you write with many pens. On any given day, you could write proposal documents, quotes, emails to your partners and team, and company updates. And all these things won't read the same.
Switching our communication style is natural when we're talking in person. You know to switch up your tone when you leave a prospect meeting to head to Friday night drinks with your team.
But sometimes, it can be hard to convey those different communication styles in a piece of writing - where exuding the right tone is a more subtle exercise.
Often, it means spending hours writing something that would take minutes to explain in person. Or, you default to writing without any emotion. Neither option is good for business.
So if that's you, you need Grammarly. And ironically, it'll help you write less like a robot and more like you.
Powered by AI, Grammarly is a tool designed to help you confidently write for any audience. While it does the usual spelling and grammar checks, it also makes suggestions that improve clarity and readability. Any suggestions Grammarly makes will match your pre-determined goals and tone of voice criteria. All this ensures your writing resonates with its intended audience.
Know what you want to say but not sure how to day it? Forget about writer's block
Grammarly Go's rewrite feature will turn your thoughts into an eloquent piece of writing. There's also a built-in generative AI feature that can fill in the gaps and write content for you.
Best of all, Grammarly is more than just a standalone app. You can access it wherever you write through Grammarly's integrated suite of tools. It's available as a browser extension, an add-on to popular writing apps such as Microsoft Word, and as a custom keyboard for your phone or tablet.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit Grammarly's website.
How Does Grammarly Work?
3. Copy.ai - AI writing software
What it does: Writes content for you.
In a content-dense online business marketplace, businesses that write informative, engaging content are the ones that stand out.
But if you're a small business, you don't always have the time or resources to dedicate to regular content writing.
Enter AI writing tools.
Have an idea for a blog or article? AI can write the whole thing in minutes.
And if you're serious about leveraging AI to be more efficient, you need to look beyond ChatGPT and to dedicated writing tools like Copy.ai
Copy.ai is a flexible AI writing tool that can write anything you need: SEO articles, emails, social media captions, ad copy, press releases, eBooks, and more. If a writer can write it, so can Copy.ai. And its suite of templates ensures your prompts give Copy.ai everything it needs to write exactly what you're looking for.
Sure, depending on the type of content, it's more than likely that Copy.ai's output won't be ready to publish as-is. But AI content writing saves you hours of research and writing time. That way, you can focus on the most crucial aspect of content writing: Adding your unique perspective and value.
No matter what kind of marketing you do, copy.ai will help you craft the perfect message for any medium.
Getting Started with Copy.ai
4. Fireflies.ai - AI note-taking software
What it does: Transcribes meetings, and summarises documents.
We're holding more meetings than ever due to the rise of remote work. What once might have been a conversation at a colleague's desk is now an online videoconference.
And as a business owner, it's vital to ensure the learnings from each meeting don't stay in the meeting. That often means balancing between staying present and jotting down important notes to reference later.
Even if you've recorded a meeting on your phone or through a videoconferencing app's record feature, sifting through it can take longer than the meeting itself.
With Fireflies, you'll never have to worry about note-taking again! Fireflies uses natural language processing to record and transcribe meetings. You can turn on the Fireflies browser extension to instantly start recording an online meeting. And if you're in an in-person meeting, upload a recording, and Fireflies will transcribe it for you. It will even summarise the transcription for you. It can also summarise other written documents - saving you hours of reading.
The result? You've got comprehensive notes of every meeting with minimal effort. Through the transcript, you can effortlessly search for important details and "gold nuggets" and share the meeting notes with anyone who wasn't there.
And those notes could be why you turn a meeting with a prospect into a client-winning proposal.
What is Fireflies.ai
5. Speechify - AI text-to-speech generator.
What it does: Turns any text into audio.
Business owners have a lot of required reading. There's the latest news, industry reports, consumer research, and reports from your employees. And to run your business effectively, you must be across all of it.
But it can be hard to find the time to sit down and read. You're likely either reading it in your own time outside of business hours or not at all.
Would you rather read a 10-page report at your desk or listen to it on your commute home? Even if you prefer reading, the latter is the more convenient option.
And Speechify makes it possible. It's a text-to-voice generator that converts any written document to audio.
Powered by natural language processing, it's smarter and easier to use than the text-to-speech apps you're used to.
Even if there's text on an image, Speechify can scan it so it reads naturally on the audio output. You can also adjust the output's speed so it reads how you read, making it easier to process the information.
Speechify comes with over 30 narrator voices to choose from. So if you've ever wondered what it would sound like if Snoop Dogg or Gwyneth Paltrow read your monthly marketing report, you can find out on Speechify!
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit Speechify's website.
Speechify | Understand More, Listen Fast
6. Beautiful.ai - AI presentation generator
What it does: Creates engaging, professional presentations.
Presentations come with the territory of being a business owner. Whether it's part of a pitch deck or a team meeting, visuals play a huge part in the presentation's success.
In an era where professional design tools are accessible to everyone, a basic PowerPoint won't cut it. But that shouldn't mean you have to spend hours perfecting your presentations.
With Beautiful.ai, you can create stunning presentations with minimal effort. Tell the AI what you want to present, and it'll instantly generate the slide. All you need to do is add the text and images, and the software will create an eye-catching slide that's sure to turn heads.
Like any other presentation software, you can choose from Beautiful.AI's suite of presentation templates. But if you've ever created a presentation from a template, you'll know it's challenging to make your information look as good as the sample slides. That's especially true if you present more complex information, such as statistics.
Beautiful.ai takes care of the design intricacies, so you won't need to spend hours making the slides look nice. Instead, you can focus on what matters most: delivering the presentation.
How to create a presentation in Beautiful.ai
7. Excel formula bot - AI Excel formula generator
What it does: Creates an Excel formula based on your text instructions.
Alongside Word and PowerPoint in the holy trinity of quintessential office apps, there's Excel. And AI's coming for it too.
Your spreadsheets contain valuable business data. And when used right, they give you valuable insights that help you make better business decisions. But getting what you want out of those spreadsheets can be time-consuming at best and frustrating at worst.
Excel formula bot is available as a plugin for Excel and its Google counterpart, Google Sheets. Type in what you want to uncover; the formula bot will give you the correct formula.
So say goodbye to spending hours trailing and erroring through data analysis and meeting the dreaded "#VALUE" along the way!
No matter how complex the formula you're looking for is, the Excel formula bot can give you the information instantly. Even if you're an Excel wiz, you'll save valuable time better spent interpreting the data and making high-level recommendations.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit the Excel Formula Bot website.
Automate Writing Excel Formula | Excel Formula Bot
8. Dumme - AI video editor
What it does: Converts long-form videos into shorter videos by automatically discovering the best snippets.
If you spend time on tik tok, tik tok's copycats (Instagram reels and YouTube shorts), or LinkedIn, you'll know that short videos are all the rage.
And it's no coincidence. The data shows that short videos drive engagement, leads and sales. A study by Gitnux shows that 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded videos. It also found consumers are most likely to engage with videos that are less than 60 seconds.
And the quickest way to create video content is to film long-form content. All you need to do is press record on a video call. Or, if you're feeling bold, you can turn your video shoot into a marketing activity in itself by creating a live stream event.
That's the easy part. The hard part is turning all that footage into a series of easily digestible short videos. Dumme takes care of that for you. Dumme's AI will self-identify the most valuable 60-second snippets. Then, it will turn the snippets into ready-to-upload videos with branding and captions.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit Dumme's website.
How to Make Money using AI Clips and Shorts (Dumme)
9. Beatbot - AI music generator
What it does: Creates royalty-free original music based on a text prompt.
Are you struggling to find royalty-free music that captures the mood of your presentations and video content?
People love music. That's a fact. And including music that compliments the content in your branded videos increases engagement by an average of 200%, according to a study by fanpage karma.
But with tons of Royalty-free music available, finding the perfect backing track is often impossible. What's worse is finding a song you like only to find out it's already licensed.
So, why not just cut out the middle-man and create your own music? And with Beatbot, you can do just that - with no musical talent required! With Beatbot, you can create an original AI-generated song based on the text prompt you give it. With the right prompt, you can make music that perfectly evokes what you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand.
You can even add lyrics if that's your jam!
So stop using the same Royalty-free songs as everyone else, and get creative with AI-generated music through Beatbot.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit Beatbot's website.
Create Catchy Tunes with BeatBot AI
10. Dall-e/Bing image generator - AI art and image generator
What it does: Generates artwork based on a text prompt.
Marketing is all about visuals. But as a small business, you don't always have the budget to license expensive artwork or stock images.
Thanks to AI, there's a cheaper alternative. Bing Image Generator, powered by Dall-e, lets you generate all kinds of images, from artwork to pictures indistinguishable from actual photos.
You can use these images royalty-free on all your marketing materials - giving you more engaging collateral that doesn't break the bank.
You can even use it to mock up a realistic image of a new product idea that inspires your partners and team to make it happen.
Introducing Image Creator from Microsoft Bing
11. Cody - AI knowledge base for your business
What it does: Acts as an AI-powered virtual assistant that you can train to know your business.
ChatGPT has taken the business world by storm. And business owners have marvelled at the breadth of knowledge it can impart with a simple prompt.
But as you venture further down the ChatGPT rabbit hole, having to give context about your business as part of every prompt can get frustrating. Especially so when ChatGPT's response is still generic!
Cody does away with those limitations by offering generative AI designed for your business.
Cody works like ChatGPT, with the bonus of being able to train it in everything there is to know about your business. Arm Cody with knowledge of your business, team, processes, clients and knowledge base, and marvel at its ability to brainstorm creative solutions to your business's challenges.
Among other things, Cody can help your team do their work, answer questions, solve issues, and brainstorm ideas to improve your business.
Like a human employee, the more you teach Cody, the better its output - and the more value it will bring to your business. And as long as you've got the right people empowering it, Cody might be the best employee your business has ever had.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit Cody's website.
Meet Cody - Your AI Knowledge-base for Business
12. Bonus: GPTBoss - AI virtual employees
What it does: Gives your business access to a team of AI-powered virtual employees with specialist skills and expertise.
By now, you've figured that AI can do a great job of outsourcing tasks and amplifying your skills and knowledge. But what happens if you don't have all the answers?
GPTBoss is another platform that takes the concepts of ChatGPT to new heights. Unlike other platforms, it brings skills into your business.
Some of the skills offered by GPTBoss are computer programmers, SEO specialists, product managers, accountants, and even business coaches.
And through GPTBoss's user interface, you can interact with your virtual team online as if they were real people. Your AI employees even come with unique personalities and backstories! Just don't expect them to show up at your local for an after-work drink (for now…).
Unfortunately, unlike the other AI tools on this list, GPTBoss does not currently offer a free version.
To learn more and try the tool for yourself, visit the GPTBoss website.
GPTBoss Tutorial | Accountant
How AI will change small business
Despite the prolific media hype, the business world is still in the early stages of getting to know AI.
But it won't be new forever. In the not-too-distant future, as AI continues to improve, its efficiencies will become standard across all industries. So if you leverage the power of AI today, you'll set your business up for future success.
Tips for future-proofing your business with AI
1. Upskill your (human) employees.
Just as driverless cars still need someone telling it where to go, AI needs someone to call the shots.
With AI still in its relative infancy, you and your team might be anxious about its potential to make you all redundant. In reality, humans will be just as crucial in the age of AI. But we'll do things a bit differently.
Even though AI is upending admin, marketing and content creation (to name just a few), you'll still need human teams. The difference is that their roles will involve using (and owning) AI.
You'll also need teams with specialist AI knowledge to ensure you're maximising your AI tools.
And now is the time to make the transition to an AI-powered business. And bringing your team on that journey with you is good for everyone.
So, ensure your team has all the skills they (and you) need to leverage AI in their roles. And if AI looks set to make their job redundant, help them transition to a required position.
As we continue to discover the benefits of AI, there is something new to learn every day. And equipping your team with the knowledge they need in an AI-driven business world is a win-win for everyone.
2. Trial AI - and find the perfect tools for your business.
The AI tools we've covered in this article, and the others you've heard about, are just a drop in the ocean.
There are countless AI tools available to businesses. And all of them have different benefits.
AI isn't a business essential just yet. But it will be soon. And by then, the businesses that have found - and perfected the use of - their ideal AI tools, will have the advantage over the late adopters.
So, use this article as a starting point, but continue researching and testing AI tools in your business. Most importantly, have fun while you do it! AI is a new and exciting innovation. And as we witness its development in real-time, it's hard not to get excited about all the awesome things AI can do - and the possibilities it brings to your business.
3. Future-proof your tech with AI-ready connectivity.
AI tools can get complex. And to make the most out of them, your business needs the right tech.
At the core of your business's AI strategy should be to ensure you have an internet connection that can handle its advanced capabilities.
Right now, fibre internet is the ideal solution for businesses looking for a strong connection to handle future technological advancements.
Aussie Broadband's own Aussie Fibre network offers your business plans up to 10Gbps, with symmetrical download and upload speeds. Backed by fast, reliable fibre connectivity and a 99.95% service uptime guarantee (with rebates if your internet falls short of that), Aussie Fibre is the ultimate solution for businesses with high connectivity requirements.
To learn more about Aussie Fibre and view our business plans, head over to our Aussie Fibre page.
Want fast fibre with the convenience of staying on the nbn® network? Check out our nbn® Enterprise Ethernet. Through Enterprise Ethernet, your business can access plans up to 1000/1000Mbps* across all your nbn® connected sites. You'll also have the option to get committed bandwidth, which guarantees your business bandwidth in high-traffic periods.
To learn more about Aussie Fibre and view our business plans, visit our nbn® Enterprise Ethernet page.
Happy with your current plan but want a faster, more reliable fibre connection? Upgrade your business to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) through the fibre connect program^. As your staff make use of AI tools, a fibre connection will give your business the bandwidth to handle this new way of working. See if your business is eligible for a FTTP upgrade here.
Make the switch now and save on installation costs, with a $0 fibre install** available to eligible businesses.
Whatever connection you choose, Aussie Broadband's dedicated business team is here to help you thrive. We'll work to understand your business's needs and build you an internet solution to match.
Contact our Australian-based team on 1300 480 905 and take the next step in building a connected, future-ready business.
*Actual wholesale speeds capped at 952Mbps as prescribed by nbn® due to many factors including equipment and network limitations not operated by Aussie Broadband.
**Not available at all premises. All prices subject to change without notice. $0 fibre upgrade subject to site qualification check on only available on 36 month contract
^Currently only available for eligible customers with a FTTN or FTTC connection. Customers must sign up to an eligible high-speed plan when upgrading. This plan change will only take effect once the FTTP connection is activated. Offer subject to service qualification for nbn® FTTP upgrade. Full fibre upgrade T&Cs apply. Not available at all premises. Current FTTN eligible nbn® plans are from 100/40 or higher. Current FTTC eligible nbn® plans are 250/100 plan or higher. All prices subject to change without notice. Actual speeds may vary due to external factors including in-building wiring.
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