A beginners guide to using AI in business

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A beginners guide to using AI in business

Key learnings

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to intelligence demonstrated by animals and humans.
  • AI is not perfect and to use it most effectively it should only be a starting point for humans to get inspiration and improve efficiency.
  • The best way to learn about AI is to experiment and try it yourself.

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, staying ahead of the curve is paramount for the success of businesses. One revolutionary tool that has the potential to transform the way companies operate is artificial intelligence (AI). However, with so much on offer it’s understandable that you might feel lost when exploring the world of AI. In this article, we will delve into the many ways AI can benefit your business, providing efficiency gains and unlocking new possibilities.

Click each of the headings to find out more.


What is artificial intelligence (AI)?

First, let’s get an understanding of what AI is, as well as some of the other commonly used jargon surrounding it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) - intelligence (the ability to learn, reason, generalise and infer meaning from data and information) demonstrated by machines, as opposed to intelligence demonstrated by animals and humans.

Some common places this could be found are Google, Netflix and Siri. For example, Netflix’s AI suggests what movies and TV programmes you might like based off your previous watching habits and ratings.

Artificial General Intelligence – machines that can learn to accomplish any intellectual task that human beings or animals can perform. This doesn’t exist yet but is being worked on by companies such as OpenAI and DeepMind.

Machine Learning – teaching computers to learn patterns from data and apply those patterns to things they haven’t seen before.

Deep Learning/Neural Network – a method where input layers of nodes pass up outputs to subsequent levels, leading to a final output. This essentially means stacking AI on top of each other to get better outcomes.

Prompt – any text, question, information, or coding that communicates to AI the response you are seeking. This will most commonly be found in services like ChatGPT, being how it interacts with the user.

Hallucination – a confident response by an AI that does not seem to be justified by its training data. Basically, it gets something wrong.


How can AI benefit your business?

Using AI can have a range of benefits and greatly improve your efficiency in completing tasks.

However, it is important to remember that despite its amazing capabilities, AI is still at the beginning of its journey and is basic in what it can do. The content it generates isn’t perfect and still needs human logic applied to it in order to be really useful.

That being said, if it’s used simply as a tool to make you and your team more efficient, then your business could reap the rewards of integrating AI into your processes.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible benefits:

Become your own specialist – In the early stages of a business, hiring specialists might be a luxury. However, AI tools like ChatGPT offer an affordable alternative.

Conduct market research, lay the foundations of HR processes, and design social media calendars – given the right prompts (which we’ll cover later), you can have AI generate the base you need to move forward.

Learn new skills – Starting a business often demands learning new skills or becoming an ‘expert’ on a new topic. Using AI, you can deep dive into any topic, accessing a wealth of information instantly rather than spending hours trying to track it down yourself.

For instance, ChatGPT can help you gain a basic understanding of complex topics like accountancy, making you better equipped for conversations with professionals.

Create content – AI can revolutionise content creation, saving valuable time and resources. Write blog posts in a fraction of the time, pull together ideas for topics, find relevant information and even help with wording. Platforms like Anyword.ai can even write content that pulls in relevant SEO keywords to help get your work seen.

It doesn’t stop at writing either. Midjourney and other similar AI tools can generate images based on your descriptions. While it might not be perfect in more complicated scenarios like product photos, the generated images could be used to give professionals a clear idea of what you’d like them to create, greatly reducing the time and cost of the design process.

Analyse data – Information and data is the lifeblood of any business, but making sense of it can be a daunting task. Luckily, AI is great at data analysis and by incorporating it into your business processes, you empower yourself to make more informed decisions.

The ability of AI to process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately aids in identifying patterns, market trends, and customer behaviours, providing a solid foundation for strategic decision-making.

ChatGPT seamlessly integrates with spreadsheets, while platforms like Shopify have AI tools that act as personal assistants, enabling users to ask questions regarding their site data.


How to get started with AI

Now you know what AI is and the benefits of using it, where do you start?

Educate yourself - If you’ve read through the previous section, you might have guessed this already – ask AI to teach you! Use a tool like ChatGPT to research AI concepts, familiarise yourself with terminology and learn fundamental principles.

This is extra handy if you want to simplify things. It might feel odd, but AI strategist Salvia Mirza recommends you speak to it like you would a friend or colleague and give it a prompt like “I’m not very techy and am overwhelmed with AI, can you help me understand its core concepts?”.

Identify your business needs - Assess your business processes and identify areas where AI could make a significant impact. Whether it's automating repetitive tasks, improving data analysis, or enhancing customer interactions, having a clear understanding of your business needs will guide where you implement AI.

Consider professional training - If your budget allows, investing in professional training or consulting services can accelerate your AI integration journey. Workshops and personalised training sessions can provide in-depth insights and guidance tailored to your business needs.

Give it a go and experiment – Play and have fun with it, even try to break it to learn what it can and can’t do. Start with simple tools like ChatGPT and use simple prompts to generate responses, then gradually explore more complex interactions. This hands-on experience will give you a feel for how AI can be integrated into your processes.

Remember, the key to successfully incorporating AI into your business is to start small, stay curious, and be open to learning from both successes and challenges. With the right mindset and a commitment to continuous learning, you can unlock the full potential of AI for your business.


The basics of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is one of the most used AI tools, and as we’ve touched on already, its possibilities are seemingly endless. In fact, when it first launched, it took ChatGPT only five days to reach one million users – something that took a revolutionary service like Netflix over three years to achieve.

It is also one of the simplest tools to use and understand, which is why it is a perfect entry point if you would like to start testing the water of what AI can do for your business.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a large language model chatbot (basically a very smart assistant) trained on a lot of the internet, books, and articles. Its free version ChatGPT 3.5 has a knowledge cut-off date of January 2022, while its paid version ChatGPT 4 has a knowledge up to April 2023.

It is predictive, meaning its answers are not based on pure knowledge but on statistics. It predicts the correct answer based on your prompt and the information it has access to. This is why it is important to give a good prompt, as this will greatly influence what it produces, and remember that it only has access to information up to the version knowledge cutoff date, not after.

What makes a good prompt?

Prompts work best when they are clear and specific, not ambiguous, and provide lots of information. If there is room to speculate, then there’s an increased likelihood of ChatGPT producing an incorrect answer due to its predictive nature.

It also helps to give a persona that you want it to embody. For example, if you want it to provide ideas on a new sales strategy, you could say “you are a highly successful and experienced sales professional”.

It’s also important to give it feedback on the information it provides, so tell it if the answer was helpful or not. Doing this will help the tool learn and provide better solutions as you progress through the conversation. This is why it might also be helpful to revisit prompts and build upon them after its initial answers, asking it to generate more.

Here’s an example of a good prompt. In this scenario you are trying to conduct some customer research:

“You are a highly successful and experienced sales professional. You understand audiences and what drives them to purchase a product. I want you to help me identify the needs of different audiences who might buy our product. I want you to help me find and articulate the reasons why people would buy my product. Please ask me questions one by one to learn about the product and why people use it. Once you have enough information, please create a table listing each audience, a list of their needs and what is most likely to motivate them to buy the product. If you understand, give me the first question”.


AI tools you will find useful

Now you have learned about some of the AI tools available and their many uses, it's time to take the plunge and try them for yourself.

There are quite a few options listed below as it’s important to try different tools to see which one works with you best. Each is different in its own way, so you might find one more useful for your style than another.

Create copy:


Image generation:


Video generation:


Podcast creation:

  • Headlinerthis tool acts as a podcast assistant.
  • Descript – this tool transcribes audio and allows you to edit recordings like you would edit texts.
  • Wondercraftthis tool can convert articles into podcasts.



  • HeyGen – this tool can translate video into other languages.


Integrations with other platforms:

  • Shopify Sidekick - helps Shopify users move along their entrepreneurial journey. You can ask it questions regarding data you would like to see for your business and it will generate it for you. For example, ‘I had a drop off in Sales in March 2023, why?’
  • Canva’s AI image generator – through your Canva account, it can create images from text prompts which can be added to your designs.


For your own curiosity:

  • There’s an AI for that - a website that tells you if there is any AI available for jobs/tasks you would like to perform.
  • WAIFinder – an interactive digital map developed by UKRI that shows companies, funders, incubators, and academic institutions that are involved in creating artificial intelligence (AI) products, services, processes and research.

The integration of AI into business processes opens up a world of opportunities. While AI is not without its limitations, when viewed as a tool to enhance efficiency and productivity, the benefits are clear. Whether it's automating tasks, learning new skills, or analysing data, AI can be a game-changer for businesses looking to thrive in a competitive landscape. As we stand at the forefront of the AI revolution, embracing this technology intelligently can pave the way for a more agile, efficient, and successful future for your business.

Next steps…