How Business Owners Can Use AI to Save Time and Grow Faster

15 Minutes Read

As a business owner or leader you've no doubt heard about the advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), but maybe you have concerns about how to use it in a way that is still soulful and impact-driven, just like your business.  And while AI is changing how work gets done, the options and pace of change can be overwhelming for business owners who don't spend all day testing out new gadgets.

This week's episode of the Superabound podcast will show you where to start as well as which AI tools can give you back more time in the day, and even open doors to future business growth.

You will discover:

  • How to use AI to boost your marketing, whether it's eliminating writer's block, creating social media posts, or generating eye-catching images.
  • How to incorporate AI into your customer service, so you can save time and deliver better experiences to your audience.
  • What AI tools will give you a lift in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), working better with colleagues and contractors, and even getting more done in a week.
  • Which unpleasant admin tasks AI can take off your plate, and the mindset shift required to get the most out of this approach.

To get the details about each of the tools mentioned in this episode, download the free AI For Entrepreneurs Quickstart Guide below.

Click here to get the guide

Watch the video here:



Episode Transcript

Steve Haase   
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the podcast. My name is Steve Haase. And today we're going to be talking about artificial intelligence, we're taking a diversion from the usual content of our podcast, which is more about the inner game of entrepreneurship and who you are as a leader, and business owner. And we're gonna start talking a little bit scratching the surface barely on today's episode, but the things that will help you get started with AI for your business. I'm here with Erin Aquin, my co founder, wife, CEO, and amazing human. Hello, Erin.

Erin Aquin  1:05  
Hi, the robots are taking over the world, everyone. If you haven't heard, it's funny, because I was thinking about, you know, how we're gonna just kind of be demystifying AI when it comes to business a little bit today. But I actually think that this is very much aligned with our usual conversation about creating impactful soulful business, because one of the reasons that we have sort of welcomed a few of these various technologies in our world is because you really can get back a whole lot of time. And time is a precious commodity to us, we assume it probably is for any of you here listening. And so even if you think AI is confusing, or for technical people and not for you, we hope that this will offer you some ideas for how to use some of these really exciting emerging technologies.

Steve Haase  2:14  
Absolutely. And it's not just getting back time, it's also doing things that will help you grow faster. And that is also part of our mission to help you create the business that you want and the kind of growth that is both robust and abundant, as well as sustainable for you and the life that you want to be leaving. So AI actually fits perfectly into all of that, which is why we decided to create this episode walking through some of our favorite tools, as well as some of the technologies that are currently out there.

Erin Aquin  2:42  
We also have created I want to make sure we say this, I want to make sure we everybody knows that we've also created a little quickstart guide for you.

Steve Haase  2:53  
It's over at Easy to remember. And you can download it there covering a lot of the things we talked about. The thing that I want to point out is that we are recording this in February 2023. If you listen to this in February 2024, it's going to be very old. So as of today, it is very current. But this field is developing fast, because machine learning is developing fast. And there are some companies that are doing amazing things. So it's helpful to stay abreast. Hopefully, this conversation can help you dive into the things that are most relevant to your business, so that you can stay on the edge of the wave that makes the most sense for your business and your life.

Erin Aquin  3:38  
And as things change, we will of course, be updating that quickstart guide that you find so you can get your hands on hopefully things that still are relevant to you. And yeah, so we're gonna dive in,

Steve Haase  3:54  
let's dive in. So the first place we're going to start with is marketing, AI for marketing. Overall, we're going to touch on marketing, internal operations, customer service, and how to kind of augment your talent. So how to get great people on board, all of those things using AI. So let's start with marketing. Erin, what are some interesting things that you can do with AI for marketing?

Erin Aquin  4:19  
Okay, I will admit, I was very hesitant about using AI for marketing. I really love to write we are working on a book right now. And I was just really hesitant about, you know, typing in some keywords and having a robot, you know, write my sales page or my posts. But one way I really think that AI is helping people if you don't feel like you are the most creative person or when it's time to write your weekly email or your social media posts. You're always scratching your head wondering what to say. There are so many tools out out there right now that can help you help your people, things or headlines, email titles, full social media posts. AI has that. I mean, there's, as of this recording, I couldn't even tell you how many various writing tools there are. But if you don't feel like creativity is your greatest skill, AI for generating ideas, getting you started getting a rough first draft of something that you can humanize, hopefully, for your people, it's such a time saver.

Steve Haase  5:42  
It's huge, because so often people stare at a blank page, and they're like, Oh, let me go clean the kitchen. But this allows you to never have a blank page, at least have a couple ideas on the go. So that's a great way to use it. We have used some of the tools one is called Chat GPT. You may have heard of it, it is everywhere people are talking about it. It's a tool from open AI, which is the company behind some of this great generative AI functionality. So chat GPT is one option. Jasper is another option. And we have used those tools for blog post ideas, we've used them to tweet headlines, right? If you have a headline, you're like, I like it, I like what it's saying, but it doesn't really pop, the AI can just kind of get you unstuck and give you some great ideas to keep on keep on rolling.

Erin Aquin  6:39  
Yeah, and, you know, we tried a couple of the tools, I as I said, I was really hesitant about this, because I do consider us writers and I really love to do these things, myself. But I've even seen other folks write or find out kind of what the collective intelligence is on something and write a controversial counter posts to it, or, you know, infusing their opinions, there's just a lot of really creative things you can do with with this type of work.

Steve Haase  7:12  
And the one thing that you need to be aware of going into it is your inputs make a big difference. So as you use it, if you don't get a result that you'd like, try different more descriptive inputs, use different words in your inputs. It's kind of like learning a new language, where, you know, you're you're going in and you say I want this, something I'm not sure what and the machine will give you different versions based on how you guide it. So your guidance is actually of the highest importance for getting useful creative things on the on the output.

Erin Aquin  7:49  
Another really interesting use that is actually quite controversial right now, I think, is using AI for images, video, even artwork. And as a business owner, you know, maybe all you have are the photos on your camera, or you belong to like a stock photo subscription. AI has some really interesting emerging ideas, we actually in the resource, the AI for business owners quickstart guide that we've created for you, we have links to a couple that we've been playing around with. And it's there, it's actually pretty incredible.

Steve Haase  8:32  
So what you can do with the images is take any idea that's in your mind, and have the AI build some kind of an image that represents that it could be a lazy boy on the moon, it could be something that no photographer, whatever create or something that you might be able to do in Photoshop if you had the time and the skills, but the AI can do that from your prompts. So play around with that it is super fun. You can also do it in different styles, like you know, do an oil painting, do an impressionist painting, do it in pixel art. So pretty much whatever you're imagining, you'll get some version of it. Now a caveat with that is it doesn't do great with human faces. Like I put some inputs in I was like, you know, do a realistic picture of a person doing this thing. I was like, that's a horrifying face. I don't want that. But if it's an idea, a concept in a certain artwork style, those can be really great. There are also options for AI generated images of yourself. If you want some kind of stylized action figure images of yourself, you can have those created as well. So lots of really cool things possible with images.

Erin Aquin  9:47  
Yeah, and I know a lot of designers and visual artists are very against this for probably really good reason. But when it comes to using AI The visuals for your business. If you are a small business that doesn't currently have a design firm, or a big design budget, this is a really great entry level way of elevating the look and feel of your website, your posts. We even we even have an example of a service that makes short form social videos with AI, like it will select clips, add captions and emojis and get it ready for social media. So if you are not a video editor, and you don't have one on your team, currently, this is one really simple with time, time effective way of trying out different types of media as a small business.

Steve Haase  10:57  
And it's super fun, right? You can just explore what happens when you put in a big chunk. Let's say you did a workshop or a free seminar, what will the tool pick out? How will it turn it into a social ready piece like that. So that's going to save you. Like Erin said, it'll save you time and resources, not needing to outsource it. Next up, I want to talk about one of the biggest gains that we've had from Ai, which is in transcriptions.

Erin Aquin  11:26  
Right now, it's happening right now.

Steve Haase  11:29  
That's true. That's true. We're doing it in this moment. For our podcast show notes page, we use a tool where we just upload the audio, it gives us a transcript that is not as good as a human right. If a if a person were sitting there typing every single word and double checking it and making sure it was all buttoned up, then it would be perfect. But the AI gets you to about 90 95%, sometimes even more. And for transcription on a show notes page, whose benefit will be to give you some excellent SEO juice, because then you have more words on that page that are related to the topic. It is absolutely fantastic.

Erin Aquin  12:08  
I love AI for this because way back when when I started my business, I had a a yoga online yoga kind of studio, I had classes I had courses, and I used to pay a person to do my transcriptions. They would take weeks to get done with turnaround time, it was you know, it wasn't exorbitantly expensive, but it was just timewise. If you're if you're a busy person, and you don't want like waiting a week for turnaround time, it was a big deal. Another way that we use AI for transcriptions is for creating content for things like our book, when we have an interview with someone who we're going to quote in the book, rather than one of us sitting there scribbling away notes, we can record that or going back in time and having to scribble notes, we can look at a transcription, it saves us so much time in the writing process. And this could be useful for you as well. If you create any sort of course content, if you want to turn a class you taught online into a booklet or a free guide. Transcription is a great way to get you started and do about 40% of the work for you.

Steve Haase  13:35  
Absolutely brilliant. The last thing that I want to point to with transcription is improving conversations where you aren't present. So if you have sales conversations that are happening, you know, with your team, customer facing conversations that are happening with your team, there are tools out there that will record those conversations, they will be looking for certain keywords, you can you can type in like, Okay, I trained my team to talk about a certain feature or to position ourselves in a certain way or to make sure you mention something about our history, something that is important to you that you want to make sure that your team is doing. It's hard to listen to every single call. But if you have something that is recording them, transcribing them searching for those key phrases, you can see, is your training working are your people having the kinds of conversations that you want them to. And there are ways of doing it. That's not creepy, right? Because they can sound a little stalkerish. But if it's in the context of permission on everybody's part, and if it's in the context of helping people sell better and perform better, then it's a win for everybody.

Erin Aquin  14:45  
On the same kind of track as training people. This is something that we've often suggested to clients inside of our small group mastermind, is actually when they're creating systems that Do you want to eventually hand off to a new team member, if they're going to hire someone for a specific job and you would like it done a certain way, a really easy way to do this is to record yourself in a screenshare, going through the process, have that transcribed and then have your new team member, turn that into a checklist, so that they understand every single part of the system, things get done in the ways you like we've had we've used AI to transcribe meeting notes is another really great way to to use this so that maybe you don't need to have 20 people every single time at your team meeting, or you have a global team across five different time zones, then it's beautiful, because you can reduce down a half an hour meeting into the bullet point, quotes of what's important who's doing what, and pass that along to everybody in a single document, rather than having people watch replays, which I don't think I don't think anybody does.

Steve Haase  16:04  
People really don't want to watch a replay of the meeting, know what the I get the notes, create some agenda items. And then of course, make sure there's a human to oversee the process. There's never a perfect example of this, at least not yet. But it's gonna get so close and be so good that someone who was there will just give it a glance, and away it goes. The next area that AI is really powerful in your business and will save you time and help you grow faster is in customer service. chatbots has been around for a while. And they're still a fantastic idea. If you have something on your website that allows you to point people towards frequently asked questions or the knowledge base so that they can get an answer immediately. Or if you have the budget for it, and you're already staffed up for it, have the team members, actual humans be able to respond live to folks. And if you're a smaller business, but you're on your computer during certain hours, then that might be able to be you that connection between a website visitor and an instant response to the thing that they want can mean the difference between someone continuing the relationship with you or not. And so while the artificial intelligence aspect of chatbots, at least kind of the commercially available ones is not yet super high, not in not in the way of the writing or kind of more free content creation, your ability to set up the type of conversation that you want, is is really strong with the current tools. So that is one that I highly recommend checking out if you haven't already.

Erin Aquin  17:42  
Yeah, I mean, especially if customer service is not your favorite part of the business. We have clients that, you know, hundreds of people a day will touch their business. And if they're all asking the same five questions, then first of all, we know we have a communication issue. And we need to be, you know, marketing that better or having that question front and center. But you don't want to burn out your people. You don't want to burn out yourself. You don't want to burn out your customer service person by having to answer the same five questions all the time. So a chatbot is a really great way of doing that. As a consumer. I personally love when an online business has a chat bot or a way of, you know, something I ordered is broken if I don't have to call someone or do an email thread, but I can just get my help support ticket done right there on their website. It's pretty smart, actually. Because then I'm on the website, I'm probably going to order something else while I'm sitting there waiting. And I just think it's such a great way of helping your clients because I assume busy people tend to work with other busy people. And the easier it is for people to get the answers they need from you to get their problem solved and not have to allocate a lot of human brain power to it. I think AI for customer service is like I heart it. I love it. Speaking in

Steve Haase  19:23  
emojis, I heart that

Erin Aquin  19:25  
I heart I heart AI for customer service.

Steve Haase  19:31  
The last area that I want to focus on is helping you get more done. And this we've talked about all the other areas where you can get more done. This is like just get more done writ large. So there are tools for productivity, where you just type in the stuff you want to do, how long you want to do it and then it programs that out on your schedule, all kinds of fun calendaring and productivity and scheduling apps. So that's for helping yourself get more done. But as a business owner, you aren't just responsible for doing all the things. In the end, your only job is to make sure that things get done. So that means your team, or the people that you bring in to supplement your team will be part of that as well. So I'm a huge fan, in letting the algorithm of whatever company you're working with, match you up with a person who would absolutely love to do that horrible task, but you don't want to do, right, there's someone out there who loves data entry systems, integrations, the sorts of things that when you think about him, you're like, oh, that's going to be my 9pm to 10pm slot, and I will not be happy for the next three weeks as I do it, someone out there, that's there 7am to 8am slot, and they're going to love it. So make use of all the tools to take the stuff that you don't want to be doing that is not your special sauce, and take it off your plate. And while it's not AI, because it's you know, a human helping you do it. It is a company, it's an algorithm, it's a way to match the thing you don't want with the things somebody does want, and help you get more done in a way that you love.

Erin Aquin  21:16  
I think that that is really important. Because a big criticism I know, and I had it too is like AI is gonna take over everything. And then what will the humans do? How will we support ourselves and have businesses and keep growing. But I think that really what we're talking about for entrepreneurs, for business owners and leaders is, is exactly that, Steve, it is finding ways to give yourself back time in the areas where you do love the work where you do excel at the work, and also save the brainpower of your team for things that only humans can do. So I hear the criticism, but for those of us with real budgets in our business, who maybe can't afford to pay for high art on every post or a human to transcribe every single podcast course offering interview we do. It is a way of reallocating resources to what really matters to your business to your people to the bottom line, and not having to kind of be go through like a death by 1000. paper cuts. In a way we

Steve Haase  22:46  
don't use paper anymore who uses we don't use papers.

Erin Aquin  22:49  
I'm mixing metaphors. But yes, 1000 server crashes or something server crashes? Yes. So of course AI is it's not perfect. It's an emerging sort of area. But there are so many things that you're probably right now, wasting time, money and energy on that would be so better served in a different area. And like a robot's not going to get mad if somebody yells at them in all caps. Customer service person might.

Steve Haase  23:24  
Exactly, exactly, they might have a different output, though. If the input is all caps, I'd be curious. So, thanks for listening, it's so much fun diving into these technologies, they've given us so much more time creativity room to grow. And I hope they do the same for you get that quickstart guide, it's got specific examples of technologies that you can use. Some of them are free, some of them are paid. And they're really helpful, it's at, you'll find it there. And we're gonna keep it updated. So whenever you listen to this, they're probably going to be new things that we haven't even talked about. But that guide will be the place to get started. It's not exhaustive, but if you aren't yet using these tools, it's gonna be a great place to dive in and start seeing some of those benefits.

Erin Aquin  24:21  
Yeah, and when you go and download the guide, if you see something that we don't know about that you're really loving, please please email us at to let us know what AI tools you are loving in your business. And maybe we'll add them to the guide. It's not we're not there's no affiliation. We don't get a kickback from any of those things. These are just some of the tools that we have experimented with and that were fun and helpful and something that we use regularly in our business. So we're sharing those with you and we will be adding to it as time goes by.

Steve Haase  24:58  
Awesome Thanks for listening everybody we'll see you next time.