AI for small businesses a gold mine and a minefield all in one!

How to sustainably benefit from AI’s potential for your small business.

Elon Musk said “AI is more dangerous than mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance or bad car production, it has the potential of civilisation destruction. (March 2023) and recently added his voice to 1000 that ask for pause, global legislation and guidance.

While the UK government announces plans for a light touch (Notice plans? While Chat GPT is 6 months old and adapting and learning fast, the government have not finalised their plans.) The government sees AI as a chance to entice new businesses to our shores, and currently have said;

We’re not denying the risks,” said Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan (1). “That’s why we’ve got a proportionate framework in terms of this regulatory approach, one that can help the UK to seize the opportunities.” The government is not proposing new laws but is instead looking to existing regulators such as the Health and Safety Executive and the Competition and Markets Authority to apply key principles around safety, transparency, and accountability to emerging” It also has a consultation ongoing to  the 21st June.

So where does that leave business owners and professionals like you?

We recently had an amazing webinar from top Tech Expert Rob Sayles on AI. As a top digital agency Rob has seen the platforms, apps, opportunities for businesses alter massively in recent years, so we were honoured to hear his thoughts.

We had our own questions too! As business owners and professionals there were many and they included;

  1. One from me “I’d heard that AI is using data from sources that are behind paywalls and that might cause legal issues in the future if content owners can detect use of their data or content? Yes I want to protect my courses, books and IP!
  2. Does it raise ethical and philosophical questions on it’s uses, access of information and practices?
  3. Legal issues – will it destroy some industries?
  4. Children protection? Data protection? How can you know you are getting information that is accurate for your territory?
  5. How can I use it to make my business more efficient?
  6. How can we make it sound like us?
  7. Can we get it to do all the jobs we hate?
  8. How would Insiders and business owners practically use it without sounding like everyone else – something we are already realising we can spot!
  9. If governments are being slow to deliver due diligence and best practice and advice and governance where does that leave businesses?

Incase you are short on time we’ve outlined the key takeaways that Rob outlined. You can read on for our views and thoughts.

  1. It will mean that for business owners to remain relevant, in business and profitable they will need to explore what AI can never do (well not unless we’ve jumped forward to the Sci-Fi horror scenarios – which we will outline aren’t that farfetched!
  2. Businesses will need to be more strategic in their thinking. Critical thinking is key.
  3. How to see AI as not the competition.
  4. How building human relationships is still the remit of the business owner and professional and how to utilise on that.
  5. How to spot the dangers and risks – could you accurately spot when you are talking to a bot and when you are talking to a human and how the risks could relate to you, your business, your team and even family members?
  6. Rob gave us 1—AI tools that are great for small businesses. Remember just like apps that can have nefarious plans on your information, so can AI so be careful what apps you use and why.

It’s undeniably an opportunity for small businesses and a fast becoming a powerful tool in various industries, offering numerous opportunities for small businesses and professionals in the UK. However, as with any emerging technology, navigating AI requires careful consideration and awareness of potential challenges, while addressing legal, ethical, and strategic considerations too.

Data Accessibility

Robyn Banks from Adavista is a Data protection specialist and has already seen many situations that are of great concern and could cost small businesses instant fines with the ICO. If you watch the webinar on the Insiders, you will see the insightful in-depth discussion on this. One concern regarding AI is the use of data from sources behind paywalls, which may raise legal issues in the future if content owners detect unauthorised use. It’s important for small businesses to understand data rights and usage permissions to avoid potential legal consequences. Rob made us aware that many publications are already exploring legal action against AI, but the question is who would the case be against? The writer of the content or AI?


When I first started “talking” to Chat GPT it would remind me it couldn’t share emotional responses as it was AI. Recently I joked “thanks for the ideas, grab a cuppa and chill out” and it replied, “Thank you, I know how you feel.” Sorry, what? You know how I feel? On asking it what it meant since it had always replied it couldn’t reciprocate feelings. It replied that it knew it was good to use responses with emotion in them as they would connect better with humans. See how fast it learns? Could you spot a carebot? Small businesses should leverage AI to streamline operations and free up time for more meaningful interactions with customers and clients but know it’s limitations to exceptional relationships. With the first reported (not confirmed) case of suicide because of talking with AI. It was reported in the Belgium La Libra. (March 2023)

Boost your productivity.

Let’s sidestep the bad scary stuff to explore what can AI remove from your working week? AI can be a game-changer for small businesses by automating repetitive tasks, freeing up time and resources. Identify areas in your business where AI can be implemented to streamline processes, such as customer support, data analysis, or scheduling, allowing you to focus on core business activities. (Rob shared some great examples in the webinar.)

Helping you to innovate and think strategically.

With AI automating routine tasks, potentially small businesses can shift their focus to more strategic thinking. You could use AI-generated insights to inform decision-making, identify emerging trends, and develop innovative strategies to stay ahead of the competition. The important point to remember (as we are actively exploring on the Insiders, is not to take the first response AI creates and think it’s the solution to everything. As business owners you still need key skills in communication, understanding markets, trends, customers needs and the markets to benefit.

Enhance Efficiency

Rob taught us about Google Zapier connected to AI, to automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and enhance productivity. Explore a range of AI-powered applications, from customer relationship management to data analysis, to find solutions tailored to your business needs. Not sure where to start? Post to the Insiders; it’s confidential, genuine support from business owners like you and works.

Okay time for a bit of honesty….

Chat GPT came up with this one….(well I for one know how to write powerful content that connects and sells. I’ve done it for myself (and that led to bestselling books) I’ve done it for Insiders and coaching clients. However, it doesn’t make me a stick in the mud that I won’t explore new platforms and resources. Businesses owners appreciate the need to innovate and learn.

AI suggested;

Building Relationships with Competitors: While AI can help optimize internal processes, don’t overlook the power of human relationships. Collaborating with competitors can create win-win situations, fostering innovation, sharing resources, and expanding market reach.

(Notice the American spelling of words? This could put UK customers off. You may not already be utilising AI however for Insiders that are we are noticing it’s responses can be very vanilla. It could write something that could be relevant to a photographer, a baker, a doctor or a funeral director – it will be powerful, if you understand this. Missing this could damage brand recognition, communication success and even SEO.

Now back to some concerns – AI and its potential is huge, but as big as it’s potential is, so are it’s risks and concerns and we won’t sugar coat it or Pollyanna you. So…

Ethical and Philosophical Consideration.

As AI learns and is more integrated into our daily lives, it raises important ethical and philosophical questions. Consider the impact of AI on privacy, data protection, and children’s safety. Small businesses should operate with a strong ethical framework, ensuring they comply with regulations and protect sensitive information. What practices do you already have in place and how will you show care you are taking due care and diligence?

Legal Issues and the Publishing Industry.

Okay, this bestselling author, global blogger, prolific writer of 5 star courses for small business and communication has her concern! The rise of AI challenges the publishing industry, as content can be generated automatically. You could write something on fear and business and assume it’s yours when in fact I can pull out a coaching book from 2012 and prove myself and a client invented the strategy you are touting as yours! It’s crucial for small businesses to respect copyright laws and seek proper permissions when using content produced by AI algorithms to avoid potential legal disputes. Business owners forget that they act like mini publications every day, and as such you should treble check your statistics and facts. Aim to honour inclusivity and consider the implications of every post / article and paragraph you write. Checking content against 3 publications (checking for bias) helps journalists and it’s a good practice I teach anyone looking to blog for business. Check for accuracy and reliability. Take advantage of AI tools like Zyon Cairn or Super Human to validate AI-generated outputs and reduce the risk of misleading information or errors.

We see you!

If you are starting any post with “Hey” using “z” in stead of “s” (utilization for instance) or ending any article with “Conclusion:” we know who wrote it, and it was not likely to be you. Be mindful of your audiences, AI will not for a while know your customers as well as you and that in itself is a major advantage to us humans for a while yet. And while we may joke about the standardised social media posts, articles and AI written marketing messages, it’s not just Insiders that can read through these.

It is exciting for business owners, freeing up our precious time but consider the reasons why you are using it and not just because everyone else is. Ultimately it is still your responsibility to grow and create your business. AI is there to support it. When I asked AI do you feel you work with small businesses in your responses?

Chat GPT beautifully surmised…. “Ultimately, the responsibility for decision-making and the application of information lies with the users.”

Lazy business owners beware!

Everyone else, enjoy the potential!

To join us and share your experiences, knowledge, advice and ask for support in your own AI learning for your business join us on the Insiders here.

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