What Is ChatGPT and How Can Small Businesses Utilize It?

Cartoon robot on a laptop with "ChatGPT" text behind it

Chances are that you’ve seen references to ChatGPT since it went explosively viral in late 2022. This AI chat tool has a wide range of skills and has the potential to change the landscape of many industries, but what can you do to leverage it for your business?

Let’s take a look at ChatGPT and explore a few ways you can save time by putting AI to work for you.

What Is ChatGPT?

If you’re not familiar, ChatGPT (which stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is an AI-powered chatbot service. It’s much more advanced than earlier chatbots, or even virtual assistants you might be used to like Siri or Google Assistant. ChatGPT is capable of outputting almost any text you can think of, in a much more dynamic nature.

The “pre-trained” part of ChatGPT’s name signifies that it’s been loaded up with information from the start. Similar to how you might feel confident enough to answer questions on a topic after reading a few books on it, ChatGPT has “read” much of the internet, which allows it to formulate answers.

While you can still ask ChatGPT basic questions like “What is the capital of Italy?”, the tool can also handle questions that have more complex answers. For instance, “How do I ask a user to input data using Python?” would give you a set of instructions, not a link to a website for further reading.

As you can see in the below example, the tool isn’t perfect. It doesn’t explicitly mention needing a new oil filter in step 1, and doesn’t tell you how to dispose of the old oil.

ChatGPT Change Oil

Arguably, the coolest power of ChatGPT lies in its ability to come at questions from different angles. Here are some example prompts that ChatGPT is able to provide a surprisingly clear response for:

  • Write a country song in the style of Willie Nelson.
  • Write a letter announcing new in-flight refreshments as if you’re the CEO of American Airlines.
  • Explain what might have happened if the South won the American Civil War.
  • Write an essay about Steve Jobs in the style of a second grader.

Steve Jobs Essay ChatGPT

ChatGPT also understands context and can work with follow-up questions. If you ask it to generate a letter and aren’t satisfied with the results, you can say something like “Can you add more of an emphasis on Smith’s philanthropy?” and it will re-generate the response with what you asked.

How Can Small Businesses Utilize ChatGPT?

While ChatGPT has a lot of potential uses for personal matters, along with having a bit of fun, your business can make use of it in all sorts of ways. Let’s consider a few broad examples.

Generate Letters and Other Documents

Next time you have to write a letter to clients, employees, or similar, try having ChatGPT generate a first draft. You’ll likely have to ask it for revisions (or make changes yourself), but the AI can save you a lot of time on the boilerplate text.

Here are a few example prompts for this topic:

  • Write a job listing for an entry-level accounting position at a software development company with 20 employees.
  • Give me 10 interview questions to ask someone who’s applying for an HR management role.
  • Write a Q1 financial report for a hardware store that experienced a 5% drop in profits.

ChatGPT HR Interview Questions

Get Help With Your Website and Social Media Efforts

If you don’t have a dedicated person to handle your social media presence or write content on your website, ChatGPT can give you a starting point. Here are a few ideas in this sphere:

  • Write a social media post for a car wash that wants to promote a new loyalty program.
  • Write a 100-word description for a disaster recovery company called Tom’s Crisis Recovery. Include the phone number (412) 555-1212.
  • Give me keywords for a blog post about the benefits of mechanical keyboards.
  • Write a 300-word blog post about the importance of changing your car’s engine air filter.

ChatGPT Car Wash Loyalty

It’s currently unclear how Google and other entities who rank the quality of online content will handle AI-written content compared to human-written text, so it’s a wise idea to look over any text you plan to use elsewhere and customize it to sound more human.

Ask for Edits of What You Write

While ChatGPT can write a lot for you, it can also edit what you provide. If you’re about to send an email or change some text on your site, and it doesn’t seem quite right, ask ChatGPT to give you a second set of eyes on it:

  • Edit this content to make it flow better [pasted content].

Other ChatGPT Ideas

How ChatGPT can best serve you depends on your business, so it’s wise to explore and see what the tool gives with the prompts you ask it. Here are a few miscellaneous ideas to keep you thinking:

  • Brainstorm ideas for a new ice cream flavor that incorporates cinnamon.
  • What are best practices on how long to store user cookies on our website?
  • How can I streamline the process of signing customers in at a mechanic shop?
  • Translate [text] to Spanish literally.

ChatGPT Ice Cream Ideas


Above, we looked at what you can ask ChatGPT about on its primary page, but the ChatGPT API is a much more robust way to interact with it. If you’re not familiar with the term, an API (application programming interface) is a way for different pieces of software to work with each other. For example, you could use Twitter’s API to write a program that automatically responded to customer questions when they mention your account.

The ChatGPT API, which is offered by parent company OpenAI, allows you to access the power of ChatGPT in the platforms you already use. Here are some potential use cases:

  • Link your website support chat to ChatGPT, allowing visitors to get questions answered without taking up an employee’s time.
  • Integrate ChatGPT into your product recommendation engine for better products and offerings to recommend to your users.
  • Provide easy translations that don’t need a dedicated interpreter.
  • Add ChatGPT to your internal company site to help staff answer common queries.

ChatGPT Paid Plans

You can check out ChatGPT at no cost using the links we’ve provided above. However, ChatGPT has also announced a premium plan if you want to go further. Called ChatGPT Plus, it costs $20/month and gives premium benefits, including:

  • Access to ChatGPT all the time, even when the system is overloaded with users
  • Quicker responses
  • First access to new features

The core ChatGPT service will remain free. If you want to explore what it can do for your business, there’s no need to subscribe right away. But if you find that it saves you time and effort, $20/month is much cheaper than the paid offerings for other common tools that aren’t as versatile.

ChatGPT’s AI also comes at a cost, with prices ranging based on the model you choose. Ada, the fastest model, costs $0.0004 per 1,000 tokens (which is about 750 words). Davinci, the most powerful offering, is $0.02 per the same 1,000 tokens.

Microsoft and Google Are Also Introducing AI

It’s not a surprise that Google and Microsoft are getting into the AI game, though they may have moved to do so more quickly than planned thanks to ChatGPT’s sudden popularity. Microsoft has announced that ChatGPT will soon be part of Azure, and the company is also bringing AI to its Bing search engine.

You can visit Bing now and preview the AI-powered search, with an option to join the waitlist available. Microsoft sees this as a “copilot” to web searching, noting that while traditional web searching is great at finding websites, it’s not able to answer more complex queries. For example, the post states that you could ask Bing to plan a 5-day trip for your anniversary, if a particular item will fit in your car, or get recommendations for your first music festival.

Bing AI Sample

Meanwhile, Google shared an update about its upcoming AI service called Bard. It will similarly live alongside search to give full answers to more complex questions. This tool is set to arrive later in 2023.

ChatGPT Is Full of Potential

The power of ChatGPT means that it could become your go-to place for certain kinds of information and insight, as it’s faster and often more informative than searching around Google.

However, be aware that ChatGPT isn’t perfect, so you should always review and verify what it says before using that information. It might get facts wrong, phrase something in an awkward way, or otherwise be less than reliable.

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