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On AI: 5 AI Apps For Business That You Should Try

By December 4, 2023No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)


There’s a lot of AI-hype going around and a countless number of products that are promising to change the world and your life with just a push of a button.

That’s all good and well, but we’ve got companies to run. So what’s really real for your business right now?

Many of these apps, in my opinion, are not ready for prime time. For example, the potential for text-to-image and text-to-video is exciting bur right now these apps are in their infancy and both the images and videos generated look like they were generated. Apps promising “productivity” and “automation” are mostly just doing what ChatGPT does either for free (version 3.5) or for a nominal fee ($20 per month for their ChatGPT Plus version).

However, there are a growing number of reliable, legitimate AI tools that can help increase productivity in your business. I’ve listed five below. Please know that there are plenty of competitors in each category and I’m using these five applications as examples for a specific business use case. Also know that some do lean on ChatGPT and who knows, with all the competition, how many of these will be around in a year? That said, I’m recommending these applications to my clients who are interested in dipping their toes into the world of AI not for fun, but for help running their businesses.

Headshot Generators

These are applications that use AI to pretty-up existing photos and make them more clear, more professional and more appropriate for business use. Apps like ProfilePicMaker can take a simple selfie and then remove or replace backgrounds, touch up your skin and even change the clothes that you’re wearing. Business owners can use the final product for their websites, social pages and other marketing materials. So can their employees. It’s less expensive than a professional photographer and it’s quicker.

Chatbot Builders

AI-based chatbot builders like will create a knowledge base of information that can be searched conversationally by your employees or made available publicly on your website. For example, you can upload your entire website, any videos you’ve made for training or product demonstrations, or PDFs of spec sheets, quotes, proposals, instructions and contracts. Yes, there’s a little heavy lifting up front. But once uploaded people can then ask questions about the information like they do with ChatGPT, but the answers come from your information – and they’ll get better as the chatbot gets better trained. Frustratingly these applications don’t yet allow us to upload actual data from our accounting, CRM or HR systems, but that time will soon come.

Automation Tools

Products like ZapierWorkato and Make have been around for a bit. But they’re now all using AI to up their game. These products can connect to hundreds of existing accounting, collaboration, CRM and project management applications and then allow users to setup triggers which then automatically launch a task. Examples: “automatically send a customer an email when their invoice goes over 30 days,” “send a candidate a rejection letter when we change a field in our database to rejected,” or “implement these onboarding tasks when a new employee is confirmed in our system.” These tools are powerful, require almost no programming experience and can span over multiple applications so you’ve got a one-stop-shop for building automation that’s not reliant on the functionality of any one software product.

Website Builders

There are plenty of established website platforms – WixSquarespaceGoDaddy to name a few – that make it real easy to build a new site. But the new generation of AI-based builders, like Mixo, are taking things to a different level. With these tools you or an employee can type in a written description of the site desired and the builder starts building. Because it’s conversational AI you can instruct it to make changes, setup your domain and add security just like you’re talking to a web designer. Soon enough we’ll be giving these voice instructions instead of typing. For businesses that like to setup numerous sites or landing pages these AI tools are significant time savers, and their quality continues to get better.

Simple CRM

Some AI platforms – like Durable – are taking the website building process to another level. The application does a lot of what tools like Mixo does but it then offers basic accounting and CRM functions like invoicing, lead capture and automatic emailing. It also has an “AI Assistant” which can answer questions and do research like ChatGPT (maybe it is ChatGPT behind the scenes?) and also the ability to write blogs based on information on your website or from other sources. For very small businesses that want to get up and running quickly online and then be able to capture leads and do invoicing it’s a pretty good tool to try.

Most of the applications that deliver these business processes provide some levels of free access and are all nominally priced. And yes as mentioned above many are young startups and for all I know may not even be around in a year or so. But there’s little risk in trying them out – they’re accessing your data, not storing it. What’s important is taking the time – or committing an employee to take the time – because, if used the right way, all of these tools can provide significant cost savings and increase productivity. Ignoring them is not good business.

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