How to Leverage AI for Small Business

Are you looking to give your small business or side hustle an edge? You should give generative AI a try! AI tools can help you do more with less, which as you likely know – is a must for every small business owner.

TL;DR – Most small businesses don’t have a huge marketing budget. So, my recommendation for leveraging AI for your small business is to focus on free and low-cost tools. Here’s the top AI tools I recommend looking into for your small business:

  • ChatGPT
  • Google Gemini
  • Canva
  • Grammarly
  • ImageFX
  • Bing Image Creator

How AI can help small businesses

AI can help your small business in a plethora of ways. Harvard Business Review But I want to focus on actionable advice instead of listing a bunch of theoretically small business use cases for AI. Understanding how to use generative AI to solve business problems is critical to adapting and getting ahead of competitors. Equally important for small business owners is understanding the cost of investing in a new tool or technology. So, let’s check out the top free and low-cost AI tools you can use for business!

Free AI tools for small business

Before we get out the credit card let’s check out some of the best free generative AI tools you can use for your small business:


ChatGPT can help you with your small business in numerous different ways. Regardless of your industry or niche, generative AI tools like ChatGPT can help you streamline your business. Here’s a few things ChatGPT can help with when it comes to your small business:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Writing copy
  • Analyzing data
  • Personalizing messages
  • Writing code

Signing up for a free ChatGPT account is quick and easy. Simply head over to and create an account using an email and password or your Google, Microsoft or Apple account. And boom, you’re in.

Google Gemini

Earlier this month Google announced that Bard would be rebranded to Gemini with a free and premium plan available. Google’s Gemini Pro still lags behind GPT-4 according to some sources, but Gemini can still be a great alternative to ChatGPT. Based on my use of generative AI it’s best to utilize multiple platforms for the best results. I’ve found content created by Gemini to be comparable to that of GPT-3.5. And some Reddit users claim that Gemini has been particularly helpful with coding questions when compared to ChatGPT.


Canva is one of the most popular graphic design platforms for small businesses with 135 active monthly users as of the end of 2023. Recently Canva also added AI-powered design tools to their arsenal. Canva has 3 main image generator apps, Magic Media, DALL-E by Open AI and Imagen by Google Cloud. You can use the first 2 apps 50 times per month for free and Imagen up to 6 times per month for free.

Canva AI image generator apps

Below is a quick breakdown of the free AI tools available (red box) versus the Pro features (to the right).

Canva AI-powered design tools


Grammarly is a tool I see on a lot of SEO stack lists and ranked high among top marketing tools – and for good reason. Using spellcheck in Word and in your browser is great. But sometimes you need a little more to ensure you’re creating great content and communicating clearly. Grammarly also recently added generative AI capabilities allowing users to instantly brainstorm content. The free account even includes 100 AI prompts per month!


You might not be able to take ownership of generative AI images, but they can still be helpful for your business. Using generative AI tools to create decorative images for your website can be really helpful when operating on a shoestring.

And ImageFX is one of the newest AI image generators to be released. Google was behind the competition in terms of image generators as I briefly pointed out in my AI image generator comparison. It seems they’ve caught up (at least to some degree) with the release of ImageFX. Anyone with a Google account can generate images for free by signing up for ImageFX.

Once you’re signed up, you can create 4 images at a time using a single prompt (similar to most other image generators). What I find particularly unique about ImageFX is the dropdowns that appear for some words after you submit a prompt.

ImageFX image generator
Modifying a prompt in ImageFX

Bing Image Creator

Want to use DALL-E 3 to create images without paying for ChatGPT Plus? Check out the article I did on how to use Bing Image Creator. Similar to ImageFX, Bing Image Creator is a great tool for creating decorative images. Whether it’s for an email campaign or website banner – generative AI can be clutch in a pinch.

Affordable AI tools for small businesses

All of the generative AI tools listed above offer premium subscriptions in addition to free accounts. Here’s the pricing for some of the more popular entry-level generative AI tools:

Take the time to test generative AI tools to prove if they’re useful whenever possible before spending money of them. As a small business owner (or side hustle savant) you’ll need to make the most of your budget to compete in the global market. And hopefully generative AI (and this article) can help you do just that.

Want to maximize your organic search visibility? Make sure to check out these small business SEO tips for your website!

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