Let’s talk business with ChatGBT

This is a podcast publication I published on the Business Buffet Podcast that I felt should be published here too. This episode features me interviewing ChatGBT.

In this episode I interview ChatGBT about starting a small business in America.  I ask the computer several questions about business challenges, marketing, operations, and tips for improving operations.

ChatGBT Feb 13 Version

Interview Transcript

How many small businesses are there in America?

As of 2021, there were approximately 31.7 million small businesses in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). This includes businesses with fewer than 500 employees, which make up the vast majority of all businesses in the country. Small businesses are a critical driver of economic growth and job creation in the United States, and they are found in virtually every industry and sector of the economy.

How many of the 31.7 small businesses are sole proprietor?

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), approximately 80% of all small businesses in the United States are non-employer businesses, meaning they have no employees other than the business owner. These businesses are typically sole proprietorships, partnerships, or LLCs with a single owner. As of 2021, there were approximately 25.4 million non-employer businesses in the U.S., which represents the vast majority of all small businesses in the country.

What is the number one challenge facing small businesses in America?

Small businesses in America face many challenges, and the most significant challenge can vary depending on factors such as the industry, location, and size of the business. However, based on surveys and research conducted by various organizations, one of the most common challenges facing small businesses in America is the difficulty of attracting and retaining customers.

Competition from other businesses, changing consumer preferences, and limited marketing budgets can all make it challenging for small businesses to reach and engage with their target audience. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this challenge, as many small businesses have had to adapt to new operating conditions, such as increased online sales and remote work, while still trying to attract and retain customers.

Other common challenges facing small businesses in America include access to financing, regulatory compliance, and finding and retaining qualified employees. However, the specific challenges facing each small business will depend on a range of factors, including the industry, location, and competitive landscape.

What advice would you give someone considering starting a new small business today?

Starting a new small business can be an exciting but challenging venture. Here are some general pieces of advice to consider before starting a new small business:

  1. Conduct thorough market research: Before starting any new business, it’s essential to conduct market research to determine the potential demand for your product or service. Identify your target market, competitors, and any potential challenges that may arise.
  2. Develop a solid business plan: A business plan is a roadmap that outlines your business goals, strategies, and plans to achieve them. It will help you secure funding, attract partners, and keep you on track towards achieving your goals.
  3. Consider your funding options: Starting a new business often requires capital, and it’s essential to consider your funding options, such as loans, grants, or investment. Research and compare the various funding options available to find the one that best suits your needs.
  4. Focus on customer service: Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and it’s essential to focus on providing excellent customer service from the outset. Building a loyal customer base takes time, but it’s critical to the long-term success of your business.
  5. Stay adaptable and flexible: The business world is constantly changing, and it’s essential to remain adaptable and flexible to stay competitive. Be willing to pivot and make changes to your business model or strategies as needed to keep up with changing market conditions.

Starting a small business can be a challenging and rewarding experience. By following these tips and staying committed to your goals, you can increase your chances of success and build a thriving business.

What advice would you give a small business owner who is struggling with business?

Running a small business can be challenging, and there may be times when a business owner faces difficulties. Here are some pieces of advice that may help a struggling small business owner:

  1. Identify the root cause of the problem: It’s essential to identify the root cause of the problem to develop a plan to address it effectively. Is it a financial issue, a marketing problem, or something else? Pinpointing the issue can help you develop an effective plan to address it.
  2. Reach out for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your network of business contacts, industry associations, or even a business coach or mentor. They may be able to provide valuable insights and advice to help you overcome your challenges.
  3. Cut costs where possible: Review your expenses and look for areas where you can cut costs without compromising the quality of your products or services. This may involve renegotiating contracts, finding more cost-effective suppliers, or reducing unnecessary expenses.
  4. Focus on your core strengths: Identify your core strengths and focus on them. It’s easy to get distracted by new opportunities, but it’s important to stay focused on what you do best.
  5. Stay positive and keep working hard: Running a small business can be tough, but it’s important to stay positive and keep working hard. Focus on your long-term goals, and don’t give up. With persistence and hard work, you can overcome your challenges and build a successful business.

Remember that every small business faces challenges at some point. By staying focused, seeking help, and being adaptable, you can overcome your struggles and emerge stronger than before.

What are some ways a business owner can identify root cause of business problems?

Identifying the root cause of a business problem can be challenging, but here are some ways that a business owner can start to diagnose the issue:

  1. Conduct a thorough analysis of your business: Take a step back and conduct a thorough analysis of your business. Review your financial statements, sales data, and customer feedback to identify any patterns or trends that may indicate the root cause of the problem.
  2. Talk to your employees: Your employees may have valuable insights into the problem, and it’s essential to involve them in the process of identifying the root cause. Ask for their feedback and suggestions on how to address the issue.
  3. Seek input from outside experts: Sometimes, an outside perspective can be valuable in identifying the root cause of a problem. Consider hiring a business consultant or expert in your industry to review your business and provide feedback.
  4. Use problem-solving techniques: Consider using problem-solving techniques such as root cause analysis or the “5 Whys” technique to help identify the underlying cause of the problem. These techniques involve asking a series of questions to help get to the root cause of the issue.
  5. Consider the business environment: The business environment can also play a role in causing problems for your business. Consider factors such as competition, economic conditions, and regulatory issues that may be contributing to the problem.

By using a combination of these approaches, a business owner can start to identify the root cause of a problem and develop a plan to address it effectively. It’s essential to be thorough in the analysis and take the time to ensure that the underlying cause of the problem is identified before moving forward with a solution.

Can you tell me more about the “5 Whys”?

The “5 Whys” is a problem-solving technique that involves asking a series of “why” questions to identify the underlying cause of a problem. The method was originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, as a way to improve the company’s manufacturing processes.

The technique is straightforward: when a problem occurs, you ask “why” the problem occurred, and then continue asking “why” to each answer until you reach the root cause of the problem. The name “5 Whys” comes from the idea that it usually takes about five rounds of questioning to get to the root cause.

For example, let’s say a small business is experiencing declining sales. Here’s how the “5 Whys” could be used to identify the underlying cause of the problem:

  1. Why are sales declining? Because fewer people are visiting the store.
  2. Why are fewer people visiting the store? Because our marketing efforts are not reaching our target audience.
  3. Why are our marketing efforts not reaching our target audience? Because we don’t have a clear understanding of our target audience’s needs and preferences.
  4. Why don’t we have a clear understanding of our target audience’s needs and preferences? Because we haven’t done enough market research.
  5. Why haven’t we done enough market research? Because we don’t have the budget to conduct comprehensive research.

In this example, the underlying cause of the declining sales is a lack of budget for market research. By using the “5 Whys,” the business owner can identify the root cause of the problem and develop a plan to address it effectively.

The “5 Whys” can be a useful tool for small business owners to identify the underlying causes of problems and make data-driven decisions to address them.

Are the any other tools for identifying root cause issues?

Yes, there are several other tools and techniques that businesses can use to identify root cause issues. Here are a few examples:

  1. Fishbone diagram: Also known as an Ishikawa diagram, this tool helps businesses identify the possible causes of a problem by breaking down the issue into categories. The categories can include factors such as people, processes, equipment, materials, and environment, among others.
  2. Pareto analysis: This tool helps businesses identify the most significant contributors to a problem by using the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. By focusing on the 20% of the causes that are responsible for 80% of the effects, businesses can prioritize their efforts and resources more effectively.
  3. Root cause analysis (RCA): This is a more formal and structured problem-solving technique that involves identifying the underlying causes of a problem by analyzing data, conducting interviews, and using other investigative techniques. RCA is typically used for more complex and significant problems that require a more in-depth analysis.
  4. Mind mapping: This tool involves visually mapping out the relationships between various factors that could be contributing to a problem. It helps businesses identify potential causes and their relationships to each other and the problem.

By using these tools and techniques, businesses can identify the root cause of a problem and develop targeted solutions to address it effectively. It’s essential to select the right tool or technique for the specific problem at hand and involve relevant stakeholders in the problem-solving process.


I have been in the music and entertainment business since 1977. I love podcasting and audio production as a business model and enjoy helping business grab new customers with engaging audio and video.

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