James Clift on How to Use AI to Create a Small Website





We’ve all heard how A.I. is creating new opportunities for small business owners.

James Clift, CEO and Founder of Durable sits down with Shawn Hessinger, the Executive Editor of Small Business Trends, to show us how you can use an AI website builder to generate a website for your new service business in just 30 seconds.

AI Website Builders for Small Business

Don’t believe us? Read the edited transcript from this latest episode of Small Biz in :15 and see for yourself.

You can see this full conversation in the player above or listen to it on SoundCloud below.

Shawn Hessinger: What exactly does Durable do for small business owners, especially solopreneurs?

James Clift: Our goal at Durable is to allow anybody to turn their skills into a business in the shortest possible time. So essentially, we’re like a business in a box for a solo business owner.



So, if you have a skill you want to sell as a business, we give you a website, invoicing CRM, financial tools…essentially everything you need to run your whole business under one login is our goal.

Shawn Hessinger: When we talk about AI, what does that mean in non-technical terms?

James Clift: What we’re using A.I. for is to build the first version of your website for you in 30 seconds, so you don’t have to think about it. All you have to do is give three inputs: your location, your name and your business category. Then, we’ll build a website for you.

And then from there, you can regenerate it so you can try as many times as you want to get something you really like, or you can just create an account and then edit it from there.



We found that speed is really important and just giving someone something to look at. And what we’re giving you is a way faster to launch your business.

Shawn Hessinger: Let me back up on something. You said you need three things.

James Clift: Location, the name of your business, and we give you some names as well that you can choose from.

And then just your business category … the kind of business that you’re in.



Shawn Hessinger: Well, we’ve got to see this. Can you give us a little demonstration of how building a website in 30 seconds works?

James Clift: Essentially, we’re building a Web site right now. We’re picking images, we’re adding services, adding a lead capture form and writing a paragraph about the business. Then you’re done. So, you’ve got a website here with images, text, a list of different services, a Contact Form and then an About Us page.

You can rebuild, you can restyle, change your colors, change your font pairing and more. You can try a bunch of different businesses here. You can also say, “Hey, I don’t like the subtext.” We will generate it again for you. It’s just giving people something to work with, right? Instead of trying to figure it out from scratch. That’s the basics of the AI generator and platform.

Shawn Hessinger: Can you give us a little tour around everything?



James Clift: Yes. You see, once you’ve built your site, you’ve essentially got a full platform. You’ve got a CRM to keep track of all your customers in one place. So, you’ve got your money accounts, your account balance. You can set a monthly revenue goal and get a list of all your invoices here. And then you can link to your website’s analytics, basically everything you need to run your business under one login. It’s quite a robust CRM.

We fully sync with your emails and all your communication with customers is in one place. You’ve got your customer profile here, you’ve got your customer ratings, you get notes about your customers…invoicing, there are financial tools, and we issue credit cards for your business expenses.

In addition, you can automatically track your expenses and tie that to your invoicing. For marketing automation tools, we’re building some cool stuff around our generation as well, so you can create the copy for your business ads and your profiles on Google my business and stuff like that. But it’s supposed to be the one place to run your whole business for a solo business owner.

Shawn Hessinger: Can you give us an idea of the variety of work that can be produced?



James Clift: Sure! You can have your own images, and we’ve got different options for banner headers. For example, we’ve got one customer here an executive recruiter. So, it looks really different than the other sites, right? But yeah, you can really customize kind of how you want the site to look.

As another example, here’s a backcountry skiing guide. I think the variety is one thing that’s super interesting to us, and I think the way to narrow it down is by asking are you delivering a service and are you a solo entrepreneur? And that’s really who we’re focused on.

Because if you have a big team, you’ll obviously hire someone and pay thousands of dollars for a website. Otherwise, it just takes too long, and it’s a tedious process. So yeah, we’re trying to make it really easy and really flexible for anybody to start and grow their business using us.

Shawn Hessinger: You mentioned a CRM and other things; you’ll have to pay additional for that, correct?



James Clift: The entire AI website suite will be free. We’re working on pricing, but the rest of the tools to run your entire business will probably be less than $50 a month.

We want to prove that you can actually go get a customer, make some money, and then after that, you can start investing in a lot of the tooling that you will need eventually.

Shawn Hessinger: What about SEO and usability?

James Clift: We’ve baked all that in, as well. My last business primarily grew through SEO. So that’s important to me to ensure that our websites do the same. We’ve also used AI for a lot of that.



So, generating the things that are important with SEO and the narrowing of the focus is captured. So, are you what type of business? And in what city? Most of our services are local, so that’s the best way to start.

Shawn Hessinger: How is the financial information represented there? You just get it in as you make sales?

James Clift: All the financial stuff is automated. Therefore, if you’re using our invoicing tool and you’re recording your revenue, that will go into your financial dashboard and then your expenses if you’re using your durable credit card. Basically, all your revenue goes into your financial account. You can either pay that out to a personal bank account or keep that in there and use that credit card or that business debit card for your expenses.

As far as our invoicing goes, you can accept credit cards, Apple Pay and then a wire-to-wire transfer, along with ACH…and then the financial account which is basically a checking account that holds your money. And then you have a debit card that lets you spend it. It replaces your business banking account essentially and is a lot less expensive and easier to use.



Shawn Hessinger: Would the Durable process work with an eCommerce business? Because you’re not really invoicing somebody for that.

James Clift: Correct, but we don’t work with eCommerce businesses. Our goal is service businesses only, and we want to stay focused on that.

Shopify is pretty good at eCommerce, and we’re trying to do that but for services.

Shawn Hessinger: As somebody sitting and watching this video, how do I get started? I mean, how simple is it? What do I do first?



James Clift: Go to Durable.co, press the build your free website button, generate your site with AI in 30 seconds, regenerate it if you want and then sign up, edit it, tweak it, share it with a few friends.

Hopefully have a customer in your CRM the next day and you’ve got yourself a business.

 

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Holly Chavez Holly Chavez is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, where she writes engaging content about anything from starting your own upcycled art business to cryptocurrency scams to avoid. She is a former entrepreneur and industrial engineer who translates her decades of working in the logistics and manufacturing industry to actionable business tips and tricks.

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