You’ll come across artificial intelligence (AI) in many different areas of your life – more so than ever before. Whereas it used to be something that sci-fi movies and TV shows fell back on to explain a story or move one along, today it’s a very real and very valuable way to run a business, and if you’re a business owner, it’s certainly something you’ll want to consider adopting in yours.
However, although the idea of including some kind of artificial intelligence in your business might be exciting, and it might be something you are very keen to get started with, it can also be somewhat overwhelming. There are so many options, and understanding exactly what makes some AI good and some useless is a difficult distinction to make. This is why we’ve put together this useful list of the different things you need to know and the different ways you can adopt artificial intelligence in your business. Read on to find out more.
Get Familiar With AI
Before you can decide exactly what AI will be able to help you with, you’re going to have to get more familiar with it. Although this will mean taking your time – there is a lot of information to digest – it’s far better to do this and have a greater understanding of the capabilities of artificial intelligence than it is to rush into anything and find that you’ve spent too much money on the correct type of tech for your specific needs.
To really get to grips with just what AI is and what it could mean for your business, you might even want to enroll in some online courses. There are many available, and each will offer you something different, so again, research is key. Once you’re more up to date with just what AI is and how it works, at least in principle, you can make better decisions regarding it.
Identify What It Is You Want AI to Do
Having artificial intelligence in your business just because you’ve heard it’s the most modern way to do things or because you read somewhere that you should isn’t a good enough reason. AI isn’t necessarily cheap, and it takes a reasonable amount of time to research and set up, whether you want details on integrating chatbot into website or a bespoke booking system that takes user history into account, and if it’s not something you need, it’s just not a good idea.
The best way to determine whether or not you need a specific type of AI, or even artificial intelligence in general, is to identify what it is you want it to do – in other words, what problems do you want AI to solve in your business? Once you know this, you will be able to make better decisions about it.
Rather than being vague about this, you will need to have specific cases in mind that would have been more efficiently and effectively solved using AI. And you’ll need to know what added value AI can bring to your business. Put these things together, and it will be easy to see what type of artificial intelligence, if any at all, is going to be of benefit to you, your business, and your customers.
To give you an idea of what AI can do for your business, you might want it to:
- Assist with invoicing
- Improve customer service
- Help with marketing
- Post social media content
- Be a great way to train staff
If there are a number of different AI ideas that you could bring into your business, you might think that by adopting them all at the same time, you can suddenly increase interest in what you’re doing and become more successful.
The reality is quite the opposite. If you bring too many changes into your business at once, those customers who are already using your service may decide that the business they were very happy using has changed too much, and they no longer want to spend their time and money with you. This would be costly since it is much less expensive to continue selling to existing customers than finding new ones. Plus, integrating a lot of AI all at once will cost a large part of your profits, and it will potentially be difficult for your team to keep up with, meaning your customer service can suffer.
Although you shouldn’t curtail your plans when it comes to growing your business, when it comes to implementing new AI, it’s a good idea to take things slowly and add new concepts one at a time. Your team (and you) will get used to them, you won’t alienate your current customers, and new customers will still be able to see that you’re upgrading and updating. With this in mind, it’s wise to think of your AI options in terms of priority and make a list detailing which one is best to adopt first. As time goes on, you can add more and more AI assistance to your business until it is fully integrated.
Know Your Capabilities
Another reason for not simply implementing every type of AI in every different area of your business that you can is what is known as the ‘capability gap’. This is the gap between what you want to do and what you are able – capable – of doing. Understanding your capabilities as a business is crucial, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a vital component of any successful business.
When you know this, and you use it to your advantage, you will be able to not only implement the most useful artificial technology available – the AI that works best for your sector, niche, or specific organization – but you will also be able to do it within a predetermined time frame, during which you can train your team fully. By taking your time, you can actually improve your capabilities and give your business the best chance of success and expand the AI options at the same time. In other words, you mustn’t get ahead of yourself and rush things, no matter how exciting the idea of what you are doing might be or how much you know it’s going to improve your business.
Set up a Pilot Project
Once everything is in place, and you know what you want from the artificial intelligence you intend to implement, it’s a good idea to set up a pilot project. By doing this, you can see whether or not the vision you had is actually going to work and whether it really will bring added value to your business. Rather than having a big launch only to discover that there are still glitches to iron out or that the artificial intelligence model you have picked isn’t quite the right thing, you should have a soft launch, slowly and carefully letting people know as you get to grips with the idea yourself.
However you intend to set up your pilot, you must have specific and measurable goals in mind for it. This is the only way you’re going to be able to determine whether or not the idea is something you can roll out further and allow more people to use. Think about what you need the AI to do and create goals based on that. If the technology reaches the goals you’ve set, you can then organize a much bigger launch. If it doesn’t, you can go back to the drawing board and try again, and you won’t have caused a lot of potential customers problems trying to use your service.
Incorporate Artificial Intelligence in Your Daily Tasks
Adopting AI into your business is something that should come about naturally; it should enable you to carry out your daily tasks with more ease, but not entirely replace them (this would be bad for business since your employees and customers alike – your employees might feel as though their jobs were being replaced by AI rather than simply made more manageable by it, and customers might feel as though they can’t have any real human contact, which is often off-putting).
This is why AI should be incorporated into daily tasks around the business and not replace anything at all. They should be introduced as being there to augment an employee’s job and not take over from them.
As any successful business owner knows, you can’t ignore the financial wellbeing of a business, and no matter how exciting or innovative a new idea might be, and no matter how your competitors are using it or what your customers expect from you, deciding to go ahead and incorporate these ideas into your business if you can’t afford to is always going to be a big mistake.
You might think this is wrong and that AI is an investment, and in some ways this is correct. However, spending money you can’t afford to lose on something you haven’t thoroughly thought through and that you don’t know will make you a return is not ideal. It’s best to look more closely at your financials to ensure that you can afford to do this or to work out where the money will come from if it’s not immediately obvious.