Do you think Artificial Intelligence is irrelevant to your small business? Think again

Home Do you think Artificial Intelligence is irrelevant to your small business? Think again

Do you think Artificial Intelligence is irrelevant to your small business? Think again

That’s according to this interesting piece entitled ‘4 Questions Every Small Business Must Ask About Artificial Intelligence’ over in Forbes.

Its basic premise seems to be that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here now, and here to stay. And you won’t benefit by being a late adopter so start at least thinking about it now.

‘From Siri to Alexa, customers are becoming accustomed to AI-powered solutions and soon they will expect the same for their local businesses’, the piece opens.

‘Sure, an AI roll-out can be daunting, but by adopting a strategic approach and adding smart software, small businesses will not only be able to differentiate themselves from competitors, but compete with the industry giants as well.’

So, what do you reckon? Are you ready to take on AI for the benefit of your enterprise?

Don’t be daunted

This Forbes piece could offer a useful starting place.

It’s real message is don’t be (too) daunted.

AI, it suggests, is not impenetrable. It’s ‘merely an advanced system that is trained, not told’.

It expands. ‘AI mimics the human brain in the way that it learns. It starts with no information, and after being given thousands of pieces of information, is able to understand and make predictions about data it has never seen before’.

And, it argues, it’s important not to be put off by this prospect, because AI is coming. And your business can and will benefit.

Potential to help

‘Imagine’, says the piece, towards its close, ‘where your company would be if you didn’t embrace the uncertainty of the internet or didn’t go mobile in the age of the smartphone’?

Don’t make this mistake, re AI – ‘the newest technology adding efficiency and intellect to small business…’

In other words, you can’t afford to ignore it, or bury your head in the sand.

‘AI will become a threat to small businesses if owners believe it won’t impact them, or isn’t already impacting them. The fact is, AI has the potential to drastically help companies of all sizes work smarter and more efficiently than ever before.’

Be part of that. Embrace it, is Forbes’ argument.

And then it goes on to highlight ‘the top four questions small businesses should ask themselves’.

See what you think.

4 questions

These are the 4 questions the piece asks – in brief.

#1. ‘What is it you are looking to achieve?’

AI, it says, can help with many aspects of business – including sales, finance, customer service…

‘Hone in on what exactly you are hoping to achieve with the use of AI – where do you need to increase productivity?’

The more focused your plan, the quicker and easier and better you’ll adapt to and benefit from specific AI software. Learn as you go. Grow as you go.

‘The most immediate benefit of AI’, the piece promises, ‘is that it will provide immense efficiency. There will be less time entering data and more time getting valuable insight to augment decision making.’

#2. How much of your business data’s already systemised?

‘You’ll never hear the words “too much data” and “AI” used in the same sentence…’

In short, the more data the more sense AI will make of it. So Forbes recommends systemising your business as much as possible.

‘The goal for small business owners is to have the appropriate systems and infrastructure needed to go and analyze data and extract even more business value.’

#3. How objective are you?

This is a good one. There’s a danger of using too little data to draw too quick conclusions – if you’re not careful.

‘We often allow our personal biases and expectations get in the way of looking at data. The numbers don’t lie, but if we look at them expecting certain results, we may end up manipulating the information to meet our expectations.’

The message is simple.

‘In order to take full advantage of AI, we need to be able to trust the numbers.’

Anyway, what’s the point of using it to simply confirm what you already (think you) know?

It could even be inspiring.

‘You don’t need to use expensive tools; use the reports and dashboards that are built into the tools you already have and approach the problem with an inquisitive mind. Look for the unexpected and when you detect something that’s interesting, create one or more hypothesis to explain what you’re seeing, and then set about to prove or disprove it.’

#4. ‘Are your technology providers able to support these capabilities to provide more meaningful insights?’

For all this, your IT system needs to be operating at a certain level.

‘Start by upgrading your approach to IT – move toward a cloud-based resource that can support AI once implemented.’

Paper systems will be useless in an AI universe.

And make sure you’re working with the right suppliers – those ‘working toward the same future as you’.

There’s much more information in the article – read the full piece over in Forbes. But hopefully this will have got you thinking.

Don’t be ‘late to adapt’ – says the Forbes piece: ‘be better, faster, smarter operators with the use of AI’.

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