Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is here in many forms. From Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, to the IBM Cloud, A.I. can help maximize resources and prioritize time. By predicting sales and customer service problems before they even happen, identifying those that are likely to buy your business’s goods, automating send-times for marketing emails and helping find sales leads, A.I. is an excellent tool for small business growth.

Using A.I. means having a smarter business that will help with everyday basic tasks. This allows for the business owner to invest more time and money into quality employees, whom can develop better customer relations. Incorporating A.I. into your small business can take time, but in the end, the pay off will be worth it.

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Getting familiar

Business owners should get familiar with A.I., and what it can do. There is a plethora of information available online, and taking a workshop or online course is the first step in bringing A.I. into your business. Stanford University offers online lectures, while Microsoft has an open-source Cognitive Toolkit to help educate in A.I. algorithms. It’s best to know what problems that A.I. needs to solve for your business and what A.I. can do for existing services and products. Not all companies need an A.I. plan right now, but it is beneficial to understand what potential there is. Understand the why and then the how of A.I., and introduce it into appropriate areas to start. Having information technology capabilities up to speed is a must when implementing A.I.

Once a problem is identified that can be solved using A.I., assess the business and financial value of the implementations. For example, having team members trained to use the A.I. can increase productivity in areas such as e-marketing. Be realistic. Know what the business has resources for and the ability to execute an A.I. strategy. Setting up A.I. plans can take time, and addressing the internal capabilities beforehand will help evolve the implementation.

Bringing in the pros

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Hire the experts. When the business is ready, start the building and integrating process. Have small goals in mind first on which to build down the road. As noted, it is important to be familiar with what is available for the business, however, it’s even more important to bring in an external expert. Bringing both external and internal people together to execute the plan is the best way to create a tight group with a time frame. The goal can then be the sole focus, and implementation can begin. From there, expansion of A.I. can be designed for the long haul.

Implementing A.I. helps meet the challenges of customer expectations and allows employees in various departments to be better at meeting these expectations in a technological world. A.I. can be linked with apps, both for customers and internal development, and can compile more data humans alone cannot do.



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This article was written by Chase Hunt for CBS Small Business Pulse