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4 Ways to Leverage Artificial Intelligence in Your Small Business Today

If you haven’t started using artificial intelligence in your business, you’re falling behind on the curve. Many business owners today are leveraging AI, whether they are aware of it or not. This is done through everyday business software suites that integrate machine learning and automation to carry out such functions as email communications, voice recognition and response and predictive analysis.

The extent to which businesses employ AI solutions needs to be increased if they are to remain competitive within the current economic landscape. One survey involving 230 technology and business executives established that less than 30 percent have leveraged automate tools to carry out repetitive tasks. This is incredibly low uptake considering that high quality AI technologies are readily available in the market.

This article discusses four ways businesses today can use AI technology to improve product development and service delivery:

Market intelligence

If you still think Google News Alerts are the in-thing, you’re a few years too late to the game. There are many businesses whose success depends on the availability of up-to-minute information regarding significant strides within the market. Most of them still rely on teams of researchers using search engines and other standard alert methods.

You can use AI to get through millions upon millions of internet pages and weed out important pieces of information depending on your line of business. California-based artificial intelligence company Bitvore has one such platform. The platform has been tested and ‘trained’ using more than 100 million business intelligence pieces and is able to pick out which information is relevant to a specific business and which isn’t.

Most business owners need the kind of information that isn’t readily available on regular search engine results. Such AI tools can make it easy to find relevant intelligence and provide it to relevant decision makers for action. Another advantage is that such tools can be programmed to operate round the clock, so that no item of information will fall through the cracks. This will give your business a huge competitive advantage when deployed.

Network management

Have you ever had that gut-wrenching feeling upon realizing that you were supposed to make an important call ten minutes ago? Then you need to invest in AI for your personal management. Primal.com founder Peter Sweeney has just the right solution. His site, which begun as a simple app for the iPhone has now evolved into a trusted intelligent assistant.

AI assistants now constitute an entire network unto themselves. They are no longer working in isolation in their owner’s devices, but have rather been added to every commonly used object in the Internet of Things and the cloud.

Anyone that needs a virtual assistant today has an ever-increasing list of choices to pick from, with programs capable of performing less defined tasks. If you’re looking, you can start by checking out Julie Desk or Cloze, two AI assistants skillful at managing email follow-up and calendar functions among others.

Accounting

There is enormous potential for improvement of accounting services with artificial intelligence tools, with many useful technologies available on the market for business owners. Speaking more generally, however, you can start your automation with basic data entry tasks.

Suppose you’re running a small startup with a lean staff (hence no accountant), but you also don’t have the time or expertise to do your own bookkeeping. Or even if you have an accountant, but they are now overworked and hardly able to stay afloat. You can get an AI platform such as the SMACC Series A program. Such tools are able to read and prepare invoices, set reminders for sending and/or paying them and track other accounting tasks. They can also produce visual charts with key measurables for your business, which you can use for decision making.

That the big four accounting firms have invested heavily into research and development of their own AI accounting suites speaks to the potential of such tools for businesses today.

Sales

Designing a great product to serve the market is only the first step towards building a successful business. The second is being able to sell it to consumers, and doing so effectively and consistently. This is why every entrepreneur should carefully consider their sales and lead generation curation procedures to identify loopholes that could be addressed using artificial intelligence tools.

Salesforce leads the curve in this area with their AI tool Einstein, which has yet to hit the market. For business owners that need a solution yesterday, there are many more options to consider. There’s Conversica, which is a sales assistance capable of holding human-like conversations on emails with sales leads in order to get them to convert to paying customers. Once done, Conversica alerts you and hands over the conversation to you.

You can use such tools to amplify your lead generation perimeter, reach out more aggressively and vet your sales operations to increase efficiency. If you’re still typing your own pitch emails to clients one by one and painstakingly holding up each conversation, consider leveraging AI to take yet another thing off your full plate so that you don’t lag behind.

Conclusion

Just as companies that did not adapt to the internet age were thrown out of the market while their counterparts were smiling all the way to the bank, AI is the current trend that will either take your business higher or cause you to shut down. Certainly, there are challenges as most technologies are still in infancy, but such teething problems are already being dispensed with through R&D. However, we can be sure that in a few years the business without AI will be the exception rather than the norm.

Whether you’re in ecommerce or run a bricks-and-mortar store, you stand to benefit greatly by introducing AI tools. The initial cost may seem prohibitive, but such technologies pay for themselves in increased profits within no time. Stay ahead of the game by looking into your business and areas where automation through AI can improve performance and service delivery. 

Derek Iwasiuk runs a national digital search engine optimization firm headquartered in Minneapolis. He also spends a lot of his free time educating the minds of thousands of young SEO's and top agencies. Find more information on http://engagethecrowd.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Diwasiuk

 

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