Artificial Intelligence has been around for decades, and many small businesses are realizing big gains. Are you?
Sam ran a popular local hair salon, but like many business owners, she wore too many hats. Between scheduling appointments, managing inventory, and actually cutting hair, Sam was stretched thin. The growth of her business was stalling, and she knew something had to change.
Sam had three choices: she could do nothing and continue to let things get worse, hire an assistant or two, or look for a technology solution, specifically, a technology solution utilizing artificial intelligence. She chose the latter.
After several months of research, Sam implemented an AI-powered scheduling system that not only automated the booking process but also predicted busy times and helped balance staff workload. It was as if she had a virtual assistant who knew her clients as well as she did.
Realizing the benefits from an AI-based solution, Sam didn’t stop there. She also integrated an AI-driven inventory system. The smart system tracked product usage and auto-replenished stock just in time, eliminating both shortages and excess inventory. It was like having a savvy operations manager on the team.
Even marketing saw a boost. Leveraging AI, Sam targeted her existing clients with personalized product recommendations and service reminders based on their previous appointments and purchases. The response was overwhelming. Clients felt seen, appreciated, and catered to – as if the messaging was hand-picked just for them.
Within a few months, Sam saw a notable difference. Her salon was running more efficiently, her inventory costs were down, and her clients were happier. Additionally, she did not have to deal with managing another employee, or two, or have to do with that ongoing salary expenses.
Is artificial intelligence (AI) a new technology?
AI itself is not a new technology. It has been around since 1951. However, it has only been since late 2022 that it has been thrust into the mainstream consciousness with the introduction of ChatGPT. Since its release, it has started a virtual “arms race” of AI-based applications that have the potential of seriously impacting your business in a positive way.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI and released in November 2022. It is built upon a large language model that has been fine-tuned for conversational applications.
There are two definitions here that we will address shortly, but first, we need a definition for artificial intelligence.
What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
According to the notes of 10 U.S. Code 2358, artificial intelligence is defined as:t
- “Any artificial system that performs tasks under varying and unpredictable circumstances without significant human oversight, or that can learn from experience and improve performance when exposed to data sets.
- While there are several definitions of AI, one that works here is an artificial system developed in computer software, physical hardware, or other context that solves tasks requiring human-like perception, cognition, planning, learning, communication, or physical action.
- An artificial system designed to think or act like a human, including cognitive architectures and neural networks.
- A set of techniques, including machine learning, that is designed to approximate a cognitive task.
- An artificial system designed to act rationally, including an intelligent software agent or embodied robot that achieves goals using perception, planning, reasoning, learning, communicating, decision making, and acting.”
While there has been a lot of hype about AI in recent months, there is also an element of truth to it. First off, it isn’t a new technology, but rather a technology that has been maturing and improving. As a result, AI has been shown time and time again to provide early adopters and users with real, measurable gains.
What is a large language model (LLM)?
An LLM is a type of artificial intelligence algorithm that uses deep learning to “learn” from a tremendously large amount of data to understand, summarize, generate, and predict new text-based, or “written” content. ChatGPT is just one form of AI. There are many other forms, many of which are available to individuals and businesses to meet a wide range of personal and business goals.
How can small businesses leverage AI?
There are several ways that a small businesses can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in various ways to enhance operations, improve customer service, and drive growth. Some examples, include:
- Customer Service: AI-powered chatbots can handle common customer queries around the clock, freeing up human resources for more complex tasks. They can also provide personalized recommendations based on user data.
- Sales and Marketing: AI can analyze customer behavior to predict future buying patterns, helping businesses target their marketing more effectively. It can also automate email campaigns and social media posts.
- Data Analysis: AI tools can analyze large amounts of data to extract meaningful insights. These insights can help businesses make informed decisions and predict future trends.
- Inventory Management: AI can predict demand for different products based on historical data and trends, helping businesses optimize their inventory and reduce costs.
- Human Resources: AI can streamline the recruitment process by sorting through resumes and identifying the most suitable candidates. It can also help in employee training and development.
- Cybersecurity: AI can help protect a business from cyber threats by detecting unusual patterns of behavior that may indicate a cyber-attack.
- Operational Efficiency: AI can automate routine tasks, reducing human error and increasing efficiency.
- Personalized Experience: AI can analyze customer preferences and behaviors to offer a more personalized shopping experience, which can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
It’s important to note that while AI can provide many benefits, it also requires investment and may present challenges such as data privacy concerns. Therefore, businesses should carefully consider their specific needs and resources before deciding to implement AI.
What is coming up next?
In future blog posts, we will be talking about the benefits and costs of artificial intelligence, and why it represents a tremendous opportunity for small businesses, like yourself to stand apart from the competition. We will also expand on the many ways that small businesses can benefit from AI.
In the meantime, if you need capital for your business, contact us or call (800) 795-3919 to speak to a small business specialist today.