Technology has made today’s business world more competitive than ever before. Keeping up with quickly changing consumer demands and outpacing the competition requires a huge amount of innovation and efficiency. Luckily, one of the best tools for scaling your business to meet these new demands is right at your fingertips: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
With so many different AI tools currently on the market, choosing the right product and using it to maximize your business potential can be an overwhelming task. Before harnessing AI to grow your business, it’s essential to have a full understanding of what AI tools are out there and what they can specifically do for your business.
How Can I Implement AI To Scale Up?
Successfully implementing AI in your business model is a multistep process that requires a well-thought-out strategy. As you scale your business, the costliness of potential mistakes scales as well. Take the following steps to avoid making these mistakes and ensure a smooth rollout of AI integration into your business model.
Create an MLOps Team
Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) is an essential discipline for finding an AI strategy that sticks. Your MLOps team identifies the best AI tools and strategies to fully operationalize AI within your business safely and efficiently. They can accelerate AI implementation without the costly mistakes that come from malfunctioning AI models.
“Where data analytics was eight, nine years ago, that’s MLOps right now,” says Agatha Relota Luczo, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Furtuna Skin. “They’re doing the crucial analysis of figuring out, okay, where does this tool fit into the existing business model, and how can we scale it to maximize growth?”
Adding an MLOps discipline to your business model can take care of the following steps to AI rollout.
Standardize Your Creation Process
Algorithms are the building blocks of AI. Before AI can predict customer behavior or track inventory, a model or algorithm needs to tell it how to do this. Rather than reinvent the wheel every time you need a new model, build out a step-by-step standardized modeling process. Standardizing your algorithm creation process will streamline it and provide oversight.
“Standardizing the libraries used to validate AI models as well as lifecycle hand-off points is critical for building out AI models,” explains Victor Mathieux, Co-Founder and CEO of Miracle Brand. “It ensures everyone is working from the same playbook.”
Work collaboratively within your organization to define and standardize your creation process. Not only will it improve efficiency moving forward, but it also provides a level of oversight and responsibility even as different teams work towards different implementation goals.
Optimize Team Structure
There are two structures you can utilize to organize your MLOps team: the pod structure or the center of excellence (COE) structure. In the pod structure, AI product development is undertaken by a small, close-knit team that can iterate AI algorithms much more quickly. However, information sharing between pods can be less efficient.
“A pod structure can be great when AI is operationalized for two or three processes,” advises Sara Alshamsi, Founder and CEO of Big Heart Toys. “Data scientists and software engineers can really cut down on inefficiencies when working so closely together.”
On the other hand, the COE structure allows different product teams to share information much more quickly while building out their product at a slower pace. Choosing your team structure strategically can dramatically improve efficiency as you initially integrate AI into your business.
Once you’ve created a robust AI integration strategy, it’s time to take a look at where AI can assist in your operations. The question at this stage of the game isn’t if AI can scale your business — it’s how.
“At this point, it’s integrate AI into the business model or get left behind,” says Anthony Tivnan, President and Co-Founder of Magellan Jets, a company that specializes in private jet charter flights. “AI is just going to keep improving, and ignoring its business implications is like driving in the Indy 500 with a car that only halfway works.”
While specific AI tools vary by market, there are certain universal benefits of using AI that all businesses can cash in on.
Decisions Driven by Data
Making decisions driven and supported by data is essential to scaling a business. AI tools are designed to process data much quicker than human beings and can pull key insights from huge amounts of data in milliseconds, saving you valuable time (and money). Data analytics driven by AI can support a more robust understanding of market trends, your customer base, and the efficiency of your operations. In turn, decisions based on these analytics are more likely to lead to success.
“A robust data analytics strategy is essential to the success of any company, regardless of industry,” states Scott Chaverri, CEO of Mito Red Light. “AI is quickly becoming non-negotiable for carrying out this strategy quickly and efficiently.”
AI analytics can help you understand and predict customer behavior, more effectively target your marketing strategy, and shift resources based on changing demand. Increasing the efficiency at which your business can execute these decisions gives you more wiggle room in other areas and allows you to grow much more quickly.
Automating Repetitive Tasks
No matter the industry or market size, running a business necessitates certain repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as data entry and inventory management. Automating these repetitive tasks can free up employees to work on more creative or strategic tasks, which becomes even more crucial as your business scales up and operational demand increases.
For example, robotic process automation (RPA) can complete back-office tasks such as processing invoices, updating and managing inventory, running software updates, and entering and analyzing data. Not only can RPA complete these tasks, but it can do so more quickly and with fewer errors than traditional methods.
According to Jeremy Stanton, President and CEO of Haven House Addiction Treatment, “Cutting labor costs associated with time-consuming and repetitive tasks is one of the quickest ways to scale up. Now employees can focus on more meaningful and strategic work and let automation handle the rest.”
RPA can also help you manage and predict supply-chain issues. The right AI model can optimize your inventory by predicting demand changes, thus saving you on operational costs and potential lost business. These benefits scale up proportionally as your business grows.
Improve Your Customer Management Relationship
One of the greatest challenges in scaling your business is maintaining a high level of customer care and satisfaction. At the same time, customer experience is pivotal in business growth. Successful business leaders know that a customer-first business model is one of the key benefits of implementing a robust AI strategy.
Eddie Wu, CEO of Alibaba, recently said, “Looking forward, Alibaba’s two main strategic focuses will be ‘User First’ and ‘AI-driven.’ We will recalibrate our operations around these two core strategies and reshape our business priorities.”
With customer management relationship (CMR) tools, these two core strategies can go hand-in-hand. AI tools such as virtual assistants can guide customers through site navigation and purchase queries, study customer behavior patterns to provide personalized support, and identify trends in consumer purchase patterns, all of which drive sales and promote customer retention and loyalty.
Virtual Assistants Are Particularly Scalable
One of the biggest factors in customer dissatisfaction is extended wait times to reach a customer service representative, which becomes more and more likely as your business scales up. AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots can eliminate a huge chunk of customer queries from the start, improving customer satisfaction and freeing up customer service representatives for more challenging concerns.
“As far as customer satisfaction strategy goes, implementing a 24/7 chatbot has become a robust part of that,” says Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You New York. “It’s a key benefit of CMR software.”
High-quality customer service doesn’t have to be the first thing to go as you scale up your business. Strategic use of AI tools can bulk up your customer satisfaction rather than cutting it. And AI tools such as chatbots and CMR software can provide 24/7 support to customers without requiring a 24/7 payroll.
Highly Personalized Marketing
By analyzing customer preferences and behavior, AI can revolutionize your marketing strategy. Segmenting your audience and targeting marketing by segment can lead to dramatically higher conversion rates and revenue.
“Personalized marketing is the future,” explains Kevin Miller, Founder of kevinmiller.com. “These days, when users expect to see ads tailored to their last Google search, every business’s marketing strategy has to adapt.”
For example, AI tools can personalize and scale marketing by studying historical sales data and broader market trends. Then, based on this data, it can segment your customer base into smaller niche audiences and create highly tailored marketing campaigns.
Create Sales Leads and Forecast Growth
Hyper-specific marketing strategies and audience segments aren’t the only ways that AI can utilize data analysis to improve sales. It can also identify untapped markets and potential areas for growth.
Natalia Morozova, Partner at Cohen, Tucker & Ades Immigration Law Firm advises, “AI is one of the best existing tools for generating sales leads. The right AI product can catch market trends that might slip by even the best sales development manager.”
Social media products like TikTok have made predicting sales trends notoriously difficult. As your business scales up, tapping into more unpredictable and large-scale consumer trends is crucial. Let AI do the work for you.
Optimize Your Pricing Strategy
Your pricing strategy is one of the most critical pieces of your business model. AI algorithms can compare competitor price points, trends in consumer behavior, and current market conditions to spit out the most effective and competitive pricing strategy possible for your product.
“Finding the sweet spot on pricing takes time and experience. New business owners often have to take some losses before they get it right,” says Matt Masiello, Chief Marketing Officer of BabyBuddha.
The dynamic approach to pricing provided by AI will help you maximize revenue and remain competitive with less manpower and billable hours. This type of financial and efficiency savings is critical as you scale up and enter new markets.
Being a competitive business in today’s world means harnessing technology to work for you as efficiently as possible. And when it comes to cutting-edge technology, AI tools are one of the best ways to increase efficiency and scale up without dramatic increases in labor and time.
As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said, “We should have a very clear view of what automation does to displacement and we should get to it, but one of the things I also hope is we can take advantage of AI to get more people into the workforce.”
Whether it’s by automating payroll and invoicing tasks, developing a more robust marketing strategy, or utilizing data analytics more strategically, AI can help you and your business. Start thinking about how to implement AI now, or you risk missing out on a huge growth opportunity.
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