Emily had run daily operations of a family-owned manufacturing business for years. Like most execs, she fast became aware of AI systems like ChatGPT and Google Bard, especially as pundit after pundit trumpeted the chance to revolutionize the American economy. Our young business leader knew AI could do big things for her own company. It had thrived under three generations of her family’s leadership—but lately it had stagnated.
Eventually, Emily came to my organization Louder Co. with the most common problem we see: AI implementation. She was paralyzed by the enormity of the concept. She didn’t know where to start.
This is understandable.
Adding AI to any business can be daunting, especially due to the sheer scale of what’s possible. Meanwhile, publications regularly tout AI’s ability to improve practically every industry, promoting the tech as a leap forward equal to the horse to car transition.
This, in turn, generates stress for leaders due to FOMO—fear of missing out on the next big thing. Louder Co. runs into this issue with prospects often, and our advice is always the same: Business owners and executives should focus on narrow objectives, instead of trying to recreate their entire enterprise.
Of course, reimagining business to embrace the latest innovation trap is common. If it can happen to visionaries like Elon Musk, it’s especially risky for leaders running small and medium companies. Not long ago, Musk set out to run a car factory with no human intervention, relying on autonomous robots to build his electric fleet. But AI-driven robots couldn’t handle the manufacturing complexities. As Musk later explained, “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”
So, what can we learn from Musk’s mistake and Emily’s inaction?
It’s important to start with a quick win. This can transform artificial intelligence from a paradigm-shifting (not to mention daunting) decision into a typical business choice to improve operations, make customers/employees happy, and/or improve profitability.
Fast AI wins also enable leaders to make smart AI implementations, acting as building blocks for future integration projects. Best of all? They offer immediate value. Typically low risk and limited in scope, they don’t involve major expenditures to get going.
To secure your fast win, the AI experts at Louder Co. have five suggestions for your organization:
Suggestion 1: Ask an Expert
Gaining insight into how your company can swiftly benefit from AI without breaking the bank can be facilitated by finding the right specialists. Software developers are typically most interested in complete system rewrites, leading many small and medium business owners to consult their children or other young people more up to date with recent services like ChatGPT.
The good news? You needn’t turn to people who get paid by the hour to code—or hope some plucky youngster can offer sagacious advice. Louder Co. advises businesses like yours daily in just such a capacity. Better yet, we work with all major vendors instead of shoehorning clients into a limited range of solutions.
Suggestion 2: Start Small
ChatGPT and Google Bard snag the big headlines and media buzz, yet they represent just a portion of the available universe of AI solutions. This is key to understand. Like all software, myriad solutions exist to address operational tasks. The essence of an AI quick win is a limited project capable of generating positive results. This means your focus should concern individual work items that can be improved through AI, not a major overhaul that could overwhelm your organization, explode your budget, or drain your time.
Suggestion 3: Consider What’s Most Pressing—And May Be Improved
The best AI bang for your buck should fix a pain point holding you back. Louder Co.’s AI experts work with each client to locate logjams AI can resolve—improving operations far beyond what’s often a reasonable implementation price. In Emily’s case, her pain point involved coordinating vendor resupply orders to ensure open invoices could be paid in a timelier manner.
When discussing her challenges, she said, “Surely there’s a better way than me and the COO having to pick up the phone to talk to vendors all day.” She’s right. There is a better solution—simple and cost-effective AI designed to do exactly that—giving her team back precious time every day.
Suggestion 4: Put Yourself in the Shoes of Your Customers (And Staff)
Another big aspect of finding your AI quick win? Considering all stakeholders. Every good leader knows the interests of their business extend beyond profitability. Top professionals strive to keep their customers happy— and their workers engaged.
When contemplating the optimal way to implement an AI quick win, we go beyond pure financial metrics to ask, “How will this improve my customers’ experience? And how will this help my workers do a better job and feel good?” In Emily’s case, an AI solution to end the vendor snarl helped customers avoid product delays. It also aided employees by curtailing the scramble to make up lost time from raw materials delivered late due to ordering problems.
Suggestion 5: Determine a Reasonable Time Frame for Improvement
Massive projects can require lengthy implementations. Anyone familiar with creative work knows long projects have a nasty tendency to be stretched longer still—often via delays. AI quick wins should center around speedy realizations, seamlessly integrating with existing systems like Microsoft Office and Outlook e-mail. When a project timeline can be measured in weeks instead of months—or even years—you’re likelier to enjoy benefits sooner than later.
This can especially help in our competitive marketplace!
The Psychology of Your AI Quick Win
By successfully implementing a fast tech solution to better manage vendors, Emily reaped multiple benefits at the same time. Firstly, she impressed her customers, improving her team’s morale. Secondly, the ROI was so high she was back in the black soon after Louder Co.’s implementation. But most importantly, she increased her own confidence as a leader by successfully adding AI. She wasn’t paralyzed by AI anymore. In fact, she’s busy working with our team on a more ambitious implementation to secure the future of her family’s business—not just for today—but for generations to come.
Contact Louder Co. today to learn how to secure your own AI win. Fast.