So you’re a small business and you want to jump on the AI bandwagon? But you’re worried about how much it will cost you, you’re protective of the hard-work of your team and their processes, and you’re doubtful if you’re even ready? 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation represents an exciting opportunity for businesses, but often the decision to ‘go forth and adopt AI’ is coming from the c-suite executives who like the idea of being what they believe to be, ‘cutting edge’. What is the reality of actually using AI in a business and is this something that is reserved for big budgets? 

The good news; AI is now accessible to all and can no longer be considered a tool for the big players. 

But before you jump right in, are you really ready to adopt AI?

The main consideration is, what is your data like? Plain speaking, the general rule of thumb is if your team is data literate and can easily access data at their fingertips to help them make informed decisions, your data is structured in a way that is suitable for AI. If you can’t pull data sets quickly, and your client info or invoices are all over the place (or in filing cabinets, dare I say it!), you might not be ready. 

Now it’s time to make an assessment of your current processes. Where could your systems benefit from automation? This can be tricky when Carol from Accounts has had a system for the last twenty years and ‘this is the way it’s done’, but be bold. Deep down, where do you know things could be more efficient? 

You wouldn’t take a flight somewhere without researching where you’re going. It’s important to research the AI tools you’re thinking of adopting. Firstly, will they integrate well with the systems you are currently using? And can they be scaled as your business grows? What’s the pricing point? Is it competitive and is it affordable for you? There’s no point being held over a barrel financially just to be seen to be using the latest systems.

So, you think you’re ready? Now choose the right tools for you.

You’re raring to go and want to step into the world of AI. You don’t need a hefty budget to improve efficiencies, give your customers a better experience, make cost savings, and have help making informed decisions. 

Here’s some tips on how you can use AI on a budget:

  • ChatGPT and ChatFuel offer free versions of their ChatBot software. Ask them to write marketing emails, posts, or even recruitment job descriptions- this a handy tool to have up your sleeve. Before long, one of these AI ChatBots will be like having an extra assistant in the office! 
  • Grammarly is an AI proofreader and will make suggestions for your website on how you can enhance the wording
  • In social media marketing, Buffer and Social Sprout can schedule posts, analyse performance and suggest content
  • For streamlining your processes, Zapier allows you to automate tasks
  • If you’re using a CRM, it is likely to have an AI function. For instance, Hubspot has AI powered features, predicting customer behaviours and and various automations
  • When you’re tired of taking meeting notes, Firefly creates written and audio-recorded transcripts automatically during meetings, and pulls out key actions and takeaways.

There’s plenty to get started with.

Is integrating AI on a budget a joke?

Absolutely not. There are plenty of AI integrations for those businesses who are cost conscious. Just because you’re careful with the pennies, doesn’t mean you can’t be an AI wizard! 

But do consider carefully what you adopt; you can’t do it all. Your team might be sensitive to these kinds of changes and taking them with you on the journey, getting them excited, trained up and informed will be vital to your success in this. Continue to be open to learning about AI and whether it can really help your business. The biggest failure is when you think you get it all, and then you realise you’ve fallen at the first hurdle because you didn’t bring people (those are the real humans who make your business what it is) along with you for the ride. If you want to read about some AI fails you can find some funny stories here

We're a team of happy and creative people with a passion for building new and exciting ideas. We love what we do and always looking for our next challenge big or small.


Lovetheidea Team

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