How to Leverage AI to Supercharge Your Business

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Artificial Intelligence: What was once a seemingly passing buzz phrase has now become an accepted and enduring technology reality — set to only increase in speed and application.

But, as a society, and especially among those focused on business solutions, there are divides on modes of response. Some feel nervous, even frightened, but certainly concerned about the impact AI could have on their jobs individually and the job market as a whole. Others straddle the fence, unconvinced as yet about its true potential. Then there is the corps of the savvy — those who harness its capabilities and recognize its limitations.

I heartily recommend you take your place in that last group.

I’m lucky to work in an ecosystem of individuals committed to harnessing innovation, one that embraces inventions and improvements and then learns how to redirect workflow energy accordingly. One such individual is Chris Winfield, founder of Understanding AI. His career path has flowed through various markets and verticals but has centered on giving entrepreneurs what he likes to term an “unfair advantage” by leveraging everything from relationships to PR and social media to mentorships. Now, he’s turned his attention to AI and has identified key ways entrepreneurs can gain another unfair advantage by leveraging it.

We sat down and discussed this pathway to more robust 21st-century business and various other related topics, including how to soothe associated anxiety.

Related: Elevate Your Personal Brand with AI

You can’t avoid reality

According to Winfield, the most glaring mistake entrepreneurs make is avoiding the subject altogether. In a rapidly evolving business landscape, reluctance can leave you stranded while others sail smoothly into new opportunities. “The key,” he said, “is to understand that AI is a tool like any another: its effectiveness depends on how you wield it.”

Early steps

To assess the applicability of AI in a work setting, Winfield typically has clients go through a simple exercise: Figure out what your hourly wage is (everyone has one: how much your company made last year divided by the hours you worked). Then, write down everything you do for one week — tasks, meetings, minutia, calls… everything. Once that list is complete, identify tasks you wouldn’t be doing if you could pay someone else to, then ask whether ChatGTP (or any other AI tool) could handle them.

Consider one example: Imagine how an entrepreneur who also manages writing and social media for her company might leverage AI during a typical day. She has a morning video call with an interviewer and applies, an AI-assisted editing platform that transforms longer-form videos and podcasts into shorter clips suitable for TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. It also generates a snippet-ready video of the call and a transcript of everything discussed. She then engages ContentFries, which chops that video into social media-ready tidbits.

Finally, she makes productive use of the transcript using another AI tool to write blog posts and social media captions. She has done all of this — truly maximizing output and content creation — essentially without lifting a finger.

Related: 4 Ways This SEO Expert Uses AI to Create Content — and How You Can, Too

The importance of smart input

To be sure, polishing and cleverly market-applying content is still up to you. One common pitfall, Winfield pointed out, is the assumption that AI can work wonders without you, but it can only be as good as the prompts you provide, which require creativity. He recalled mentoring a chiropractor who asked an AI tool to “write good newsletters.” That was it… that was the prompt. The results, not surprisingly, were lackluster. So, Winfield coached him, including imparting the effectiveness of “laddering.”

Generally applied in marketing realms, laddering also works with prompts. Think of it as peeling back an onion — moving from understanding features to values to the emotions that make us tick. We have to do this when using AI to help it understand our foundational and creative needs and the emotional payoff we’re looking for. Once it has all of those inputs, it can create useful and valuable content for consumers.

Enter ChatGPT, a tool developed by Open AI that can truly revolutionize our work. In addition to crafting and focusing prompts, you can use it as a brainstorming partner, a search engine and a versatile outline creator. Applied thoughtfully, it can save oceans of research time and busy work, leaving more hours for tasks only your creative brain can handle.

Another quick exercise: Have ChatGPT build a target market persona for your company, which could help you understand the current market better and/or identify one that a unique product or offering could reach. Be specific with your prompts, though: Ask it who may like your product, what competitors for it there might be, and lastly, have it present a demographic that you may not have thought about. Examine critically the resulting information, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes (or recognize AI’s mistakes) along the way.

Related: What We Can Learn from the OpenAI Governance Crisis to Drive Ethical AI Leadership

Keep AI work-related

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, new tools are seemingly released daily, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and lose focus. So, Winfield advises that entrepreneurs designate AI tools for work-related tasks only (avoiding using them for unrelated matters during office hours) to prevent time-wasting distractions.

The better you get at leveraging AI, the easier it will be to identify which tools you should and can integrate. Handled strategically and capably, you’ll find that productivity increases, creativity expands, and time is created for the kind of multidimensional thinking that really helps move the success needle.

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