How to Get Started with AI in Business

How to Get Started with AI

Let’s consider a day in the life of Amina, a product owner in a small software company.

When Amina arrives at work on Monday, her to-do list looks like this:

  • Meet with the tech team to get an update on project status
  • Write a job listing for the new management position
  • Send an email to Rajesh in finance to check on the status of the budget for the next fiscal year
How to Get Started with AI. A day in the life of Amina, a product owner

Let’s look at these tasks one by one to see how artificial intelligence can help. By taking the time to learn how to use AI, Amina can make her life much easier while making her work even more effective. Let’s jump into AI 101!

Choosing an AI Model: ChatGPT by OpenAI and Microsoft Copilot?

We’ll be talking about one specific AI tool in this article: ChatGPT 4 by OpenAI. As of the writing of this article, ChatGPT 4 is the most advanced AI tool available for general use and has been for many months.

We are not affiliated in any way with OpenAI, ChatGPT, or any other AI tools. We do not receive referral credit or compensation of any kind if you choose to use it. ChatGPT is a popular tool that we use extensively in our own work, so it’s what we’ll focus on here. Other tools that may be competitive are beginning to emerge, such as Google’s Gemini Ultra model, but with less time on the market, less information is available about their strengths and weaknesses.

At the time of writing this article, there are two easy ways to ask the GPT4 AI questions:

  1. The GPT4 AI model can be used for free through Microsoft Copilot, through their website, Android mobile app, or Apple mobile app. A paid version is available that offers faster performance during peak times, but for most users, the free version will be fine.
  2. For $20/month, you can access GPT4 directly from OpenAI using their website, Android mobile app, or Apple mobile app. The free version uses an outdated, less powerful version of the model and is not recommended. This is the exact same model offered for free if you use Microsoft Copliot. It offers some advanced functionality like the ability to teach the model how you want it to respond, but for most users, this isn’t necessary.

Now let’s look at a few of the ways that asking AI questions can help Amina in her work day.

Meeting with the Tech Team

Without AI Tools

Amina meets with the tech team. The team is remote, so they meet via Zoom. The project manager, who would normally take notes and help explain some of the more esoteric technical concepts, is, unfortunately, out unexpectedly today. The team has identified a risk in the project and is seeking input on a potential shift in direction. Without a technical background, Amina feels a little adrift. She records the discussion and makes a note to herself to go over it with the project manager later in the week to help ensure she makes the right decision. She advises the team to stay on course for the next couple of days, quietly hoping she isn’t steering them into a dead end.

When the project manager returns, catching up requires multiple conversations with Amina and the tech team. Another meeting very similar to the first is held to get everyone on the same page and confirm the initial decision.

With AI Tools

Amina meets with the tech team. The project manager is out, so Amina records the meeting and has Zoom generate a transcript. Amina has the tech team explain their concerns and the potential paths forward. She tells the team to give her a few minutes to make a decision.

After the meeting, she copies and pastes the entire transcript into ChatGPT using the following prompt: “Please provide a summary of this discussion and simplify technical concepts. Please analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each approach suggested by the team.” In moments, she has a complete analysis of the conversation in simple terms.

Knowing that AI can miss context or make mistakes, she sends a quick message to the tech lead containing the summary and her decision, asking for a review of her thought process. The lead confirms that everything makes sense. Confident in her choices, Amina is able to forward her discussion with the lead to the project manager.

When the project manager returns, catching up is as simple as reviewing the exchange between Amina and the lead.

Write a Job Listing

Without AI Tools

Amina is writing a job listing for the company’s first full-time user experience researcher. She has worked with people in this role before but has never hired someone for the position directly. She first takes time to catch up on the latest trends in the field to ensure that her listing contains the right list of requirements. She has to take some time to understand some of the terminology. She then spends some time staring at a blank page, starting and restarting to try to get a sense of momentum. After a couple of hours, she finally has something she feels ok about.

With AI Tools

Amina opens ChatGPT and enters the prompt, “Please provide me with a job listing for a user experience researcher for a small software company.” She gets an immediate response that includes a nearly complete listing. The AI lacks a lot of information about the company, like its products, mission, and compensation packages, but these are easy to fill in from other recent job listings the company has posted. Within 10 minutes, she is on to her next task.

Write an Email to Finance

Amina has been waiting for weeks to get finalized budget approval for an upcoming project. Without this approval, her team can’t move forward with hiring critical roles, including the new UX researcher. The initial project timeline is being eroded by the delay, and the entire delivery timeline will be at risk soon.

Without AI Tools

Amina sits down to write an email to Rajesh, her contact in finance. She’s extremely frustrated and struggles to maintain a professional tone. She writes and rewrites her message a few times, second-guessing herself and worrying that she’ll sound too passive-aggressive or upset and will further strain the relationship. Ordinarily, she would lean on her coworkers for assistance, but she doesn’t want to sound like she’s bad-mouthing Rajesh behind his back. She takes a walk, clears her head, and then finally is able to write something acceptable.

With AI Tools

Amina sits down and writes exactly what she thinks.

“Dear Rajesh, you bumble-headed buffoon. I grow more irritated with your shocking incompetence every day that you drag your feet on this critical approval. I can’t imagine what nonsense you idiots are wasting your time with up there, but if you could see fit to PLEASE JUST CLICK THE LITTLE CHECKBOX, then maybe the entire company’s strategic product direction could avoid exploding into shrapnel, each piece a small, glittering, tragic reminder of the dreams we once had. Warmest regards, Amina.”

She then pastes this into ChatGPT with the following prompt: “Please rewrite the following paragraph to sound assertive, non-offensive, and professional.”

She gets back the following in less than 10 seconds:

Dear Rajesh, 

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to express my concern regarding the delay in obtaining the critical approval needed for our project. It’s crucial that we expedite this process to maintain our strategic product direction and ensure the success of our shared objectives. 

I understand that you have a multitude of responsibilities, but I urge you to prioritize this matter as it is essential for the progression of our project. Your prompt action in approving this will greatly contribute to our team’s efficiency and the realization of our goals. 

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. I am confident that with your cooperation, we can swiftly address this issue and continue to drive our company’s success. 

Warm regards, 

Amina

The Risks of Using AI Tools

When asking AI questions, there are a few things to watch out for:

  1. Sometimes, when asking specific questions, it can provide information that is completely made up. This is called a “hallucination.” Any information presented as fact by an AI should be independently verified.
  2. It can make up citations to completely imaginary scientific papers or legal cases. There have been high-profile news stories recently on this topic.
  3. The tone and language used can be predictable, making it obvious to people who use AI tools often. To avoid this, it is often a good idea to ask AI your questions to get a starting point, then adjust the response to fit your own voice.

This is Just the Beginning!

Many other tools and technologies are already widely available. Imagine what you could do with:

  • The ability to generate graphs, insights, and visualizations from your data with simple written prompts
  • Text-to-speech that sounds human and can accurately express the tone of any text you provide
  • Real-time translation between two spoken languages
  • Interactive customer support chatbots that are indistinguishable from human representatives
  • Tools that can generate PowerPoint slides directly from an Excel spreadsheet and then summarize the presentation in an email
  • Code and automated tests generated in an instant
  • Immediate design of logos, branding materials
  • Realistic photographic images of any scene

Curious about how AI can be part of your daily routine? Join us for our upcoming webinar, “Getting Started with AI: Work Smarter, Not Harder,” where we simplify AI for everyday use. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or simply AI-curious, you’ll learn how AI can streamline and improve your work. Register now to start your journey with AI!

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In Conclusion

AI is not just a far-off, inaccessible, futuristic concept anymore! In the past year, it has become a practical, accessible tool that can revolutionize how small businesses operate. This new technology makes nearly every aspect of daily operations simpler, allowing you and your people to multiply your productivity and effectiveness. This levels the playing field, allowing small enterprises to compete more effectively with larger competitors in an unprecedented and exciting way. As we continue to witness the evolution and democratization of AI technologies, the future of AI looks bright with possibilities.

Embracing AI is no longer an option but a necessity for those who want to stay ahead in the rapidly changing business landscape. Here’s to a future where AI is an integral part of every small business’s success story.