Embracing AI in Your Service Business: Overcoming Fear and Unlocking Potential

Pictured: Josiah Owens, Lucas Petty of aidaddy, Pamela Slim and Darron Padilla

Last week, I spoke at ISA: The Association for Learning Providers.

We were in heaven for 3 days discussing learning design, measurement, business development, partnerships and performance improvement.

But the topic that had the most agenda time and discussion was definitely the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our industry.

All of us are thinking about it and talking about it while simultaneously feeling uneasy and afraid of it.

It was not until the final day when I heard Lucas Petty, founder of aidaddy.io, give his closing workshop that my feelings went from apprehension to excitement.

Lucas laid out a human-centered approach to working with and implementing AI in a service business, focusing more on process improvement rather than people replacement.

And when my team and I spent time talking AI with Lucas over delicious tacos, our excitement turned into concrete action plans.

Why are we so afraid of AI?

There is a reason we should be cautious about AI: no technology is poised to disrupt so much, so quickly in our services businesses, as the always-improving AI technology.

Authors like myself worry about IP being stolen and leveraged for profit by others, bypassing our ability to make a sustainable living from our books and ideas.

We worry about clients using AI to replace our services.

And we worry about privacy and security of customer data.

All these are valid concerns, which is why we need to start by understanding the use of AI so we can make responsible decisions about using it in our business.

The following steps are recommendations to stop thinking about and start acting upon opportunities for AI to improve the performance and bottom line of your service business.

Step 1: Start with Education

Step 2: Identify Your AI Champions

  • If you are a founder with a team, you may not be the right person to start experimenting with AI in your organization. Identify one or two folks on your team  who can spearhead AI initiatives and inspire others. By spreading out the people who are experimenting with AI, you will increase experience and use cases.
  • Choose team members who are comfortable with technology and tuned into your business operations.

Step 3: Begin with Small, Manageable Projects

  • There are hundreds of ways to improve your business with AI. You will quickly get overwhelmed if you try to do everything at one.
  • Choose some low-risk starter projects to gain experience and develop momentum. See our starter list at the end of this article.
  • Here is a free list of AI use cases from aidaddy: https://www.aidaddy.io/100usecases

Step 4: Focus on AI as a Tool for Empowerment

  • It is true that AI will replace human jobs. But there are many things that AI cannot do, which is where you want to focus your strategic lens
  • Start by asking yourself “what would make my job easier if they were done by AI?” or “What would make our clients feel even more supported and cherished if they were operationalized with AI and delivered on time 100% of the time?”

Step 5: Leverage Expert Partnerships

  • While the technology changes every day, there are experts who help clients integrate AI into their service business.
  • If you are serious about improving your operations, you may consider Lucas Petty’s one day workshop that will map all of your operations and prioritize the opportunities to use AI to create value.

Step 6: Prioritize Transparency and Ethical Considerations

Step 7: Measure and Celebrate Success

  • Before you implement AI time savers, document your starting points, such as “how long does it take us to complete a proposal?” or “how long does it take to write a blog post from scratch?” Set up metrics to evaluate the impact of AI on your business operations and customer satisfaction.
  • Celebrate milestones and successes to build momentum and support for ongoing AI integration.

Where are we starting?

My team took up the challenge to experiment with AI daily, and share our experiences with each other.

We have undertaken the following steps:

  1. Signed up for the Team version of Chat GPT so that our experiments are contained in our own private system and will not be shared with the world.
  2. Selected a few simple areas to start with such as:
    -Generating meeting agendas
    -Using Fathom AI generated transcripts from planning calls to quickstart design ideas
    -Setting up a Personal GPT and uploading my own content to draw from when creating helpful ebooks, marketing assets and mini courses
    Hiring a project manager with expertise in Notion to use the AI features in the tool to streamline our internal operations
  3. Committed to ourselves and each other to try at least one new use of AI every day, and to share our learnings with each other

We know we are beginners and will stumble and fumble around a lot, but knowing the science of habits, our small steps to learning every day will add up to be massive leaps in innovation and productivity by the end of the year.

Are you using AI in your business? Are you afraid of it? I’d love to know how! Comment below.

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