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Pictured: Robot ‘Pepper’ | Credit: Alex Knight

A step-by-step guide to automating your business for growth

AI permeates our lives in fascinating ways. Purpose-built models support medical image screenings for breast cancer, wildlife conservation leverages AI to track species populations, and earlier this year Waymo received approval to operate driverless robotaxis for paying passengers in LA and San Francisco.  

Soon, smart small teams of early adopters of Generative AI will be able to scale businesses beyond revenue reaches that were previously never thought possible. Think $50-$100 Million dollar companies owned and operated by 5-9 people massively leveraging automation and AI to wield power and data to do more frictionlessly. 

As programmers, employing AI to write code, race to develop sophisticated purpose-built platforms to answer everyday business challenges from customer service to inventory management and content creation, the barrier to enter entrepreneurship is dropping. Never before could individuals build products and services at such accessible rates because of the advancements across tech like 3D printing, cloud computing, and particularly artificial intelligence. 

Currently, at Botanical Gp, we’re building what we call Force Multiplier – stitched together AI and Automation tools – to massively expand the impact individuals and teams can have in their organizations by leveraging tools like Make, Zapier, and ChatGPT. A Human Resources leader at a large hotel management group and I are creating a custom GPT as an internal resource so that thousands of their workers can ask questions about their 401k benefits, time off, and access to dental care whenever they want.  We’re enabling boutique professional services firms to increase clients and revenue through smarter prospecting on LinkedIn and cold email. 

Skeptical? You should be, though the results and case studies keep pouring in. 

A step-by-step guide to automating your business for growth

Rarely is the ‘why’ of a business to employ more people. The reason could be human-centric and, in the case of an NGO, strictly humanitarian, but their mission isn’t about growing headcount. Artificial intelligence is going to remove task-based routine work from us sooner than we think. Robots are already being deployed at restaurant chains like SweetGreens, and if you aren’t paying attention at this moment, the skills necessary to be part of the next wave of change will pass you by. 

AI won’t replace you. A person using AI will. 

-Someone on the internet

As large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT continue to be enhanced with more training, future releases will be capable of jobs and tasks we’ve previously needed teams of people to do. Businesses can dynamically time inventory based on demand, water can be allocated to the right communities ahead of disasters, and we can save loved ones through advanced imaging that only AI can see. 

So, where should you start? We’re going to do a choose-your-own-adventure. Scan the questions below to find relevant circumstances that pertain to you, and then zoom in on what Day 0 action steps you can take to get things started. 

Where in your organization are employees bogged down by repetitive tasks that could easily be automated, and how might freeing up this time impact your business’s growth and innovation?

  • Example: Implementing Zapier to automate routine data entry tasks could reallocate dozens of hours weekly towards strategic projects, fostering innovation and growth.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • List all repetitive tasks currently performed manually across different departments.
    • Identify tasks with high automation potential, focusing on those that consume significant time and have clear rules.
    • Create a free Zapier account and explore the Zapier University tutorials to understand how Zapier works and its capabilities.

How could AI-powered customer service bots, like ChatGPT, transform your customer satisfaction scores, and what does that mean for customer loyalty and revenue?

  • Example: Deploying ChatGPT for 24/7 customer inquiries can significantly reduce response times and improve satisfaction, potentially increasing customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Evaluate your current customer service channels and identify areas with high query volumes and delays in response times.
    • Research AI customer service solutions or explore building a custom GPT chatbot 
    • Sign up for ChatGPT or similar AI chatbot trials and set up a basic query-response flow to test its efficiency.

How can automation tools streamline your supply chain management, and how could this impact your ability to meet customer demands more efficiently?

  • Example: Using Make to automate inventory restocking alerts could minimize stockouts and ensure timely fulfillment of customer orders, enhancing reliability and trust in your brand.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Map out your supply chain process, identifying bottlenecks or stages prone to delays.
    • Explore automation platforms like Make (formerly Integromat) for supply chain solutions.
    • Set up alerts for low inventory levels as a pilot project to automate reordering processes.

How can AI insights into customer behavior and trends revolutionize your product development or service offerings, and what does that mean for your competitive edge?

  • Example: Leveraging AI to analyze customer feedback and market trends could lead to innovative product features that address unmet needs, distinguishing your offerings in a crowded market.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Gather existing customer feedback and sales data for analysis.
    • Explore AI tools capable of processing natural language to extract insights from customer feedback.
    • Start a pilot project to analyze feedback for one product line to identify trends and opportunities.

What manual processes could be automated in your marketing or sales process to improve conversion rates and reduce the sales cycle?

  • Example: Automating lead scoring and follow-up emails with Zapier can ensure potential customers are engaged at the right time, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Map your current marketing and sales funnel, identifying stages that require manual input.
    • Explore Zapier’s marketing automation solutions and identify potential zaps (automation) that can connect your CRM, email platform, and other tools.
    • Implement simple automation, such as automating email follow-ups for new leads.

How might integrating AI and automation in your financial analysis and forecasting improve accuracy and decision-making speed?

  • Example: AI algorithms can quickly analyze vast amounts of financial data to identify trends and predict future performance, helping leaders make informed decisions faster.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Identify critical financial metrics crucial for your decision-making but time-consuming to analyze.
    • Research AI financial analysis tools like DataRails and Domo that can integrate with your existing financial software.
    • Test these new AI tools with a subset of your financial data to evaluate their predictive analytics capabilities.

How can you enhance personalized customer experiences, and how might this impact customer retention?

  • Example: Using AI to tailor product recommendations based on individual customer behavior can significantly enhance the shopping experience, encouraging repeat business.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Identify segments of your customer base that would benefit most from personalized experiences.
    • Investigate AI tools that offer personalization engines for product recommendations.
    • Implement a small-scale personalization test on your website or in email marketing. 

How can you enhance your team’s collaboration and productivity? How could removing friction points affect your company culture and employee satisfaction?

  • Example: Automating workflow approvals with Make can streamline project progress, while AI-driven insights can facilitate more effective team collaborations, potentially boosting morale and productivity.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Identify communication bottlenecks within your team or between departments.
    • Explore tools like Make for automating routine approvals or information flows.
    • Set up an automation to notify team members when tasks are completed or pending approval.

In what ways can AI and automation help you mitigate risks and comply with regulatory changes more efficiently?

  • Example: AI tools can monitor regulatory updates and automate compliance processes, reducing non-compliance risk and associated penalties.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Identify the most pressing regulatory compliance challenges for your business.
    • Research AI tools designed to monitor regulatory changes and automate compliance tasks.
    • Implement a monitoring system for one aspect of your compliance needs as a trial.

How could leveraging AI and automation in your business not only improve operational efficiencies but also drive sustainable practices and corporate social responsibility?

  • Example: AI can optimize resource allocation and supply chain routes to reduce waste and emissions, aligning operational efficiency with sustainability goals.
  • Day 0 Steps:
    • Conduct an audit of your business operations to identify areas where waste is generated.
    • Explore AI solutions that optimize resource use, such as route optimization for logistics.
    • Start with a project to reduce energy consumption or waste in one part of your business, using AI for data analysis and monitoring progress.

Now is the time to explore purpose-built platforms that can be Force Multipliers for your business. 

Artificial Intelligence will require us to reflect as a species and determine what we value and how we value it.

New business models, rapid innovation, and low barriers to entry will even the playing field that capital constraints have historically created. 

Carve out time to reflect on the important and non-urgent work (Eisenhower Matrix) that moves your business forward and see where you can build your own Force Multipliers. Join groups like CopyClub.ai that can advance your exposure to new tools, teach you how to create custom GPTs, and are a home where peers share examples of how they’re leveraging these tools.

As the next generation of LLMs and AI gets rolled out this summer (like ChatGPT5), curious and determined individuals who learn how to stitch these tools together to add value to the marketplace will do so without needing teams of people. 

It’s an exciting time to be alive, 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

-Margaret Mead 

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Drew Cesario

Drew Cesario

Drew Cesario is an accomplished business consultant with experience in spearheading sales and marketing teams, championing a startup towards a triumphant exit, and now implementing strategic initiatives to drive revenue growth as a Fractional Chief Revenue Officer at Eco Six Pack Rings. With a passion for sustainable and eco-conscious CPG enterprises, his focus is helping leaders declutter strategies and elevate their businesses through adept revenue operations and intricate marketing systems. Drew’s recent projects include exploring offshoring and pioneering AI applications to boost productivity and reduce costs–focusing on how these strategies intersect with improved talent retention.

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