Entrepreneurs are better at finding and keeping customers, growing their businesses faster, running with a more flexible and talented team, and saving money than they have ever been before.
Why? Machine learning.
Machine learning, sometimes called AI and often represented by Google search algorithms and ad campaigns, has transformed the way entrepreneurs do business and opened the door to aspiring entrepreneurs who otherwise couldn’t get started.
Three major advantages that machine learning gives entrepreneurs are understanding customers, expediting growth, and providing a streamlined workforce, all of which result in saved money.
Understanding and Targeting Customers
Machine learning allows an entrepreneur to cut a window into every potential customer’s skull (figuratively, so no assault charges) and understand much more about their preferences than previously thought possible. Algorithms processing a customer’s searches, habits, and purchases put the right product in front of the right customer. There’s no use advertising a tree-trimming business to a person living in a high-rise in the city, and machine learning limits these occurrences by understanding who is on the other side of the screen or walking past digital signs.
Interacting with customers is easier with a machine on patrol. Immediate, positive automated interactions when a customer complains or returns an item can make the difference in review ratings, which in turn make a difference in search engine ranking and overall success.
Expediting Manageable Growth
It used to take a good deal of timely customer interaction and data analysis to understand where a business could improve. Now this information can be predicted based off sample statistics and demographic information.
Products and services improve more quickly and a business grows faster when similar business models are compared, so an entrepreneur knows how and where to invest their energy based on statistical results rather than guesses.
A Streamlined, Flexible, and Talented Workforce
Employees and entrepreneurs are connected more efficiently when a machine matches skills with requirements. The internet of things (IoT) generation eliminates the need for an office space and means an entrepreneur can hire the right talent regardless of geographical location.
When an entrepreneur no longer has to concern themselves with the electric bill for 9-5 office hours, team members are able to choose hours that are most productive for them–focusing on quality of work rather than hours worked. Being able to make every one of your child’s baseball games takes the sting out of overtime and provides an incentive for talented employees to stay.
Many entrepreneurs don’t realize how much time and energy it takes to perform day-to-day business tasks like weeding out emails, compiling customer data, and accounting. Software can replace employees and is often the better fiscal decision–even when the software is expensive. Many automated technologies are free or inexpensive, and when low-cost is combined with less employee hours, machine learning is the clear winner.
At my company ZipBooks, we automate bookkeeping tasks for customers. This saves the average entrepreneurs two hours per month, eliminating repetitive reconciliation. Business owners can focus more time and energy on improving their products and services–doing what they do best and letting machine learning do the rest.
Jaren Nichols is Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks.
Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.