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Birger S. Bekkevold

I am here to tell you what is coming and ask you, if you are not planning on retiring in the next 3 years, to look at how technology can affect your business.

In the 1920's a revolution in agriculture began; Gasoline powered tractors were suddenly available at market which removed the need for most physical laborers on a farm. There was a choice to be made. As a farm owner, you had to look at the ROI on an expensive machine for the future of your business. As a farm-worker, you had to, Option A, learn about the machines that were on the way to replace your job and learn how to drive them, repair them or sell them, or Option B, get a new career. If you weren't able to implement the future-thinking strategy, you would get left behind. 

Now, everyone in every business is going to be that farm owner and that farm worker that needs to make revolutionary decisions for their business. AI is here. You can use AI to write email, or to write presentations. You can use AI to operate your customer service calls and automate your customer outreach. You can use AI to forecast your revenue and suggest strategies on how to drive your company forward. There is literally nothing AI can't help you with. 

You might say, "Oh, I don't know anything about that. I don't think I need it."

That is ok, but the companies that will use it will blast past so fast it will make your head spin. If it comes down to a company whose customers are waiting for someone in the shop to call them back because they are busy, or a company whose AI customer service can answer questions and book sales calls while you sleep, I hope you can begin to see who is going to win the service war.

A speaker at a conference we went to earlier this year said all companies will need to become tech companies. I wasn't sure I understood his meaning, but in the last 6 months AI has been implemented into all aspects of business and now I understand. You could be an traditional shoe-maker, but your customer service will need to be automated while you work the leather into a finely crafter product. You might be an old-school doctor who likes to take time to sit with each patient and really learn everything about their health, but someone is going to need to be answering those emils and booking your next appointments and it will be less expensive to have AI do it for you.

This is a frustrating and scary time for people who have run businesses the same way for 20+ years. But diminishing revenue will be the sign that something within the process needs to change inside a business and it is very likely first, to reduce costs, and second, to increase sales. Employees won't do that without being paid more and working minimal hours. AI will do that 24/7 for 365 days a year without being paid more and getting new benefits. I am not saying we have to like it. I am just saying here that it is now reality. 

So what you do with your business is your choice. I am not here to judge. I am here to tell you what is coming and ask you, if you are not planning on retiring in the next 3 years, to look at how technology can affect your business. We are going through the same process in our business, so don't think you are alone! There is a lot to learn. Let's do it together.

AI is Here. So What Does It Mean?

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