Getting Started with AI. And Why You Should, Even If You Don't Run an Office

update: 09 February 2024

53% of Rinkel users are already using some AI tooling, our research shows. 79% have a (very) positive opinion about AI. The top 3 emotions they feel around the subject are curiosity, fascination and amazement. We share their enthusiasm, because we see many possibilities for making your work easier and more profitable. At the same time, we understand that getting started with AI can seem intimidating. This article will help you get started.

There’s a lot of news and talk and blogs about AI, but none of it seems to apply to you, right? You’re too busy running your business to make a study of all this material and find out how all this technology works. 

We have good news for you here: you don’t need to. But adopting AI and getting the most out of it does require some effort on your side. Keep reading to find out which 6 steps you need to take to have AI improve your business.  

Why should I care about this? I work with my hands!

We understand. You don’t work behind a desk, and all this talk about AI sounds like it’s for bank directors and computer nerds. It’s not. You already use AI every day. Whether scrolling on Instagram or figuring out what to watch on Netflix: AI is helping you find what you need. Your email app uses AI to filter spam and determine which emails are important. And you probably use a bookkeeping app that uses AI to read receipts and invoices and match them to bank transactions. 

AI is not something you ‘buy’ or ‘switch on’. It’s just there, inside the apps you use daily, helping you and doing things that, when done by hand, take too long or cause too many mistakes. Like copying numbers from an invoice. Or reading every page on the internet to see if they contain a spaghetti recipe. Aren’t you glad the Google AI already did that for you? 

6 steps to success

But where do you start? Here are 6 steps to implementing AI without being overwhelmed, creating insecurity for your staff or wasting time and money: 

1. Find where the biggest gains would be for you

Make a list of the tasks that take you and your team the most time. Plus, those that go wrong most often. These are the things AI should be helping you with. Now, go find solutions that help you with these tasks. Ignore everything else, however enticing the marketing materials. 

2. Deal with questions and objections early

Will AI replace me? Is my data safe? Will AI make working with customers less personal? I don’t like AI technology, because I don’t understand how it works!

These are just some of the questions and objections you will hear from your staff – or have yourself – when investigating the possibilities of AI. Take these seriously and deal with them early in the process. Be open to questions and discussions. Never force technology on unwilling employees or customers, because this will inevitably backfire. Instead, make the use of AI ‘opt-in’, giving staff and customers the option to not use it. Also, make sure you are aware and comply with all rules and laws for data storage and processing. 

To read more about how we feel about the ethical side of AI and what we do to use AI responsibly and in a user-friendly way, read the Rinkel AI Manifesto for ethical and successful adoption of AI. 

3. Get demos, education and hands-on experience

Trying new things yourself is always better than talking about them. Find software companies that will give you free demos. Try solutions out (many have free trials). Ask questions, on calls or via email. Any company unwilling to help you now, will probably also be hard to deal with later. You don’t want their software. Once you’ve chosen a software product, get all the training you can for yourself and your employees. 

4. Find experiences from other companies and share them with your staff

Listening to the stories of other AI users can give you a good idea of what will work for you. Take the time to talk to fellow entrepreneurs. It will save you a few mistakes and maybe give you a couple of success stories to convince your employees. 

5. Implement in small steps

Don’t rush into AI. Give your people (and yourself) time to get used to working with the technology. Get a feel for the value, and when it gets things wrong (it will!). Take the next step only when you’re ready. 

6. Decide together

Give your employees a say in which technology you use. Be open to ideas, feedback and worries and give them control over their data. 

It should never be about technology

We love technology. But we’re not about technology. For an entrepreneur, the ‘off’ switch is the most crucial switch on a phone. To be successful in the long run, you and your people need a healthy work-life balance, control and plenty of room for deep, focused work. AI technology can help with that. 

Rinkel aims to help you run your business without spending your evenings and weekends running your business or having your employees do unsatisfying grunt work. AI, and especially the type of language model that powers ChatGPT, is the catalyst for many possibilities. But it is up to us how we will use them. For us, the only question is: does it contribute to creating more space and time for you and the people that work for you? We only build the features that do.