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Gene (00:01):

Hey everybody, this is Gene Marks, and thanks for joining me this week on another episode of my weekly Small Biz Ahead podcast for The Hartford. Let’s get right to the news of this week, or the topic that I want to talk to you about. It has to do with AI. Listen, a lot of my clients are asking me about AI. I’m sure you are wondering about it as well. You’ve heard, I’m sure of ChatGPT from OpenAI. Business owners are like, “Hey, this thing seems to be real. It’s happening now. There’s gonna be more of it to come. What do I need to know?” Well, I’m gonna give you a few things that you need to know about AI, and I’m gonna use one specific use of AI that I think is important for you, and that’s Microsoft. Because when I look at all of my clients, for the most part, they’re either Microsoft users or they’re Google users.

Gene (00:50):

And I’m gonna write in the future about Google’s, AI uses. But I wrote recently in Forbes Magazine, about Microsoft because I think that Microsoft, they’re going to have a huge impact on the way that you do business. And if you’re a Microsoft user, you’re gonna be seeing the impact of AI pretty soon. And shortly thereafter, if you’re a Google user, you’ll be seeing the impact from them as well. But the impact from Microsoft is gonna be in the form of a new product that’s coming. It’s called Copilot. It was launched back in March, but for real, for all intents and purposes, it’s not available to the general public, so you can’t get it yet. But Copilot is basically Microsoft’s version of ChatGPT. Now remember, Microsoft owns 49% of OpenAI who makes ChatGPT.

Gene (01:43):

And not only that, but all of ChatGPT is run on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure. So for all intents and purposes, ChatGPT is Microsoft and Microsoft is ChatGPT. And the company is taking ChatGPT and they are gonna be incorporating it in a bunch of their products from Bing, their search engine to Windows their operating system to their mobile devices offered, and certainly in their Office 365 products as well. Now, Copilot is the chat that they’re calling ChatGPT. And the idea of Copilot is that it’s supposed to be a conversational AI, assistant to help you do things faster and more productively. And let’s take office as an example. Here’s an example. When Copilot is up and running in Microsoft Office, you’ll be able to attend two meetings at the same time. If you are in Microsoft Teams and you’re going to one meeting, you can have Copilot attend another teams meeting for you at the same time without you being there. Copilot will listen to the meeting. It will provide a transcript to you of the meeting.

Gene (02:58):

It will provide you a summary of the meeting, and if your name is mentioned and any tasks are assigned to you during the meeting, Copilot will schedule those tasks for you in Outlook as well. All without you being at the meeting. If you’re a Microsoft Excel user, you’ll be able to say to Copilot, analyze these rows or analyze this information and tell me which product line is more productive or profitable than another. Or what product that we’re selling has had the biggest sales growth in the past year. Or take these two columns and rows and create a chart showing me which are our most profitable products that we sold in 2022. You’re gonna tell it what to do and it’s going to do it. Copilot is gonna be your assistant. Now, it’s not replacing human beings, but what it’s doing is it’s helping you do things a lot faster.

Gene (03:52):

Because you can’t be in two meetings at the same time, can you? And if you are gonna do all these different things in Microsoft Excel, well, it takes time to learn how to do charts or to come up with the analysis or to create new worksheets based on other data. It takes time to do that. But Copilot will do it for you. It won’t do it perfectly. It won’t do it completely. You’re still gonna need to review it’s work just like any human doing the work for you. But it’ll certainly take you much farther down the road. Copilot’s gonna be everywhere in office. It’ll be a button that you click. So if you’re writing an email, you can click on Copilot in Outlook and say, “can you gimme an idea?” Or, a better way to say this, or a better way to write this, or “Can you research and show me some information that will help me with this point in the email?”

Gene (04:40):

If you’re doing the same thing in Word, the same thing in SharePoint, you can even ask Copilot while you’re in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation, “create a slide that does this” and it will just do it for you. Does that make sense? That’s what AI is, that’s what Copilot is going to be. Now, it does have an Achilles heel, which is your data, because it’s gotta be right if it’s gonna be performing any actions on it. And that’s a whole other topic for a completely other day. But the bottom line is, is that when you’re wanting to get your arms around AI and what it’s gonna do for you, go and do a little reading about Microsoft Copilot. Trust me, when I tell you all the other big software vendors that are out there, your accounting vendor, your CRM vendor, your HR vendor, they’re gonna be doing similar stuff.

Gene (05:27):

They’re gonna be looking and watching what Microsoft is doing, and they’re gonna have their own version of it. And that’s great. So you’re gonna leverage that. But if you really want to know what’s happening, Copilot is gonna tell you what’s happening. Now, again, it has not been released to the general public, but it should be out. I think by the end of the year. I don’t know for sure. I don’t work at Microsoft, but it’s under testing right now and it’s moving forward. So it is gonna be part of our future and it’s gonna be part of every software application’s future. AI is here. I know there are risks to…

Gene (05:56):

It, but I think the benefits are just absolutely… So that’s my advice to you this week. If you wanna learn about AI, go and investigate Microsoft CoPilot. Those are the things you need to know about it. You’ll learn even more when you research on your own and then you’ll know what questions to ask of your software vendor and how to prepare yourself for the oncoming AI tidal wave of new productivity tools that will really help you be more productive and hopefully help you be more profitable in your business. So just remember, if you don’t leverage these tools, you’re hurting your business because your competitors are gonna be doing it. You’ve gotta be doing it as well. So embrace them, don’t run away from them. My name is Gene Marks and you have been listening to this week’s episode of Small Biz Ahead. If you want any advice or tips or help in running your business, please visit us at or Hope you got some good information out of this little session. I’ll be back to you next week with another thought or a piece of advice to help you run your business that much better. Hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Take care.

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