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AI Helps Kick-Start New Business Concepts



The debate has been pretty intense on whether artificial intelligence will take away jobs, versus how many jobs it may create. But we have to look beyond AI’s impact on the traditional 9-to-5 employment box.

Consider another side of this story that gets nowhere near enough attention, but likely to have even a greater impact than the zero-sum jobs debate. That is the new businesses that now can be built on AI platforms, employing ideas that we have only begin to contemplate. AI may make entrepreneurship both for startups and established businesses far cheaper and more sustainable than ever before.

There are markets for everything, and when it comes to launching new business ideas, AI is a wide-open book just waiting to be filled — and even create new markets in the process.

It’s already happening. Emerging businesses employing AI are offering services ranging from automating customer inquiries to providing product recommendation capabilities, and invoice cleaning services.

Examples of AI-driven startups are documented in a YouTube production by technology influencer Liam Ottley. In one example, he cites a service startup “created an invoice-cleaning system that uses GPT to not only spellcheck but format and punctuate invoice descriptions” for service providers, such as plumbers or electricians. Plumbers “aren’t great at describing the work that’s been done,” Ottley explains. “What the AI system essentially does is ensures clarity and professionalism for the plumbing franchises.”

Still, launching AI-enhanced business concepts is a new, unexplored frontier, he admits. “This stuff is hard because we are literally paving the way for future businesses to follow, and there’s no handbook on what to sell or how to sell it. In many ways and in general they’re skeptical of allowing AI into their businesses. We’re definitely fighting an uphill battle at this point. We just have to figure it out.”

The good news is that it’s possible for startups or new business units to build AI-driven technology capabilities without extensive knowledge or technical skills, says Amit Walia, CEO of Informatica. “GenAI makes it easier for people to use technology without the need to create complicated interfaces. Instead of manually designing screens, buttons, and fields, these tasks might be achieved through natural language commands.”

The need for traditional development skillsets “may diminish as AI takes over these tasks, making it easier for executives and entrepreneurs to implement changes without extensive coding or interface design freeing up bandwidth to focus on more strategic tasks,” Walia adds.

“Instead of developers creating tools such as PowerBI dashboards, non-technical users can directly interact with data through conversation,” Walia says. “This streamlined approach eliminates both the time and cost associated with building a user interface.”

AI-powered tools and solutions are “absolutely boosting new business formation,” agrees Brian Lanehart, president and CTO of Momnt. “Because of the rapid acceleration of AI’s capabilities and applications to a range of business cases, new tools are coming into play almost every day, and with each tool comes new business opportunities.”

The clearest-cut case of AI-driven business creation “is with automation and data analytics and insights capabilities,’ Lanehart continues. “AI is taking the most time-consuming parts of business formation and continuity out of the equation for business leaders, automating tasks that were traditionally done by hand and analyzing massive amounts of data in only a few minutes. This gives entrepreneurs and startup businesses a great advantage when coming to market because it allows them to focus their likely slim staffs on more strategic aspects of the business and to support its overall growth.”

Still, it’s also important to remember that AI alone won’t launch a new business venture — it’s always up to inspired people to make the idea work. “Generative AI as a business tool is just that – it is a tool, albeit a potentially formidable one for its ability to generate a volume of ideas and tactics faster than humanly possible,” says Ian Clayton, chief product officer of Redpoint Global.

Consider, for example, “a chief marketing officer of a clothing retailer who asks ChatGPT to develop an annual marketing plan, prompting it to generate a few innovative marketing campaigns,” Clayton says. “While the response might be impressive, both for its level of detail and that it might take 15 seconds versus days if not weeks for a team to generate something similar, it is still just one voice at the table.”

While generative AI offers “an educated voice from reading and analyzing millions of pages on the internet, how much does it know about your specific business or your customers?” Clayton continues. “Unless it is prompted with information relevant to your business, its answer will likely be relevant to anyone.”

It all comes down to peoples’ ability to leverage data, which is at the very core of most business innovation these days. AI, now accessible to all businesses, introduces “pattern recognition, trend identification and opportunity discovery within large datasets,” Walia observes. “AI can also analyze data to reveal hidden insights, suggest useful information or connections for innovation and predict upcoming trends and market needs. AI can also help in handling routine tasks to allow people to focus on more creative work and maintaining feedback loops that support in adapting and innovating based on user input.”

Because of AI’s ability to process and analyze massive amounts of data, “business leaders can identify important business trends or financial analytics in real-time,” Lanehart adds.

To move forward, it’s important to look at the opportunity or market need first, and not push AI for AI’s sake, Lanehart cautions. “AI has a lot of nuances, and the perceived versus real benefits of AI can vary vastly across any company of any size.”

At the same time, identifying use cases for AI tools “can be challenging, and it parallels the general lean advice of ‘decide what your core value prop is and outsource the rest,’” says Lanehart. “Start by asking where AI can add the most value to the business. Is now the right time to undertake the effort and focus on integrating AI in this area of the startup?”

Next, “ask if the business has access to enough data to inform the tool.” he continues. “AI is highly dependent on good data, so if the business doesn’t have sufficient data, is generative AI a possible fit? Finally, consider how AI will be integrated into the startup. Can AI enhance the value prop of the business? Is it the core offering? It’s important for entrepreneurs to realize that AI cannot and will not solve all problems.”

Keep humans in the loop as well — just because a business is 24×7 and automated doesn’t mean it should run unattended. “Ask AI to optimize a consumer UI, for example, but make sure the designers have the final say,” says Lanehart. ”AI is still expensive to leverage and implement, both from a monetary and time perspective. Startups are almost always under-resourced at the start, so make sure the focus remains on the overarching business goal – what the AI can and will do – and don’t get distracted by what AI could do.”

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