How Artificial Intelligence Can Help You to Start Your Business
If you are starting a business today, you must use AI. Not using it would be akin to turning your back on the opportunities motorised transport offered at the start of the 20th Century.
Covid-19 has brought into focus the adoption of digital technologies; nearly every day we hear about business contraction and job losses. If you look behind the headlines you may see the statement: “the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated changes already occurring in society.”
Technology is one of the four key change drivers in society. Over the last few years there is a new kid on the block, AI. AI is embedded in everyday tools and services so anyone can use the technology without the need for specialist technical skills.
A few may start AI businesses that go on to be successful; however, most businesses will adopt AI to augment their business processes and add value to the customer experience. For these, I offer the following three- point framework.
The Product/Service Value Proposition
The fundamentals of business have not changed: businesses need to offer customers something they will value.
So, what is your business proposition? It needs to be something you can make or do that is based on something you feel passionate about; perhaps some unique insights you have gained through lived experience, maybe through many years of experience you have a unique way of solving a problem, perhaps you see a gap in the market. Alternatively, you could have a creative concept or coaching idea.
Be clear on who your customers will be both now and, in the future, the problem you solve for them and hence the value you will deliver.
Customer Engagement and Operating Processes
There are AI tools available to aid productivity, automate or eliminate routine activities, provide insights into customer sentiment and even develop novel personalised products and services.
You should investigate software bots for conversing with customers and automating clerical processes, hardware robots and/or drones to automate manual processes and the use of video and other digital technologies to help deliver a more empathetic customer engagement. As with any business, it is necessary to map out the customer journey from the initial enquiry through to post–sales support – as well as the operational processes to support your business overall.
AI learns from data and will deliver you better outputs over time. This is one of the principal distinguishing features of this new technology. AI tools can address unstructured data such as videos, pictures, social media posts etc., as well as traditional spreadsheets and databases. I encourage you to treat data as a valuable commodity, since you will need as much of it as possible if it is ultimately to be useful. Therefore, start collecting it, labelling it, and storing it. Allied to this you must adhere to the regulatory guidelines.
Embrace AI today
AI is already the brains behind many tools we use in our day-to–day lives and the pace of adoption is increasing. AI fundamentally transforms the value proposition of the products and services it touches and addresses many of the productivity challenges that businesses and society faces.
The most successful businesses will be those that have an ambitious vision for the evolution of the way they work, and that commit to the use of AI as a business enabler. AI has been termed the fourth industrial revolution; you must embrace it to augment the human skills in your business.
About the author
John Michaelis is an expert in the practical aspects of using AI and an experienced business consultant. He is an active angel investor and board advisor for early-stage AI companies. John was the founding shareholder of Aurora, which became the market leader in AI solutions for the air sector, before a successful exit. John is the author of You++, a practical guide to how to be more successful using AI.