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The Future Founder's Guide to Artificial Intelligence 2024 will be the year to bring your idea to life. Will AI beat you to it?

By Bryan Karas

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Somewhere, a future founder is chewing on an idea that could change the world. Not this year, given the state of the economy and funding and SVB-fueled turmoil, but 2024 will be the year to bring that idea to life.

What that would-be founder doesn't yet know is that they'll soon be entering a race against time and dwindling financial reserves. The more time before they hit it big, the greater the likelihood they'll get beat to the punch. The more money they burn without seeing a sufficient return, the more likely they'll run out of budget before they raise money or get purchased.

Luckily for that founder, AI's rapid innovation can change the dynamics of that race — if the founder approaches AI with the right mindset.

Related: AI Can Crack Most Common Passwords in Less Than a Minute — Here's How to Set a Safe One

How AI will save you time

AI is already proficient at saving time on universal business initiatives like copywriting, social post scheduling, image creation and editing, and even forecasting cash flow. If you don't think it's widely in use on the corporate level, consider that three months after ChatGPT's public release, it had racked up over 1B visits.

Creative ideation should still be the provenance of humans familiar with and invested in the particular benefits of your product or service. That said, AI has some powerful creative uses. Once you understand why certain creative performs well, distill what made them perform, and create edits and iterations to fit specific media channels.

Today's tools, especially the free ones like ChatGPT, aren't perfect; founders will still need resources to QA every AI output for red flags. But even 60% proficiency at basic business and marketing tasks can provide significant time savings.

I recently asked ChatGPT to write a pitch deck outline given some specific details and parameters, and the output was surprisingly on point. This is a massive time-saver for me since I don't have a full-time sales resource; our staff is almost entirely focused on client service. If you're not a salesperson, don't have sales resources, and need a starting point for a pitch, one thoughtful prompt can save you hours of time.

Founders rarely hire enough people to fill necessary skill sets out of the gate. But tomorrow's founders can use AI to get to a skills and knowledge baseline quickly and efficiently.

AI's other big use case for founders is speeding up the research process and filling knowledge gaps. Over 40% of startups that fail do so because they've misread the market demand – and you can use AI to stay out of that particular segment.

How? From the germination of a big idea, founders can use ChatGPT to "show me the companies addressing {idea}" and refine their prompts as needed to identify particular selling points and messaging already in the market – and where gaps still exist. For instance, I used this prompt sequence:

What SaaS companies are good at marketing attribution

What SaaS companies are good at offline conversion tracking

What SaaS companies are good at digital OOH tracking

By the end of the sequence, my output went from enterprise brands to small brands focusing in niche segments, like tracking performance of physical wraparound ads on vehicles. Pick your vertical, drill down, and find an open lane ripe for your solution.

Related: 5 Ways ChatGPT Is Empowering People with Disabilities

How AI will save you money

The biggest percentage of a startup's overhead costs is usually payroll. The more you spend on payroll without bringing in much revenue (a typical startup situation), the higher your burn multiple, which gives you less runway before you raise funding and makes you much less attractive to investors. (Running out of cash is responsible for 29% of startup failures.)

While there's a lot of hand-wringing about how quickly AI will replace humans (which has been a dilemma since at least the Industrial Age), it's great for founders who need to conserve cash.

(Another caveat: AI will not produce better work than humans with experience, but it will be much cheaper and a passable substitute until founders get funding. For instance, instead of hiring a customer service team to run a hotline, run an AI-enabled chatbot that learns nuance over time, and make sure you have a way to act on the input that requires human attention.)

Aside from simple cost savings on human capital, AI can help founders save tons of cash by helping them manage cash allocation across the business. We are already seeing many companies claiming they are leveraging AI to connect data from Google Analytics, Meta, AdWords, and others. With third-party tools that will provide a much better picture of ROI and effective budget allocation.

There's no doubt that by 2024, founders will be able to not only leverage AI for marketing budget allocation but also to integrate properties like your Amazon account, 3PL systems, CRM and production facilities to make better proactive business decisions, reduce returns, address customer churn and prevent excess inventory overhead.

Related: How AI Is Shaping the Cybersecurity Landscape — Exploring the Advantages and Limitations

How you should approach your first couple of hires with AI in mind

By 2024, you'll want to prioritize AI experience for your hiring needs. Fluency in the language and the ability to think creatively about ways to use AI will be important. I'm looking at AI proficiency today, much like companies sought proficiency in Microsoft Office back in the 2000s or the Google suite of products in the 2010s.

If you're building software or tech, hire engineers who can leverage AI to build code, which is a more black-and-white arena than creative. Paying for hand coding will put you at a disadvantage; your engineering team should leverage AI as an extension of their skills.

Companies will also see a rise of a Chief AI Officer (CAIO) to build the strategy and execution of an AI tool and vendor stack. Or at least the CTO will need to be hyper-focused on this area to avoid falling victim to the innovator's dilemma.

Wrap-up

The one place AI can't help you (yet) is coming up with an original big idea that can change the world. But if you're germinating something new and exciting and want to give yourself the best shot at success, it's high time to get familiar with the AI tools that can help you along the way.

Bryan Karas

CEO of Playbook Media and GrowTal

Bryan Karas is a career marketer, having spent nearly two decades helping businesses of all sizes scale their marketing efforts. Bryan founded Playbook Media in 2017 to help entrepreneurs to navigate the many pitfalls of growth marketing.

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