3 Ways You Can Actually Use AI in Your Business (and Why You Should Still Be Careful With It) Get inspired with ideas on how to look at and implement greater generative AI into your strategy to stay competitive across product development, customer success, marketing, employee experience and investor efforts — but also where to also draw the line to avoid AI-driven issues some overly adoptive companies are facing.
- You can use generative AI to expand your product offerings, stay competitive, drive employee productivity and predict market trends more accurately.
- However, you should still be cautious with relying too much on AI.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The sky appears to be the limit for the ways entrepreneurs and CEOs can incorporate generative AI tools into their workflows. The one thing you can't afford to do with generative AI is ignore it.
I recently hosted a workshop for 30 early-stage CEOs to discuss ways to fuse generative AI into their business strategies. Here is some of the intel I shared, plus how you can give yourself an edge by responsibly and effectively incorporating this technology into your startup or business.
Entrepreneurs wisely using generative AI can strategically implement it into their narrative and general storytelling of their companies to in turn receive higher valuations from investors as well — here's how.
1. Expand your product offerings and stay competitive
I suggest reading up on Microsoft's collaboration with OpenAI. Microsoft jumped to incorporate ChatGPT's technology into Bing and its other products. Now, its users can work more efficiently in PowerPoint and its suite of Office products. Google responded by exploring the use of generative AI to expand its search capabilities.
Software development is another key area getting gen AI attention. Gen AI is helping developers code more efficiently, predicting the next lines of code based on code already written and responding to prompts. There's a spotlight on generative AI algorithm models like Large Language Models (LLMs) that can craft text based on the user's input data.
Every entrepreneur who wants to edge out the competition must find ways to apply generative AI to improve products and develop new offerings.
My company, Verbit, hosted an internal hackathon to gamify identifying ways to incorporate generative AI. It helped to get greater buy-in and inspire ideas. Our hackathon uncovered 13 ways to employ more AI, including two that we're commercializing.
Consider replicating this hackathon idea or encouraging brainstorms. Run them company-wide. Instead of just involving your more obvious teams, acknowledge that generative AI has the ability to impact the roles of nearly everyone. By involving less obvious stakeholders, you'll identify use cases for generative AI to disrupt processes you weren't even aware of.
Engaging your team in these ways won't just boost morale; it will release apprehension around the "negative" human impact of greater generative AI use. Instead, your team will be inspired by how they can apply it to expand your offerings to deliver better.
2. Drive employee productivity
AI should be seen as a gateway to make work more meaningful and efficient, not replace jobs. Using generative AI to eliminate dreaded, time-consuming tasks will keep your employees engaged. It will grant them the ability to focus on more creative tasks they're passionate about. Employee engagement is a metric entrepreneurs can't overlook because it translates to 23% higher profitability.
Since newer forms of AI are learning to be intuitive and interact naturally with humans, start by using AI that communicates with your teams and learns from their feedback to boost productivity. For example, generative AI has advanced the possibilities of working with chatbots. Teams can now summarize and pull data from chatbot-powered customer surveys and much more.
3. Predict market trends more accurately
For entrepreneurs to make informed decisions about investments, strategies and products, they must understand market trends. Generative AI is helping entrepreneurs gather more quality data than earlier AI forms.
AI is excellent at analyzing large sets of data, but generative AI can gather insights from unstructured data, like social media posts, audio files, text and other content. To be successful, entrepreneurs must pull in this additional information accessible to them through generative AI.
Generative AI can also create simulations to determine the impact of hypothetical "what-if" situations. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used generative AI to simulate the spread of COVID-19 and the efficacy of different responses. Audi used simulations to model manufacturing strategies and reduce its assembly line cycle time by 30%.
As an entrepreneur, you can benefit greatly by using generative AI for market simulation. If you don't use these tools, you'll be operating with less complete, lower-quality information than your competition.
Know where to draw the line
There are dangers in relying too heavily on gen AI. For example, AI uses data inputs for results. If the data is flawed, it can have consequences. This issue is already appearing in recruitment and hiring practices. Amazon canceled an AI-powered recruitment program after it proved to be biased against women. If you lean too much on AI alone, you could find yourself violating employment laws.
You'll need to be aware of ethical concerns to avoid instances of sharing sensitive information or violating data privacy laws as well. Generative AI can also hallucinate, meaning that it might give entirely wrong information, but package it in convincing language and reassuring confidence. Turning over too much responsibility to a chatbot could cause more harm than good.
For example, experts are warning against relying too much on tools like ChatGPT for search engine optimization (SEO). Google may decide to penalize companies that publish automated content, undermining their past SEO work. Make sure that your team has a process in place to check the outputs of the AI it's using.
There was the case of the "ChatGPT lawyer," who used the tool to draft a motion and ended up citing fake cases in court. The firm faced a fine and public humiliation, but in fields like health care, the consequences of faulty information could be worse and more dangerous.
Smart entrepreneurs will understand how to intelligently and strategically use generative AI, but they'll know where to draw the line. My advice is to be as savvy about the technology you employ as you are about the people you hire.
However, don't delay. Challenge your teams to use generative AI to work productively. Decide on a few areas of focus to implement it now, whether it's personalized content creation, marketing efforts, software development, customer operations or data analysis. Trust me, your competitors are already doing so.