Thinking of starting your own business? – Yes, with the help of AI!
Many people dream of being their own boss. But just as many are afraid of putting this plan into practice. It goes without saying that the leap into self-employment brings its own set of hurdles. However, in many cases these concerns are unfounded, because you can take advantage of support in many forms nowadays. These include, for example, funding or online platforms that simplify customer acquisition, to name just two of many options. Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, also plays an increasingly important role.
What AI has to do with self-employment
Robots or gadgets such as “Alexa”, which can be found in more and more homes, are probably the first things that come to mind when you think of artificial intelligence. But AI’s potential is far greater than that, and it is slowly but surely making its way into most areas of life. It is quite likely that you will be frequently confronted with AI if you are self-employed, and the trend is rising. This may apply to a greater or lesser extent depending on the industry, but as a rule, it can be helpful in one way or another. A close look at the topic quickly reveals that self-employment and AI have a lot in common.
So how can AI help setting up your own business or, if you’ve already done so, increase your success?
1. More effective start-up preparation
Research is the be-all and end-all if you are not yet self-employed but planning to set up your own business. You can only implement your self-employment as quickly and effectively as possible if you have enough information at hand — thus avoiding typical “beginner’s mistakes” in the process.
First of all, you need an idea if you don’t have one yet; then you must check whether it has the potential to succeed. You will have to perform a competitor analysis and create a business plan, find a suitable location or a niche to set yourself apart from the competition, and it is definitely worth researching whether you are eligible for possible subsidies. This is far from being the end of the list of preliminary theoretical work before actually putting your project into practice. But the good news is that AI can help you perform this research. AI enables you to gather information more quickly and present it more clearly than without artificial intelligence.
The internet provides valuable research assistance, helping you to quickly obtain as much information as possible. Google and other search engines will prove to be your strongest allies in this phase, and they are constantly learning new things. There are also intelligent programs that carry out research according to your specifications and present the information obtained in such a way as to provide you with all the important information at a glance: This is, so to speak, a semantic search with the help of AI. This saves you wasted time clicking through dozens or even hundreds of web pages to filter out relevant information.
2. More data security
Regardless of which sector you start your own business in, you will most likely need an IT infrastructure. Maybe it’s just an Excel list on your PC as a solo self-employed person, or maybe it’s a comprehensive network for all your new employees. Either way, data security is a top priority – otherwise you, your customers, clients, employees or other stakeholders could face devastating consequences. This is a topic that you should not take lightly. After all, cybercrime incurs damages in the triple-digit billions — annually, and in Germany alone.
Artificial intelligence can actively support you here as well, because it helps prevent such attacks or, if worst comes to worst, detects and wards them off. The focus does not even have to be on security when introducing artificial intelligence. Rather, it can be a practical side effect of AI that primarily serves other purposes.
3. (More) Professional design
One such potential use for AI in your startup is design. Visuals play an important role — from the business plan to the labels on your first products. However, you don’t always need to invest a lot of money in a professional designer right from the start, especially if you’re only working on drafts or prototypes. Thanks to AI, you can now perform these tasks yourself, even without prior knowledge. Let’s stick with our example: Nowadays, you can create labels online with just a few clicks and select many different factors individually, from the material to the format to the finishing. Artificial intelligence automatically creates your desired label from this online calculation, so that it can go straight to print. And the possibilities are far more extensive – the so-called “generative design” is being used for all kinds of design solutions. In the future, AI will offer you, as a founder, professional design for a wide range of tasks.
4. Better online marketing
Online marketing is another possible application for AI in your fledgling business. When starting a business, the budget is often limited and consequently, so are the possibilities for hiring an internal or external marketing expert. Many founders therefore take online marketing into their own hands in the early days, in keeping with the motto “learning by doing”. However, you’re not entirely on your own if you don’t want to be, because AI can now also be used extensively in online marketing. It provides assistance, for example, in the form of analysis, reporting or web tracking tools, to name just a few of the many possibilities. In doing so, it provides you with important key figures for your marketing, enables the personalization of advertising strategies or the conversion of questions into targeted search queries — and the list is by no means over yet.
Artificial intelligence can already be used in a variety of ways in marketing –Artificial intelligence can even be used in email marketing– and the algorithms are improving all the time, which will open up even more possibilities in the foreseeable future. So while AI can’t entirely take online marketing off your hands, it can make it a lot easier if you have to, or want to, do without an expert. All you have to do is choose the right tool, familiarize yourself with it and develop a tracking concept. This will save you a lot of time, and if you do hire employees at some point, they can be trained directly and will also benefit from artificial intelligence in their work.
5. Simplifying the recruiting process
If one day you reach the point where you can and want to hire employees for your company, you also have the option of using artificial intelligence to assist you. In recruiting, this ranges from simple solutions in which you can enter criteria and then receive suitable suggestions for candidates, to highly complex AI systems that even conduct the interview for you.
However, the latter option is likely to be of more interest to large companies than startups, but as technologies evolve, this could change in the near future. Even today, artificial intelligence can actively support the recruitment process and thus make it easier.
As you can see, artificial intelligence has already made its way into many areas of work, and this can make your start in self-employment easier in many ways. AI may not yet be able to replace the basic work of setting up a company, but it can certainly take over important areas of work to accelerate and increase your success. It is therefore advisable to include AI from the beginning, wherever possible and useful, when you decide to start your own business. This will put you a big step ahead of the competition and allow you to benefit comprehensively from the modern technological possibilities.
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