How to Use AI to Start a Business: 6 Strategies to Adopt 

Paige Smith

Starting a new business is a big undertaking, but the right tools can help you lay the groundwork for success. Enter AI. More and more entrepreneurs and business leaders are using artificial intelligence technology to grow their operations—but can you use it to build a business from scratch?

The answer is a resounding yes. Keep reading to discover how AI tools can help you start a business, as well as the most profitable way to use them. 

What are some ways you can leverage AI to start a business?

AI tools can speed up administrative and business development processes, assist with brainstorming, and fill in operational gaps, especially for certain business models, like ecommerce companies. 

However, it’s crucial to be prepared first. If you want to start a business, you need an original idea, a robust business plan, and sufficient financing. 

How to use AI to start a business

You don’t need AI to start a business, but you can use it to offset your workload or jumpstart your creative thinking. 

1. Build on your business knowledge with help from AI 

Behind every savvy business owner is a lot of practical knowledge. Whether you’re starting a business for the first time or expanding into a new niche, you’re going to end up doing a lot of Google searching and reading. 

AI can facilitate the research process by gathering and synthesizing information at lightning speed. Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Google Gemini generate human language text in response to user questions and inputs. 

If you need to look into a particular topic or brush up on your business knowledge, all you have to do is input your question or request. The LLM you use will pull the most relevant information, whether it’s a deep dive on a complex issue, basic background information, step-by-step instructions, or actionable suggestions. 

2. Conduct market research using an LLM

Conducting market research is critical to building an effective business model and writing a thorough business plan, but the process can be tedious. That’s where AI tools come in handy. 

LLMs can find and categorize relevant market data for you, saving you time and ensuring your research is as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible. LLMs will gather and analyze data from a wide variety of sources—including consumer reports, industry surveys, and business news—and then summarize the most important information, highlighting key data points and insights for you.

You can then use that data to inform your business strategy and make decisions about: 

  • Which customer demographics to target
  • How to position your products or services to appeal to your target market 
  • How to price your offerings
  • How to differentiate your business from your competitors
  • Which marketing methods to try
  • What messaging makes the most sense

You might even discover that the market data from an LLM gives you more clarity about what not to do with your business model—or motivates you to move in a different direction entirely. That’s helpful, too. After all, part of starting a business is experimenting and exploring your options. AI might just speed up the process. 

3. Set up your business operational processes with support from AI 

Once you feel confident about your business plan, you can use AI to help put your business in operating mode. AI-powered business software solutions automate backend processes and gather analytics, so you can run operations more efficiently and focus on business growth. 

A great place to start is with accounting and finance. AI tools help you keep your finances organized so you don’t make costly accounting errors or overextend your budget. You can use an AI-powered accounting solution like Gusto to automate payroll, track expenses, run custom financial reports, and create sales and cash flow forecasts. 

AI is also helpful for inventory management, especially if you’re new to managing stock levels and estimating demand. AI-powered inventory management platforms automatically track inventory levels and orders and send alerts when items are low in stock. 

Plus, many of these tools provide valuable business insights you can use to maximize sales. Think: customer demand forecasts, suggestions for minimum and maximum stock levels for certain items, and price matching between vendors. 

4. Use AI tools to build out your business website

In today’s business landscape, a strong digital presence is essential, regardless of whether you’re starting an ecommerce business or opening up a brick-and-mortar establishment. If you don’t have the time or budget to invest in hiring a website developer or copywriter, you can use AI tools to create a functional, engaging website. 

Here’s how:

  • Use an AI-powered website builder: Pick a theme and template with a site like Wix, or use a tool like Framer, which builds a website based on a prompt you give (e.g. “website for an ecommerce company selling beauty products”). 
  • Use an LLM to generate ideas for landing page copy: Use ChatGPT to generate a first draft of landing page copy, or try an AI tool like Unbounce to build a custom landing page with copy suggestions.  
  • Use an LLM to help write product descriptions: If you have a lot of products on your site, try using an LLM to create product descriptions. LLMs can give you a rough draft or template to work with, so you’re not starting from scratch with your copy. 
  • Add AI-powered customer service features: Install an AI chatbot to answer customer questions and share product recommendations with customers 24/7. 

5. Use AI to fill in the gaps in your marketing plan

Creating a strategic marketing plan is critical to starting a business on the right foot—and certain AI tools can streamline marketing tasks and give you more data for decision-making. Here’s how you can use AI to develop a more thorough marketing plan: 

  • Pull the latest market data to make decisions around product positioning, messaging, campaign strategies, and distribution methods. 
  • Create first-draft content of social media posts, emails, blog posts, and ads. 
  • Create sample customer profiles you can use to personalize ads and emails.

6. Take advantage of AI to facilitate recruiting and hiring

If you need to hire an employee for your business, AI tools can support you through the recruiting and vetting processes. 

Start by using an LLM to help draft a job description. Gusto’s new job post generator creates high-quality, customizable job descriptions for you using information about your industry, business model, and job position. 

Next, consider using an AI-powered applicant tracking system to help you organize and review job applications. In addition to automatically screening job applications, these tools can sort candidates based on qualification and skill level, then identify the best options for you. 

What’s the most profitable way to use AI?

According to the US Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Impact of Technology on Small Business Report, businesses that use were 12% more likely to see an increase in profits compared to non-AI users. 

There are countless ways to use AI, but the two most profitable ways are improving operational efficiency and informing decision-making. 

When AI tools automate and optimize business processes, the result is a higher degree of accuracy, greater cost savings, and more time to spend on growth and customer connection. 

AI’s other primary strength is data analytics. The more insight you have into your business—on everything from customer sentiment to cash flow—the easier it is to make strategic decisions to improve it. The potential result: loyal customers, higher sales, and steadier revenue. 

However, analytics-based AI tools perform best with substantial sets of data. While new and established operations can both benefit from AI automation tools, new businesses with minimal internal data won’t benefit from AI-powered cognitive insights as much as established businesses with years of financial and customer records to pull from. 

The bottom line: AI isn’t a replacement for business expertise or dedication. That said, if you have a smart business concept and a viable business plan, AI can support you as you build. Check out our guide breaking down eight practical business applications for AI

Starting a successful business

If you’re starting a business for the first time—or pivoting to a new industry—Gusto can help. Explore our resource page for tips and actionable advice on starting a business that has staying power. 

Paige Smith Paige is a content marketing writer specializing in business, finance, and tech. She regularly writes for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies and small business lenders. See more of her work here:
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