AI Increases Odds of Startup Success

Start-up entrepreneurs are naturally risk takers. We go against the odds to out-innovate the incumbents who are endowed with better resources. We want to win and win big like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk with innovative products that will change the world.

While it is good to dream big and aim for the stars, it is also useful to stand grounded and move steadily towards the big goal. The reality is that the journey of entrepreneurship is fraught with failure and CB Insights did an interesting poll which unveils the main reasons for failure.

Source: Fortune

How to cope with these types of problems.

Looking at these top 20 reasons for failure, we can tackle the ways to cope with these problems. Running out of cash is a major source of failure after having a product that no one needs. For most start-ups, especially if they are technology intensive, labor costs tend to be the major source of financial burden.

Despite that, you need to pay programmers with decent salaries and shares to entice the good ones over, you need proper sales and marketing staff to sell their products because even if you have the best products but no one knows about it, then you will fail too. The irony is that if you spend too much on these talents, then cost will skyrocket and price you out the market.

Saving on marketing cost with artificial intelligence.

While product development cost varies from product to product, the marketing costs should be standardized. We have heard about marketing automation tools such as Hubspot and Salesforce.

These solutions can be part of your effective marketing toolbox but the real excitement lies in the application of artificial intelligence for leads generation and customer segmentation.

Most effective way to close a sale.

One of the most effective way to close the sales would be to reach out to the senior management. Machine learning allows you to identify the senior management in bulk when you launch your sales campaign. Think about it, without machine learning, you will have to manually scroll through your prospects Linkedin page to find the directors of the company.

Source: Prospectify

This research effort would take days to complete and studies have shown that companies save 20 hours on average by using machine learning. That 20 hours can be used to close sales. The platform also calls the clients on your behalf to ensure that the phone number is valid and applies the same for emails.

Immediate response with AI Powered Chat Bot.

Ignoring your customers is one sure-fire way to lose them but we cannot be manning the chatbox or phone all the time when we are in the office. There will be times where we have to meet other customers, suppliers, investors, regulators who demand a slice of our time. The proper way to do this would be create a chatbot which can be customized for different customer engagement requirements.

There are several options in the market such as IBM’s Cognea, Facebook’s M and Slack’s Slackbot to name a few for you to choose. Studies have shown that you can reduce the cost of customer service by 30 percent if you engage a proper chatbot which also reduces the cost of sales.

Yes, there are times where customers approach you with the intention to buy. The medical industry is one good example.

Source: Chatbot Magazine

Good chatbots are able to understand the context of the conversation.

If they engage the customers at your blog page, they should be asking questions to start a relationship. If the customers have been browsing on your product pages and downloading marketing documents, when they engage with your chatbot, your chatbot should be more direct in bringing the clients down the sales funnel.

The risk is in the poor programming of these chatbot which turns racists or alienate your customers over time.  These chatbots are moving towards integration with messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Kik. This means that chatbots will get more prevalent in the future.

AI Use Case Examples

Incidentally, 91 percent of top companies embrace AI for their company to bring about higher level of brand recognition and customer satisfaction. The point of having a startup is to be nimbler than the establishment such as Alibaba and Uber who used to startups themselves.

Even established business such as Coca Cola which has been around for 131 years are using AI. For instance, Coca Cola is using Salesforce’s Einstein to automatically identify and count the different number of beverages in its cooler.  This removes the need for Coca Cola to send staff to count it manually, resulting in automatic refill and higher sales.

In the startup area, we have seen how the application of AI had revolutionized enough industries. In San Francisco, a startup named Plenty used AI to grow crops with 99 percent less water than conventional farming with 350 percent more yield.

Winning with electricity and AI.

In closing, for your startup to win, you will have to change your mindset that AI is a novel technology. The better way to see AI as electricity as seen in this Wharton report. 100 years ago, electricity transformed every industry and modern life would not be possible without electricity.

Since 2010, AI had started to embed themselves in our lives first with digital assistant such as Siri. As a nimble startup, the road to prosperity would be the adaptability to embrace AI to increase your edge against your competitors. This would allow you to do more with less resources. The difference would be like using a car compete against a rickshaw.