Startups! Make AI your friend not your foe!

Artificial intelligence is revolutionising the way that business is carried out. Used correctly, it can supercharge productivity and efficiency.

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:
Direct to your inbox Email Newsletter viewed on a phone

Sign up to the Startups Weekly Newsletter

Stay informed on the top business stories with’s weekly email newsletter


Love it or loathe it, the use of Artificial Intelligence seems sure to change our society and ways of working in the coming years. However, a recent study suggested that smaller businesses are struggling to get to grips with AI technology, even though it could help them to grow.

The research, by the British Chamber of Commerce’s (BCC) Insight Unit showed that 48% of firms had no plans to use AI technology, with 58% of customer-facing businesses saying they won’t be using it in the future.

Many entrepreneurs are negative about the impact of AI, with a quarter saying it will lead to fewer jobs in their sectors. Their reasons not to use it include a perceived lack of relevance, high cost, and risks around being scammed.

Keep your friends close

Priva Guha, chair of the BCC’s Digital Revolution Challenge, said that the lack of engagement with AI by smaller businesses was an “eye opener”, saying that AI is seen as “central to boosting the UK’s productivity”.

“It is alarming that a sizeable number of firms think it is irrelevant,” she added.

Other business experts agree that start-ups can use AI to improve their businesses, streamline processes and bring in more customers. “AI is not some distant dream, but a close friend,” says Maria Opre, the lead writer at tech website EarthWeb. “I like having extra hands on deck, ushering businesses into a time where we’re not just reacting to customers but engaging with them proactively.”

Getting started with AI can be daunting, but it is possible to start small and then build up to using it for more applications.

Here are four ways to use AI to make a difference.


One of the easiest ways to get started with AI is to use chatbots for customer support. Charles Howes, CEO of growth marketing agency, suggests using bots from Chatfuel, Tars or Drift.

“Implement a chatbot on your website to handle common customer inquiries and provide instant responses 24/7,” he suggests. “It can assist with FAQs, product recommendations, and even help with order tracking, freeing up your support team’s time.”

Paul Wood, technology and legal entrepreneur and founder of will contesting site C-Paid, says it is easy to use AI assistant Claude on your website or social media platforms

“These AI-driven virtual assistants can handle a wide range of customer queries, from basic FAQs to more complex product inquiries, ensuring customers receive timely and accurate responses,” he says.

Writing and editing

Content creator Chantelle Dyson says that AI tools can do some of the hard work for you when it comes to creating blog posts, emails or providing a structure for a longer piece.

“Where AI can help further is tidying up your stories. Type your stories out, pop it into an AI tool and ask it to improve the writing to make it concise, search-engine optimised, or tailored to a specific audience, and your writing will feel more polished than it was before,” she says.

However, she warns that even if you use Chat GPT or another AI tool to do this, you should always go back to it and add the human touch.

Streamlining HR processes

“AI can quickly handle time-consuming HR tasks such as looking through resumes and scheduling interviews. This can save businesses a significant amount of time and resources, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives,” says Jamie Marshall from leading cloud transformation IT consultancy Sundown Solutions.

Demand prediction

When you’re starting a business, knowing how much inventory to stock can be tricky, but Howes, at Klatch, says that you can use AI to analyse sales data using tools such as IBM Watson.

AI can analyse historical sales data and predict future demand for products, he says.

“This helps optimize inventory levels, reduce overstocking or understocking, and ultimately increase profitability.”

Rosie Murray-West freelance business journalist
Rosie Murray-West

Rosie Murray-West is a freelance journalist covering all aspects of personal finance, as well as business, property and economics. A former correspondent, columnist and deputy editor at The Telegraph, she now writes regularly for publications including the Times, Sunday Times, Observer, Metro, Mail on Sunday, and Moneywise magazine.

Written by:

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top