Generative AI for Start-ups and other small businesses

Many small businesses and startups may need to consider the impact of and how to adjust to changes in the market. ChatGPT and other generative AI represent a significant shift in the technology landscape. Small startups, particularly those with cloud-based applications, should take steps to survive and thrive in this new environment. Many of our clients, small businesses and startups, have limited resources and must be careful where they spend their money. Nevertheless, they must keep abreast, be agile and responsive to these changes.

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve and mature, its accessibility to startups has exponentially increased. One of the most intriguing subsets of AI is generative AI, which has become a valuable partner for startups across different domains, offering services that range from natural language processing to generative design. Leveraging generative AI can lead to improvements in numerous areas, such as customer service, content creation, marketing, data analysis, product development, prototyping, and user experience. Microsoft’s page about unlocking the power of generative AI for startups gives some ideas, which I have tried to capture below:

1. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP, a branch of AI that deals with understanding and generating natural language, is perhaps the most common use case among many startups. Azure OpenAI Service’s GPT-4, for instance, is a deep learning system capable of generating coherent and relevant text based on a given prompt. This capability can be used to create chatbots, product descriptions, email campaigns, and summaries. Moreover, it can also answer questions, perform calculations, and provide recommendations based on natural language queries, greatly aiding customer service, content creation, marketing, and data analysis efforts.

2. Hyper-personalisation

Another interesting use case is leveraging generative AI for the hyper-personalization of applications to enhance user engagement. This form of AI is often referred to as generative design. It involves the creation of novel, optimal designs based on user profiles, criteria, and constraints. For instance, Azure OpenAI Service’s DALL-E is a deep learning system that can generate realistic and diverse images based on natural language inputs and data classifications. This allows startups to build personalized designs based on natural language commands and collected user data. As such, it can generate logos, icons, illustrations, mockups, and product pages or manipulate existing images to reflect personalisation needs and real-time user signals.

3. Unstructured Data Analysis

The ability to reason over large amounts of unstructured data is a powerful capability quickly becoming a best practice for startups across many industries. Unstructured data was previously inaccessible to most startups due to its complexity and the lack of dedicated data scientist resources. However, generative AI models like GPT-4 can extract insights, patterns, and knowledge from large and complex datasets using natural language or code. This can help startups solve problems, make decisions, and create value from data. One example is analyzing customer feedback using GPT-4 to generate summaries, sentiment analysis, and recommendations based on the feedback. Moreover, GPT-4 can be used alongside other Azure OpenAI Service capabilities like speech-to-text and Form Recognizer to convert unstructured data into a structured format that can then be easily analyzed for insights.

Generative AI holds immense potential for startups across various industries. By leveraging the power of generative AI, startups can streamline their operations and innovate in their respective domains, providing enhanced services and products to their customers.

Ten suggestions for small businesses

  1. Understand Generative AI: Invest time and resources in understanding what generative AI is, how it works, and its potential impacts. This will allow you to identify threats and opportunities!
  2. Leverage Generative AI: Incorporate generative AI into your product or service. This could be anything from using AI to generate content to using AI to automate tasks previously done manually.
  3. Focus on User Experience: Generative AI can create content, but it often needs a more nuanced understanding of user needs and context. Focus on user experience and ensure that your service meets the specific needs of your users. Create a unique value proposition.
  4. Collaboration with AI: Consider models where humans and AI work together. AI can handle tasks like generating content or crunching numbers, while humans can handle tasks that require a more nuanced understanding or emotional intelligence.
  5. Privacy and Security: With increasing AI capabilities, data privacy and security issues have become even more critical. Ensure your service has strong data privacy and security measures in place.
  6. Regulation and Compliance: As the AI field evolves, so will the regulatory landscape. Stay abreast of any changes in laws or regulations related to AI and ensure you remain compliant.
  7. Training and Skills Development: Ensure your team has the necessary skills to work with generative AI. Train current employees or hire new ones with the skills required.
  8. Partnerships: Consider partnering with other companies or organisations working with generative AI. This could lead to mutually beneficial collaborations.
  9. Scalability: Generative AI can often handle tasks more quickly and efficiently than humans, allowing you to scale your operations more efficiently. Be sure your infrastructure can handle this increased scale.
  10. Innovation: As with any technology, companies that thrive are often the ones that innovate. Look for new and creative ways to use generative AI!

In addition, other types of AI and Machine Learning can also add significant value to small businesses.


Generative AI presents tremendous opportunities for small businesses and startups. By understanding and leveraging its power, startups can enhance their operations, provide personalized services, and streamline processes. Incorporating generative AI, focusing on user experience, and prioritizing data privacy and security are key considerations. Collaboration, partnerships, scalability, and innovation are essential for thriving in AI. Tailoring strategies to individual circumstances and exploring other AI technologies will further boost success.

At Gislen Software, we are happy to share our knowledge and experience. We can help build cloud solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. We can also help implement generative AI and other types of AI in existing solutions, supporting startups in embracing AI’s potential. Please get in touch with us for more information. 

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