How The Machine Revolution Can Spark Entrepreneurship
You don’t need to look far to find a job that’s being impacted by the work of machines. According to McKinsey and Co, by 2030, 75-375 million workers (3-14 percent of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories. Even noteworthy American manufacturing “wins” of recent memory like the Carrier facility in Indiana haven’t actually saved nearly as many jobs as projected, with layoffs coming as recently as January of this year.
What’s staring everyone in the face is new technology and how it’s affecting an older way of working. Automation will impact workers in some way or another, so rather than push off the discussion, let’s treat it like the certainty it is.
The impact of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t necessarily all doom and gloom. Business builders and entrepreneurs stand to benefit substantially from the technological progress automation offers. After all, automation is about using everything from physical machines to artificial intelligence to accomplish tasks and create scalable efficiencies, which is exactly what every business builder is hoping to accomplish. While that will undoubtedly impact those services and tasks that previously required the work of many, it also provides substantial opportunity for those with limited resources and opens the door for more to participate.
One of the greatest difficulties entrepreneurs face is how to scale our most valuable resource: our time. With 29 million small businesses in the U.S., the impact of automation and AI should result in more businesses having a chance to succeed. That’s because automation drives costs down for product development and business services while allowing for businesses to easily scale. Here are several ways AI and machine automation can help spur entrepreneurship.
Advancements like design automation have short-circuited what was previously a long road from product conception to completion. Speeding up the design and implementation of a product development workflow can greatly increase the likelihood of finding the right fit between product and market need.
Once a product has been created, supply chain automation offers efficiencies and opportunities to extend a company’s reach and scale rapidly. Whether or not that comes in the form of adopting new technologies like blockchain, the combination of big data and a connected ecosystem of data points allow for a small shop to utilize a big toolset.
Reducing Capital Demands
Entrepreneurship has always been risky, partly because of the funds it takes to start a venture. Automation won’t eliminate the need or willingness to take a risk, but it can lower the costs associated with each business opportunity. As AI becomes more ingrained in specific business practices, machine-driven data analysis will eliminate gut decision making, resulting in smarter bets being placed and more efficient uses of existing capital.
Bots and machine learning in a business’s early days can help with practices such as sales and growth marketing. Automation can go a long way in making a small business feel bigger to the prospective customer. Later down the line, marketing automation enables businesses to overcome a lack of familiarity by creating personalized and relevant content, tracking engagement and nurturing relationships through consistent contact based on their preferences — all of which ultimately help develop trusted relationships with customers.
Companies like Google and Amazon have gained mindshare in the consumer world through Google Home and Alexa. And much like computing power on-demand (cloud computing), it is not hard to imagine a world where you will be able to tap into pay-as-you-go AI services which will bring all kinds of opportunities for a growing business, opening the door for cost-effective use cases.
Scaling A Business
Automation can take the foundation of a business and help plot the necessary steps to expand to the next level. Everything from sourcing components, developing customer service processes and compiling financial modeling can be done with the help of automation.
What’s worth noting through each of these areas is that humanity isn’t being replaced by machines. The entrepreneurial journey will always require an element of human touch. Whether that’s working with fiverr on creative services or engaging with customers in a sales capacity, a healthy dose of humanity will always be key to an entrepreneur’s success. Many facets of entrepreneurship will certainly benefit from automation, but some will still be solely human. What’s important is recognizing where machines can help and where humans should concentrate their attention, and that requires a full-scale shift in how we educate our future workforce in the soft skills needed to work alongside humans and the hard skills required to create and operate automated processes.
by Alex John on 2021-02-21 04:39:00
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