The Guide to Generative AI for Startup CEOs

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7 min. read

It always comes down to the CEO. This is especially true in startups where teams consist of only a handful of managers — generally just the CTO. Being CEO of a startup is no small feat: you have to drive the vision and think big picture while multitasking to accomplish all the day-to-day operations. This amounts to being a jack of all trades while mastering them all.

This is why generative AI is such a game-changer. Its adaptability and ability to provide a complete set of tools adapted to most situations make it the perfect match to accompany the CEO in every facet of their job. According to an MIT Sloan School of Management report, AI can improve highly skilled workers' productivity by 40%. The promise of such a productivity jump is huge, especially when the workday is pretty hefty.

However, there are still some questions about how to put this into practice. This is the subject of this guide and how we already leverage generative AI at Blobr.

We identified the top 5 domains where AI can help ease the burden and streamline tasks, with actionable tips and tools to start saving time from day one.

Transforming Daily Operations

This is the most obvious and basic level for integrating AI into your workflow. Most of us are already using AI in this way: whether it’s for summarizing a document, asking a question, helping to draft a document, etc. ChatGPT was the entry door for all of us into the wonderful world of generative AI, and we started progressively integrating it into our daily routines.

More than a year later, dozens of tools have built upon OpenAI's LLM to further enhance their capabilities. This generally means tools that sync with a company’s internal data to provide more accurate answers and help streamline the search of internal resources and workflows.

What’s remarkable with generative AI is the adaptability of the spectrum of little use cases you can accomplish. For the startup CEO, this will be tasks like:

  • Drafting emails and administrative documents,
  • Summarizing documents,
  • Searching for info in the company’s resources (most notably Notion),
  • Editing texts,
  • Answering various requests.

Which tools to use?

ChatGPT is the obvious prime choice for most of these tasks. The free version working on ChatGPT 3.5 will do just fine in 60% of those situations.

The paid version of ChatGPT will help address an additional 20% of those use cases. The ChatGPT 4 version is one step ahead of the rest of the models, and the option to create its own GPT is a start to fine-tune the model according to usage and specificities.

  • Pricing for ChatGPT starts at $20/month and $30/user/month for the Enterprise plan.

The top use cases can be performed by third-party tools like Dust with which you can create agents connected to Notion, Slack, or Google Drive to tap into your company’s resources.

  • 50 assistants and documentation limit for the free plan, starting at $29/user/month.

Decision-Making and Strategic Planning

We now enter the realm of action, or more specifically, decision-making.

CEOs know all too well that data is both their best ally in growing their business and making the right decisions, and their worst enemy. They can often feel that good data is elusive. Between website traffic, product analytics, CRM, and revenues, there seem to be insurmountable gaps preventing CEOs — especially in startups where data lakes and warehouses are overkill — from getting a bird's-eye view of the situation.

This is where GenAI can help: it knows how to interpret a natural language request and interact with data to produce the right result, thus helping differentiate the signal from the noise.

Natural language enables CEOs to make data-driven decisions without delving too deep into the data. Here's how AI can assist in this process:

  • Unify data from various sets: with the help of SaaS APIs, AI agents make the right calls to retrieve the necessary data.
  • Produce new insights by synthesizing the collected data.
  • Translate a question in English into the appropriate SQL request.
  • Create graphics to illustrate the results.

Which tool to use?

Blobr connects to CRM, analytics, and revenue tools with the help of AI agents to respond to natural language business intelligence requests, without the need to deal with any interface or technical effort.

  • The first 25 questions are free, $49 for 100 questions per month, and $299 for 1,000 questions per month — without any integration or seat limits.

Marketing and Customer Engagement

The way your prospects interact with your website before converting — or churning, like the way your customers are using your product, is the best material you’ll ever get to understand and grow your business.

At the top of the funnel, refine personas, the message, and how you talk about your product.

They can also boost your content offer by helping you write more blog posts that will use your tone and adapt to your offer. Those tools are usually built to make that content optimized for SEO.

After the conversion, to get people to use the product more and eventually upgrade, or to avoid churn.

Here, AI can help in two main ways:

  • First, to get a better understanding of the path visitors take to convert, and the profile of the user that will upgrade.
  • Second, to streamline the marketing efforts, and help draft powerful copywriting.

Which tools to use?

Again, Blobr agents can retrieve relevant information to build a clearer picture of your customer’s engagement. By combining data from the CRM and revenues, it can get the Customer Lifetime Value, give the main traits shared by customers who upgraded their subscription, and understand warning signals from customers at risk of churning.

When it comes to pure marketing, Copy.ai is a powerful ally with its integrations and pre-made workflows able to draft LinkedIn posts, press releases, or company enrichment.

  • A free plan is available with a 2,000 words in chat limit, first plans include a $49 /month Pro plan with 5 seats and a $249 /month plan with 20 seats.

Jasper AI is another compelling tool that acts as a marketing copilot able to help you make SEO-optimized content adapted to your value style and angle.

  • Pricing options start with a $49 /month Creator plan and a $69 /month Pro plan for small teams.

Product Innovation and Development

Building a product doesn't stop at selling it. CEOs know this well: much of their time is spent studying usage and deciding where to focus efforts on next features.

Let's be honest: your product isn't perfect, and it's not the idealized version but rather the user-optimized one that will succeed.

Without AI, the road to that version can be challenging. Most users won't respond to requests for feedback, and among those who do, they might share their most significant pain points but not the minor, yet frustrating aspects of your product.

An often overlooked source of insight is users who sign up but churn before really using the product, or who barely use it. These users are unlikely to respond to emails, calls, or other outreach, as they haven't engaged enough to do so. Yet, their behavior can reveal valuable patterns for addressing churn.

AI can help by interpreting the silent feedback of non-responsive users, analyzing the thousands of interactions with your product, and identifying what distinguishes a power user.

Additionally, chatbots connected to your documentation have never been easier to set up, relieving you from handling the most common customer inquiries.

So, to recap:

  • AI can analyze various sources, such as your CRM and revenue data, and merge this information to generate new insights about your users.
  • It can handle the most frequent user queries and provide intelligence on which features generate the most inquiries.
  • AI helps to analyze and interpret user behavior on your product on a larger scale, such as the time it takes to complete an action or the cursor's journey to accomplish that action.

Which tools to use?

Hotjar AI can create surveys tailored to your goals and compile the responses for you, offering summarization features and sentiment analysis.

  • "Ask" plans with AI features start for free with a 3-survey limit and 20 responses per month. The Plus plan is $59/month, while the larger Business and Scale plans are $79 and $159/month, respectively.

Blobr analyzes your revenue and CRM data to uncover insightful patterns about your users. When integrated with product analytics, Blobr can provide deeper insights into the behaviors most likely exhibited by users at risk of churning or potential power users.

Intercom has introduced an intuitive AI chatbot that leverages your existing documentation to resolve an estimated 50% of customer inquiries.

  • Fin, the AI chatbot, is available on all plans, starting with the Essential plan at $39/month, plus an additional fee of $0.99 for each customer question resolved.

Human Resources and Management

In smaller companies, the final say in terms of human resources management often rests with the CEO. They decide whether to hire, what type of profile to look for, and usually have the final interview with the top candidates. In smaller teams, they also contribute to the initial selection.

Additionally, even if the CTO handles the new engineer onboarding, the CEO often manages the onboarding for all other roles.

This is where AI is proving to be beneficial, by accelerating the candidate selection process and becoming a valuable tool for onboarding new hires.

Which tools to use?

Teamtailor has integrated AI features capable of analyzing profiles and highlighting the most suitable candidates for the job. This can help streamline the initial selection process. The Application Tracking System tool also includes a co-pilot powered by OpenAI that can generate job offers, and summarize resumes and interviews.

  • No public pricing is available; you can request a quote tailored to your company's size and needs.

If Notion serves as a comprehensive knowledge base for startups, its AI features are a great addition for onboarding new hires, especially the Q&A feature. It takes the form of an AI chat capable of retrieving and summarizing information available in your Notion workspace.

  • Notion AI is priced at $9.5 per user per month.

Generative AI is not only transforming the technological landscape but also redefining the role of a startup CEO. From simplifying daily operations to strategic planning, marketing, product development, and human resources, the possibilities are endless. The tools mentioned above represent just the beginning of what's possible when leveraging AI for your startup. Remember, the key to success lies not only in adopting new technologies but also in utilizing their capabilities to create value and drive growth.

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