The magnetic attraction that is Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated through many industry verticals: a disruptor so strong across that its halo effect is creating a fear of missing out (FOMO) culture across the business community.

Despite the birth of AI stemming as far back as the 1950s [1], the recent rise of Generative AI and in particular, ChatGPT (Chat Generated Pre-Trained Transformer), has paved the way for an increasing number of SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) to board the AI train. 

Within the start of 2022 in the UK, there were 5.5 million SMEs with 0 to 49 employees, accounting for three-fifths of the employment and around half the turnover in the UK’s private sector [2].

Combine this with around one in six UK organizations bringing in at least one AI technology [3], it’s a space that with the right magic mixture can see ideas once thought of as science fiction becomes a reality. 

AI in SMEs: Getting on the AI ladder 

Statistics aside, starting a business generally is a daunting task: the capital requirement, the risk, the security, and the workload to maintain it: it’s not for the faint-hearted. Add in AI and it becomes a rollercoaster ride of excitement, suspense, confusion, feast, and famine.

With this in mind, let’s look at how AI can be utilized in bootstrapped startups, starting with Generative AI. 

Generative AI allows users to input a command and the output to be either an image, text, or sound. Since ChatGPT’s red carpet entrance to the AI space back in November 2022 [4], the chatbot has paved the way for a plethora of commands to be answered within seconds on the back of around 570GB of training data.

From a business standpoint, for example, Search Engine Optimisation, also known as SEO, is a core tool in ensuring a business can be easily found in amongst the infinitely sized garden of businesses out there.

Let’s therefore put it to the test, linking the example back to the bespoke furniture company covered in the Demystifying AI: A beginners guide to understanding AI article.

Outlined below are ChatGPT’s suggestions for SEO keywords, along with a subtle reminder to keep the copy natural! (Redacted slightly due to the number of options presented): 

Options generated can give founders that lift of leverage to bring their product or service to life instead of having to immediately spend thousands of pounds for a major brand strategy.

Relying on ChatGPT completely isn’t ideal, but as a starting point, it’s an incredibly handy tool. Furthermore, similar to ChatGPT, AI-based logo generation tools stretch far and wide.

Using a popular AI logo site, here’s a logo generated for the furniture company within a matter of minutes after selecting some sample color schemes, the industry sector, and favorite styles of logo: 

Similar to SEO, the use of these tools can create catalytic effects that set off chains of ideas that increase the speed of the product and/or service reaching the market. Other examples include generating business names, business roadmaps, and even whole websites. 

Now, Generative AI tools aside, let’s now turn to another angle: creating an AI-based business. 

Starting an AI-based business 

Despite continuing macroeconomic pressures, in the UK over 202,130 businesses were set up in the first 12 weeks of 2023 [5] with technology-based startups seeing an average 7% year-on-year growth [6].

The UK, for example, is a major hub for AI-centric businesses, with the International Trade Administration estimating the UK AI market to be worth over £16.9 billion [7].

With a 688% increase in UK-based AI companies over the last decade [7], there’s big investment out there for groundbreaking and responsible solutions to better society. Starting an AI-based business though is hard: it comes with the same risks as starting a non-tech-based business but with a number of extra key considerations.

Some examples include:

• Determining whether there’s sufficient capital and customer buy-in for such a solution. 

• The expertise to craft, understand, deploy, and scale the proposed architecture. 

• Understanding the ethical considerations of the proposed idea. 

• An understanding and roadmap of the commercial longevity of the solution to increase the ability to secure investment. 

Despite the challenges, the continually increasing number of industry verticals integrating AI make it a challenging, but exciting journey. Leveraging the power of networking, getting involved in incubators, and speaking to those in the industry is one of the best ways to transform a passion into a scalable purpose. 

AI isn’t always the answer 

Despite the orchestra of noise AI is making and has made over the last decade, it’s important to recognize that not every problem using AI is solvable or scalable: being able to show uniqueness and scientific flair in the algorithmic mixture to disrupt industries requires a combination of the points outlined above. 

On another angle, an over-reliance on Generative AI tools could also be teaching bad practices. As a photographer outside of the day job, many people ask about whether I use the latest AI cropping and editing tools when doing retouches on my photos.

The answer is no – I rarely edit, because whilst AI can perform a “quick fix” I much prefer to complement it, when I do use the tool, with the trained eye. In addition, how much trust the public puts in Generative AI-based tools will be an important topic of discussion, especially as and when more work is carried out to further understand their ethical side.

Continuing along this theme, with the vast amounts of data these chatbots are trained on, some data could be factually wrong: an important angle to keep in mind. 


To round off, AI isn’t always about reinventing the wheel: it’s about making the wheel go further.

My advice is to be measured with AI: unless there’s already large injections of capital in place and an AI solution ready to scale, start with utilizing the many readily available AI tools to get your business out there – you never know what idea could stem from using these.

Taking the journey in stages and being measured in the value produced from the data is better than rushing in and increasing churn because the hype train has been boarded too soon. 


[1] History of AI: (n.d.). What is the history of artificial intelligence (AI)? | Tableau. [online] Available at: 

[2] Small Business Statistics: FSB (2021). UK Small Business Statistics. [online] Available at: 

[3] AI UK Market: Hooson, M. (2023). UK Artificial Intelligence (AI) Statistics And Trends In 2023. [online] Forbes Advisor UK. Available at: advisor/business/software/uk-artificial-intelligence-ai-statistics-2023/#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20UK%20AI [Accessed 22 Aug. 2023]. 

[4] ChatGPT: OpenAI (2022). Introducing ChatGPT. [online] OpenAI. Available at: https:// 

[5] 2023 Startup Scene: Startups Magazine. (n.d.). Record number of new companies set up so far in 2023. [online] Available at: number-new-companies-set-so-far-2023. 

[6] UK Tech Startups 2023: Lennox, S. (2023). Most Popular Startups Industries in 2023: Revealed. [online] Available at: startup-industries/ [Accessed 22 Aug. 2023]. 

[7] AI UK Market: Hooson, M. (2023). UK Artificial Intelligence (AI) Statistics And Trends In 2023. [online] Forbes Advisor UK. Available at: advisor/business/software/uk-artificial-intelligence-ai-statistics-2023/#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20UK%20AI [Accessed 22 Aug. 2023].