Neil A. Carousso produces and co-hosts WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight series with Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments featuring advice for business owners on survival, recovery and growth opportunities.
  • In 2023, Businesses Face Changing Sales Landscape, Arrival of New Technologies

    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The only constant in business is change.

    Businesses are beginning the year with the damaging impacts of high inflation and lingering COVID-19 supply chain woes after mixed holiday results.

    Bill Aulet, Ethernet Inventors Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, said business owners should brace themselves for new challenges.

    “The biggest thing for business people.. is understand change,” Aulet said on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    “When you see something new, sit down, talk to your kids, talk to somebody else and say, ‘How does this affect my business?’ And do it before the other people do it. Use change as a competitive advantage for you because you have the right mentality. You don’t fear change. You embrace change.”

    In a speech once, the former IBM executive told an audience that business owners must have the “mindset of a pirate and the skillset of a Navy SEAL.” In 2023, that means learning and accepting new technologies.

    Most business owners, Aulet said, can no longer deny the use of artificial intelligence just like they had to embrace payment processing software and spreadsheets. Those that didn’t are no longer in business.

    “I have a son who’s based in Brooklyn, started a company, he’s doing millions and millions of dollars the first year. I said, ‘How many salespeople do you have?’ He said, ‘None.’ Why? Because they’re using technology to do that now.”

    He said AI is the future for sales because it will lower customer acquisition costs.

    “What happens over society is you change to new jobs. You change the customer success jobs,” said Aulet on whether AI replacing salespeople is bad for the economy.

    The new types of businesses being started by young entrepreneurs are not necessarily technology companies, though.

    “They’re actually solving the problem of how do we identify when COVID or Zika virus, or now, polio shows up in a city in a region with a company like Biobot Analytics,” the MIT Entrepreneurship head said. “That’s the kind of stuff that young people are starting, and it gives me great hope because we as a society face great challenges.”

    Watch the full conversation with Bill Aulet on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.

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