A dream without a plan is just a wish, so get ChatGPT to help make your plan. Tell it your hopes and dreams and see everything laid out in front of you, ready to share with the world. Convince investors you’re the real deal, secure a business loan and set the mission firmly in your mind with a solid business plan that stands up to questioning.
You could write your own from scratch. You could enrol in a business course or find a YouTuber to talk you through the process. But following these prompts will create you a business plan in record time. As with all ChatGPT-generated text, add further prompting to iterate your message and keep editing until you’re happy. Get 80% there with the following guides and fine tune the rest yourself.
How to use ChatGPT to write your business plan
A good plan starts with an executive summary. Your opening statement. A clear and concise description of what your business does and for whom. It sets the scene for where you are and explains where you want to be. Don’t over-complicate this step and don’t underplay the importance of this document. Turn the waffle in your mind into strong and compelling words on a page.
Your executive summary serves to convince readers into continuing. Components include descriptions of your offering, where you are right now, what the numbers look like and where you want to go. Copy and paste into ChatGPT and edit this prompt to suit your needs:
“My business is called [name] and it offers [type of products or services you offer] to [your target audience]. It makes money by [explain your revenue model]. This business is in a good position because [explain elements of the business that make it relevant right now] and our revenue or cash position is [describe your financial position]. So far we have [outline achievements so far] and we plan to [include your plans for the future]. Can you help me craft a short executive summary that transforms that information into a clear and concise description for the first page of my business plan. Adopt a tone that is [describe the tone you want for your business plan, for example professional and direct].”
Now it’s time to go into the details of what you do. Ask ChatGPT for a business overview that forms the second part of your business plan. Split these down by your goals, the market, your target audience, products and services and how you make money. Make it clear why you are well positioned to do what you do by including your unique strengths in this market.
The clearer you can be in your prompt, the clearer the text you will get out. Punch in as much detail as possible and leave ChatGPT to turn it into sections. Carrying forward the tone from your summary will make your business plan match your brand and the message align perfectly. Here’s the prompt to take forward:
“Next in the business plan is a business overview. Please write this to include sections titled [edit as appropriate: goals, the market, target audience, products and services, route to market]. Our business goals are [explain your top 3 business goals] within [timeframe for achieving them and exit plan]. We serve [demographics of your specific target audience] and solve their problem of [describe their top problems your business addresses]. Our offering consists of [describe your product or services], which [add more information about them] and our revenue model is [go into more detail on how you make money]. Use the same tone of voice as the last section.”
Sales and marketing
It’s no use having the world’s best business if no one knows it exists. This is where your sales and marketing plan comes in. Use the power of ChatGPT to create this outline based on what you’ve told it about your business. If you know what you’re going to do already, add it into the prompt. If you’re not quite sure, let ChatGPT give you answers, formatted in a reader-friendly way.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Ask ChatGPT for more information than you need, and cut out the nonessential. See where it goes with its hopes for your business. If you’re just starting out, your sales and marketing plan will likely be short term. You’ll begin by testing channels, doubling down on a few as you start to see results. This section will be out of date pretty soon, it just needs to look good for now. This prompt requires little editing, just use the same chat to continue the conversation.
“Based on what you know about my business, please create the sales and marketing section of my business plan. Create a compelling value proposition that communicates the unique benefits of my product or service to my target audience. Outline effective marketing strategies I can use to promote my business and reach my target audience. Please also explain any industry trends, customer needs, and potential competitors that my business should be aware of. Finally, write a description of my ideal customer, add a paragraph on positioning and how we present ourselves to this person, and include how we will ensure we set ourselves apart from competitors. So far, we have planned [describe any existing plans].”
Operations and management
By now you have your executive summary, business overview, and your sales and marketing plan. Now you need to explain how your business will run in practice. External parties want to know all about how your business operates in the smoothest possible way, and this is where you make that clear.
This part is about people and processes. You want to communicate that not only do you know what you’re doing, but you have other people in place who do too. These team members are going to be following processes that stand up to volume. They will be delivering on the promises you made to your customers, solving the problems outlined in the previous sections of your business plan. Like with the last section, let ChatGPT come up with this outline. Tell it what you know and see the rest spun into a polished document that you’re proud to share.
“Now please write the operations and management section of my business plan. Please include details on the people and processes that will ensure this business runs smoothly and achieves its goals. Include how we deliver the product or service, how we ensure quality control, how we manage inventory, suppliers and customers, and [any other sections you want to include]. Also go into detail on the people, including the organizational structure and lines of communication. Incorporate this information: [explain anything else to include].”
While words are great, now we want numbers. Investors, financial institutions and even landlords want to understand how you will pay your bills and not cause a nuisance. Even if you know very little about your projected revenue and profit, tell ChatGPT the basics to have them worked up into a plan.
Your financial information should include your monthly income and expenses, a 12-month plan and one for the longer term. It’s probably relevant to include your breakeven number. You could also include the capital requirements at different stages of business and one-off costs to expect with growth. All can be documented in rows within beautiful tables; use this prompt to throw in a jumbled mess of numbers and see what comes out:
“Given what you know so far, can you create a detailed financial plan, including sales forecasts, expenses, and funding requirements for my business. I’m looking for the following, in table format: (1) a breakdown of my monthly income and expenses right now (2) a 12-month plan (3) a 3-year plan (4) my breakeven number right now and (5) any future big expenses that will be incurred at specific stages. Here’s all the information to incorporate [include any information on price per unit, units expected to sell, cost per unit, staff costs, rent, rates, machinery, software and so on].”
Write your business plan with ChatGPT
Within these 5 prompts there’s a comprehensive business plan that you can whip up today. While collecting the information and editing the inputs might take a bit of thought, it’s tiny compared to how long this document would take to write from scratch. What ChatGPT creates will give you a huge head start even if it’s not perfect, because now you have something to edit.
You don’t need to slave away with documentation, you have a business to start. Leave the wordy admin to your favourite large language model and deliver the goods in a shorter space of time.