The 10 AI Prompts You Need to Write a Business Plan

Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

25 min. read

Updated March 18, 2024

We’ve all been there. The ideas are swimming around in your head, but you’re stuck staring at a blank page and trying to figure out how to turn those ideas into something presentable.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have that same feeling of “writer’s block” when I sit down to write – even this article didn’t start flowing right away.

The writer’s block is even more intense when writing a business plan.

Think about the stakes involved: Is the idea any good? Will the plan be compelling enough for a lender or investor to consider funding it? Even though I’ve written plenty of business plans, it’s always a challenge to figure out how to best present an idea.

This is where AI’s potential is so revolutionary.

The newest chatbots like ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, and Anthropic’s Bard are excellent helpers, especially for business plan writing. They can take rough ideas and help transform them into cohesive plans that investors are going to want to read.

Instead of figuring out how to present your ideas, you can spend time on your business strategy, refining your marketing plan, and ensuring that your business solves a real problem that potential customers have.

In this article, I’ll share my favorite prompts to use and pitfalls to avoid when writing a business plan with AI.

These AI prompts are tested and generally work well with any chatbot. That said, there are real differences between some of the free, more basic chatbots — ChatGPT 3.5, for example — and the most modern, often paid, versions (as of February 2024) like ChatGPT 4 or Gemini Advanced. The paid versions are just better at writing and better at generating ideas.

Let’s go step-by-step through the process of using AI to help you write your business plan.

Be sure to read the warnings about over-relying on AI at the end of this article. You won’t want to make one of the most common mistakes and end up with a subpar business plan.

Executive Summary

Don’t use this prompt until you’ve finished building out the rest of your business plan.

Your executive summary is just what it sounds like—a summary. You can’t really create a summary until you know the full details of your plan.

AI is really helpful here—it’s excellent at summarizing longer documents and creating shorter versions.

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Core Prompt:

Help me write a powerful Executive Summary for my business plan. My company is [company name], offering [products/services] in the [industry]. The executive summary should cover the following points:

  • The Problem & Solution: Concisely describe the pain point my business addresses and my unique solution.
  • Market Opportunity: Summarize the target market size, growth potential, and key customer segments.
  • Business Model: Explain how we will generate revenue (pricing strategy, sales channels).
  • Competitive Advantage: Highlight what sets us apart and how you’ll win in the market.
  • Team: Briefly mention the key experience and skills of our management team.
  • Financial Highlights: Provide a snapshot of our projections ( revenue, profit margins).

I’ve already completed the following sections of my business plan, which you can utilize for details: [complete plan content]”

Additional Prompt Elements:

  • The Ask: “Include our fundraising ask. We are seeking an investment of [$] which will be used to [describe your use of funds].”
  • Target Audience: “Our business plan will be presented to [describe your audience] so the tone should be [business like, casual, etc.]”


Imagine you are starting a meal delivery service business:

“Help me write a powerful Executive Summary for my business plan. My company is “Sunshine Meals,” offering healthy, pre-portioned meal delivery in the [city, state] area. The executive summary should cover the following points…”


  • Clarity is King: Use simple language and avoid jargon.
  • Data Wins: Quantify your potential with relevant figures.
  • Tailor to your Audience: If the plan is for investors, heavily focus on market size, competitive advantage, team credentials, and financial outlook.


  • Proofread Carefully: Make sure the AI draft of your executive summary matches what you say elsewhere in your plan.
  • Embrace your voice: Beyond proofreading, edit and change the AI-generated words to make sure they sound like your voice and your business.


The opportunity section of your business plan is where you provide an overview of the problem your business solves for your customers. It’s essentially an overview of your products and services and how your customers use them to solve their problems.

Your opportunity is the core of your business strategy and an area to spend a good portion of your time on. The most successful businesses solve a real problem for their customers, so it’s important to think carefully about the needs your customers have and how your product or service fits into their lives. 

AI will help generate a lot of ideas in this area.

Once you’ve run the prompt, sift through the ideas to find the best ones and perhaps dig deeper into the most promising ones. The better you describe the problem you are solving, the more focus you’ll have as a business owner.

It’s this kind of focus and understanding of customer problems that attracts investors and drives success.

Core Prompt:

I am starting a [business description]. Help me craft a strong “Opportunity” section for my business plan. Clearly articulate the problem I’m solving, my unique solution, and any traction achieved. I need to demonstrate why now is the right time for my business, [business name]. Describe the significant pain point or unmet need experienced by my target customers, [target customer description]. Explain how my product/service directly solves the problem, detailing its key features and benefits. How is it innovative or different from competitors?

Additional Prompt Elements:

  • Describe my initial traction that I have with my customers, which includes [description of any early successes including sales figures, user growth, partnerships, positive testimonials, or awards.]
  • Explain what makes this the ideal time to launch my business. Are there favorable market shifts, technological advancements, or gaps my solution is poised to fill?


Let’s say you’re developing a platform to connect freelance writers with businesses:

“I am starting a business that provides an online platform that connects freelance writers with businesses. Help me craft a strong “Opportunity” section for my business plan. Clearly articulate the problem I’m solving, my unique solution, and any traction achieved. I need to demonstrate why now is the right time for my business, The Written Word. Describe the significant pain point or unmet need experienced by my target customers, small business owners who need blog content, product descriptions, and marketing materials. Explain how my product/service directly solves the problem, detailing its key features and benefits. How is it innovative or different from competitors?”


  • Storytelling: If you can, try and infuse this section with a brief story illustrating the problem’s impact on potential customers and how your product or service helps solve their problem.
  • Simplicity: Keep things simple – don’t go overboard with too much detail about your solution. If your plan is too long, people won’t read it.


  • Data: If you have data that backs up your problem description, be sure to include it. Don’t rely on AI to get that data, though—it likely won’t be accurate or sourced correctly.
  • Make it Yours: AI might come up with some interesting ideas for describing the problem you solve. You need to filter and edit to ensure that the content accurately reflects your business.

Market Analysis

This section of your business plan describes the market you are selling to.

Typically, the market analysis explains how many potential customers you have and a detailed description of your target customer. It’s important to stress that AI chatbots (as of March 2024) aren’t very good at this task.

The data they provide is often wrong.

You’re much better off doing your own research and finding reputable data sources instead of relying on AI. We are providing a prompt here, but be very careful to double-check any data that the AI provides.

You’ll typically find that AI will generate a lot of target market ideas.

Similar to the “Opportunity” section of your plan, it’s important to narrow down your target market to a few specific ones to start. The best strategies are usually very focused, so pick one or two core target markets to get started.

As Michael Porter, the famous Harvard Business School professor, once said, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

Core Prompt:

Help me write a comprehensive market analysis for my business plan. My business is [business name], and we offer [products/services] within the [industry] sector. Cover the following key areas:

  • Market Size & Growth: Quantify the current market size in terms of value or volume. Identify and discuss trends influencing market growth (or decline).
  • Target Customers: Create detailed customer profiles of my ideal segments (demographics, psychographics, needs, buying behaviors).

Additional Prompt Elements:

  • Market Segmentation: “Break down the market into smaller segments – are there lucrative niches to target?”
  • Data Sources: “Suggest reliable sources for industry reports, market statistics, and competitor insights.”


Let’s say you’re opening a plant-based meal delivery service:

“Help me write a comprehensive market analysis for my business plan. My business is ‘Nourish’, and we offer healthy plant-based meal delivery within the prepared food industry. Cover the following key areas…”


  • Be Specific: Avoid overly general target markets. Successful businesses target very specific customers initially.
  • Visuals Aid Understanding: Use charts or graphs to visualize market data or segmentation.


  • Support Your Claims: AI often does not give you reputable sources or will even make them up. The output may look impressive and accurate, but you must double-check everything and cite reputable sources for all your market data.

Competitive Analysis

Like the market analysis section, be careful using AI for the competitive analysis section. It may invent potential competitors or miss out on key competitors that you know exist.

You can use AI to get the overall structure of this section, but you might be better off writing your own competitive analysis.

When you think about competitors, remember to not only think about direct competitors, but also indirect competitors. Indirect competitors are alternate solutions to a customer’s problem, while direct competitors are companies that offer a similar service or product as you do.

For example, a gym might compete against other gyms (direct competitors), but it also competes against running trails and people doing exercise at home (indirect competitors). 

A strong understanding of your competitors is important for developing your strategy. So, it will be worth looking beyond what AI generates for you and doing some of your own research.

Core Prompt:

Help me craft a strong “Competition” section for my business plan. My business is [business name], offering [product/service] in the [industry] sector. Cover the following key areas:

  • Competitor Analysis: Identify my top 3-5 direct competitors and analyze their strengths, weaknesses, pricing, marketing strategies, and target customer overlap.
  • Indirect Competition: List companies offering alternative solutions or partially addressing the same customer need.
  • Competitive Advantage: Clearly articulate how my product/service is unique, better, or fills unmet needs compared to the competition.
  • Barriers to Entry: Outline challenges new competitors would face (high startup costs, patents, customer loyalty to existing brands, etc.).
  • Opportunities & Threats:
  • Identify potential weaknesses in competitor offerings that I can capitalize on.
  • Predict any competitive shifts that could threaten my business (emerging technologies, consolidation, etc.).

Additional Prompt Elements:

  • SWOT Focus: “Summarize my competitive analysis in a SWOT framework specifically tailored to my business compared to the competition.”
  • Future Outlook: “Analyze how the competitive landscape might evolve and how my business is positioned to adapt.”
  • Customer Perspective: “Assess the competition through the eyes of my target customer – What influences their purchasing decisions?”


Let’s say you’re launching a sustainable clothing brand:

“Help me craft a strong “Competition” section for my business plan. My business is ‘ConsciousThreads,’ offering ethically sourced, sustainable clothing in the fashion industry. Cover the following key areas…”


  • Be Honest: Don’t underestimate your competition; acknowledge their strengths.
  • Differentiation is Key: Emphasize what truly sets you apart and makes you a compelling choice.
  • Stay Up-to-Date: Monitor competitor activity even after your plan is written.


  • Research your competitors: AI has been known to invent competitors, so don’t just take AI suggestions as truth. Look them up online, find their websites, and take time to get to know them through their online presence.

Marketing and Sales

Use the marketing and sales section to describe the marketing tactics you’ll use to reach your target customers and what your sales process looks like.

AI shines for this type of task and will help you brainstorm marketing strategies and quickly generate a lot of ideas.

That can be a huge help to expand your thinking about your sales and marketing strategy. But, similar to other areas of your plan, you’ll need to narrow things down and get specific.

Your job will be to focus and pick the marketing and sales tactics that you think will work best for your business and your customers. Think about starting with one or two core ideas and then list ideas that you may explore in the future.

Because most new businesses don’t have endless budgets or people, a narrow marketing focus is a more realistic approach.

Core Prompt:

Help me develop a detailed “Marketing and Sales” plan for my business, [business name].  My target customers are [describe ideal customer profile] within the [industry]. Outline the following aspects:

  • Market Positioning: Define how I will position my brand and offerings within the marketplace. I want to be perceived as [luxury, budget, etc.]
  • Marketing Channels: Where does my target audience spend their time? List potential online and offline channels to reach them (website, social media, content marketing, trade shows, etc.).
  • Sales Process: Outline the steps from lead generation to closing a sale. I will use a [direct sales team, online store, distributors, or a combination]. Describe the customer’s sales journey.
  • Pricing Strategy: Explain my pricing model [premium, competitive, etc.] and the rationale behind it. Consider costs, market comparisons, and perceived value.

Additional Prompt Elements:

  • Budget: “My preliminary marketing budget is [$]. Suggest marketing channels and marketing tactics that align with this budget”
  • Metrics: “Identify key metrics to track the effectiveness of my marketing and sales efforts.”


Let’s say you have an online course business teaching creative writing:

“Help me develop a detailed “Marketing and Sales” plan for my business, ‘The Write Path’.  My target customers are aspiring writers seeking to improve their craft within the online education space. Outline the following aspects:…”


  • Specificity Wins: Detail your channel strategies – don’t just list social media, outline the specific platforms and content types you’ll leverage.
  • Test & Adapt: This section should be a living document that evolves as you gather real-world data.
  • Actionable Plan: Include timelines and who’s responsible for executing different strategies.


Be Selective: Don’t just cut and paste all AI suggestions. You have a better sense of what will work for your market, so pick and choose what make sense for your business.


The operations section of your business plan goes over your basic business logistics, such as your location and facilities, the technology you are using, and any other operational specifics important to communicate in your business plan. 

You’ll need to customize this prompt quite a bit for it to work for your business as AI can’t guess at your location, the technology you’re using, or who your suppliers are. For each of the bulleted sections below, customize the content for your business before using the prompt.

Core Prompt:

Help me write an “Operations” section for my business plan. My business is [business name], offering [products/services] in the [industry] sector. Cover the following key areas:

  • Location & Facilities: Describe my business location (physical/virtual/hybrid). Detail any specialized facility needs (manufacturing space, storefront, etc.).
  • Technology & Equipment: Outline essential software, hardware, tools, and specialized equipment required. Specify any technology unique to my industry.
  • Production/Workflow: Map out the process for creating my product or delivering my service. Identify potential bottlenecks for optimization.
  • Suppliers & Inventory: If applicable, describe my sourcing strategy and relationships with key suppliers. Explain any inventory management systems in place.
  • Regulatory/Legal: List any critical permits, licenses, or regulations that impact my operations.


Let’s imagine you’re starting a small-batch skincare company:

“Help me write an “Operations” section for my business plan. My business is ‘Radiant’, offering handcrafted skincare products in the beauty industry. Cover the following key areas:

Location: Our business offices are located in Brooklyn, NY and we have contracted with a third-party-logistics provider for packing and shipping in St. Louis.

Technology: We are using a Shopify store to sell online.

Research and Development: We work with an R&D that specializes in skincare and cosmetics in the Boston area.

Production: Our products are produced by a skincare producer located in the Philippines.

Regulatory: Because our products are organic, we need to be certified as an organic producer and have regular inspections of our production and ingredients”


  • Be Realistic: Acknowledge any operational challenges or constraints
  • Focus on Efficiency: Highlight processes designed to save time or minimize costs.


  • Connect to Financials: Ensure operational choices align with your budget and projections. Remember, AI tools won’t be able to help much since they do not address financials and projections very well.

Milestones & Metrics

Milestones are important dates for your business—essentially a roadmap for how you plan to build your business. You’ll focus just on key milestones, not every task that you need to complete. You’ll also want to review the key metrics that you will monitor to ensure that your business is successful.

AI can be helpful and give you some ideas for key milestones, but you’ll need to customize this section to match your business, your schedule, and your own timeline.

Milestones are all about goals and accountability.

It doesn’t matter how great your idea is if you can’t execute and make it happen. Milestones are all about coming up with a plan to turn your idea into reality, so spend a little time here thinking about a realistic timeline and plan.

Core Prompt

Help me craft a strong “Milestones and Metrics” section for my business plan. My business is [business name], offering [product/service] in the [industry]. Break it down as follows:

Key Milestones: Outline 5-8 of my most significant goals over the next 1-3 years. These should be specific: Avoid vague goals; state precisely what needs to happen. Time-Bound: Include a target date for completion. Relevant: Goals should directly support business growth and vision. Examples: Secure funding, launch product, reach a revenue target, open a new location, etc.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): List 5-8 metrics that will best measure the progress towards those milestones and my overall business health. Consider the following categories: Financial: Sales revenue, gross profit margin, customer acquisition cost (CAC), etc. Customer-Related: Net promoter score (NPS), customer retention, website traffic, etc. Operational: Production efficiency, order fulfillment time, etc. Explain why each KPI is important and how I plan to track them.


Let’s say you’re launching a subscription box service:

“Help me craft a strong “Milestones and Metrics” section for my business plan. My business is ‘Curated Delights,’ offering monthly themed subscription boxes in the lifestyle niche. Break it down as follows…”


  • SMART Goals: Make sure milestones adhere to the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).
  • Regular Review: Use this section as a tool; revisit and adjust milestones and KPIs as needed.


  • Customize: This prompt will generate ideas for milestones and metrics, but you’ll need to customize them for your business to get the best results.

Company Overview

Similar to previous sections, AI can help provide you with writing ideas and structure for the company overview section of your plan. It can’t describe your specific situation unless you provide it with the details.

You’ll need to know who the company owners are, what share of the company they each own, and what the legal structure is.

This section is less about strategy and more about just providing the facts. Use AI as a helpful copywriter here to turn your notes into polished text.

Core Prompt:

Help me write a “Company Overview” for my business plan. My company, [company name], operates within the [industry] sector. Cover the following essential details:

  • Legal Structure: My company is a [Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, Corporation, etc.]. Briefly explain the reason behind this choice.
  • Ownership: [List the owners/founders, their titles, and percentage of ownership]

Additional Prompt Elements:

  • Company History: Summarize my company history based on the following information: [Founding date and location, major milestones achieved to date (if existing business), etc.]


Let’s say you’re a freelance web designer starting an agency:

“Help me write a “Company Overview” for my business plan. My company, ‘Creative Web Solutions’, operates within the web design and development industry. Cover the following essential details:

  • Legal Structure: Creative Web Solutions is registered as an LLC for liability protection and potential tax benefits.
  • Ownership: I, [Your Name], am the sole owner and founder.”


  • Keep it Brief: This section is just about communicating the facts; other areas of the plan will provide more depth.
  • OK to Skip: If you aren’t seeking investment, you likely don’t need this section.

Management Team

Once again, without your input, an AI chatbot won’t have much to go on. That said, AI can take your rough notes about your team and turn them into polished writing. Just be sure to double-check everything to make sure your team’s skills haven’t been represented incorrectly.

Core Prompt:

Help me write a “Management Team” section for my business plan. My company is [company name] operating in the [industry]. Include the following:

  • Key Leadership:
    • List titles and roles of the core management team (founder(s), CEO, CMO, etc.).
    • Provide a brief bio for each member, focusing on relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments that demonstrate their suitability for their role.
  • Team Strengths:
    • Summarize the collective strengths of the management team and how they complement each other.
    • Highlight any specific industry knowledge or expertise.
  • Advisors:
    • List any formal advisors or board members.
    • Outline their backgrounds and how they add strategic value to the business.
  • Addressing Gaps:
    • Acknowledge any current gaps in expertise within the team and your plans to fill them (future hires, consultants, etc.).


Imagine you’re starting a tech startup with a co-founder:

“Help me write a “Management Team” section for my business plan. My company is ‘Innovatech’ operating in the software development industry. Include the following:..”


  • Showcase Passion: Briefly mention what drives each team member and their commitment to the company’s vision.
  • External Validation: Awards, past successes, or notable affiliations of team members add credibility.


  • Be Honest: Investors appreciate transparency about potential shortcomings and your plan to address them. Make sure you edit what AI writes, that it accurately reflects the gaps in your team, and that it sounds like you.

Financial Plan

Unfortunately, AI help can only take you so far with your business plan, which is the biggest pitfall in using AI to generate your plan. While it’s great at brainstorming and turning notes and ideas into polished text, AI is just not capable of pulling together the complete financial forecasts that businesses need and investors expect.

To create a financial plan, a spreadsheet or a business planning tool are the right choices for the job. Here’s why:

  • Flexibility: Creating a financial plan takes some experimentation. As you adjust your expected revenue and expenses, you’ll want to see in real time what the impact is on your profitability. AI Chatbots don’t provide that kind of interface and require slow regeneration that often introduces unwanted changes and surprises.
  • Cash Flow: Forecasting cash flow can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with inventory or customers that don’t pay you right away. Business planning tools have these calculations baked in so you can adjust your assumptions about when you think you’ll purchase inventory and when customers will pay and immediately see how your cash is impacted.
  • Accuracy: As it is, chatbots like ChatGPT aren’t known for their honesty. You don’t want to apply for a loan or present to investors with a forecast built by AI because you can’t be sure all the math is 100% accurate. You’ll want to be confident in your numbers to run a successful business.
  • Know your business: When you build your own forecast, you develop a deep understanding of how your business works. AI can’t give you this knowledge. And without a solid understanding of how your business works from a financial perspective, it will be challenging to be successful.
  • It’s what investors want: Lenders and investors expect financial forecasts in a specific, standardized format. While AI can help you with the basics, it can’t develop an accurate balance sheet or cash flow forecast for you.
  • Better Business Management: The key to running a successful business is paying attention to the numbers: are you getting the revenue you expect and are your expenses on track? A good planning tool, or at the very least a spreadsheet, will help you keep track of your numbers so you can know exactly how your business is doing and what changes need to be made.

All of that said, AI can help you understand how you might want to start your forecast.

It can suggest common revenue streams and expenses for your business so you can make sure that you’re not overlooking anything. AI might even give you some new ideas for how your business might make money. Here’s how you can get AI to help:

Core Prompt:

Help me generate a comprehensive list of potential revenue streams, cost of goods, and expenses to include in my financial forecast for my business, [business name].  My business operates in the [industry] sector and offers [products/services].


Let’s say you’re a freelance graphic designer:

“Help me generate a comprehensive list of potential revenue streams and expenses to include in my financial forecast for my business, “Visual Designs.” My business operates in the creative services industry and offers logo design, branding packages, and website design services.


  • Don’t Get Too Specific: Think about broad categories for revenue streams and expenses – things that you’d want to track and pay attention to over time. Don’t list every minor thing.
  • Pay Attention to Profits and Cash: For most businesses, profit and actual cash in the bank are different things. Your forecast will help you spot future cash problems that might happen even when you’re profitable.
  • Revisit Regularly: Successful businesses track their performance compared to their revenue goals and expense budget, just like you track things with a personal budget. 


  • Don’t try to use AI to generate your numbers: You will need to use a financial model and take the time to put together a full financial forecast.

Important Advice and a Warning for Using AI for Business Planning

There are two points I want to stress as you think about using AI to help write your business plan.

1. You need to know your business

The first is that good, healthy businesses grow because owners and entrepreneurs deeply understand their business.

Yes, you can use AI to help you write a business plan, but that plan needs to be yours — the ideas, how the business works, your competitive advantage. If you’re not 100% behind the ideas in the plan, you’re much less likely to be successful.

The most valuable benefit of business planning is not the document that you end up with, but the ideas that you generate through the process.

The planning process helps you focus on a winning business strategy, a marketing plan that will bring customers in the door, and a detailed understanding of your customers. The document is just a byproduct of the process.

The knowledge that you gain is what’s truly valuable.

2. AI isn’t perfect

Second, as impressive as AI is, it makes mistakes. It invents things. So make sure to double check any “facts” that AI presents. AI is better at ideation and brainstorming than doing detailed market research and creating financial models. 

To use AI successfully, it’s important to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a tireless business partner that you can bounce ideas off of. It’s always ready to brainstorm and help you generate 100 new ideas. But it’s not a great research assistant or number cruncher — at least not yet.

For those parts of your plan, use the tools that are best for those jobs.

If you’re looking for an AI-powered tool to improve your writing, suggest revenue streams and more, I recommend you check out the LivePlan Assistant. It’s the only AI business planning tool backed by over 30 years of business planning and forecasting expertise.

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Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.