If you’re like most people, writing a business plan is a frustrating or intimidating hurdle.
It’s the part of starting a business you’d rather skip in favor of more exciting things like working on your product or designing your logo.
And, of course, AI tools like ChatGPT make it tempting to outsource the entire planning process to the robots. Click a button, generate a business plan, and move on to the next thing.
Business planning is immensely valuable. It’s so much more than the document you end up with. It’s the process you go through – thinking about the details of your marketing strategy, who your best customers will be, your sales goals, and how you’ll build your business over time.
Planning is a worthwhile and instructive process to help you build a better business.
And you don’t have to go it alone. AI can help.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of AI
The key word here is “help.” It’s not “AI can do it for you” or “AI can write your plan.” AI can help you write your plan. But it can’t – and shouldn’t – just write your entire plan for you.
- AI often gets things wrong and invents “facts.” As of fall 2023, AI tools aren’t reliable research companions.
- Especially if you’re doing something new, like inventing a new product or service, AI can’t understand how your product might resonate with your customer.
- Creativity is not AI’s strong point. You may get some new ideas from AI, but tools like ChatGPT are just regurgitating text they’ve seen elsewhere on the internet.
But AI is good at a lot of things:
- ChatGPT can transform lists of ideas into polished sentences and paragraphs.
- AI excels at summarizing research documents and can save you tons of time. AI never gets tired of reading reports.
- You may not be a professional business plan writer, but AI can make you look like one by polishing your writing and fixing grammatical mistakes.
- If you need to brainstorm, AI can be a great stand-in for a business partner to help generate good (and bad) ideas, stimulating your own creativity.
And you, the driving force behind your business, have unique capabilities that AI lacks:
- You’re creative and innovative, coming up with unique solutions and ideas to differentiate yourself from the competition.
- You have intuition about what your customer wants.
- You know your customers better than anyone.
- You know your business’s context, including any cultural nuances and market subtleties.
That’s why you need to work with AI on your business plan.
The combination of unique human innovation and the workhorse power of AI is a dynamic mix for creating great business plans.
Best practices for incorporating human and AI input into your business plan
Here’s how you can collaborate with AI on key parts of your business plan:
- ChatGPT to brainstorm target market segments and summarize any market research reports you may have.
- Human input for nuanced insights on your target market and customer profile—plus fact-checking any research ChatGPT provides.
Marketing and sales strategy
- ChatGPT for brainstorming and listing possible tactics or channels.
- Human intuition for choosing the most effective strategies to differentiate your business from the competition.
- ChatGPT to help brainstorm potential revenue streams and list common expenses for businesses like yours.
- Human expertise to gather real-world expenses such as local rents, marketing costs, etc. And your expertise to make educated guesses about potential revenue.
- ChatGPT to draft an initial summary of your complete plan once you’ve worked through all of the sections.
- Human input to revise ChatGPT’s initial draft of your plan summary to make the story more compelling and ensure that key points aren’t missed.
LivePlan’s AI plan writing features
Successful business planning with AI is about collaborating with the technology, not outsourcing all your work. Think of AI as another tool to help get the job done, not a complete solution.
That’s why we’ve integrated AI into LivePlan the way that we have. There is no “write my plan” button.
Instead, AI is integrated as an assistant to help you transform your ideas into polished writing. Or, if you’ve written too much, LivePlan’s AI assistant can help you boil your thoughts down into concise bullet points.
LivePlan’s AI won’t tell you exactly how much money you’ll make each month, but it will help you think about where your money will come from and how you should spend it.
Like spreadsheets and the internet, AI is a tool to help you become more efficient. It will help you learn more about your business and develop a better strategy faster than you could before.