The Pros and Cons of Using AI for Business Planning

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Bottom Line: AI is not a replacement for human ingenuity and expertise. While it can assist in generating content, it cannot replicate the strategic thinking, market analysis, and decision-making skills that humans bring to the table. 

  • By harnessing the power of AI, you can augment your capabilities and free up valuable time and resources – allowing you to focus on critical aspects of the business plan that require human judgment and creativity. 

Be Smart: As long as you leverage AI as a powerful tool in your arsenal – while still applying human intelligence and expertise where it truly matters – you can confidently present investor-ready plans that stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape.

The Big Picture: Tools like ChatGPT, Claude, and Bard have opened up intriguing new possibilities for entrepreneurs looking to streamline the business planning process. These AI assistants can help generate ideas, convert rough concepts into polished text, and draw connections that human planners may have overlooked. 

Dig Deeper: We’ve explored the potential upsides and downsides of using AI tools to create a business plan. We looked at key areas where AI excels as well as situations that call for extra caution. Our goal is to provide entrepreneurs with a realistic picture of how AI can augment the planning process while emphasizing that human guidance remains indispensable. 

How AI can help with business planning

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Claude, and Bard can make it feel like you’ve got a business consultant at your side – guiding you through the process of writing your business plan. There are some real, tangible benefits to using these tools – especially if you’re new to the business planning process.

It’s great for brainstorming and generating ideas

From figuring out what revenue streams and expenses you should include in your financial plan to coming up with marketing ideas, AI tools can help you explore different business strategies. You’ll still need to review the ideas and decide if they’re right for your business, but AI can save you time and help you look at your business concept from a different perspective.

Can quickly convert rough ideas into polished text

It’s really common to have ideas for your business strategy but struggle to figure out how to turn your thoughts into polished text. Generative AI excels at this task and can take lists of ideas and information about your business and transform it into sentences and paragraphs.

Doesn’t suffer from writer’s block

We all routinely suffer from writer’s block and just can’t get past that “blank page” – especially when we’re trying to put together a plan for investors or other stakeholders. While the text that AI generates might not be perfect, it can be a great starting point that you can edit and refine. By simply getting the ball rolling, AI can unlock your own thoughts about your business and help you write more of your plan.

Grammar and sentence structure can easily be fixed

Most business people aren’t trained writers, so leveraging AI to improve your writing and fix grammatical problems can greatly improve the quickness of your business plan.

Can draw connections between ideas that you hadn’t considered before

As you use AI to help you think about revenue streams and marketing tactics, you’ll find that generative AI tools can help you think about your business’s strategy in new ways.

Data analysis can be simplified

Generative AI can analyze vast amounts of data to produce insights that can be included in the business plan. If you have access to market research data, data about your industry, or even customer surveys that you’ve performed, you can use AI to analyze it and find insights that you can include in your plan.

When you need to be careful using AI to generate your plan

Generative AI tools are unfortunately not an “easy” button that can generate the perfect business plan with just a few simple instructions. Human oversight and guidance is critical to ensure that you are creating a solid business plan.

AI lacks the human understanding of your specific business, industry, and location

AI is trained on data, but it cannot understand the nuances of a particular situation or the context in which it is happening. For example, AI might be able to identify that a company is in the retail industry, but it would not be able to understand the specific challenges that the company faces or the opportunities that are available to it. 

Additionally, AI is not able to understand the cultural or social factors that may be relevant to a particular business or industry. For example, AI might be able to identify that a company is located in a certain country, but it would not be able to understand the local customs or regulations that the company needs to comply with. As a result, AI can be a valuable tool for businesses, but it is important to remember that it is not a substitute for human judgment and experience.

Financial projections need to be verified by a human

Budgets and financial forecasts are both an art and a science. Good projections are based on market research, an understanding of your customer and your industry, and insights into how your business is going to be perceived by customers. AI can help generate forecasts, but doesn’t have the uniquely human insights into the nuances of your business. Not only that, but AI can make mistakes, especially with math. It’s crucial to review any financial forecasts that AI makes to ensure that they’re not only accurate but truly reflect where you think your business is going. 

Market research and other facts will need to be verified

Generative AI tools often confidently provide statistics and market research in a format that’s entirely believable. Unfortunately, these tools often “hallucinate” – they’ve made up the numbers and research. Even when AI tools cite their sources, the articles and resources they reference can sometimes be complete fabrications. Any research data that AI provides needs to be carefully checked to ensure that it’s accurate and truthful.

AI can miss key factors in competitive analysis, marketing strategy and other sections

Because generative AI tools are trained on data that is sometimes several years old, it may not know everything about current competitors or the state of your market. Marketing strategies that may have worked several years ago may no longer work and new competitors may have shown up since the AI tool was trained. AI can provide a good start on the various components of your business plan, but a human touch is crucial to make sure that the business strategy is sound.

Your plan may lack authenticity and be impersonal 

A business plan written by generative AI may not have the same level of personal touch as a business plan written by a human. This can be a disadvantage if you are trying to connect with investors or partners on a personal level.

Quality varies

Some generated text may not make logical sense or flow well. AI writing can sometimes lack energy or perhaps not even describe your business concepts accurately. It’s important to review all AI writing critically and even get a second pair of eyes on your plan to ensure that the quality is at the level you need for your audience.

Lack of Creativity

While AI can analyze patterns, it might not be able to provide the out-of-the-box thinking that human entrepreneurs often bring to new ventures. What often makes a business successful is figuring out how to differentiate from your competition. That means coming up with new ideas and new approaches – something that AI is not as good at as humans.

Tips for using AI to write a business plan:

Here are some additional tips for using generative AI to write a business plan:

  • Use generative AI as a starting point, not as a replacement for your own creativity and expertise.
  • Carefully review the output of generative AI to ensure that it is accurate and meets your needs.
  • Use generative AI to help you to identify potential risks and challenges to your business, but don’t rely on it to provide all of the answers.
  • Get feedback from others on the output of generative AI to ensure that it is persuasive and engaging.

Want to know what prompts you can use to write a business plan? We explored how to use ChatGPT to write your business plan. You can also use ChatGPT to build a financial forecast.

LivePlan is using AI to enhance the business planning process. Learn more about how having AI integrated into a business planning app can supercharge your business planning.

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Noah Parsons
Noah Parsons
Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan.
Posted in Business Plan Writing

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