How to Use AI to Write a Winning Business Plan
Are you a new business owner looking to get your ideas off the ground? Or growing and scaling an existing company? Writing a thorough business plan is a crucial part of business success, whichever stage you’re at.
Your business plan will help you define your business objectives and map out the key stages to achieve these. But it will also be an important document to share with investors and other stakeholders who can shape the company’s future. For such purposes, it needs to persuade them that your vision is sound — and, most importantly, that you can carry it out.
Writing such a plan might feel intimidating. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, help is at hand. Writing assistants like Wordtune offers support in a range of ways we’ll be exploring in this article, making the process easier and quicker, and leaving you more time for turning your business idea into a successful reality.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of writing your business plan, and see how AI can have a big impact.
Write a business plan: step by step
Let’s explore how to write a business plan by breaking it down into manageable chunks. A traditional business plan needs to cover not just the details of your product, but also your company’s finances, business structure, market potential, and future projections.
As you cover each stage, make sure you consider how an external audience will view it. Each section should make a clear case for investing in, partnering with, or building a relationship with your company.
Below are some suggested sections for your plan, although you may need to tweak these to suit your particular business model.
1. Write an executive summary
It’s cheating slightly to put the executive summary first on the list here. Although it usually appears at the start of a business plan, it needs to be the last thing you write. That’s because it summarizes the rest of the plan, providing a snapshot of the key points and hooking in the reader. It should be as concise as possible, covering (amongst other things):
- Your overall business concept (usually the problem you are trying to solve)
- Your vision (what impact you want to make on your target audience or within your field)
- A brief product description
- Market opportunities, including target customers
- Current and projected finances
- What you’re looking for from investors
Wordtune’s Read function can quickly summarize any text, so it’s perfect for generating your executive summary. Just upload your business description covering the bullet points above and ask Wordune to summarize it! It’s a simple process that takes moments. Because the AI technology understands what it’s reading, it can produce a highly comprehensible summary.
2. Describe your company
The company description should help your readers understand your business’s purpose/mission, core values, and overall structure. This section will be important in engaging your readers and creating rapport. So, while keeping it concise, you should try to create a compelling sense of your company’s personality.
This can include discussing the history and foundation of the company, your mission statement, an overview of your management team, your main products, and how you’ll be serving your target market. Giving a brief sense of your advantages over potential competitors can also be important here, too. If it’s relevant, you could briefly summarize your organizational hierarchy and legal structure.
Because word choice can be crucial in putting across your meaning, using Wordtune to generate and review different wordings of the same phrases can be useful. When you paste your text into Wordtune, you can ask it to “rewrite” a sentence, which generates a few options for you to choose from. You can review these yourself or present a few options to colleagues to see which lands most effectively.
Additionally, you can use Wordtune to adjust the tone of your company description, switching from more to less formal. This might be useful if your brand voice is particularly casual and friendly, for example, or more formal and authoritative. Using a clear tone in your company description can help your stakeholders tune into your brand identity and start to build a relationship with you.
3. State your business goals
You should express your business goals clearly and precisely. Using the SMART goal framework can be helpful here. This means that you should ensure your goals are:
- Specific — e.g., “reach 5 million people” rather than just “improve many lives.”
- Measurable — using numerical figures that you can actually check, e.g., number or value of sales.
- Achievable — rather than “change the world,” goals should be specific, e.g., “get 100,000 people saving more into their pension.”
- Relevant — they should align with your business mission.
- Time-bound — e.g., “we will be in 3 million homes by 2026.” This is especially important for financial goals, which should have clear time limits.
You might also want to include both short and long-term goals (i.e. what you want to achieve in the next six months vs six years). Sequencing these in order of priority and completion can form a useful road map for both you and stakeholders to refer back to.
Again, Wordtune can help here. The tool can shorten any sentence, making it more concise. This can help you express your goals as clearly as possible.
4. Describe your products and services
This part of the business plan is hopefully going to get the stakeholder to really connect with what your business offers, so it needs to make an impact! You should highlight here the unique features of your product or service and show how it delivers value.
You could think about covering the following to achieve this:
- Product overview: in a few sentences, encapsulate what you are offering.
- Pain points: show how your target customer is suffering and how each feature of your product will address this.
- Product market fit: demonstrate that there is a genuine need for this product in the market, and that there are potential customers who will buy it!
- Competitive advantage: show that you understand the competitive field and how your product stands out in comparison.
- Development stage: if your product is still in development, describe where you’ve got to and what’s coming next. If you’re in the process of applying for patents, certifications, or other intellectual property protection, mention this here for a sense of credibility.
- Future development: give a hint of where your product could go next.
- Pricing and revenue: briefly lay out how much the product costs and summarize your pricing strategy. This is particularly important for appealing to investors, who’ll want to get a good sense of the financials.
- Logistics and operations: if you have physical products, describe how you’ll order, store, and transport these. You may want to touch on your suppliers and how you have chosen them, alongside any risks to the supply chain.
Wordtune’s ability to shorten sentences or paragraphs could help you keep these sections concise. You could also use the rewrite function to make sure each sentence is crafted to make an impact.
5. Do your market research
Although you’ll have briefly mentioned the wider market in the previous sections, here’s where you can go into detail and really persuade your reader of your product’s potential.
You could start by identifying your ideal customer. Are you looking to serve parents, business owners, teenagers, or drivers? You might even identify new market segments that are currently underserved.
Research should show what problems your target customers are facing, ideally backing this up with facts and figures. For example, if we know that a high percentage of people find it stressful to arrange childcare, it stands to reason that a product or service that makes it easier could do very well amongst parents.
Market analysis should also cover what other products and services are out there, so you can set your offering against these. For example, are there any other companies doing something similar? How are you different? Or, if this is a totally new product, how will it fit onto shelves? How will you raise awareness of something innovative?
Wordtune Read could help here. Upload existing reports and research papers to produce quick summaries you can read in moments — saving you vital time. You can also direct Read to summarize according to certain topics or keywords, so if you have research papers that aren’t totally and directly related to your subject, you can just summarize the relevant parts. For example, you might want to focus your summary on “women” or “health problems.” Wordtune will digest the text for you and produce a short summary that focuses on your chosen topic.
6. Outline your marketing and sales plan
Your stakeholders will want to understand that you can sell your product. That includes being clear about your marketing strategy.This should draw on your market research described in previous sections, showing how you will appeal to each target customer.
This could be the place to go into further detail about your target customer, developing an ideal customer profile as the backdrop to your marketing strategy. Your customer profile should identify key demographic details like age, gender, location, habits, needs, and what other products they’re buying. This can shape your marketing messages and help you work out which channels might be most effective to reach potential customers.
You could also:
- Set out your core marketing message, including which features of your product you’ll focus on.
- Define your marketing objectives, keeping them SMART. For example, generating 100 leads by the end of the first year, or becoming the most-recognized name in your niche within five years.
- Outline your marketing plan. This should include the main channels you want to use, such as emails, blogs, social media, physical media, or search engine optimization (SEO).
- Identify your core messaging. You could integrate AI tools into this part of the plan — Wordtune could support with A/B testing your messaging, for example, as it can help you generate different versions of your copy, which you can then try out.
- Plan out any promotions, discounts, or other tools like countdowns to increase a sense of urgency and reciprocity in your prospects
- Define your marketing budget so it’s clear exactly how much you will spend and on which channels.
- Lay out how you will review and evaluate your marketing performance, including your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
If you have a separate sales track (i.e., you are not a Direct to Consumer business but need sales reps to close deals), you should also lay out your sales strategy. This should plan for short (initial) and long-term (repeat) sales. Will you be running discovery calls, where customers can simply find out more about your service? How many sales meetings will there be on the customer journey? How will you manage customer relationships and complaints?
7. Perform a business financial analysis
The financial analysis should give your stakeholders confidence that this is going to be a functioning and hopefully profitable business. A solid business plan will leave no doubt of return on investment (ROI).
You should refer to key financial statements here, which you can attach or include as an appendix. These can include your balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. Although you’ll be attaching the actual financial documents, your plan should clearly set out the main points so your readers don’t need to then read every single attachment in detail if they don’t have time. Using charts and graphs can help them grasp the key points of this section more easily.
Addressing potential risks is also important here. If your business fails, can you meet your financial obligations? You need to show you can cover anything that will need to be repaid (e.g. loans, customer contracts, or stock costs) if you go out of business.
8. Make financial projections
You should also show how your financial plan will develop in the future in the form of a financial forecast. This should cover the different aspects of your business and how they might look over the next year, five years, or even 10 years. Including, say, a sales forecast can give your potential investors confidence in your company’s financial potential. This needs to be realistic, but you can be ambitious — show the best case scenario to highlight the future ROI.
9. Add additional information to an appendix
The appendix should contain any additional documents that might be useful to give more detail and context. This could include:
- Financial documents like statements and projections
- More in-depth market research (reports, demographic data, examples of competitor products)
- Legal documents and contracts (e.g., signed contracts for stock production)
- Product documents like manuals, patents, or prototype testing reports
- Marketing collateral like brochures or videos
- Organizational structure charts showing how your teams will be organized and managed, and which personnel you need to accomplish your goals
- Additional charts or graphs to illustrate key points in your plan
Make sure you label and number the appendix, and include a contents page so readers can find what they need.
Business plan tips and resources
Approaching your business plan can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you break it down into manageable chunks. Here are some further tips to help you craft an effective business plan.
Do your research: Luckily, there’s lots of information out there on how to write a business plan. Spend some time researching the topic before you begin (you could even use Wordtune Read to summarize the advice to make this process quicker). Sites like the Small Business Administration (SBA) have lots of helpful tips.
There are also lots of example plans available online (for example, from Hubspot here), or you might be able to get some from your network. Check out what others have done and notice what makes them compelling.
Balance optimism with realism: Providing wildly overblown projections might feel exciting, but it can make your readers lose trust in you. The Harvard Business Review suggests that you need to think carefully about the costs your business faces, and make sure these are factored into your plan. Additionally, remember that many businesses fall short of their projections in the early phases — investors will factor this into their offers, but you should also think about your contingency plans.
Define the exit strategy: The best business strategies plot out the growth of the company to its culmination. Do you want to sell to a bigger player, and is that a realistic opportunity? Will you float on the stock market at some point, allowing investors to sell their shares for a profit? You need to show how your stakeholders can make money — a tangible benefit is always persuasive.
Proofread: Your plan should be free of spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Otherwise, it might seem sloppy and readers could lose trust.
Running your work through Wordtune can highlight any mistakes, and you can also use the tool to suggest rewrites to make your explanations and descriptions more fluent.
Your business plan is your chance to put together all your hard work and show the world your brilliant ideas. Make sure you do your research and draw together all the evidence that’s going to prove you have an exciting, profitable business proposition that investors will be jumping on!
Constructing a detailed plan can take time, so it’s important to find the tools and resources to help you get this done. Using AI writing software like Wordtune is one way you can make sure the writing in your business plan really sings, so you make the biggest impact possible.
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.