Running a successful small business often involves getting a lot done with limited human resources. If you’re a small business owner you probably have to cover a number of bases yourself. ChatGPT and other generative AI tools can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you if you know how to ask the right questions.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best prompts small businesses can use to leverage the power of AI effectively. We’ll cover some great prompts for different aspects of your business. We’ll also cover some best practice tips so you can become your company’s resident ChatGPT prompt pro.
Understanding AI in Small Business
AI isn’t going to run your business for you but it works really well when you use it as an office assistant or consultant. You probably don’t have individual staff members for each role in your company but AI can fill in the expertise gaps without you needing to hire someone.
ChatGPT is good at giving you best-practice advice for running your business. It’s been trained on huge volumes of internet data, including business guides, operations, and legislation.
If you’re selling a product then you need to interact with your customers and suppliers. ChatGPT can take the overall message you want to send and word it really well. This is great for creating copy for sales emails, telephone scripts, or marketing material.
ChatGPT is also good at crunching data. If you need to extract information from financial data it’s good at finding errors or spotting trends.
Tips For Writing Great AI Prompts
When using ChatGPT it’s important to understand that while it’s been trained on pretty much everything on the internet, it doesn’t know you, your business, your goals, or the specific challenges you’re facing. Unless you tell it, that is. Here are a few tips for writing great prompts.
- Provide context – Start by telling ChatGPT about your business, where you operate, your staff complement, etc… Once it gets a good idea of what you do it will be more specific in responding to your prompts.
- Use role-play to get more specific feedback – Tell ChatGPT to act as the consultant, staff member, or client that would ideally be in the best position to respond to your question. Do you wish a world-famous CEO like Jack Welch managed your company? Start your prompt with “You are Jack Welch. How would you…”
- ChatGPT won’t always get it right the first time so ask it to refine its response – Invite it to ask you for more detail so it can deliver a better response.
- Define the length and complexity you want – Use terms like detailed, simple, outline, overview, etc… to get the responses you want. Once you’ve got a response you can ask ChatGPT to make it shorter, expand, simplify, etc…
- Specify the tone – If you’re using ChatGPT to write an email, sales script, or blog post, define the tone of voice you want. Using words like persuasive, friendly, formal, convincing, etc… will determine the words ChatGPT includes in the output.
Prompt Library For Small Businesses
While the free version of ChatGPT will give you great responses to these prompts, you’ll get even better output from the paid GPT Plus version. Some of these prompts rely on access to the internet or uploaded documents which are functions that only GPT Plus users have access to.
Business operations include things like inventory management, HR, project management, or setting up Standard Operating Procedures. While these prompts won’t do all the work for you they give you a great framework and ideas for best practice.
“You are my HR manager. Create a streamlined process for the successful onboarding of new staff for our new [employee role].”
Assigning a role and using qualifiers like “streamlined” delivers a more accurate response at the length you want.
“Provide guidance and best practices for improving inventory management in a small business in the [industry] industry. Include inventory level optimization, tracking, waste, and reducing stockouts.”
Telling ChatGPT what to include doesn’t remove its ability to include other aspects in its response but ensures that it also includes specific items you’re after.
“Act as a small business operations manager. Create an operations plan for my [business description] business.”
You are my supply chain manager. Develop an inventory management strategy for my [business description] business. Include ways we can track inventory, reduce waste, and just-in-time availability.”
“Act as an HR manager. We intend to hire a new person for the [role] position. Give me some good questions to ask during the interview.”
“I have several resumes of applicants for the [role] position. The job description is: [paste job description]. Check these resumes and shortlist candidates that satisfy all the requirements in the job description. Here are the resumes: [paste resumes]”
This is a great example of using ChatGPT to read through a lot of content and provide feedback without you having to read everything yourself. You can use this on sales reports or meeting minutes too.
Closing the deal involves saying the right things at the right time and ChatGPT is great at helping with that. It can help you write persuasive cold and follow-up emails, telephone sales scripts, or role-play exercises for your sales staff. It can also give you insights into your sales data so you can make better strategic decisions.
"Write an attention-grabbing email for a prospective client to consider our [product / service]"
Using terms like attention-grabbing, friendly, formal, or convincing, will affect the tone of the output you get.
"Write a friendly follow-up email to convince the client we met with to allow us to quote on supplying [product / service]"
You could also tell ChatGPT that you’re appending the minutes from your last meeting to the prompt to get a more specific email.
"Compose a compelling closing email to convince a client to act on our limited-time offer of [product]. Include an offer of a [percentage] discount if they commit today."
"I need a 30-second sales video script about how [our product] addresses the problem of [problem]. Include the following benefits: [benefits list]"
It’s a good idea to tell ChatGPT the length of response you want. Saying things like “short” or “long” is fine but giving specific lengths works better.
"Our small business sells [offering]. Write a brief sales pitch aimed at small businesses in the [industry] industry."
"Pretend you’re a potential customer for our [product] but you’re hesitant because of the price. I’ll try to convince you that it offers good value."
For managing more complex projects we’d suggest using an AI tool like ClickUp or Monday.com but ChatGPT can be a big help with smaller project management tasks. Here are some prompts that help with things like task tracking, decision-making, or even risk management.
"Help me outline a project plan for [project name]."
Asking for an “outline” results in a briefer response. If you’re happy with the outline you can use a follow-up prompt to use the outline to deliver a detailed plan.
"Summarize the key points from the last project meeting. Here are the minutes: [paste minutes]"
"Act as a project manager. Develop a project plan for our small business to [project]."
"What are the pros and cons of [option A] compared to [option B]?"
You could also ask for the list to be presented in a table for easier evaluation.
"I need strategies that will help me successfully deliver [project outcome] while minimizing the risk of [potential risk]."
"I need to develop an effective but flexible timeline for [project] that can allow for changing requirements and needs."
"What should be included in a comprehensive project scope statement?"
"Can you suggest ways to track and monitor task progress efficiently?"
Finance / Accounting
ChatGPT is great at crunching numbers or giving financial analysis and advice. Here are some prompts for helping your small business with finance and accounting tasks.
"Design an invoice template for my [industry] business. Include sections for discounts, taxes, and notes. Make sure the template can easily be converted into a pdf."
Telling ChatGPT that you intend to use the output in a PDF, Excel sheet, or other format will affect the way it presents the response.
"Generate a comprehensive guide to small business financing options. Include equity finance, loans, and grants."
"Explain how a small business can manage its finances, including budgeting, cash flow, and taxes."
When using prompts related to regulations and laws it’s good to give the context of your jurisdiction. Eg. “My business is registered in London, England.”
"Analyze the sales data I uploaded and calculate the growth for each quarter."
"Analyze the financial statement I uploaded and write a detailed audit report."
You can upload a previous report and ask that it is used as a template.
"Analyze the balance sheet I uploaded and point out any mistakes or discrepancies."
"Create a template for a monthly financial report for a small business."
"Explain the best practices I should apply in my small business to manage cash flow."
A happy customer is more likely to keep spending money with you but keeping them happy takes time and effort. And as a small business, you may not have a dedicated customer support person in place. AI chatbots are really good at filling this role but ChatGPT can also reduce your customer support workload. Here are some great customer support prompts.
"Write an email that effectively deals with this customer’s complaint in an email. Their email said: [paste email]"
"We’ve got a lot of reviews from clients. Read the reviews and highlight the main areas our business should focus on to satisfy our customers. Here are the reviews: [paste reviews]"
"Help me create a list of FAQs and answers for our small business that offers [product / service]"
"My small business doesn’t have a dedicated customer support person. Suggest a process for managing customer support and product info requests."
"Give me 10 tips on how our customer service staff can effectively deal with an angry customer."
"Write a telephone call script for our receptionist at our [business] company. She handles our customer support queries and escalates them when she can’t resolve the query."
The more detailed your prompt is about the role, activities, business type, and requirement, the better the response will be.
Small businesses often have limited marketing budgets and even fewer internal staff that are experts in marketing. ChatGPT is great at coming up with marketing strategies, compelling copy for ads, or repurposing your existing content to use on other platforms. Here are a few great marketing prompts for small businesses.
“I’ve got a limited budget. What are some cheap ways to market my [industry] business locally?”
“We want to make a Facebook post each month to market our [product] in [area / country]. Generate ideas for making the monthly post align with notable holidays or events that happen in those months.”
“We’re in the [industry] business. What trends in that industry could we target in our marketing?”
“Write a tweet promoting our [product] in [city] aimed at people struggling with [problem].”
“Write a blog post for the release of our new [product]. The product page is here: [url]”
This is a simple yet powerful prompt but you’ll need ChatGPT Plus because it requires connecting to the internet.
“What is the best day and time to post on our Facebook page about our [product]?”
“Give me a few examples of emails we can send to existing clients to create anticipation for our upgraded version of [product]. Include attention-grabbing subject lines.”
“Take our blog post and create content for a Tweet, Facebook post, and a 30-second Youtube video. Here is the post: [paste blog post]”
Repurposing your existing long-form content is a great way to instantly get social media content.
You want to know what your competitors are up to and what the latest trends are in your industry but you’re too busy trying to run your business. ChatGPT can give you great advice on how to do your own market research and if you’ve got a paid GPT Plus subscription then it can give you up-to-date info on your competitors.
“As a market analyst conduct a competitive analysis of [business industry] and include the following companies: [competitors and your company]. Considering branding, market position, product offering, and pricing differences what recommendations can you propose for [your company] to be more competitive?”
“Imagine you are a [person description] in [area] interested in [industry]. What new products are you likely to be excited to see advertised?”
Asking ChatGPT to act like your target customer is a great way to get new insights into your audience.
“Our small business plans on supplying [product / service] to people in [area]. Act as a market researcher and give me the demographics of our ideal customer. Include things like age, education, income level, and location.”
“Our small business provides [product] in [area]. Which other small businesses are our top 3 competitors?”
“Are there products or services that my competitors don’t offer that provide my business with a market opportunity?”
“What are the main complaints from customers in the [industry] business?”
Prompts like these work best with ChatGPT Plus which has access to more up to date information.
“What are the unique selling points of these competitors: [competitor list]”
“What are the common complaints about [competitor]”
“Our business is called [company name] What are the most common complaints and compliments about our company?”
Making good strategic business decisions requires an understanding of current market conditions and a feel for what could happen in the future. ChatGPT can help you make better business decisions, manage potential risks, and identify unexplored opportunities with these prompts.
“Create a SWOT analysis for [business idea].”
“You are an expert business strategist in the [industry] field. Create a detailed business continuity plan to mitigate potential business disruptions a small business in this industry could face.”
Using “detailed” in the prompt will result in a more comprehensive output.
“Create a list of ways that our small business that provides [product/service] can effectively integrate AI into our operations. Order the list with the easiest to implement first.”
You could mention the specific business tools you currently use for a more useful response.
“Analyze the uploaded sales figures and highlight which products we should consider discontinuing and which we should focus our marketing budget on to maximize profitability.”
“Our small business sells [product]. What emerging trends in related industries should we consider developing?”
When you use terms like “emerging” or looking for “trends” then ChatGPT Plus will give better results as it has access to the internet.
“We currently only sell our [product] in [country]. What risks should we be aware of as we consider exporting our products to [country]?”
“Our small business is in the [industry] industry in [area]. As a business strategist describe 3 possible scenarios of how this industry could change over the next 5 years.”
“What potential risks and benefits are there to our small business adopting [technology] into our operations?”
A lot of the productivity benefits of AI come from apps or platforms focused on specific solutions but ChatGPT can also help you work faster and smarter. It can help you with your schedule, learn skills faster, or summarize long text so you don’t have to read it.
If you use a few of these productivity prompts you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort.
“Act as a process improvement specialist, I need a review of current business operations. Identify inefficiencies, waste, or bottlenecks in [business process] and propose specific improvement strategies.”
“You are a business productivity expert. Our small business in the [industry] industry needs to improve productivity. What are some easy wins for us to do that?”
Using a term like “easy wins” helps ChatGPT to understand that you want a list of actionable items that won’t take a lot of effort to implement.
“List 5 productivity tools I could use in running my small business to streamline my daily management tasks.”
“Our business provides [product/service]. As an expert in business automation guide us on opportunities for automation of repetitive tasks.”
“Suggest a daily routine for a manager of a small business that maximizes productivity.”
“Give me a step-by-step solution to solving a problem our business is having with [problem].”
Using “step-by-step” in your prompt is a great idea when you want an ordered list of instructions you can follow to get something done rather than a broad explanation.
“Act as an expert in [topic]. Teach me in as short a time as possible to learn how to [skill].”
“This report is too long to read. Give me a bullet point summary of this text: [paste report]”
“Read the minutes from our last meeting and give me a list of the action points I need to follow up on in today’s meeting. Here are the minutes: [paste minutes]”
Managing your brand online involves consistently posting fresh content to social media platforms. ChatGPT is really good at generating ideas for new posts and creating content too. Here are a few prompts for small business social media management.
“Give me 10 social media post ideas for promoting our [product]”
“Our company sells [product/service]. Give me ideas for short Youtube videos we could create to promote this.”
“We are running a limited-time sale on [product]. Write social media posts for Twitter and Facebook. The tone should be [tone] with a focus on urgency.”
Defining the platforms you intend posting to will determine the character count of the output you receive.
“How can we leverage our Instagram account to promote our [product/service]”
“Our small business supplies [product] in [area]. How can we use social media to get more customers?”
“We offer [product/service] to clients in the [area]. Write 5 brief LinkedIn posts about common problems that our product solves.”
“Please give me 5 ideas for posts on [social media platform] promoting our [service/product] to [target audience].”
“You are a skilled digital marketer. Give me tips on writing calls to action for our social media posts that will convince customers to buy. Our business supplies [product].”
ChatGPT is really good at helping you brainstorm ideas, generate outlines for articles, or even write complete blog posts. If you use good content creation prompts it can cut down on the time you spend on any business writing work you need to do.
“You are an inspirational manager of a small business. Write a memo to all our staff thanking them for their hard work this year but motivating them to keep it up for our last quarter.”
Using “inspirational” to define the tone will have a big impact on the generated copy. You could also ask for the content to be written in the style of a well known personality.
“I need to write a thought leadership article on how [technology] helps address [challenge]. Give me an outline of the article with headings and subheadings.”
Using ChatGPT to just generate an outline is a great way to get over writer’s block so you can write the rest of the content in your own style.
“As a product copywriter specialist, rewrite the product description of this product: [url]”
Asking for variations of your existing copy speeds up brainstorming sessions. Asking for multiple versions and then sifting the good from the bad works well too.
“We received a detailed positive review from a client. Turn the review into a brief article describing how our product benefited them. Include quotes from the review.”
“Our business is called [company name] and supplies [product]. Generate catchy slogans for our company and product.”
“Our user manual is too complex. Shorten it and make the instructions easier to understand. Here is the manual: [paste user manual]”
The amount of traffic your website gets is directly related to how easy it is for people to find it when they search for your product or service. Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing the layout and content of your website so that it appears higher up in search engine search results.
Here are some GPT prompts for SEO that your can use for your small business website.
“You are an SEO specialist. Create an SEO strategy for our small business in the [industry] industry to improve our online visibility. Include keyword research, link building, and on-page optimizations we should focus on.”
“Our business provides [product/service]. Generate a list of keywords we should be targeting with our website.”
“As an on-page SEO specialist analyze our website and suggest optimizations we should implement to improve search engine visibility. The URL for our business is: [url]”
This is a powerful and useful prompt but it needs internet access so it will only work with ChatGPT Plus.
“Our website promotes our offering of [product/service]. As an SEO expert recommend some low-difficulty, high-volume search terms to target to drive traffic to our website.”
“We want to rank a webpage for “[keyword]”. Rewrite the following content to use a wider variety of related LSI phrases wherever possible.”
“We want to rank a webpage for “[keyword]”. Write an SEO-optimized meta description of under 160 characters for the following article: [paste article]”
ChatGPT doesn’t always get the character count spot-on so you may need to check the output.
Most small businesses have resource and staff challenges. ChatGPT can’t solve all of those problems but if you use it properly it can save you a lot of time. There are some really powerful AI tools for small businesses but most of them are paid applications. If you’re just starting out with using AI in your business then ChatGPT is the perfect place to begin.
The best thing to do is to start playing around with it and experiment with the prompts above. You’ll be amazed at how ChatGPT can help you run your small business more efficiently.