Technology & Innovation

The 28 best AI prompts for small businesses

GenAI has arrived. Here are 28 AI prompts for small businesses to help companies make the most of emerging, intelligent tools.

Generative AI has arrived. Using a combination of large language models (LLM) and natural language processing (NLP), generative frameworks let humans interact conversationally with intelligent tools by asking questions and getting detailed answers.

However, making best use of these tools requires more than random questions.

Instead, businesses need prompts that help smart solutions find, integrate, and apply relevant data.

In this article, we explain what AI prompts are and how they work, and we share a list of the best 28 AI prompts for small businesses.

AI prompts explained

Prompts are sets of instructions for AI tools. They can be questions or statements and the more specific, the better.

Consider a company creating a new campaign to sell running shoes. While using a prompt such as “create an advertisement for running shoes” will produce a result, it will be generic rather than specific and may not offer value to your business.

Better answers come from prompts with more detail.

For example, if the prompt above was refined to say “create the script for a television advertisement for men’s running shoes that highlights sustainable production practices and focuses on the use of the shoes in outdoor activities,” the output value improves.

In addition, more specific prompts reduce the risk of inaccuracies or errors.

While artificial frameworks have advanced significantly over the past few years, the answers they generate are based on the data they access.

General prompts increase the risk of tools using low-quality data sources, which can in turn lead to results that seem reasonable but are not accurate.

The 28 best AI prompts

To help your business make the most of generative AI, we’ve compiled a list of 28 great prompts.

To help you better navigate this piece, we’ve broken them down into:

  • 7 sections by industry vertical (construction, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, nonprofits, professional services, retail)
  • 4 categories within each vertical, and
  • 3 prompt examples—good, better, best—in each category.

Construction

1. Project planning

Good: Explain how to optimize a building layout to reduce total material costs.

Better: Explain how to optimize the layout of a building with (specific dimensions) to reduce material costs without compromising safety or speed.

Best: Explain how to optimize the layout of a building with (specific dimensions) in (specific location) by using materials that are alternatives to (currently used materials). Explain how to reduce costs using these materials without compromising the safety of the building while still meeting (project dates).

2. Materials sourcing

Good: Find 3 suppliers of (specific material) and determine their average price per shipment.

Better: Find 3 suppliers of (specific material) within (geographic location). Determine their average current price per shipment and provide a historic analysis of their pricing for the past 6 months.

Best: Find 3 suppliers of (specific material) within (geographic location) that have (average review rating or better). Determine their average price per shipment, analyze historic pricing, and report on any missed shipments or delivery failures.

3. Compliance

Good: Provide a summary of current compliance regulations for (project) in (market).

Better: Provide a list of specific compliance regulations for a project at (specific location) within (larger market).

Best: Provide a synopsis of specific compliance regulations for a project at (specific location) using (specific equipment) for (designated period). Compare current operational practices with compliance regulations and note any discrepancies.

4. Construction methodology

Good: Discover and report on 4 ways to make current building processes more efficient.

Better: Current process (x) takes (y) length of time. Provide 4 ways to reduce this length of time without sacrificing quality.

Best: Existing process (x) takes (y) length of time using (z) materials. Determine 4 ways to improve both time and cost efficiency using materials and processes.

Financial services

5. Data security

Good: Evaluate current data security practices and identify potential compromise paths.

Better: Evaluate data security practices for (x,y and z type data), identify potential paths of compromise and report on their possible impact.

Best: Evaluate security practices for (x,y and z type data). Identify possible points of exposure and scan for known vulnerabilities. Report on the potential impact of compromise and suggest strategies for mitigation.

6. Client satisfaction

Good: Using available client data, provide a score of 1-10 for overall client satisfaction, with 1 being low and 10 being high.

Better: Using client data including surveys, social media posts, and customer service interactions, provide an average satisfaction score from 1-10 and suggest ways to improve satisfaction.

Best: Using client data from survey results, social media posts, customer service interactions, and CRM databases, provide an average satisfaction score, suggest ways to improve satisfaction, and determine the most common cause of dissatisfaction among clients.

7. Regulatory compliance

Good: Assess current security practices against relevant financial compliance regulations.

Better: Compare existing security practices against financial compliance requirements such as the Bank Secrecy Act, Know Your Customer, and Anti-money Laundering.

Best: Assess the effectiveness of current security practices in meeting compliance requirements including the Bank Secrecy Act, Know Your Customer, and Anti-money Laundering. In addition, suggest strategies to improve compliance.

8. Investment strategy

Good: Given current market conditions, determine the best investment strategy to yield consistent returns.

Better: Using current market conditions as a guideline, create an investment strategy that yields consistent returns while minimizing risk.

Best: Suggest 3 investment strategies to maximize market conditions and minimize risk. Have one strategy prioritize returns, a second balance returns and risk, and the last strategy focus on reduced risk.

Healthcare

9. HIPAA compliance

Good: Using available data, determine where current practices are not meeting HIPAA requirements.

Better: Determine where HIPAA regulations are not being met in the organization, and suggest strategies to improve compliance.

Best: Assess current HIPAA compliance, suggest strategies to remediate these issues, and suggest 4 ways to proactively improve current practices.

10. Patient data security

Good: Determine 4 potential points of compromise for patient data entry processes.

Better: Compare the rate of internal data security incidents to those across the industry. Determine if there are common factors in data breaches and if our organization shares those factors.

Best: Analyze the most common data breach causes in our organization and categorize them by their root cause. Determine their potential impact and suggest 4 ways to reduce patient data entry risks.

11. Treatment plans

Good: Assess the overall efficacy of patient treatment plans and provide a percentage success rate.

Better: Determine the most common causes of treatment plan failures and suggest 5 ways to improve treatment outcomes.

Best: Identify the success rate of treatment plans along with the most common causes of failure. Suggest ways for healthcare professionals to improve treatment outcomes, and ways to increase patient adoption.

12. Medical documentation

Good: Determine the overall accuracy rate of medical documentation entry and provide the results as a percentage.

Better: Provide a percentage error rate of documentation entry and determine the most common error types in data entry.

Best: First, determine the most common causes of documentation errors. Then assess the average time taken by staff to enter data. Finally, suggest 3 ways to improve accuracy and reduce time spent on data entry.

Hospitality

13. Guest satisfaction

Good: Using guest feedback and survey data from internal databases, create an average satisfaction score from 1-10, with 1 being very unsatisfied and 10 being very satisfied.

Better: Determine an average satisfaction level for guests using feedback and survey data. Pinpoint the most commonly reported complaint, and provide context on how this complaint impacted average scores.

Best: Assess survey, guest feedback, and social media data to determine average guest satisfaction level. Determine the most common complaint, and suggest 3 ways to improve guest satisfaction with (x) timeframe and (y) budget.

14. Brand recognition

Good: Using data from review sites and social media platforms, determine the level of brand recognition for our business compared to businesses of the same type.

Better: Assess our current level of brand recognition compared to competitors using review site and social media platform data. Then, determine what characteristics are shared by the top-recognized brands.

Best: First, compare our brand recognition with other brands in the local area using available data. Conduct an analysis of our target keywords (x, y and z) and determine how we rank in SEO. Finally, suggest ways we can improve our brand ranking both in search and with customers.

15. Staffing efficiency

Good: Calculate the average number of hours worked by employees, along with the average number of overtime hours per employee.

Better: Determine the average number of regular and overtime hours worked by employees, along with the most common reason for overtime hours.

Best: Compare the current number of staff to existing workloads, and determine if there are enough employees to complete the work without requiring overtime. If the answer is no, suggest ways other than hiring new staff that resource-intensive processes can be streamlined.

16. Communication strategy

Good: Determine the average open rate for email marketing campaigns and the click-through rate for social media advertisements.

Better: Calculate the average open rate for marketing campaigns, and the average number of customers who take action such as clicking through to websites or making a booking.

Best: Assess the average open rate for marketing emails and social posts, along with the average number of conversions. Then, draft an email message and social post that will encourage guests to take action.

Nonprofits

17. Donor giving

Good: Determine the number of donors who make one-time contributions, those who contribute once per year, and those who contribute each month.

Better: Calculate the total number of donors and break down their donations by type—once, monthly, and yearly. Determine if average donation values and frequencies are increasing or decreasing.

Best: Determine the total number of donors and how much they donate individually and on average. Calculate if total donation values are increasing or decreasing, and asses if current giving levels are sufficient to sustain operations.

18. Public perception

Good: Using data from emails, social media sites, and surveys, determine if overall public perception of the organization is positive or negative.

Better: Using available data, determine if public perception of the organization is positive or negative. If negative, suggest 3 ways to improve perception.

Best: Determine the most common positive and negative comments about the organization, along with their frequency. Suggest 3 ways to specifically address negative comments, and create a set of 4 social posts to help improve public perception.

19. Fundraising strategies

Good: Determine the dollar value generated by fundraising events over the past 6 months.

Better: Calculate the total amount generated by fundraising events over the past year. Determine which events and campaigns brought in the most money.

Best: Determine which fundraising events and campaigns over the past 12 months generated the most money. Compare these events and campaigns and determine what they have in common.

20. Social media integration

Good: Determine the current level of client and donor interaction with posts on social media sites.

Better: Which social platform is preferred by clients? Which is preferred by donors? What type of posts are they most likely to interact with?

Best: Determine the most popular social media platform used by clients and by donors to engage with the organization. Create 4 posts each for donors and clients designed for their preferred social platform.

Professional services

21. Market targeting

Good: What share of market (x) is owned by our business? Where do we rank compared to similar businesses in the local area?

Better: What percentage of local market (x) is owned by our business? Given target audience characteristics (a, b and c), where do we rank compared to similar firms?

Best: Given target audience characteristics (a, b and c), and our current local market share based on available data, where do we rank? If competitors rank above us, what are they doing differently? Suggest 3 ways to capture our target market.

22. Appointment scheduling

Good: Assess client feedback about the process of scheduling and changing appointments. What is the most common challenge reported?

Better: What percentage of clients report problems with the scheduling process? What percentage of staff report issues? Are there common concerns? If so, how can they be addressed?

Best: Are current schedules sustainable given current staffing levels? Is the total volume of client appointments increasing or decreasing, and are they satisfied with the process? Suggest 3 ways to improve the scheduling process.

23. Strategy development

Good: Using available market data, create 3 strategies to help capture greater audience share.

Better: Identify the local service firms with the largest audience share, then create 3 strategies: 1 for short-term growth, 1 for steady revenue generation, and 1 for long-term success.

Best: Identify local market leaders and what sets them apart from other service firms. Using this data, create 3 strategies for short, mid, and long-term growth, and suggest key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor each.

24. Service accessibility

Good: Using survey and email feedback data, determine both the total number of times that clients have been unable to book a preferred time slot and the percentage of service bookings that result in 2nd or 3rd choices.

Better: Determine the number of times that clients have been unable to book their preferred time or preferred service advisor. Calculate this data for the past 3, 6, and 12 months. Analyze the resulting trend.

Best: Calculate the number of failed bookings and the number of 2nd or 3rd time slot choices. Compare this to client demographic data. Is there a subset of clients or services that create accessibility conflicts?

Retail

25. Inventory management

Good: Calculate current inventory levels for (x product) along with the demand curve for this product over the past 6 months.

Better: Determine both the number of (x products) in stock and the number ordered or in shipment. Compare this number to current demand, and based on historical and current data, calculate this curve for the next 6 months.

Best: Conduct a historical analysis of (x product) inventory over the past 12 months. Report any stock outs along with any overstock product that was not sold. Determine how much inventory should be stored on-site to meet current demand.

26. Supplier analysis

Good: Calculate the number of times (x supplier) has missed a shipment or has delayed deliveries. Compare this number to similar suppliers.

Better: Determine the number of missed shipments and delayed deliveries for (x supplier) over the past 6 months. Calculate the cost of these missed or delayed shipments

Best: Calculate the total number of missed shipments and delayed deliveries for (x supplier) over the past 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. Analyze these numbers and report on the trend.

27. Consumer sentiment

Good: Using feedback survey, product review, and customer service data, determine if overall sentiment for our brand is positive, negative, or neutral.

Better: Analyze the most common complaints and positive mentions of our brand across social media and online reviews, along with surveys and feedback emails. What are the 3 most-mentioned positives, and the 3 most-mentioned negatives?

Best: Using online review, feedback survey, email, and social media data, determine the most common negative consumer sentiment. Provide 3 options to help address this issue and improve consumer sentiment.

28. Demand predictions

Good: Determine the demand curve for (products x, y and z) over the past 6 months, and predict demand for the next 6 months.

Better: Compare the demand for (products x, y and z) in the past 6 months to demand in the past 12 months. Determine if demand is decreasing or increasing, and predict likely demand for the next 6 months.

Best: Determine demand over the past 12 months for (products x, y and z). Analyze the impact of holidays and seasons on this demand, and determine if there is any significant impact. Predict demand for the next 6 months, taking into account any upcoming holidays or seasonal shifts.

Final thoughts on AI prompts for small businesses

Prompt creation is an evolving art form.

As generative technologies improve and businesses gain experience with AI tools, the nature of prompts will naturally change. The result is that there’s always room for improvement.

Think of the prompts listed above as a starting point, a way for your business to gain critical industry insight and discover key trends that naturally lead to more questions and better answers.