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If you’re forced to get information from sources of questionable reliability, make sure you specify in the text of your plan that the information is an estimate at best.It's generally not a good idea to use Wikipedia as a source, so investigate the citations used on the Wikipedia article.
Citing your sources is critical to establishing your credibility and for remembering how you arrived at the conclusions and figures you present in your plan. Whenever possible, use government agencies, universities, authoritative books and articles, and primary sources such as interviews with experts or direct research of your customers.
Websites you use should end in .gov, or occasionally if the organization is well respected.
For example, an executive summary for a pet-sitting business might conclude: “The loving on-site professional care that Pet Grandma will provide is sure to appeal to both cat and dog owners throughout the West Vancouver area.” Remember, the executive summary will be the first thing your readers read.
If it's poorly written, it will also be the last thing they read, as they set the rest of your business plan aside unread.
APA style tends to be preferred for technical and scientific presentations, MLA for less technical subjects and various specific legal citation styles for law or government practices. Which style you choose is a matter of preference rather than a specific prescription, but once you’ve chosen it be sure to maintain it throughout your business plan.
Each style you choose will require that you list the author, title, copyright date, publisher and city, issue number, volume, page number and URL if applicable, so be sure to keep track of this information during your research. Place citations in the bibliography section of your business plan and be sure to format them consistently. If possible, maintain it for all the documentation that you’ll be presenting to your lender or investor.
She holds a Master of Business Adminstration from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
, the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what’s essential to any business plan, what’s appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success.
Facts—checkable, demonstrable facts—will invest your plan with the most important component of all: credibility.
A useful business plan can be any length, from that scrawl on the back of an envelope to more than 100 pages for an especially detailed plan describing a complex enterprise. Miniplans of five to 10 pages are the popular concise models that may stand on their own for smaller businesses.