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How to Cite Sources in a Business Plan

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A business plan is a formal report that describes your business structure, products and services, marketing strategies, and financial estimates to potential investors. Properly citing sources shows that your predictions are reliable. While there is no official format or methodology outlining how to cite sources in a business plan, business and economics papers typically follow APA style.

In-Text Citations

APA style in-text citations include the author(s) surname(s) and the year of publication , as follows:

• Business plans should contain as many action words as possible (Finch, 2013).
• Finch (2013) says that entrepreneurs should use action words in their business plans.

APA Style Reference List

Instead of a bibliography, APA style employs a reference list. Sources are listed alphabetically by author’s last name. Each source in the reference list should be formatted according to source type, as follows:


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.


Author, A. (date). Title of document [Format description].

Journal articles:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

You can find a complete listing of formatting guidelines for each type of source in the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Other Formatting Styles

MLA style and Chicago style are also plausible for business plans. Whatever style you choose, it is important to remain consistent throughout the entire document and to use credible, reputable sources.



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