How To Cite Sources in Business Proposal

Having a great business idea is just the first step toward being a business owner. The second step, which is the most crucial, is having a business plan. The business plan outlines what your business will be, the market, your customer base, your marketing strategy, your startup and running costs, and your projected profits.

The best way to add credibility to your business plan is to support the forecasts and ideas presented with data provided by credible sources like authoritative books, industry leads, and government and trade publications.

Once you’ve backed up your work with these credible sources, give credit where credit is due. In other words, cite your sources. If you don’t it’s considered plagiarism, which looks unprofessional. From web pages and¬†websites to books, journals, or periodicals, it’s vital that you cite the sources for¬†information used in your business proposal.

1. Choose a Citation Style

The first step, before you even begin writing or typing up your business plan, is to choose a citation style. The most common academic writing styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago.

A good way to decide which style to use is by deciding what type of field your business will fall into. MLA is mostly used in academics — ergo, if your business falls into any of the ‚Äėhumanities‚Äô fields like geology, archeology and the like then use MLA. APA is mostly used in scientific studies, so¬†if your business is more scientifically bent, like a pharmacy, then use APA.

2. Consistency is key

Whichever writing style you choose, stick to both the in-text and reference section citation guides given. Mixing styles is a sure sign to any investors that your work is sloppy and you have zero attention to detail.

This is not a message you want to send to your potential investor, especially before they even get a chance to grasp your idea or see it in action. Consistency in your writing is the first way to properly present your business proposal.

3. Understand Your Style Guides

In order to make your writing a little easier, here are a few examples of each style guide as they should be used. Simply follow the format in order to best cite your own sources.

APA Style Guide

A book

  • In-Text Citation: (Shelton, 2014)
  • Bibliography: Shelton, H. (2014).¬†The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results. Amazon Publishing.

A chapter in an edited book

  • In-Text Citation:(Ries, 2011)
  • Bibliography: Ries, E. (2011).¬†The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Crown Publishing, USA.

An article from a print journal

  • In-Text Citation: (Adhari, 2020)
  • Bibliography: Adhari, Z. L. (2020). ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality.‚Ä̬†Business Studies Journal,¬†Research Article 2020 Vol 12, issue 2.¬†1944-656X

An article from an electronic journal

A website

MLA Style Guide

A book

  • In-Text Citation: (Shelton 2014, 54-64)
  • Shelton, H. (2014).¬†The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results. Amazon Publishing.

An article in a print journal

  • ¬†In-Text Citation: (Adhari 2020, 18)
  • Bibliography:¬†Adhari, Z. L. (2020). ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality.‚Ä̬†Business Studies Journal,¬†Research Article 2020 Vol 12, issue 2.¬†1944-656X

An article in an electronic journal

A website

Another way to cite sources in MLA style is to use the note/bibliography method as shown below:

A book in print

  • Note Style:¬†¬†1. Hal Shelton,¬†The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results. (Amazon Publishing, 2014), 108-112.
  • Duplicate Note:¬†¬†2. Shelton,¬†The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results.
  • Bibliography:¬†Shelton, H.¬†The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results. Amazon Publishing, 2014.

An article from a print journal

  • Note Style:¬†1. Lendy. Z. Adhari, ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality.‚Ä̬†Business Studies Journal,¬†Research Article 2020 Vol 12, issue 2¬†(2020).¬†1944-656X
  • Duplicate Note:¬†2. Adhari. ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality,‚ÄĚ 21-22.
  • ¬†Bibliography:¬†Adhari, Z. L. ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality.‚Ä̬†Business Studies Journal,¬†Research Article 2020 Vol 12, issue 2¬†(2020): 11-12.¬†1944-656X

An article in an electronic journal

  • Note Style:¬†1. Lendy. Z. Adhari, ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality.‚Ä̬†Business Studies Journal,¬†Research Article 2020 Vol 12, issue 2¬†(2020), accessed September 29, 2020,¬†1944-656X
  • Duplicate Note:¬†2. Adhari. ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality,‚ÄĚ 21-22.
  • ¬†Bibliography:¬†Adhari, Z. L. ‚ÄúStrategic & Business Model of Digital Printing Startup based on Augmented Reality.‚Ä̬†Business Studies Journal,¬†Research Article 2020 Vol 12, issue 2¬†(2020): 11-12. Accessed September 29 2020.¬†1944-656X

A website

Chicago Style Guide

In-text Citation

  • Author’s name in text: Jeffers develops this argument (32-33).
  • Author’s name in reference: This statement is reiterated again. (Jeffers 32-33)
  • Two authors’ names in reference: This is why you do it (Author1 and Author2, page number).
  • Quotation found in indirect or “secondhand” source: The writer Someone states that‚Ķ(qtd. in Jeffers 22)

Works cited page

  • Book in print:¬†Jeffers, S.¬†Feel Fear But Do It Anyway. 1987
  • eBook:¬†Guy, S.¬†Business Book.¬†A publisher, Year.¬†Website,¬†url.
  • An article in a print journal:¬†Last Name, First name. “Book Title.”¬†Journal Name,¬†vol no, year, page.
  • An article in an electronic journal:¬†Last Name, First name. “Book Title.”¬†Journal Name,¬†vol no, year, page. url.
  • An encyclopedia entry:¬†‚ÄúEntry Name.‚Ä̬†Encyclopedia name, edited by Author name, edition, publisher name, year, page.
  • A government publication:¬†Government branch.¬†Publication. Publisher, Year.
  • An interview you conducted:¬†Last Name, First name. Personal interview. dd mm year
  • Website:¬†LName, FName. “Title.”¬†Website,¬†(dd mm year) web url.

Use any of the above examples to properly cite your sources in your business proposal before your presentation. Good luck!

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