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.
When you’ve conducted customer research or done an analysis on market trends, include a summary of your raw data in the appendices of your business plan, and inform your audience how they can access the full raw data.
Pick an academic citation style appropriate to your business.
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.
The size of the plan will also depend on the nature of your business and your reason for writing it.
If you have a simple concept, you may be able to express it in very few words.
Larger businesses seeking major funding will often have miniplans as well, but the full business plan will be waiting in the wings.
It’s to your advantage to run long when creating your plan, then narrow it down for presentation purposes.