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Writing Guide

Letters & Memos

Business Letter

Business letters are often used the communicate with an group outside of an organization such as clients, customers, or other companies.

Business letters include:

  • Your return address
  • The recipient's address
  • A greeting
  • The Body (the content of the letter)
  • A closing (such as "sincerely")
  • Both your handwritten signature and your name typed

For advice on writing a professional letter, you can find several examples in our ebook collection. Once in an eBook database, in the search box, try typing in "professional letter" or "business letter."

*Don't forget - If you are using research in your business plan, you need to use APA to cite your resources. Visit the APA Guide for help. 



A memo (or memorandum) is a short communication typically used within an organization.  Memos are often used as a tool to share new information.

APA does not provide guidance on formatting and writing memos, so font, font size, spacing and so forth are up to you or your instructor.

In terms of content, Cengage Learning's Online Study Center offers the following information on writing a memo: 

  • A memo consists of two parts: the identifying information at the top, and the message itself. At the top, identify for whom the memo has been written, who is sending it, the subject, and the date. The subject line serves as the memo's title.
  • The style and tone you use in a memo will be determined by your audience: You can use a casual tone in a memo to a coworker you know well, but you should use a more formal tone in a memo to your boss.
  • It's important to organize your memos well. Most longer memos consist of an introduction, a discussion, and a conclusion. In the introduction, tell readers what prompted you to write (such as a problem or question about a specific procedure or policy), and provide any necessary background information. In the discussion section, or body, indicate what changes are necessary to address that problem or question. In the conclusion, state specifically how you want the reader to respond.

Take a look at this example: 

If you are new to writing memos, use Microsoft Word's memo template (see below). You can also try creating a memo from scratch

Business Plan

A business plan can be described as "an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues." This description came from the U.S. Small Business Administration website where you can also find a variety of business plan examples. 

Watch this short video to get you started with writing a business plan.

For additional business plan resources and examples, click here

*Don't forget - If you are using research in your business plan, you need to use APA to cite your resources. Visit the APA Guide for help. 

Resources for Letters & Memos