A Closer Look

Opportunity Knocks

A business opportunity program is, by and large, more self-contained than a franchise relationship. If that's the case with the program you're considering, the seller's track record may not be that important to the success of the venture. On the other hand, if you will rely on the seller to supply products, services or information, you must carefully assess the seller's strengths.

If you don't receive a disclosure statement from the business opportunity seller, plan to look into the company's qualifications. Ask tough questions of the representative:

  • Can I have the names, addresses and phone numbers of other buyers in this state?
  • Do I need any business experience to run this program?
  • Do I need a computer or other equipment?
  • Has the business opportunity seller registered its offering under any state business opportunity law?
  • May I see the audited financial statements of the seller company?
  • Has the company ever been sued by a purchaser for problems with this program?

You should also check with your state's attorney general's office to determine if there are any pending legal problems or enforcement actions. Call the Better Business Bureau for a report of any consumer complaints.

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This article was originally published in the November 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A Closer Look.

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