Before you give up any of your hard-earned cash at a seminar, go through the following steps to make sure the company in question is on the up-and-up:
- Comparison shop. Go to as many of these seminars as possible, and talk to other business opportunity companies to see exactly how much you'll get for your money. This magazine is also a good resource for information about business opportunities, and the Federal Trade Commission publishes a Consumer Guide to Buying a Franchise that may be helpful.
- Investigate. Call the Better Business Bureau or the office in your state that's responsible for regulating assisted marketing plans or business opportunities.
- Don't be fooled by audience enthusiasm. Sometimes companies plant shills who are the first to rush up to the table to purchase the package for sale. Don't let their "excitement" override your common sense.
- Ask for referrals. Get a list of referrals of people in your area who are successfully operating the businesses. But again be aware that companies can also give you shills to contact who are paid to tell you they've been successful with the business. To avoid meeting with a shill, ask the company to provide as long a list as possible. Ask everyone on the list if the company provided all it promised.
- Make a site visit. If at all possible, visit someone in your area who is successfully operating the business opportunity and examine their operations.
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