Steps to Protect Yourself
How can you tell whether the business opportunity is legitimate? The best indicators are usually independent reports from satisfied buyers. Request a list from your seller of all buyers in your state and adjacent states; call a number of them with a few basic questions. Did the program work for them, and did the seller do what it said it would do? Have they made money on the program, and would they recommend the purchase to a friend?
Be wary of the seller offering you only one or two names of people to call. Legal cases have revealed that, in some instances, these people may be shills, paid by the seller to deliver an enthusiastic evaluation to prospective buyers.
You can check with the attorney general/consumer protection office in your state to see if there are any enforcement actions pending against the company. Also call the Better Business Bureau for a report on any complaints filed about the seller. If you're a netizen, stop by the FTC's home page for the agency's tips and traps to look out for in the business-opportunity arena.
Finally, be creative in negotiating the terms of your purchase. Put less money down until the seller can delive on some early promises. If the purchase price is $3,000, suggest putting down 20 percent, and paying the balance over the course of the first few months of operation. Using a credit card can offer some protections if the seller doesn't deliver on the purchase. You should check with your card issuer about when a "charge-back" on a purchase can be made.
Resist the lure of fast and easy money-the promise of a frozen TV dinner approach to business. Take the smart approach to buying a business opportunity and find success on your terms, in your own sweet time.