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Hey, suckers! Here's how to <i>not</i> throw your money away on a get-rich-quick scheme.

This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Every stage of researching, evaluating and buying a franchise offers warning signs that the opportunity may not be right for you. Pay attention to them, and you won't get suckered into a bad investment.

  • No UFOC. If you haven't received a UFOC, that doesn't necessarily mean the franchisor is reluctant to deliver one. A franchisor isn't required to deliver one until the first face-to-face meeting where a sale is discussed (trade show encounters don't count), or 10 business days before you sign a contract or pay money. But if the company really does not have a UFOC to give you, run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.
  • The Hustle. The seller is excited, his speaking voice is hyped up, he's moving fast and he wants you to be in a hurry, too. "Territories are going fast. Act now or you'll miss this train." You start to think you're going to miss out on an opportunity. You feel indecisive, then courageous and ready to take a gamble. Before you know it, you've been hustled into making a decision you weren't ready to make. Don't let this scenario become your reality. This decision is far too important to let someone rush you into it.

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