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How to Learn About Your Competition

Ethical ways to get the goods on your competitors before you start your own business

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This story appears in the October 2002 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

Q: I want to start a business based on an idea I received from a former co-worker whom I will call Jane. Jane and I planned to go into business together using what she learned when she worked for a company that has no known competitors. But Jane has passed away.

The company she worked for is for sale, but I think the owner is asking too much. I still believe I could run it bigger and better, so how do I find out about his business without asking him outright? If I act like I am interested in purchasing it only to find out how he operates, well, that would be unethical.

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