How to Assess Online Business Opportunities

Online business opportunities may abound, but not all of them are certainly genuine. Many of them, indeed, are simply out to defraud you of your money. If you want to keep your hard-earned money safe and invest them in authentic online business opportunities, here are a few things that the Federal Trade Commission, one of the official government-appointed watchdogs for consumers, wants you to keep in mind.

Ask for numbers.

If an online business opportunity promises to help you earn huge profits, just how huge is huge? If an exact amount can’t be provided then ask for a profit range and supporting documents. Definitely, such a claim must be backed by evidence.

How many people had availed of the online business opportunities they’re offering? Of the people who did accept the offer, how many of them were able to make the huge profits they’re talking about? How long did it take them to acquire such profits?

Of course, the best evidence you can get is if by speaking directly with one of those people. If the person making the offer can’t give you the chance to talk with anyone able to vouch their claims, this might not be the kind of online business opportunity you wish to risk your money on.

Ask how it works.

Claims for huge profits can’t come out of nowhere or from nothing. The FTC advises consumers to determine the source of those profits by learning how the entire business process works. All online business opportunities must be able to provide you with an itemized description of how they’re able to acquire their profits. If they can’t supply you with such a list then there’s a very strong possibility that the business is doing something illegal and you’re better off without it.

Get it in writing.

Everything goes back to those earnings claims they’ve made. Online business opportunities aren’t free. And the FTC makes it very clear that if a particular opportunity costs at least $500 or more, the seller is required by law to put their claims into writing.

The document must include but isn’t limited to the exact claims they’ve made about the proposed business’s earnings as well as the percentage and number of individuals who had recently taken up the opportunity and able to earn as much as the seller presented. And to make the document more airtight, try limiting the list of clients to those who had taken up the opportunity no later than last year.

As most, if not all, online business opportunities allow you to work at home, the FTC requires the seller to still put his earnings claims in writing even if it the opportunity cost is lower than $500.

Study business documents.

Naturally, there are a number of documents that will be forwarded to you when you’re evaluating online business opportunities. These may include but aren’t limited to documents pertaining to company history, financial statements, business plans, and disclosure documents for franchises.

Yes, it’s true. Online business opportunities may take the form of franchises as well and if it does, the FTC requires franchisers to provide disclosure documents to prospective franchisees. A disclosure document contains, among other things, essential facts about the business such as whether or not they have been involved in any legal dispute in the past.

There are two critical sections of a disclosure document that you mustn’t forget to look into. The first one requires the franchiser to make a list of individuals who had recently purchased franchise rights and the second one requires the franchiser to provide a list of references.

If no purchases had been made in recent times and yet the list of references provided is lengthy, be very wary because those references may only provide fake testimonies.

Research, research, research!

If an online business opportunity seller provides you with a list of references to contact then good! You should contact them to learn as much as possible about the company. But don’t be satisfied with the information they’ve provided for you. The best information is always one you’re able to obtain firsthand. Do your own digging and try to look for purchasers who belong to your own network of contacts.

Contact the necessary legal offices as well. Starting out with the Better Business Bureau is a good start as they’re in the position to know if the online business opportunities you’re interested in have been a target for complaints or not.

Take your time.

And the final step? Review your decision carefully. Don’t let their pressure tactics get to you. After all, the best online business opportunities can do just fine without such ploys.


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