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7 Important Tips on Investigating a Business Opportunity

By Angela Wu
Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004

Get In On the Ground Floor. We'll Build Your Downline Using Our Unique Spillover System that Guarantees an Income of OVER 000 EVERY WEEK! HURRY! THIS IS A LIMITED TIME OFFER!

Give me a break.

We'd all be millionaires if claims like the one above were true. If you're looking for a business opportunity on the web where scams feed on the dreams and weaknesses of everyday people, the thing to remember is to *take your time*. Good opportunities don't disappear overnight.

To investigate an opportunity, check out the following:

* Do You Know EXACTLY What You'll Be Doing?

Have you ever read over a business opportunity and at the end of the article you think, 'But what am I SELLING?'

You're not alone. There are endless opportunities touted online as being the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the ultimate money-making opportunity destined to give you the freedom and flexibility you desire.

They just don't tell you HOW.

Don't send money for more information. If they're not upfront about what's involved in their opportunity, then run the other way and don't look back.

* Can You Independently Find Others Who Are Successful?

Message boards are a fabulous source of first-hand information from people who have been there, done that. Ask for other people's experiences with an opportunity before you join. If you can find a number of people who have had good experiences, that's great. If you can't, and all you hear are negative comments, then learn from them: even if you doggedly pursue it and find one positive testimonial, it won't mean much if you've heard 20 other negative comments.

* How Long Has the Opportunity Been Around?

New opportunities don't yet have a history of success. There is no way of knowing how well the average person will do with them.

Don't worry about 'getting in on the ground floor'; it's far better to have a solid history that shows a viable business opportunity.

* Are You Selling an Opportunity or a Product?

When the focus is on earning income by signing up others, you're part of what's known as a 'pyramid scheme'. To be brief: they're illegal.

Every opportunity should allow you to earn an income by selling a product or service to customers. If it focuses primarily on recruitment, reconsider.

* Are Claims and Testimonials Verifiable?

Is contact information provided so that you can verify a testimonial? Can you find people who actually make what the opportunity claims you can make?

Don't take income claims too seriously. Everyone's different, and although one person may think it's a perfect opportunity, it might not be for YOU. A blanket statement of 'You can make up to 000 a month or more' can be safely ignored. A statement of AVERAGE earnings is more useful.

Exercise caution if an opportunity 'guarantees' that you can make money. That is completely beyond their control; it's your efforts, your skills, and your motivation that determine whether or not you'll make money.

* How's the Service?

One thing I like to do is ask a bunch of questions by email or phone (they DO have contact information posted, right?). If they answer me quickly, courteously, and in detail, that's another point for them. Emails that are ignored or phone calls not returned are a bad sign; if they treat YOU that way, how do they treat the rest of their customers? Why are they hiding?

* Does the Opportunity Fit YOUR Interests?

There's no point in doing something you hate (heck, some of us left JOBS that we hated - we don't need to start a business that we also hate!). For example, if you would rather pull out a tooth with a set of pliers than sell face-to-face, then don't join a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) opportunity. If you love talking to people, look into something like party planning, children's book sales, etc. If you're the quiet, shy type, look for opportunities that will allow you to work nose-to-nose with your computer most of the time. You get the idea.

Sure, it's time-consuming to do all this investigative work. But it's a necessity: prudence and planning now will pay off by possibly saving you money and frustration later.

There's simply no such thing as a simple 'business in a box'. However, there are many legitimate opportunities, both from other companies and those of your own dreams. Happy hunting!

About the Author
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, an exclusive newsletter for eBusiness beginners. Visit ( for tips on building a business on the web.


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