The worst business opportunities are usually the ones that sound too good to be true. Beware of "get rich quick" business schemes, no matter how tempting they sound - they are usually scams.
Avoid adverts that ask you to send money in the post or pay a deposit for something you haven't seen.
Be careful of businesses that do not have a track record, legal documentation and even physical premises, a website or a permanent landline. And although not all legitimate businesses need to have land lines, it may help you to evaluate the credibility of a business especially when other things are amiss.
Check Hello Peter for complaints about this business opportunity - if many people have been conned by a rogue businessman, it's bound to appear on SA Consumer website, HelloPeter and you can potentially save yourself from losing money.
Here is a simple guide on how to avoid scams and ensure you are applying for legitimate business opportunities
- Don’t pay upfront - Business opportunities that require you to pay upfront for start-up kits and manuals before you are even able to meet anyone from the company are most likely scams. Be especially wary of paying a large, nonrefundable fee upfront.
- Check the details - Most scam advertisements for business opportunities will include a postal address or free email address, but will not include a physical address or any telephone numbers. Be careful of this!
- Ask For Reference - If the business is legitimate they should not mind you speaking to other employees or contract workers. Ask for names and telephone numbers.
- The Get Rich Quick Scam – if a home based business advertisement promises to help you get rich quick while putting in hardly any hours and laying out no capital, then it is most certainly a scam. Avoid these advertisements at all costs.
- Fixed monthly payments - Be careful of business opportunities that require you to pay a fixed monthly amount irrespective of whether you earn anything or not.
- Lawyers - When entering into a business deal, make sure that you get a lawyer to review the documentation before signing on the dotted line. If the seller seems hesitant or refuses to sign, this should signal a red flag and it may be best to decline the deal altogether. You should be able to get out of a business opportunity at any time, without a large penalty so also ensure that this is stipulated in the agreement.
Finally, use common sense and go with your instinct - if something just "doesn't feel right', then there's probably a reason for it and you should pull out as quickly as possible. And remember that if it's too good to be true, it probably is!