(The FTC Building.)
If you’re thinking of becoming your own boss, there are thousands of opportunities to choose from. Actually, let me repeat that sentence with a little different emphasis;
There are thousands of “Opportunities. ”
In other words, there are business opportunities and franchise opportunities, but they’re totally different types of businesses.
In addition to the franchise advisory service that I provide–which consists of me making sure that you don’t get screwed, there’s an entire US government agency that’s trying to watch your back.
It’s the FTC, and their mission is, “To prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”
If you’re a consumer, this agency serves as a watchdog; and it’s a dog with no sense of humor.
You’ve probably seen advertisements similar to these;
“Stuff Envelopes For Pay From The Comfort of Your Own Home.”
“Own a Profitable Vending Machine Business.”
“Become a Loan Broker!”
Advertisements like the ones above can usually be found in the classified section of your local newspaper on any given Sunday. If you decide to investigate these, “Opportunities” a bit more, you’ll quickly discover that they’re Biz Opps. (Short for business opportunities.) They are not franchise opportunities. They aren’t regulated as tightly as franchise opportunities, and there’s an easy way to decipher the difference; investment amounts for these businesses are typically on the low-end.
Like $2,000. Or, $8,500. Or, $500.
Franchise business opportunities can’t be had for amounts that low. Trust me.
Go to this franchise website, and you’ll see what I mean.
Now, go to this website to see a business opportunity.
More Disclosure Needed
For the first time buyer, (of a business) it used to be a bit more challenging to figure out what was a Biz Opp, and what was a franchise. That’s changing, and we have the FTC to thank for it.
That’s because as of now, anyone selling a Biz Opp must provide information on a simple, and easy to read, one-page disclosure document. And, they must provide it at least 7 days before the buyer pays money or signs a document. In addition, the Biz Opp seller must state the following:
- Whether legal action has ever been taken against the seller
- Whether there is a cancellation or refund policy for the business transaction
There are several other things in the new FTC’s new Business Opportunity Rule, and Susan Payton just wrote a great piece describing several new changes to The Rule.
It’s worth a read if you’re thinking about becoming the owner of a franchise business, a Biz Opp, or even a distributorship.
If you’re seriously considering franchise ownership, make sure you put your email address in the box below. You won’t want to miss the upcoming contest that I’ll be announcing real soon. It involves things that will be Free. #OWOF
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