Unfortunately, scams targeting start-up businesses are rampant on the Internet. On any given Google search for business start-up information there will likely be unscrupulous websites suggesting easy ways to make bucket loads of money or to get tons of free grants to start your business. There may also be scammers right in your own community.
When you see “easy money,” “be your own boss,” “giant profits” or “guaranteed grants for free,” proceed with extreme caution!
Why the need for caution? There are online pied pipers and area pop-up entrepreneurship programs lurking to take advantage of individuals in pursuit of their American dream of independence through business ownership. These Internet trollers and local shamans will capitalize on the emotional plea that you must be passionate about your project and not let anyone or anything get in your way.
Although a healthy fervor for your business idea is certainly important, it must be tempered by deploying solid business principles and seeking the counsel of authentic business experts, like those at the Florida SBDC Network.
A few years ago, a number of potential and existing Florida business owners were ensnared by an online marketing company that promised to provide websites (for a fee), training (for a fee) and a connection to manufacturers with fulfillment services and tax advice (also for a fee).
It sounded so easy to make money online 24 hours per day (cha-ching cha-ching), through selling practically anything while using their services. Some individuals “invested” tens of thousands of dollars each.
Of course it was not that easy and after a barrage of complaints, Florida’s Attorney General filed a class action suit against the company which allowed many of the would-be-business-owners and existing firms (some with the assistance of their local FSBDC office) to recoup their money.
Although this episode had a happy ending many do not as the “rah-rah” lure of entrepreneurship often entices, deceives and cheats many unsuspecting potential and existing business owners out of thousands of dollars each year.
Know who you are dealing with and make sure you balance your, “reach for the stars” enthusiasm with well-grounded advice from credible and trustworthy advisors.
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