Business Opportunities - Money Matters from the Federal Trade Commission

Business Opportunities

If you're considering a business opportunity, remember:

  • No one makes a lot of money without putting in long hours and hard work.
  • Never pay anyone a fee in exchange for the promise of a job.
  • Research can eliminate buyer's remorse. Don't buy until you've done your homework.

What You Need to Know

By law, business opportunity sellers must give you specific information to help you make an informed decision about the offer. For example, you’re entitled to written disclosures from sellers of business opportunities.

To Do

Before you buy a business:

  • Study the disclosure document and proposed contract.
  • Interview current owners in person. Ask them how the information in the disclosure document matches their experiences with the company.
  • Investigate claims about your potential earnings. Broad sales claims about successful areas of business – for example, “Be a part of our $4 billion industry,”– may have no bearing on the likelihood of your success. Once you buy the business, you may be or independent business people with more experience than you.
  • Shop around. Compare opportunities.
  • Listen to sales presentations with a critical ear. Be wary if the salesperson makes the job sound too easy. The thought of “easy money” may be appealing, but success generally requires hard work.
  • Get the seller’s promises in writing. If a seller balks at putting oral promises in writing, consider doing business with another firm.
  • Consider getting professional advice. Ask a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor to read the disclosure document and proposed contract.
  • Check out the company with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau, not only where the company is located, but also where you live. Do a few internet searches by entering the company's name and words like "complaint" or "scam." But be wary: the absence of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean the company is legitimate. Unscrupulous companies may settle complaints, change their names, or move to avoid detection.
File a Complaint


Operation Empty Promises

View larger, download, or embed this video.

Audio PSA

Business Opportunities (:15)

Share this PSA on your blog or website:

Download the "Business Opportunities" mp3

Click here to listen to more Money Matters PSAs.