If, like many of us, you’re a home based business owner, you know that there are many hooks and crooks out there. If you’re new at it or still thinking about opening a home based business then hear this! Crooks do exist in business and they will take your money if they can. So does that mean it’s safer to not run a home based business? SAFER? Are you looking for something safer? If you don’t take chances you’re not going to win. Abolutely not! You stand to make much better money working for yourself and you’re sure to be much happier being your own boss. Like anything in this World, you just need to be aware of what’s really going on in your business arrangements. Don’t be naive and think that everybody is a nice person. This is BUSINESS! The rules are *almost* ‘there are no rules’. Most businesses are dependable and trustworthy. They value your long term opinion of them because they are fully aware of your potential ability to bring (or prevent) business for them in the future. A saying in business goes ‘if you’ll only do business with people that you trust then don’t bother trying to do business’. Here are a few tips to help keep your eyes open.
#1. Partners – business partners can range anywhere from your best friend to a financial supporter to a franchise business. When it comes to partnership arrangements in business, NEVER accept a word of mouth arrangement. Even if your partner is your very best friend, make sure that written legal agreements are drawn up that specify in detail the ownership, compensation and responsibilities of each party in the agreement. Make sure the agreement is signed in the presence of witnesses who could be called into court and properly notarized. Also, be wary of payment in stocks or stock options when you don’t have control over company stock splits and dilutions.
#2. Marketers – new businesses start up by the thousands on an ongoing basis. Marketers know this and some prey on new businesses. They’ll show you in graphs and statistics and eloquent words how you can make mega-bucks by using their strategies. Far too often, it is the marketers who make the money, not the businesses they’re marketing. They know you won’t come back and they don’t care. Even legitimate businesses can accidentally trap you. Take for example, Google AdWords. Open your Internet browser and go to www.google.com and search for any popular search words like say, ‘scuba diving trips’. Notice on the right hand side ‘sponsored links’. These are companies who pay Google each time a user, like you, clicks their link. Watch the ‘sponsored links’ for a given set of keywords (ie. ‘scuba diving trips’) for 3 months or longer. See if the ads (companies) don’t frequently change. If they do, Google made money, not the business who placed the ad. Otherwise, their link would stay there. Don’t misunderstand, Google AdWords can make you a lot of money if *you* know how to work the ads. Another example is email SPAM. How many times have you purchased something from an email advertisement? So, who do you think makes money from the endless onslaught of email SPAM? Usually, it’s the companies doing the SPAMming and not the companies who they are supposedly trying to sell products for. In general, if you see *one* given company using the same advertising over and over, it’s working. Otherwise, it’s probably not. Of course a business that does no marketing is doomed to a dismal failure. However, don’t be duped by fast talking advertisers. Quite often, they make the money, not you.
#3. Lawsuits – it is a bad practice to enter contractual arrangements thinking that other parties will not violate the agreement just to keep from getting sued. Take a trip to your local County Records department (or look it up on the Internet) and see how many judgements are still outstanding after 10 years or more. You may be shocked to find that a judge’s ruling that somebody owes you money does NOT guarantee that you will get it. A person can just disappear and the government will not give you privileged information to help you find them. A corporation can withdraw all their money, file for bankruptcy, close their doors and reopen as a different corporation. Also, quite often you’ll find that it may be more expensive to sue someone than to count your losses and walk away. Business dealers know this and use it. If I illegally conned you out of $150.00 would you sue me for it? Even if you could it probably wouldn’t be to your advantage. Or what if a business offered a ’30 Day Money Back Guarantee’ and then didn’t make good on it? That con is a classic. When making business deals don’t count exclusively on legalities to keep you out of trouble. Make sure the other parties in the deal have genuine motives to stick to the agreement.
Being in business for yourself can be very liberating and quite lucrative. But business is about making money. Most of us believe that we can do better for ourselves by engaging in genuine commerce. That is, we provide a genuine product or service for a price at or near the monetary market value of the product or service that we provide. That’s what we call a ‘win win’ situation. Both the provider and the purchaser end up pleased with the outcome of the deal. However, there are business dealers who deem it entirely ethical to take whatever they can from you, whether legally or illegally as long as they don’t get hurt. Always be wary of business dealings like this. Try to work, within reason, with people who have already proven their trustworthiness and always try to foresee every potential outcome of any business deal you intend to engage.