Small Biz Scams

This week’s issue of Business Week is full of good information for entrepreneurs.

One article that caught my eye is “Would I Lie to You? Five Cons Still Kicking.”

Among others is the age-old “stuff envelopes at home.” (I’d bet they had some version of this back before they even had envelopes! “Make papyrus at home!”) Of course, there are now web variations “work in your pajamas” and such. But, just about all of them are – sadly – scams, often with some variation of pyramid schemes.

And, even if it’s not an outright con, it’s so easy to get taken when you’re in start-up mode. You’re optimistic, fired up and ready to roll! So, when a marketing agency, PR firm, business consultant or web site promises you great things quickly – you write the check.

It’s not exaggerating (much) to say I could retire if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard something like, “I paid the PR firm $150 an hour and got nothing.” or “He charged $2,000 for the business plan and I can’t get an investor to look at it.” I always feel badly because by the time I’m talking to the person, it’s almost always too late for me to help.

So, as with anything else, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


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