Pick up any business opportunity magazine at your local newsstand and you'll see a glossy attractive publication designed to attract people who are actively seeking ways to earn extra money, buy a franchise, or open a business of their own. After all, it's the American Dream to own your own business and get rich, right?
You've probably heard the old saying, Most people are too busy earning a living to make any money. Common sense tells us that we're not going to get rich working for someone else, with the exception of lucky folks like those who started with Microsoft or Google in their early days and got rich through stock options. The average American employee lives from paycheck to paycheck with barely enough income to cover their living expenses, leaving nothing for investment toward building wealth for a comfortable retirement. Hence the allure of the Business Opportunity.
As you flip through one of these BizOpp magazines, you'll see a wide variety of advertisements for different types of businesses, ranging from simple starter kits for around $29 all the way to sophisticated franchises costing $100,000 or more. For most people, it's impossible to raise enough capital to consider opening a true franchise. The franchise fees alone are often prohibitive, running into tens of thousands of dollars even for the lesser known businesses, or several hundred thousand dollars for better known companies. And that's not even including the outlay required to actually open the doors for business.
At the other end of the scale, most people are aware that the cheap starter kits and business in a box packages are basically junk. But that leaves a whole host of medium-priced business startup concepts, ranging in price from around $500 on the low end to $10,000 on the upper end. I refer to these as pre-packaged business opportunities.
To explain why pre-packaged businesses are usually a waste of time and money, I'll use windshield repair as an example. As I write this, I'm looking at an ad for a training program that costs $3,000, including starter materials. In case you don't know what I'm referring to here, the basic idea is that small chips, cracks, or holes in automobile windshields can be repaired using a special liquid material that seals and repairs defects. This is obviously much cheaper than replacing an entire windshield. Hence the opportunity to start a business that helps people save money on their windshield repairs.
Now, in case you're thinking, There's no way I would want to be in that business, please bear in mind I'm just using this as an example out of hundreds of possible different business concepts advertised in the same fashion. And of course there are many people who would be attracted to such a business opportunity -- people who really like cars, people who already know quite a bit about auto repair, and so on. Plenty of individuals are attracted to a business idea like this, which is why this particular opportunity has been around for decades.
Now, here's the real question. Can you seriously expect to shell out $3,000 for some starter materials and training in the windshield repair business, then put a sign out, and expect to start earning money right away? Of course not! This is the #1 flaw with pre-packaged business opportunities: you still have to figure out how to market the product or service on your own.
Let's take a closer look at the windshield repair business. Let's say your goal is to make $50,000 per year in net income. If we assume that you can charge around $50 per windshield repair, at a material cost of around $10, then you have a gross profit (not counting your labor) of $40 per repair. To make $50,000 net, you'd need to find 1,250 windshields per year that required fixing. That translates to more than 100 repairs per month, and you'd need to keep this up month in and month out to meet your income goal. That works out to 3-5 repairs per day, depending on how many days per month you work.
Now, if you had 1,250 cars lined up down the road, all ready for the repair work, it would be nice easy money, right? But FINDING those 1,250 cars and then SELLING those 1,250 car owners on your service will be the real problem. In other words, you don't really have a windshield repair job here. You have a SALES job, pure and simple. Most of your time will be spent finding business. Obviously, finding one car at a time will be totally impractical. Instead, you'll need fleet accounts with major car dealerships, auto repair shops, car rental agencies, and so on. And you can bet that a number of other people (some of whom bought the same pre-packaged business that you did) have also solicited the same companies for their windshield repair business.
So again, what you really have here is a sales job. If this were a truly profitable business, then the company selling you the opportunity would not be making all their money selling pre-packaged businesses to people like yourself. Instead, they would be making their money by rolling out the service across the country and selling windshield repair directly to fleet accounts on a nationwide basis. But they know that there is actually more money to be made in the BizOpp world, preying on people who have the dream of starting their own business.
The message here is that any pre-packaged business opportunity that sells in the $500 to $10,000 range is typically worthless and a complete waste of your time and money. Please bear in mind that these numbers are just a guideline, and you must always exercise good judgment when evaluating any business opportunity. Just because a hot pre-packaged opportunity is selling for more than $10,000 does not mean that it is necessarily legitimate. Many rip-offs cost a lot more than that. But generally speaking, the promoters of these schemes realize they are aiming at people who can't pay a lot of money to get started in business. So the packages are marketed in a way that will maximize the number of people that can afford to buy in.
If you are serious about starting your own business, then a pre-packaged opportunity is not the way to go. It might seem like an easy answer to your problem, but the very fact that it's being sold as a packaged business probably means that there's no real money to be made without a long hard sales grind. You're much better off doing your own research, coming up with your own business ideas, and then testing your ideas with small advertisements to see if your concepts have any real potential. That's how many businesses get their start. You'll have a much better chance of making it in the world of business or self-employment if you ignore those BizOpp magazines entirely!