Tips Before Buying a Turnkey Online Business
By Jim Degerstrom
You need to be careful browsing through online turnkey offers to avoid serious financial loss. Everyone has at least one horror story involving online scams, and some are more personal because they were a victim. Once I receive my check for $14,000,000 from Nairobi I can retire from writing advice for small business owners and designing web sites. Wish me luck!
Consider the line from the movie "Field of Dreams" saying "If you build it, they will come". This does not apply to websites. Online, the P.T. Barnum adage "There's a sucker born every minute" is too often the case when it comes to purchasing a turnkey online business. Think before you hand off your hard earned cash. You could become victim of an online scam.
In the real world, individuals with novice internet skills are becoming victims every day. An honest person is more apt to believe what they read online because it's in their character to trust things in writing. Stories of instant wealth with turnkey websites help perpetuate the elusive dream, especially when the reader has little or no business experience. Let's examine a true case involving one of my clients, and the extreme nature of what can happen.
Imagine this single Mom, struggling to make ends meet while living off the proceeds of a real estate sale, and she encounters a variety of online ads filled with exaggeration and promising the opportunity of a lifetime. Over time, and before meeting me, she purchased 7 prepackaged web sites for a variety of online products and services thinking that money would roll in automatically. To put her online marketing in perspective, only recently she grew more comfortable sending and receiving email.
Her total cost for 7 sites exceeded $10,000 two years ago with zero profit to date. Most of the sites were cookie cutter turnkey subdomains with insignificant search engine ranking. In general, the top level domains were poorly coded with grade school level graphics, so each of her sites had serious problems with credibility.
When questioned about the lack of sales, most of her sources replied blaming her for the poor performance because she wasn't promoting and marketing the site. Any person with bare email skills, no previous online marketing, and ruthless predators taking advantage of novice online entrepreneurs, all adds up to disaster. The ones selling advice about how to make money are often the only ones making money. Read on about how truly outrageous this situation became.
To get started, one company required payment of $2500 by EFT to transfer funds immediately from her bank account to theirs. One year later, they renewed her site without any prior notice, and withdrew $2500 again. Believe it. I know because by this time I was contacted to create a super site as a portal page to introduce the other 7, and she asked for advice on how to handle the $2500 withdrawal.
Here are some tips to help you avoid online scams when considering an online turnkey website.
1. Look at the web site and reflect on your first impression objectively. Your visitors will decide within 5 seconds if your product or service is credible and worthwhile. If your reaction viewing the parent site is not favorable, move on.
2. If you decide to review their web site further, look for signs of exaggeration. Pages overloaded with adjectives claiming or exclaiming success may be overselling in an attempt to convince you that you'll be the next millionaire.
3. Next, do the owners or managers of the online opportunity give their real names, physical address, and phone numbers? If all you find is a postal box address and nothing to identify who's taking your money, don't do it.
4. Never consider buying an online business unless you personally have the experience to market and grow the product or service. Very few people make it rich quickly without effort and a considerable commitment of time and energy.
5. Don't believe ads that offer something too good to be true. Avoid the pressure to act now. There is no urgency handing over your life savings until you perform some basic research.
6. Check for comments from satisfied customers. Testimonials from unhappy buyers are never published, so save your energy and skip over those unless you're in the mood for some entertainment, and enjoy reading fiction.
7. Join a forum to get advice and feedback from other honest people like you. Search Google for "online business marketing forums" and visit several to see reviews of online opportunities from other users.
8. If you are going to distribute a product, think twice if the site requires you to pay in advance for inventory, offers a bonus if you sign up more distributors, or has ANY advance fee requirements.
Keep an open mind as you review different concepts, and think twice before you believe what you read online. Another downside to a turnkey website is you own a site that is most likely a clone to 100's or perhaps 1000's of pages covering the same product or service. Making a positive first impression includes being unique. In most cases the turnkey site is a fixed design, so you probably have zero influence on the look, and no chance of revising the content.
In summary, caution and research will be the key to avoid being victimized. Shortcuts to wealth are rare. Real success in any online business requires long hours and hard work. The turnkey website for an online business may look too good to be true. It probably is. Your success depends on having a popular product or service that people need, presenting your offers on a credible and attractive site, and finally getting traffic to your web pages to make the sale. It is not easy. It can be done.
About the Author
Jim Degerstrom offers small business advice based on 30 years in management, sales, and marketing, including President or General Manager of small companies in 5 states. He is proficient in website and graphic art design, and runs his online Small Business Resource Center at http://www.jimdegerstrom.com from Kissimmee FL USA.
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