Scams on the Internet

The need for proper research when seeking a part time business idea from the Internet is  is essential if fraud is to be avoided. No retailer would buy a new business premises or shop without spending £1000s on due diligence investigations. He would get a survey, look at any accounting records for previous businesses and do a business plan based on the research done. Why should you invest time and money trying to start a new business working for yourself without doing the same?
There is no need to spend money employing somebody else to investigate if you are capable enough to run a business in the future, but there are some simple steps you can take yourself to avoid scams. Here are three of the most basic:

  • First – read as much as you can on the subject. You can never do enough research. You will soon realise if a business idea is a scam or fraud. What you want to know is not only will it work, but will it work for you. The research may include surfing the Internet of course, but also look for solid and respectable hard copy publications you can pour through. Have one on your bedside with a pack of “Postit” notes for interesting snippets or chapters. Have a trade journal, print off reports – don’t just rely on marketing hype from your surfing!
  • Secondly – once you have ascertained that there is a viable business idea, start to jot some numbers down. You don’t have to be an accountant to see if the business is viable. There is no use paying say £500 for start up costs, having £100 going out every month and spending 10 hours a week on a part time business to make £200 per month. Yes it would pay for itself but is it really worth it? You might have £700 in the bank at the end of the year – on which you ought to be paying tax at your full marginal rate. If it was just a part time business to earn some extra cash, 10 hours a week work for a £10 per week cash return is not great! Often the numbers look ok till you set them out in black and white.
  • Thirdly – decide if the particular business is for you. For example Internet Marketing can work if you get it right – but only if you learn, learn, learn about the business and then are able to manage hundreds of subcontracted Search Engine Operators, writers, other staff and undertake masses of administrative chores each day – yes like any other business it is not a “get rich quick scheme”. Can you learn about a complex subject and then have you the patience to build it up from scratch? – If you can say yes to both, then you can indeed make money online.

As a fraud investigator I see a lot of business opportunities that are clearly frauds and some that simply need a lot more hard graft than the promoter would have you believe.

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About Mark Jenner

Mark Jenner is an experienced forensic accountant specialising in fraud and white collar criminal matters. He provides independent financial investigation and expert accounting witness services to police forces, fraud regulators and criminal defence lawyers, also providing assistance and solutions to organisations embroiled in financial disputes.

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