Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pissed Off?

There are a lot of unfortunate people who live by P.T. Barnum's* old adage, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Even more unfortunate: A lot of them are determined to make suckers out of startup entrepreneurs. Nothing more tempting to a con artist than an optimistic, enthusiastic individual with a little money saved up or borrowed, apparently.

One of the first tests of a successful entrepreneur, in my book, is whether s/he gets through the startup phase without being victimized by someone selling worthless "information," "motivation" or "consulting." I have a hunch that a lot of would-be business owners get ripped off - but don't report it because they are too embarrassed.

Sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way, I guess.

But here's some good news: The Internet has empowered all of us who may be lured by scammers. And if we're not sharp enough to research first - and resist - we can always report later, and save someone else from ruin.

I take some comfort in knowing that the bad guys' true motives are being exposed all the time. Here's the latest site to focus on ripoff reports.

Before you do business with a new company, take a gander and see if they've recently pissed someone off. And if you're a small business owner, it would be smart to monitor the site and take steps immediately to resolve any complaints posted about your company there.

*Turns out that Barnum denied coining that phrase, but if he didn't say it, it's never been determined exactly who did.

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