Just what is a business opportunity? That question has plagued a great many people trying to decide whether to buy a current independent business, a franchise, or what we’ll refer to in this text as a business opportunity. To allay the confusion, we offer a simple analogy. Think back to elementary school when your teacher was explaining the difference between a rectangle and a square. A square is also a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t necessarily a square. The same relationship exists between business opportunities, independent businesses for sale and franchises. All franchises and independent businesses for sale are business opportunities, but not all business opportunities meet the requirement of being a franchise nor are they in the strictest sense of the word independent businesses for sale.
Making matters even more confusing is the fact that 26 states have passed laws defining business opportunities and regulating their sales. Often these statutes are drafted so comprehensively that they include franchises as well.
Not every state with a business opportunity law defines the term in the same manner. However, most of them use the following general criteria to define one:
3. The licensor-seller guarantees an income greater than or equal to the price the licensee-buyer pays for the product when it’s resold and that there is a market present for the product or service.
4. The initial fee paid to the seller in order to start the business opportunity must range between $400 and $1,000.
5. The licensor-seller promises to buy back any product purchased by the licensee-buyer in the event it cannot be sold to the prospective customers of the business.
6. Any products or services developed by the seller-licensor will be purchased by the licensee-buyer.
7. The licensor-seller of the business opportunity will supply a sales or marketing program for the licensee-buyer that many times will include the use of a trade name or trademark.