I recently recieved a request to investigate PlentyOfFunds.org by a reader. She gave this company $200 and then became scared that it was a scam.
She explained to me the following:
They explained that what they do is, for $200, they take all of my ideas for my business and create a business plan for me. I gave them my credit card information, but then I became concerned. I checked their site out, but found no indication of it being a scam. I can’t even find any complaints from other people on scambusters or any other sites like that. I was just wondering if you knew if plentyoffinds.org was a scam.
After some investigation, this is what I have been able to find out:
I cannot find any information on this company ANYWHERE. I do know a few things about their website. It is hosted in Canada, and they bought their domain name “plentyoffunds.org” in November of 2010, so it definitely is not very old.
The membership to plentyoffunds.org costs $199. For this, they give you the following services:
In return for your membership Fee of $199 (one hundred and ninety nine dollars), Plenty Of Funds membership includes:
1. Access to Plenty Of Funds website and database of funding sources valued at seventy five ($75) dollars.
2. Business plan maker and corrections for one (1) Business plan completed from the answers to our 9step questionnaire (limited to three (3) corrections by customer service), an application maker for the Standard Form 424 Core form, (applications for federal assistance) applications completed from the answers to our 9step questionnaire (no corrections from customer service), and a proposal maker (no corrections from customer service), all valued at one hundred twenty five($125) dollars.
I do know one thing, I find it odd that some third party would be able to write a business plan for you for $125. As an entrepreneur and business man, I know that for someone to create a comprehensive and quality business plan, at least several hours of planning and work are required. Most professionals that bill for this type of service start at $50 / hour and move up from there.
For more information on building a REAL business plan, please see this free guide: http://www.inc.com/guides/start_biz/20660.html
Plenty Of Funds states that they take information you fill out in questionairres and they generate a business plan for you based on that information. Let me tell you, a business plan is not cookie cutter. You cannot take a generic business plan and find and replace terms and keywords for your business. Owning a business is all about differentiation and succeeding in a market by doing something better than someone else, or offering something that no one else offers. It is true that PlentyOfFunds.org customer service representatives do review certain portions of the business plan, however it is still no where near customized enough to be viable (In my opinion).
The other service PlentyOfFunds.org offers is access to their database of funding sources. They claim to help people locate the funds necessary in order to start their business. I do know one thing, government grants and other things they claim to help you locate are COMPLICATED! It is unlikely that sifting through this database that you are likely to easily stumble upon a pile of money ready for you to run off with to start your business. Talk with a financial expert and just perform some googling to find this information. If government grants and programs are available, they will be accessible on the internet free of charge. You do not need to waste your money on PlentyOfFunds.org services for this.
The amount of money you pay PlentyofFunds.org is not enough to cover the time required by a real professional to research your business and devise a real list of grant possibilities. It just is not practical. You get access to a list which you could spend some time putting together yourself for free.
If you are serious about starting a business and really believe it can succeed, a lot of hard work is required on your part to build a business plan, pitch it to investors and banks, and secure funding in order to get started. There is no quick solution to this process, and $199 will never get you everything you need to get started.
Save your money and research the entire process of starting a business. You will need to write your own business plan, after all, you know your ideas better than anyone, especially better than some “customer service” representative looking over a generic plan with your business name stuffed into certain areas.
Remember not to rush into anything and don’t be afraid to admit that it may not be the best idea. The worst thing you can do is wait until you are bankrupt to accept defeat. A strong competitive analysis along with optimistic AND pessimistic projections are required in order to determine if this is really financially viable.
I hope my opinions here have helped you form an opinion about PlentyOfFunds.org. I hope you put more thought and work into starting a business than coming up with an idea and expecting $199 to solve all of your problems.