The list is now published for all to see. The first rule in everything you do that involves money is...Research what you do, especially if it involves giving anyone a credit card or signing a monetary contract. You will find out why this is important as you read.
If you are contracting with any of the listed companies you need to read this. I did my research a little late and found myself in a place that I didn't want to be. Just in case you believe the hype you are being sold, read on.
First things first. Here is a list of the aliases of 5 companies...Express Business Funding, Iworks, Raven Media, Business Development Systems (BDS)and Universal Coaching. You may find the similarities interesting:
Net Success Now
Income Works, LLC
Online Auction Solutions
The Coaching Office
Express Business Funding
Mergemedia (not directly affiliated but lists their trash on their website like its real legit stuff)
Grant Search Assistant
Optimum Media, Inc.
Raven Media, Inc.
Fast SBA Loan
Grant Development Center
Each one represents a piece of the internet. Each one says it provides some service to you. Some of them are washed out and not used anymore. Either way 4 of these 5 companies are based in St. George, Utah. St. George is not a huge town...65,000 people. Its slightly interesting that 4 companies doing the same exact type of business are located in the same town in Podunk UTAH. The wild card in the mix is Raven Media. This company is located in Las Vegas, NV.
If you take the time to search all of the above listed names in the pile here on ripoff report you find at least one of the aliases for each of the 5 companies being reported. I looked them up. Seems that each of the 5 companies also have poor listings on the Utah BBB website.
Doing that research you will find all the common ripoff stuff...billing problems, contract disputes, poor customer service claims... If you start to look for websites for these aliases you find pretty much the same thing. You get links to the same exact CD offer for Express Business Funding, all linked to the same website hosted by Raven Media in Vegas. Almost every page says something about "loans guaranteed in 36 hours". "Guaranteed funding". "Chat about your EBF loan" as if you were actually getting one from them!!! Bulls*$t You are getting NOTHING from them.
Here's how it works. You go looking for grant writing help, tax advice or counceling, web based business offer, or Small Business Administration Loan help or information and you are guaranteed tax services, web presence as simple as the click of the mouse and the space on your credit card or a measly $3.95 for shipping and handling of a "free" CD. You are now in the loop with a coaching business that will coach you on whatever you want to know, using cookie cutter articles from major publications readily available on the web. You get connected with a "customer service" organization that is pretty much anything but because they are either getting flooded with calls from people wanting their money back or there is only 2 people in the office because you will sit on hold until you turn old and grey, waiting on someone to help you. Heaven forbid you should want to cancel your involuntary memberships to 2 additional websites that you "get to access" because your special. Better start early cause you may need to pitch a tent.
If you are duped enough into actually trying to use their services you will find that as time goes on, all the "guarantees" you found on the misleading web sites that attracted you initially will all be wiped out by spoken disclaimers (which they are taping by the way) and contractual small print that you will sign away as you flow through the process. Not one of the people that you speak with will volunteer any information about who you are really talking to and what company they actually are employed by until after you have signed away a significant chunk of change...somehwere between $5000 and $8500 to be exact. If you paid any of it upfront it is farmed out to SHanklin Intl in the Netherlands, is set up as a balance transfer making it completely impossible to refute or bounce back, especially since its to an offshore credit card company and is now a permanent part of your monthly finances. Now you are "on the success team". One note to think about... there is also another St. George company called the Shanklin Group. Seems pretty coincidental, ya think? You following me? Anyways...
You may learn something about grant writing or business plans or tax advice but know this: If you are trying to get an SBA loan for your business, the SBA TELLS YOU IN PLAIN, SIMPLE, REDNECK PROOF TEXT what you need to do to get on the fast track with them. They have regional field offices with people that will assist you once you have drawn up a business plan to make sure that you have what you need. Hell... they even give you a checklist on their website of what they want from you. Business plan writing is free. ONLY YOU CAN WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN. No coach is going to be able to do it for you...and EBF doesn't either. Go to a business plan website...one that sells software that uses your information and form letters it into your plan.
If you really want to spend money you can pay for the software, or you can save your cash for your actual business and use the sample business plans, in coordination with the SBA website information, and write your own bang up plan. No COST!!!! Face it, if you are writing a busines plan and you can't follow the SBA instructions your chances of being successful in business all by yourself are pretty slim anyway. No coach is going to help that problem.
Grants is a whole different world. Anyone can write a grant proposal but only NON-PROFIT groups can get them. Forget having one to pay off old debt, refinance your house, fund your drug habit, pay for school, or any other thing you can come up with that is personal. That is not what a grant is for. It is in fact illegal to set up a non-profit organization just to get free funding to do anything listed above. If you are not legit you will end up in prison. Plain and simple! Grant writing help is available everywhere on the web for free and again...no one can write your grant proposal for you. Only you understand why you need it. Grantors also know how to smell bullshit so don't waste yout time.
If you let these people take your money you are not going to get anything but financially bound up. BTW... they farm your contract out to another company to get your payments. It is not even held by the company that they originally sign you through. Oh... and BTW, Raven Media, whom hosts the misleading pages are located in Nevada. That means that suing them for ANYTHING is pretty much a waste of time and money because the Nevada government is pretty sneaky and protects criminals and theives with their corporate law!!! Good on ya guys. Plug them legal loopholes!
Hope this little research project saves you some money cause it cost me dearly...
Salt Lake, Utah