Weekly business rail, with tips on starting a small business, BBB warning about ticket rip-offs, a look at the iPad 2 and more.

Tip of the Week

Each year thousands of Americans take the leap to starting a business to leverage their expertise and passion for a particular interest or hobby.

Here are some tips for turning your hobby into a business from FindLaw.com:

- Get free help. Trial and error is an essential part of the entrepreneurial experience. Tapping the experience of seasoned business professionals can help you avoid mistakes, and provide you perspective in times of stress.

- Write a business plan. A business plan gives you and others a clear idea of your goals, the processes you'll implement to achieve those goals and how you'll measure your success.

- Set up your business structure. Contact an attorney who specializes in working with small businesses to get advice on the proper legal structure under which you should incorporate your business.

- Get the proper licenses and permits. Depending upon the type of business you start, you may need to get a permit(s) or occupational license from your city or state.

- Protect your idea. If you think it has any potential, run, don't walk, to an attorney who specializes in intellectual property to seek a trademark or patent on your idea.

- ARA

BBB Watch

Whether you’re trying to snag tickets to the big game or the hottest concert, the Better Business Bureau warns that you run the risk of getting ripped off if you decide to gamble on a less-than-reputable source. Here are five things you don’t want to do when buying tickets:

- Believing you’re that lucky: The reason tickets are expensive is because they’re hard to get, and the chances of you getting lucky and finding a deal are slim. If a situation sounds too good to be true, such as someone selling tickets to a popular event for much less than offered elsewhere, it’s probably not on the level.

- Wiring money to someone you don’t know: Say for some reason you do believe that a seller you found online who lives in another country really has tickets to an event in the U.S. The fact that the seller then asks you to wire money to pay for the tickets should be the final red flag that makes you walk away. When buying tickets online, ideally pay with a credit card or through Paypal because of the consumer protections provided.

- Not doing your research: If buying online, ask to see a picture of the tickets so you can confirm the seats match up with the venue. If your friends already have tickets, you can also make sure they look the same as the ones you want to buy.

- Buying from scalpers at the event: Buying tickets outside the venue can be a game of roulette. You might get taken to the cleaners, or the seats may be just as advertised. Keep in mind that, in some states, it’s illegal to charge more than the face value for tickets.

- Choosing a disreputable online ticket broker: When purchasing tickets through an online broker, look for the BBB seal on their website and check them out online at www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews. Review the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and what happens if tickets purchased through their site are fake or not as advertised.

For more advice on spending your money wisely and not getting ripped off, visit www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Tips.

The List

NASCAR is back in action after the brief offseason. Here’s a look at how Forbes.com ranked the team values last year:

1: Hendrick Motorsports
2: Roush Fenway Racing
3: Richard Childress Racing
4: Joe Gibbs Racing
5. Richard Petty Motorsports

Number to Know

$5.77 billion: Fourth-quarter net income of Coca Cola, a huge jump over last year’s fourth quarter, when the company reported a net income of $1.54 billion.

Tech Talk

According to reports in The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s iPad 2 is in production. The updated version will feature a front-facing camera, have a better processor, be thinner and will work with Verizon and AT&T.

GateHouse News Service