The key attributes of a viable long-term business are:
- Deliver more in value than you take in payment from each client,
- Serve enough clients to sustain the business vision and need, and
- Keep more money than you spend delivering the value to clients.
If all three of these are not true you don't have a viable business. If you can sustain it indefinitely you have a long-term viable business.
If point 1 is not true you are running a scheme. Tricking your clients into buying. At best incompetent or selling junk. At worst, a fraud or a thief.
If you are trying to build a business to ultimately cash out your customer becomes the investors who will buy it.
If you know that all three points are not true or likely to be true in the future you are selling a non-viable business.
You are delivering less to your customer (the investor) than you are taking in payment. This isn't hard to understand.
If you hide this fact, legal or not… you are running a scheme.
The world needs less schemes and more viable businesses.