Starting a Business

What is the first step in starting an IT consulting firm?

We are a Canadian-registered company that operates in China. We sell clothes, shoes, and accessories to the US and European markets . We want to start an e-commerce outlet in the US to sell the products online. What is the first step in starting an IT consulting firm?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I think these are two separate questions, no? You want to start an IT consulting firm. Or do you want to sell your products online? I'll answer the starting an IT consulting firm question, as that appears to be the thrust of your question.

Starting an IT consulting firm takes several things:

1. Experience - Do you or members of your team have the experience to actually consult and service companies?

2. Business experience - Make sure you know about contracts, hiring employees or consultants, margins of your services, customer service and things of this nature - the nuts and bolts of an IT consulting business.

3. Most IT consulting businesses grow from word of mouth. So as your business grows and one customer after another likes your work, your business will grow.

Competition is going to be fierce from Best Buy-type consultants to local independent consultants and the consulting arms of PC vendors. But all businesses need an IT consultant - it's a matter of who they choose.

Ramon Ray,
Editor and Technology Evangelist,
Smallbiztechnology.com
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