E-Biz Baffled

Q: I am looking for some inspirational literature about starting an e-commerce consulting business and have been unable to gather a great deal of information. I feel small companies need extra help learning how e-commerce will affect the future.
–J.W. Barrett, B.E. Bulletin Board

A: Simply put, e-commerce is using the Internet as a medium to sell goods or services. Whether your venture caters to business-to-consumer or business-to-business firms, there’s plenty of information at your fingertips.

For information on how to successfully maintain an e-business, go to the E-Commerce & the Internet section of the Federal Trade Commission’s Website: www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu internet.htm. The site offers all kinds of useful advice, including how to advertise and market on the Internet, e-commerce guidelines, and domain name registration scams.

There’s also a plethora of books available on the subject of e-commerce. Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet by Michael Wolff (Simon & Schuster; $25) offers an insider’s view of Internet business by an entrepreneur who was there during the infancy of e-commerce. For further inspiration, try Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy by Bill Gates and Collins Hemingway (Warner Books; $16.95). This book has tons of examples of companies of all sizes that are benefiting from using the proper digital tools. It also offers some insight into where all this technology is leading us. You can also refer to BE’s three part series on e-commerce (March, April and May 2001).

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