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Starting a small key/pbx installation maintenance business....questions

Starting a small key/pbx installation maintenance business....questions

Starting a small key/pbx installation maintenance business....questions

(OP)
I have been working in the IT/Telecom business now for 15+ years. I work for an International telecom business as of now. I want to start researching the self-employment side. I have a few questions:

1) I have the source.org site that I am going to look into but what should I be looking at locally?
2) Are companies' profits public record where I can see which local companies are the top dogs?
3) Am I being naive to think that getting maintenance contracts won't be too hard? I mentioned this to my step-father (a very successful retired business owner) and just threw out a number of contracts at 20 to make a point. He said "I can get on the phone with my contacts and get you 20 maintenance contracts tonight."
4) What are the keys to being successful in this type of business?

And now for the big question....

5) With my current position, it would be a conflict of interest to try and start obtaining clientale on the side. I also don't want to go the partner route. What would be the best course of action in this kind of situation?

I have telecom certs and IT certs(Avaya, Nortel, Cisco, etc....). Thanks in advance

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