Dear Karen: My company owns a website domain name with commercial value. What's the best way to sell it?
Answer: There are several domain name marketplaces online, including Invest Domains, www.investdomains.com/mp, Sedo.com and Afternic.com. "In some cases, you might even want to list your domain on EBay.com," said Anthony Morrison, chief executive of Invest Domains. Forums where you can list your domain for sale include DNForum.com and Namepros.com, he said.
Put up a "for sale" page at the URL in question. "If someone types in the website address, they will see a page stating that it's for sale and get information on how to contact you," Morrison said.
If you have a truly premium domain, contact BuyDomains.com and ask whether the site will list it.
"Business owners know to check there first for premium domains," he said.
Eliminate waste to trim expenses
Dear Karen: What are some ways to reduce our production expenses?
Answer: When consumers cut back spending, entrepreneurs must cut expenses. Although most companies run lean, there is waste that can be cut in every organization.
"Waste is anything that adds cost but not value to a product," said Patrick Ross, a principal in the Audit and Business Advisory Services Group at Irvine accounting firm Haskell & White. "Eliminating waste will reduce costs while increasing efficiencies."
Recruit an employee brainstorming team to identify and eliminate waste. Typical culprits include overproduction, waiting times, delivery delays, inefficient processing, unnecessary inventory and internal defects, Ross said. Pick the three top money-wasters and develop a plan to eliminate them within six months.
"Assign specific accountabilities and timelines for each step in the change process and offer financial incentives or other recognition as a way to encourage employees. And most importantly, celebrate the results," Ross said.
Alternative sources for funds
Dear Karen: I've been in business four years and need working capital to expand. I tried bank loans with no luck. Is there another way to get funding?
Answer: There are several alternative lending sources, including accounts receivable lenders, credit unions and micro-credit loans. You also could look into bringing in outside investors or a partner who would take a minority equity position in your firm. A merger is another possibility.
Your best bet will depend on your industry, your company and how much you need. If you're looking for $50,000 or less, you might qualify for a micro-credit loan from a local public economic development agency. Talk to your city or county business development office or search "funding" at BuzGate.org, a small-business resource site. "There are subsidized loan packages tailored to small business, women and veterans," BuzGate founder Deborah Osgood said.
If you have stable monthly revenue, investigate factoring or talk to your local credit union about a small-business loan. Angel investors, who typically look for deals of $500,000 and up, might be interested. And if your company is profitable and well-established, it could even be attractive to private equity investors.
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