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SMALL BUSINESS Q & A

Promissory note finders need a license in California

Also, how to cut costs without laying off workers.

January 17, 2011|By Karen E. Klein

Dear Karen: Do I need a license to operate as a promissory note finder in California?

Answer: According to the California Department of Real Estate, note-brokering does require a real estate license. If you are offering to sell, buy or exchange promissory notes with the expectation of compensation, you must be licensed, said Skip Dalrymple, a start-up business coach with BIZ Start & Grow in San Diego.

At recruitment seminars for real estate mortgage solicitors, some attendees are erroneously told that they do not need to be licensed in California. "This is wrong," Dalrymple said.

More information is available in the FAQ section of the Department of Real Estate website, http://www.dre.ca.gov.

Dear Karen: I need to lower my expenses. What are some ways I can cut costs without sacrificing my staff?

Answer: Increasing your operational efficiency can help cut costs dramatically. "Small-business owners need to work with their employees to determine where waste is," said Ron Wince, chief executive of management consulting firm Guidon Performance Solutions.

Ask your employees for ideas on where you can become more efficient. Perhaps it's a more streamlined process for maintaining a contact database, or a simplified procedure for filing employee benefits. "Some of the most simple changes can result in the biggest cost savings," Wince said.

Small business questions? E-mail Karen at smallbiz@latimes.com

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