Looking for another way to boost liquidity? A largely underutilized technique is to sell off assets you don't really need -- things like old equipment or excess materials. Getting rid of some items, like computers, is easy, given the extent to which secondary markets have developed around the country. (See "The Used Computer Market," May 1991, [Article link].) But what if you're stuck with a bunch of telephones or used satellite dishes?

For relatively low-ticket items, Howell Hurst, president of Strategic Asset Management, a San Francisco consulting firm, suggests contacting surplus and salvage dealers listed in the yellow pages. Another do-it-yourself approach, though more expensive and more time-consuming: identify the trade publication prospective buyers are most likely to read, buy an ad, and wait. Most small ads sell for less than $300. "If you don't know the magazine by name," he says, "you can call the local library."

But if neither option seems appropriate, note that Hurst, whose company specializes in marketing surplus assets for large businesses, is launching a new publication called Excess Inventories (415-399-1436), which he intends to distribute six to eight times a year. Initially, he says, it will go to a few hundred industrial secondary buyers (corporate purchasing officers, materials dealers, importers, exporters, foreign governments, and so forth). If you want to reach that audience, Hurst is selling ads for $250 per listing.

-- Bruce G. Posner