Thursday, December 17, 2009

Barter Strategies

General Strategies for Building Better Business through Bartering

1. Identify what you want and what you can offer. It’s important that you make these identifications in close proximity to one another as they are related. Don’t endeavor to barter for 12-months of rental space when all you have to offer is a $100 gift certificate. Your needs/desires should have a reasonable relationship in substance and value to one another.
2. Take a small bite. One of the reasons people don’t barter is because it seems inconvenient. To confront this reluctance, I encourage my clients to start small. Think of a one-time expense that you incur periodically. Approach this service provider with a clear and simple proposal. Start with someone or a business you have a history with before you approach new resource providers.
3. Presume to Know Their Needs. As you approach this business—do so with some sense of what their needs are and what role you can play in meeting those needs. If you’re a web designer and have noticed that their website needs rejuvenation—approach them with that in mind.
4. Finish the apple. While I earlier encouraged you to take small bites, if the relationship works out extend it where possible. And look for other opportunities to barter. The goal should be to barter all idle assets to keep your cash overhead minimal.
5. Written agreements. Don’t be reluctant to protect yourself and your barter partner. Just like any transaction—each party must perform their end of the bargain. Put each party’s expectation in full and detailed form. Include dates, names, places and all other relevant details.
6. Join Bandywagon or another bartering network. While you may test the bartering waters yourself, inevitably it is most efficient if you join a bartering network. Bandywagon works with businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs and nonprofits to facilitate mid to high level bartering transactions. You tell us what you have to offer, what you want to receive and even which specific person/company that you would like to receive it from—and we negotiate equitable barters. Join our list by sending an email of interest to

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Barter for Better Business

If you're in business--any business--and you are not bartering, you're doing your business an extraordinary disservice. For maximal success, bartering must be a regular business practice. With the rigors and demands of starting and running a business, it's easy to fail to access what appears to be not readily accessible. As business folks, it is incumbent upon us to diversify more than our income streams. We must diversify our currency. That is, be sure to have more than one currency that brings value to our businesses.

As a college student, bartering was one of my many tools of survival. People could crash on my couch if they would drive me to work. I would do research for a professor if she would excuse my absences. My friends would feed me in exchange for access to my infinite wisdom about love, sex and relationships.

As an entrepreneur, I continue to rely on the long-lasting practice of bartering. I do so not as a form of bootstrapping but as my first resort. Bartering is my market of preference—and with good reason.

Bartering is about cultivating relationships of value in a mutual currency of variable products and services. If you are starting, growing or sustaining your business, bartering can be the tool you need to see drastically different results in your practice. Barter for better business.

Five Reasons to Barter:

Preserve Cash Flow (Recession?!). You’re likely marketing and doing business with the folks you expect to give you good green cash. Similarly, as you make purchases for yourself or your business—you do so equipped with your good green. You have personal and business needs that require cash expenditures. I get it. Instead of cash expenditures, trade what you have. It can be the product or service that is the crux of your business or any other thing of value. Keep your money in your pocket and barter!

Mobilize Idle Assets. In business and in life, you have products, services and skills that are idle because they are not being used or sold at full capacity most of the time. Instead of spending money to meet your business needs, exchange your idle assets. Through bartering, you’re able to assign and capitalize off of latent value. Remember, preserve your cash flow! And you can do this by mobilizing your idle assets. I have developed a system and consultancy service of mobilizing idle assets (mIA) that really makes this a profitable skill. But that’s for later.

Capitalize on an Untapped Stream of Income and Marketing. In a single year, nearly 7 billion dollars of products/services are bartered. There are legions of people who have value they are eager to exchange in products/services and it is these millions of people you don’t reach when you don’t barter. Failure to barter is a billion dollar mistake. Research indicates that barter business is additional income and further indicates that it is unlikely to transform a cash-paying customer into a bartering one. Keep in mind, barter partners will recommend cash-paying and other barter comrades.

Boost Your Bottom. Your overall bottom line will see favor since your bartering expenditures are made on a discounted dollar valuation schema. That is, you ‘pay’ for products/services in dollars that actually cost you less than a dollar. At the end, your value is maximized and your cost below market.

Community and Camaraderie. Even though your transactions are fair, equitable and reciprocal—the nature of bartering is much like favor-swapping and back-scratching. The people you barter with will come to feel like a community of comrades with whom you perform reciprocal favors. This soft advantage is important because it turns into hard profits. You develop personal relationships between your bartering partners and this quickly evolves into labyrinth multi-tiered business relationships.
Bookmark this site for some exciting bartering opportunities that will serve you and your business as well as to stay informed about the intricacies of bartering. As entrepreneurs, we require all the support and resources available to us. Don’t sleep on this one.