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

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