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The Benefits of Bartering

April 23, 2018

As a result of the current economic environment, Small Business Owners are increasingly relying upon Bartering with other business owners in order to achieve their revenue goals. This growing trend is driven by the cost-effectiveness of Bartering as a means to generate a continuous flow of new customers. In this article, we address the current trends in bartering exchanges.

Just imagine if you could find a way to attract new customers in your local area with very little marketing effort. There are a few ways that you can help facilitate growth and financial stability for your small business. One of the most common, and often the most effective, approaches is the barter system. Here are five basic steps to bartering in business when you’re on a tight budget.

1. Identify Your Needs: The first thing that you should do is determine your company’s immediate, short, and long-term needs. Do you need a new or updated website, branding, an increase in materials or inventory, an expanded client base, social media marketing, a public relations campaign, a brand video, etc.? Once you have identified your needs, you can start to figure out who you might know that offers these services.

2. Identify What You’re Willing to Exchange: What can you offer someone in exchange for what you need? Do you offer a service? Free products? You should also try to determine a general price for what you need and offer goods or services for barter that are around the same price.

3. Network: Join a bartering exchange. Talk to your network of friends, family, and colleagues. By talking with an established and trusted network of people, you can start to dig in and see if there are any opportunities with them or someone they know who may benefit from your products or services and vice versa.

4. Expand Your Network: Conduct research on small to medium sized companies in your area to determine how you might be able to assist them in their current efforts and/or if they may benefit from any of the products or services that you offer.

5. The Exchange: Often times you can offer an extreme discount on a product and service that you offer in exchange for the promotion of your company and/or using the client as a case study. This is a great way to expand your client portfolio and increase brand exposure for your business.

6. Cross Promotion: Another great way to increase brand exposure and awareness is by marketing your product or service to another company’s customers. For example, you could exchange marketing materials to include in orders sent to customers, publish guest posts on each other’s blogs, etc. Just make sure that the products or services are complementary, as opposed to directly competing with each other. This mutually beneficial partnership will introduce products and services from both companies to a completely new group of targeted customers, which is a great way to expand your client base.

Bartering has been a part of small business marketing since the beginning of commerce. Almost anything can be bartered, whether it is a product or a service your company offers. For example, if you own a restaurant, you could barter with a local radio station, offering gift certificates for a meal at your restaurant in exchange for advertising on the radio. Companies have bartered website creation, content writing, graphic design and many other products or services in exchange for what they need for promoting their business. Here are a few tips to remember when entering a bartering agreement:

  • Be prepared to negotiate back and forth so that the bartering experience benefits both companies.
  • Remember that bartering rarely includes an exchange of cash, so it is important to keep the company bottom line in mind when choosing to barter rather than sell products or services.
  • Treat a barter client just as you would any other client by putting all deals in writing.
  • Include a deadline for goods or services to be delivered.
  • Clear communication is critical in a bartering relationship in order to address any issues that may arise in the process and to keep the project moving forward.
  • Remember that the fair market value of the goods and services exchanged must be declared as income for tax purposes