Friday 14 March, 2014

Bartering Tips for Small Business Owners

Why pay for the goods and services you need when you can barter for them? The internet offers great bartering opportunities with other online business people. It’s a barter’s marketplace and it’s only growing. Craigslist’s bartering boards have grown dramatically in just the last year and there are more and more sites popping up that are just for bartering.

Bartering is great for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have a great deal of cash flow. It’s an ideal way to get what you need when you’re still getting on your feet. All you need is something to offer.

What You Bring to the Table

The first step is to decide what you can bring to the table. These can be physical goods, like things you have lying around not being used or virtual goods like an information product. They could also be services you can perform in exchange for goods or services. You may be able to offer programming, help with web design, content writing or something else.

Decide what you can do and what there’s demand for. As you go out and offer this service or good, you’ll quickly figure out what’s in demand and what’s not.

Valuing Your Offering

One of the challenges of bartering is deciding what your item or service is worth. This is the key to success when it comes to bartering. You need to figure out how to value your offering and make it clear to the other party, as well as the specific benefits you’re offering.

A good way to make barters equal and fair is to make them dollar-on-dollar. This simply means fixing a dollar price to what you’re offering. Self-valued prices don’t always match the quality of the item offered, but try to set a fair price and spell it out clearly so the other party understands.

For services, you can use time value. For example, one hour of programming for one hour of web content writing. You can also join a time bank. This is an online community where people offer up their time and skills.

Rather than a set value, you may want to set a range. With a range of options, you can be flexible and also negotiate with the other person.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped off

There are lots of scams out there and Craigslist in particular is famous for them because of its non-moderated nature. Some people offer services they can’t actually perform and there may be no way to check up on them to see if they’re legit. Don’t barter for anything you wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable about buying.

One way to protect yourself is to make it official. Write out the details of the barter and have both parties sign it. This way, you’re covered. You have a contract. This is also useful for tax purposes and yes, you need to report your barters.

Bartering is not only a great way to get the stuff you need without paying, it can be a fun experience, especially once you get online and see all of the barter sites out there.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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