Using Barter to Help Home Businesses Succeed

by Missy Ward in For the Entrepreneur   &     1 Comment

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This post originally appeared on itsaWAHMthing.com, where I regularly contribute articles about affiliate marketing, productivity and technology tips for small businesses and work at home moms.  

Bartering makes sense for Mompreneurs. What’s better than exchanging services instead of spending cash to buy necessary goods or services? Especially during seasons when your home business runs short on cash or your favorite customer gets laid off from her job; bartering can help home businesses succeed.

What is Bartering?

Bartering has been around since the beginning of time. Exchanging gold for salt or pottery for rice met a need in the community while providing the backbone of the economy. Today, bartering holds a smaller role but remains important nonetheless.

Bartering allows you to give a product or service in exchange for a product or service of equal value. Instead of paying cash for services received or products purchases, bartering serves as a financial resource. It helps you navigate an unstable economy and receive the goods and services you need. It also enables you to create greater visibility in the community and build your home business’s reputation.

Do you need a new website design or business cards? Perhaps you need monthly administrative services or a one-time plumbing repair. In exchange for these services, you provide a decorated cake, a vehicle tune-up or free babysitting.

How to Barter Successfully

Successful bartering requires practice, practice and more practice. For maximum success, start small by approaching long-time customers first. As you grow confident in your abilities, gradually expand your bartering partnerships to vendors.

Before entering into a bartering relationship, do your homework.

  • What will you trade? It could be your handmade necklaces or an hour of accounting services.
  • How much is it worth? Assign a fair rate to your product or service. Bartering is not charity. Give your product a fair monetary value.
  • What do you want to receive in exchange? Maybe you want a computer upgrade or need a new roof on your home office. Be sure you offer a financially even trade for the services you want.

With answers to these questions, you are ready to approach a customer or company with an invitation to barter.

Most barter agreements occur once, but other partnerships continue indefinitely. Resist verbal agreements. Instead, write down the details of the barter arrangement. Add the services or products that will be exchanged, the barter’s time frame and other applicable information. Both parties sign the agreement and receive a copy of the form. This step keeps both partners honest and prevents you losing time and money on the deal.

Because bartering is easy and increasingly popular, you might overextend yourself. While exchanging goods and services works for some items and for limited time frame, you eventually need cash. Set a limit to your barter partnerships so that you don’t run into cash flow issues.

Finding Companies Who Accept Barter

After you start bartering with customers, branch out to vendors. Prepare your bartering pitch then approach the customer service rep with whom you normally do business. Maybe your gem supplier needs a catered meal or the local printing company needs exterior paint. With a thoughtful proposal and agreeable terms, many companies willingly barter.

For additional outlets, try Craigslist or Trashbank. With these options, you target local residents and receive free advertising for your home business.

Are you ready now to enter the world of bartering? This ancient financial concept can become an essential tool for making money and growing your customer base. Cash is king, but remember the value bartering holds in your successful Mompreneur home business.

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.

Comment & Add Your Voice

1 Bryan Moody November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi Missy,

Great article…I couldn’t agree more! I wonder if you have worked with organized barter exchanges? I’ve been a member of a Phoenix exchange for 10 years. A few years ago, I opened an independent office for the company I was a member of, then branched out online a year or so ago. I’d love to have affiliates that are into barter to help promote. Contact me when you have a few minutes.

Thanks,

Bryan

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