Published September 10, 2010
Whoever said cash is king never tried bartering.
For small business owners grappling with excess capacity and an inability to get a loan from banks, bartering can be more valuable than cash.
Bartering dates back to ancient times, when folks swapped goods and services for other goods and services they had. The modern way of bartering is to have networks of businesses across the globe that trade products and services either in person, over the phone or via the Internet without the use of cash.
Whether a lawyer in Houston has spare time on his hand or a local newspaper had extra ad space, businesses — largely small ones — can use bartering to get a host of services. Basically a small business joins a barter exchange and instead of using cash for goods and services, trades its excess capacity for things it needs. For example a furniture retailer could sell a couch and in return get credits that can be used for printing brochures. That couch may have languished in the store but on the exchange it found a buyer.
Bartering is a “great benefit to small businesses that want to use excess capacity as a currency,” said David Wallach, president of the International Reciprocal Trade Association, an industry trade group for barter exchanges. “It’s very profitable to businesses. That’s why they join it.” Members in bartering exchanges typically pay a membership fee or monthly maintenance fee and a percent of the sale.
Trading goods instead of exchanging money
Small Business: Big Ideas
At ITEX, the Bellevue, Wash., membership trading company that has 24,000 members and 90 offices around the country, that percentage is 6%. According to Alan Zimmelman, a spokesman for ITEX, barter exchanges work best in local economies and is done predominately via the phone or electronic messaging, rather than over the Internet. Members will use the Internet to search for ways to spend their barter dollars but will call or email one of ITEX’s brokers when they want to engage in a trade. “The Internet will grow but it is a slow process,” said Zimmelman, noting it’s easier to pick up the phone, send a text or email. ITEX members do use the Internet to post advertisements or electronic newsletters.
Members of bartering exchange NuBarter do use the Internet to make deals, even though the company has customer service reps at the ready to help members. On NuBarter.com members are given a line of credit and search for what they want to use that line of credit for. Once they find something they click buy and the seller is contacted via an email. If it is approved the seller and buyer will make arrangements.
NuBarter, which is based in Savannah, Ga., but has offices around the country and a network of barter exchange partners around the world, put together a network of roughly 2,300 members who trade among themselves. A line of credit is given to the members and NuBarter’s job is to make sure the goods and services stay balanced. For instance, NuBarter won’t let 10 hair salons on the network if there is only demand for two. What’s more, in order for a small business to be allowed into the network, it has to go through an interview process. The line of credit is based on criteria, including years of service, number of employees and size of the business, said Gary Field, president of NuBarter.
Members of NuBarter pay a one -time fee of $495, $15 monthly and a 12% cash fee on all transactions. For the fees, small business members get assigned a trade broker and access to business seminars, similar to Chamber of Commerce events. According to Field, NuBarter is a win-win situation for small business members because their barter dollars never go to waste if a service is not completed.
“If someone doesn’t get the services, they don’t pay,” Field said.
For small businesses that don’t want to become a member of one of these bartering exchanges, there are a host of websites that let individuals trade goods and services. BarterQuest is one example. On its site, goods, services and real estate can be traded around the world.
An excellent expo: Business event brings companies to the community
By Savannah Morning News
Created 2010-07-20 00:18
Business was booming at the Pooler Business and Consumer Expo. A large crowd turned out July 15 to see what companies in the area have to offer.
The expo was held at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Many vendors offered special deals during the expo, and some sponsored giveaways.
“We’ve had a nice, steady stream coming in,” said Karen Robertson of the Pooler Chamber of Commerce. “We even had some early arrivals who were here at 5:15 p.m.”
Robertson said the variety of vendors who participated was particularly thrilling. “It’s fabulous,” she said. “We’re sold out with vendors.
“This is only our second time to do this,” Robertson said. “The chamber did one last year, and there was one five or six years ago.
“As people heard about this one, interest has grown,” she said. “The comment we’re hearing most from vendors is that the numbers are up over last year.”
In all, 23 vendors turned out. “It’s everything from banking, healthcare to spas, real estate, travel, entertainment – a very good variety,” Robertson said.
The expo gave vendors a chance to advertise, and customers an opportunity to find products and services. “We’re talking to everyone about our services,” said Patty Anderson of the GeoVista Credit Union.
“We’re here to educate the public about Hospice Savannah,” said Sarah Copeland, community outreach coordinator for Hospice Savannah. “We cover five counties – Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, Liberty and Long.”
While most people are familiar with Hospice Savannah, they’re not aware of all the services it provides, Copeland said. “People are unfamiliar with Full Circle, which provides bereavement services,” she said. “It is open to anyone who has had a loss.”
Heather Parks of Holiday Inn was surprised at the number of people who came for the expo. “The hotel business is vital to our economy,” she said.
Jacquie Stein is a territory licensee/manager with NuBarter, a Savannah-based online bartering company, whose members trade goods and services for other businesses’ goods and services. NuBarter members barter their goods and services to increase sales, reduce cash expenditures and increase profits.
“We’re the largest trade exchange in the Southeast,” Stein said. “We bring added visibility and revenue to our members.”
Events such as the expo are important for businesspeople and community members to network, Stein said. “Every new contact in worthwhile,” she said. “We are trying to educate businesspeople on the benefits of bartering.”
Sarah Sherman of Savannah Commons Retirement Community said this was her company’s first event in Pooler and an opportunity to show the community what it has to offer. “We’re encouraging everyone to come over and take a look at us,” she said.
Sandy Downs of Beazer Homes is a member of the Pooler chamber. “This is the first time we’ve done this,” she said. “I’m really happy with the way everything is set up here.”
Beazer Homes builds houses that range in price from $130,000 to $180,000 and, despite the tough economy, the company is thriving. “All our homes are built with energy efficiency in mind,” Downs said.
Plans already are under way for another expo next year. “We want it to be bigger and better each year,” Robertson said. “We want our vendors to know they have the perfect opportunity to show people what they have.”
I’m Tonia – Owner of Diva Dogs, pet groomer on Habersham and 48th.
I’ve been a member of NuBarter since July 30, 2009. I met Jacquie the second day I was open. I didn’t yet have business cards and there were no customers in the salon. Jacquie told me about NuBarter and I joined that week. I’m sure glad I did because:
NuBarter has sent me 15 new repeat customers since I joined. These are customers that would not have come to me if I was not a NuBarter member.
With the trade revenue I received, I went to a chiropractor, Dr. Domanski, that I absolutely love, I got a massage, a tune-up on my car, ate at Sweet Potatoes and Juarez, had my hair done at Hair Bar, took my kids on a Ghost tour and bought candy at Savannah Sweets.
NuBarter gives me a wide exposure and free advertising online where I can put out special offers to attract new customers.
I love NuBarter and would recommend joining to anyone who wants their business to grow!!!
|Savannah’s NuBarter Makes Forbes Semi-Finalists in “Boost Your Business” Contest
(NEW YORK, NEW YORK) Twenty entrepreneurs have advanced to the second stage of Forbes.com’s third annual “Boost Your Business” editorial contest, available at www.forbes.com/byb.
Visitors to Forbes.com can now vote for the five companies most poised for growth among the 20 semi-finalists. Their submissions, including self-recorded 30-second “elevator-pitch” videos, are available for review at www.forbes.com/byb. Voting for this round runs through September 30.
Contestants represent businesses in various industries–from nurse-concierge services and online book rental, to enterprise software and yoga accessories–and are headquartered around the country.
“The quality of our contestants gets better with each passing year,” said Brett Nelson, Entrepreneurs Editor at Forbes. “We wish them luck in the second round. Captivating our savvy readers in only 30 seconds on video is no mean feat.”
In the first round of the contest, which began in May, entrants submitted a 500-word write-up about their small business, including a description of the business model, current capitalization and theoretical plan for investing the prize money. From the 20 semi-finalists who made it to the second round of the contest, five finalists will be selected to compete for the grand prize.
Those five finalists will be flown to New York City to give live presentations to an expert panel of judges. The winner will receive $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in advertising on Forbes.com.
Onsite Nurse Concierge Dove Canyon CA
Green Paper Studio Bethesda MD
Naturally Bamboo Mankato MN
i-Nalysis Concord MA
NuBarter Savannah GA
Plank Charlestown MA
NuClimate Air Quality Systems, Inc. East Syracuse NY
Audissey Guides Boston MA
GreenSoul Shoes New York NY
GiftCardRescue.com Ellicott City MD
Base Brands Atlanta GA
Healthy Life Screening Akron OH
BookSwim Newark NJ
INeedAPencil.com Cambridge MA
Earthborn Studios, Inc. Leeds AL
Plastic Jungle Mountain View CA
ReadyPing Chicago IL
I Want A Better House Nashville TN
Encore Path Baltimore MD
Ksplice Cambridge MA
Savannah Office Supplies is located at 104 Broughton St. in Savannah between Drayton and Abercorn St. Bora Akcakanat sells everything from office supplies to office furniture, mailing supplies, HP cartridges, appointment books and planners,and much more. Stop into his store or visit his website at www.savannahofficesupplies.com. He also offers fast, free delivery for all orders $50 and over. He is accepting up to $30 per transaction on 100% trade and a $600 monthly limit.