The barter system and trading of products dates back to before the time of currency and monetary exchanges, but is it something that still takes place here in the 21st century? Can a business owner trade their products for advertising or their services for office products they may need? The answer to this question is most definitely YES and it is actually done on a daily basis. In this economy, when every business owner is watching finances closely, the barter system may be just the answer.
Many business owners will join networking groups with other businesses in the hopes of meeting and finding potential customers. While this is a fantastic reason for joining these groups, many business owners don’t realize the full potential these groups have to offer. Every business owner has products or services that they need for their own business, and what better way to get them than to trade services with other business owners. It becomes a win-win situation for both businesses, and often will lead to referrals from the other business owner.
For example, years ago when I owned a retail gift basket business, I was looking for ways to advertise my business with the Mother’s Day holiday quickly approaching. I was a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and had met the owner of a local radio station a few times. I decided to approach the radio station with an offer of a Mother’s Day gift basket to use for one of their special contests they had on a regular basis. I figured that by having my gift basket as a prize, my business would get promoted at the same time. I went to them with this proposal, and they were thrilled. They created an essay competition, where listeners were required to write an essay as to why their mother deserved this gift basket from my company. Listeners could drop off or fax their essay into the radio station, or even better, they could submit their essay online, where the radio station had a picture of the gift basket and a link to my website.
This promotion worked so well for both of us that the radio station decided that they could benefit even more from my business. They regularly had guest artists or other promotions, and were always looking for thank you gifts for these artists or executives. We worked out an exchange, where my business would provide gifts when needed and they would create an advertising campaign for my business. They had the regular D.J.’s record an amazing commercial for my business, and the commercials ran for a determined amount of time. We exchanged my product for their service on a monetary level. The retail cost of my gifts in exchange for the regular cost of advertising through the radio station. The benefit of this exchange for my business was that it was the RETAIL cost of my gift baskets and not my ACTUAL cost of products. So this enabled me to advertise more time for my dollar.
As has been shown here, the barter system is still alive and used every day between business owners. It can prove to be very beneficial both in financial savings and exposure for your business. If you, as a business owner, believe that you have a product or service that could be exchanged with another business owner, don’t be afraid to approach them with a proposal. The worst that can happen is they will say no. But should they say yes, the sky is the limit to the potential benefit for your business.