Tag Archive for green

Think barter, grow richer!

Originally on http://kofiboahen.com/?p=41

Bartering is fast becoming an increasingly popular business growth strategy. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that 20% to 25% of world trade is now done in barter. Corporate barter is now a 20 billion dollar industry (corporate barter is only one type of barter). Everyone from business corporations on the New York Stock Exchange to small home – based businesses are jumping on the barter bandwagon.
Judging from all the emails I received from my previous barter article (if you missed it, you can read it on my blog, quantumprofits.blogspot.com). I intend to really delve into specific barter strategies that companies can easily replicate to lower their expenses and by default boost their profits. These strategies I will be discussing are highly valuable in the sense that they are very practical and more importantly if they are applied properly, companies can rake in millions of Cedis in profits depending on the size of the company’s operations.I have not only discussed the issues but I have included real – life cases of companies practising these barter strategies and profiting immensely from it. My idea is to show you that these strategies really work and that your company can and should also take advantage of these opportunities.

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1) Save cash on capital and operating expenditures
With the right barter system incorporated in your company’s marketing and procurement strategy, your company can save large sums of money. Once your company has clearly identified the capital items needed, be it computers or cars; the company can then contact a competent Barter consultant (BC) to help identify the appropriate swap partners and to ensure a smooth transfer. It usually becomes very necessary to use the services of a BC if the swap is not direct. The BC will usually introduce other parties into the transaction to ensure that the deal goes through smoothly. In the same vein, barter can be adopted in financing operating expenditures at huge discounts. Once the company identifies all key operating cost centres such as internet expenses, telephone charges, fuel charges etc. The company then works with the BC to identify companies who provide such services. The BC will then have the responsibility of ensuring that your company receives what it needs without necessarily paying cash. To do this, the BC will also have to satisfy the supplying company, sometimes this requires the introduction of a third party who wants your products and has what the supplying company needs. To illustrate, recently a client of mine (a major player in the media industry) financed large portions of its capital items including cars and computers and also key operating expenses such as yearly internet services as well as end of year employee gifts (flat screen TVs) through barter. The company thus saves millions of Ghana Cedis by adopting this system of business.

2) Vastly expand your available advertising budget without any cash
An international air courier company in competition with Federal Express hired a barter firm to help finance its entire advertising campaign. The barter firm secured the advertising for the company and paid not with cash but in air courier credits. The barter firm’s job in this case was to convert the credits into cash (only to new non – existing clients) for onward payment to the media house. In the end, the courier company enjoyed its advertising up front, kept its cash reserves intact and more importantly lots of the cash conversion barter sales (some of which were Fortune 400 companies) have continued to use the air courier on a full–cash–paying basis long after their barter credits were used up. So far, in the eight years since the original trade was done, nearly 24 million worth of resulting “cash continuation” business has occurred as a lucrative “by – product” of the initial one – time barter transaction.
Whiles this example is foreign, it is entirely practical in Ghana. For instance in the last couple of months, my company (QuantumProfits Consult) helped negotiate a barter advertising deal worth over GH 80,000 carried out by a major furniture outlet across different media without a cedi changing hands. Apart from the company enjoying increased business, brand awareness and recognition from the advertising campaign, it has also enjoyed lots of referral business from the customers who bought the bartered goods from us thus leading to huge residual benefits for the company.

3) Finance rapid growth without cash
Carnival Cruise Lines, a Florida based cruise line, which is now one of the largest cruise lines in the world started with a single ship and very little operating capital. The company through its barter agency traded empty cabins for radio, television and newspaper advertising in 100 cities over a ten-year period. The underlying philosophy was very sound. First, the cost of an empty cabin once the ship sails is minimal. Second, the passengers usually spend considerable cash in the bar, casino, gift shop and shore excursions, thus the net cost to the cruise line to fill an empty cabin was literally zero. Stated differently, they made massive profits off the bartered cabins being occupied instead of going out empty.
The strategy yielded huge dividends; they used the technique to become one of the largest cruise lines in the world and continuously advertised in 100 cities for more than 10 years without ever paying cash. More importantly the company generated over a $100,000,000 in revenue. The owner of the cruise line is now on the Forbes billionaire list. It all started with one thirty year old ship and heavy barter advertising.
This strategy is very practical for companies within the hospitality and airline industries which have very perishable services. With the right barter strategy in place, such companies can advertise very heavily to raise more revenue during the yuletide period as well as create a strong brand in the long term. For hotels in particular who usually shun advertising as a result of revenue difficulties, barter is a wonderful option. This is because, apart from the fact that they can now get the all the advertising they want without paying in cash, people who purchase the barter credits still have to buy food from the restaurant as well as pay for other services the hotel offers, hence generating more revenue for the hotel.

4) Continuously generate a steady stream of profit at far above close – out prices
A major Japanese auto manufacturer had 1,000 cars that were in the U.S. that they had been unable to sell. With the help of a barter agency, the company bartered the cars to radio and television stations in selected markets at full retail prices. The advertising credits was used to introduce a new sports car that become a runaway success but which the company could not afford to previously run advertisements for.
The bottom line, the cars were sold at full retail prices and millions were saved on the advertising schedule and the introduction of the new sports car became the basis of a blockbuster success for the auto manufacturer due to continuous brand awareness and visibility as a result to the advertising credits it acquired solely on trade.
This barter strategy is also very practical for manufacturing concerns as well as importing companies, who may usually have a need to move out old stock to make way for new stock or new models. Rather than sell at heavily discounted prices which can create holes in the company’s account statements and create problems with stockholders, barter may be a smarter option which allows the company to sell at fair prices without affecting the company’s brand as well.

5) Employee and stockholder benefits
Many companies issue employee and stockholder benefits in barter either for the company itself or for other bartered goods or services they have acquired. Christmas presents, sales bonuses, customer inducements can all be given without using cash. For instance, most of my clients do not use cash in buying Christmas presents for their staff. My outfit is very busy now bartering from flat screen TVs to hotel credits to be given to various employees for their wonderful service during the course of the year. Honestly, your company can and should be doing same.
Truth be told the barter strategy is no discriminator of businesses, as long as your company produces a product or a service that has value to a certain customer group, your company has what it takes to cash-in from incorporating barter in your marketing and procurement strategy.
After reading all these specific barter strategies and the accompanying examples, I’m sure you are wondering which strategy is right for your company. Well that’s the million dollar question. Finding out the best strategy for your company and implementing it properly could see your company slashing its cost down significantly and automatically improving profits. As I usually say, nothing substitutes for good professional advice. It is time to have a chat with a competent BC. The BC will help you find a good barter strategy as well as integrate it in your system with little difficulty so as not to completely upset your established organisational plan. Trust me, if you really want to get on the barter bandwagon, that’s the best advice you should heed to.

Yes, it is good to barter

Originally on http://www.barter-blog.com/

Karen Morath of FlyingSolo asks, “Is it good to barter?” and concludes that barter, or as she also calls it “contra deals”, isn’t worth the trouble. Here’s part of her reasoning:

But that’s nothing compared with having to tell your would-be accountant that he or she needs to work for three hours at their rate of $85 per hour as a trade for one hour of your time at $275 per hour.
I’d have to suggest that if you’re having a hard time convincing any customer, barter or cash, that your time is worth $275/hour perhaps it isn’t. On the other hand, if you’re selling out your time with none to spare at $275/hour cash, then she’s right – barter isn’t for you or at least not at the apparently undervalued price of $275/hour.

Barter is great for a number of reasons, including selling excess inventory (whether it’s a product or your own time and labor). If there is no excess inventory and for whatever reason you are satisfied charging a less than market clearing price, barter probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you can’t sell your time for $275/hr cash at least a good percentage of the time, barter isn’t the magic bullet that will allow you to get a more than market price. What it can do is create a win-win situation where another business that will need your product/service will get it from you rather than another similarly priced provider.

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And then there are products, another complicating factor. If you seek to exchange your products for someone else’s services or your services for someone else’s products, should the product price be at retail or wholesale or cost?
This is a little tougher, but again no reason to avoid bartering altogether. Gnerally speaking, if one party wants to price at retail, both should probably price at retail. But there are certainly situations where that isn’t appropriate. If, for example, you are in the wholesale business and are bartering a large lot of fairly low unit cost items (say 1,000 boxes of candy that retail for $2) and trying to purchase something where you are the retail consumer (say a new car), it may be appropriate to barter on a wholesale-to-retail basis. The points to consider are each parties end use and each parties business model. In other words, will your barter counterpart eat 1,000 boxes of candy himself or will he distribute them one at a time to consumers as giveaways at his car lot. If you want to dump 5,000 boxes of candy that are a month from their sell-by date, you may even barter below cost. In that situation, any return will beat throwing them away, especially if your car dealer’s giveaway puts your name in front of the public, too.

Whether it’s a service or product, barter is more complex than simply calling a toll free number and giving them your credit card number. Indeed, that’s why most transactions aren’t barter. Currency is one of the great inventions of modern humans and a giant leap forward over having to barter in every single transaction. That’s one reason most barter experts recommend limiting barter to a fraction, usually around 10-20%, of total sales. Barter can’t and shouldn’t be expected to replace cash transactions, but it’s still a great way to turn excess inventory into cost savings. Handling the, relatively minor, complexities of pricing and negotiation and the somewhat more complicated problem of matching needs is just one way that the smarter business owner will compete with those who avoid barter. The question is whether the business owner who’s afraid or unwilling to compete in this playing field will do much better in others.

Tight Budget? Barter!

Originally on http://dangerouslee.biz/2011/12/12/tight-budget-barter/

As much as solo parents face emotional problems dealing with the absence of Dad (or Mom, if the solo parent is a widowed or custodial father), not all problems that challenge solo parents are of the interpersonal variety. Some are practical…like the shortage of funds that is frequently more severe in a one-parent family.

These days it seems that everyone is feeling the pinch…but, as usual, the problem tends to be more severe when there is only one wage-earner, and especially when she needs to also pay for child care while she’s out earning those precious dollars. But even if your kids are old enough that you don’t need daycare or after-school care for them, money is likely still an issue.

An old-fashioned approach to this problem still is very valid in today’s society: barter. And it solves not only financial issues but other issues as well, such as a shortage of time or talents.

Shortage of time? Yes. Suppose you feel you don’t have the time to clean the house thoroughly every week and work 9-to-5 and help the kids with their homework and cook nutritious meals and balance the checkbook and pay the bills and spend at least a little quality time with the kids…never even mind having some “me-time” just for yourself? What if you could get someone to clean the house for you? Or cook dinners? Again, money figures into the equation: Most any service is available for those well-heeled enough to pay for it, but you may not be related to Donald Trump or have access to Warren Buffet’s wallet.

You can barter for the services you need. Is there something you can do, create, or otherwise trade for the services of someone who can in return clean the house or make dinners for you? Now, of course it’s likely to take some of your time to perform the service you’re trading, but maybe that will take place at a more convenient time for you. Maybe it’s not that you lack time altogether to do the task you’re looking for help with. Maybe you just don’t have time to make dinner when you first get home from work, if the kids are little and you want them to be in bed early, but you have time later in the evening during which you could do some sewing on your machine for a friend in trade for her delivering prepared home-cooked dinners for you five days a week. Or maybe your workday ends at 3 PM and you could watch the kids after school for another friend, along with your own kids, in trade for her cleaning your house thoroughly on Saturdays while you go out grocery-shopping and doing errands.

Shortage of talents? Yes. Maybe your problem isn’t a shortage of time so much as a lack of skills at sewing the kids’ clothes, painting the house, grooming the dog, or doing some other task. Again, these are skills that can be hired if you have ample money at your disposal, but these days few of us do, especially solo parents. So rather than strain the budget, botch the job doing it yourself, or go without, see if you can barter.

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Finding a bartering partner

How do you find a bartering partner? Start with the people you know. Who among your friends or acquaintances can create or repair those clothes, clean your house, install that new garbage disposal, paint your living room, groom your dog, or perform whatever other task you need? Be ready with an offer of your own in return: What can you offer to make or do for this other person? Have several suggestions in mind in case the first one is rejected. The person you tap to barter with may be amenable to a bartering arrangement in principle but not in need of the first thing you suggest trading for. If Sonja is willing to clean out your garage but doesn’t want an apple cake every week for four weeks in return, what else can you offer her in trade? Can you tutor her son in math? Can you help her write her résumé if she’s seeking a better job?

If none of your friends or acquaintances is interested in bartering or is able to provide the specific service you need, enlarge your scope. Try advertising on CraigsList, on a community bulletin board (literal or online), using word of mouth (asking friends and acquaintances whom they know who might be able to provide the needed service), or you might even consider setting up a barter exchange organization in your community and becoming your own first client.

Too, if the service you want to have performed for you is something that might be performed by a business owned by a sole proprietor, try approaching the business owner with a bartering proposition. If a company is a Megacorp-type with a board of directors and stockholders (public or privately held), forget about it. But remember, some corporations and LLCs are simply legal protection sheltering a sole owner or, perhaps, a pair of partners or a mom-and-pop operation. So don’t let the fact that Pete’s Plumbing is owned by Plumbing Specialists, Inc. dissuade you from making your proposition to them. The sole stockowners in Plumbing Specialists, Inc. might be Pete and his partner or Pete and his wife…or just Pete himself.

In this tight economy, Pete’s Plumbing, Housepainters Deluxe, and various other service providers are likely struggling to make their own ends meet, and while they’d love a cash-paying customer, if you can provide a service (or item) in return for their services, and it’s one they want or need, they may be very happy to be able to get it without a cash outlay. Can you design or write advertising materials for them, clean their offices, write a commercial jingle, or provide any other service for their business (or possibly for their home), in return for their doing some work for you?

I have heard from more than one person whose father was a doctor in “the old days” and accepted chickens or slabs of bacon in payment for their fees. While it’s rare anymore to find a physician who’ll barter his or her professional service for other services, let alone for food, many other types of service providers may be agreeable to that kind of arrangement.

You never know till you try.

Bartering—it’s an idea from the past whose time has come again, and it can be a particular boon to the solo parent with just one household income and one set of skills (yours) in the home. Try it.

Bartering in order to save money

Originally on: http://blog.dollardays.com/bartering-in-order-to-save-money/

In these difficult economic times, people are looking to save money in a variety of ways. One of the best ways to live frugally is to barter for goods and services whenever possible. Bartering is the act of exchanging goods and services without using money.

During the Great Depression in the 1930?s, bartering was common. Many people would pay their doctor’s bills with eggs and milk from the family chickens or cows. Other people paid their bills in produce. For a time, bartering fell out of popularity. However, the practice is making a comeback. How would you barter with someone for goods and services? For example, you may want to have your lawn cut, but you cannot cut it yourself. You may also not have the money to pay someone to cut it either. In such a case, you might think about trading services in exchange for having your lawn cut. Perhaps you would be willing to make and decorate a cake instead of paying money. In this case, the cake is what you are willing to barter.

If you have a tight-knit community or a support network of family and friends, you may not have any problem-finding people with whom to barter. In fact, you may have already been bartering and not actually known it! If you do not have a support network or if you do not live in a tight knit community, it may be more difficult to find people who are willing to barter with you. However, it can be done.

One of the best ways to find people willing to barter is to search online. There are actually many different bartering forums that exist in order to help introduce people to each other and to educate people about the practice. One such site is called SwapAce. Here, you can trade goods and services, learn more about bartering, and learn how to improve your negotiating skills. Another way to find people willing to barter with you is to advertise on Craigslist or other similar sites. If you own your own business and want to barter with other businesses for goods and services, you may want to join a group like ITEX. Bartering for services can actually help you to get your business up and running without using a lot of capital.

Of course, it is important to mention that you should take precautions and be careful when joining any online group or participating in a group online. Before joining the group, it is important to read over the rules and to obey them.

Although it may take you some time to find a person will to barter for goods and services, most people who barter say that the effort and time is well worth it. Take some time to look into bartering and join the ranks of those who enjoy living frugally.

St. Bernard dog

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The thing we want to show you this week is a two year old housebroken, crate trained and extremely loving pure breed female St. Bernard. It is breaking the hearts of the family to give her away but they can no longer accommodate a dog of that size. If you love dogs and have the possibility to offer him a nice home you are the right person for this lovely female dog.

If you are interested, come to our site and join the barterquest community. Be green and start trading.

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Regifting Not a Bad Idea

Posted on: January 14, 2010
Originally posted by: Aubree Casper
http://www.kstatecollegian.com/edge/regifting-not-a-social-faux-pas-1.2135621

It takes a little more creativity, however, if Aunt Sue special-ordered that flower pot and you can’t simply return it. Fortunately, all hope isn’t lost when it comes to chucking it for something more useful. One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. One option to find that green thumb in Arizona, who would love a nice terra-cotta planter, is using auction sites like eBay.com or Amazon.com. That way you can either take the cash directly or put whatever you make into buying a more usable gift.

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TheGiftCardTrader.com is one of many sites that allow users to sell or trade their undesired gift cards for one to a specific store or for money to another user, or they can sell their card (for less than its true value) to the site to get rid of it. Plastic Jungle.com offers a similar service, but it only buys gift cards and for no more than 90 percent of the actual value. But, if you really will never use it, at least get something for it, right?

Perhaps the most fun and interesting way to lose the guilt of re gifting is to have a re gifting party. Regiftable.com, a site dedicated to the perils and triumphs of the holiday ritual, recommends this as a social way to not only relieve those moments of disappointment, but to possibly barter with your friends for their gifts. Get together with a large group of friends and take turns presenting your unwanted gifts and taking bids, or set-up a marketplace-like event where people “buy” one gift with another. You might be surprised to find how many people end up leaving as happy customers (or regifters in this case).

No matter your method of pawning those impractical presents, make sure you have a game plan for how you’re going to dodge those pointed questions from that family member when they want to know what you’ve made with the food processor they gave you. Regifting or bartering can be a win-win situation.

A new Green Wave in Bartering

Posted on December 7th, 2009
Original Post by: Joanna Smiley, a freelance writer from Collinsville, will periodically serve as a guest columnist for the Hartford Business Journal.

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news11198.html

There’s a movement sweeping through many of the businesses in Hartford’s Growing Green Co-Op and it has nothing to do with dollars.

Imani Zito, at left, founder of Hartford’s Growing Green Co-Op, Wendy Girl, center, co-op member and founder of a holistic-focused marketing business, and Cathy Barber, right, co-op member and founder of a health education coaching business, have each bartered their products and services as a way to help grow their companies without having to shell out cash.

Over half of the 100 small organizations that belong to the co-op are catching a green bartering fever, says co-op founder Imani Zito. These eco-conscious folks are determined to grow their businesses in the crippled economy and they’re realizing that bartering with each other offers a way for them to gain products or services without having to shell out cash.

“Many of these businesses wouldn’t be around if they didn’t barter,” said Zito, who founded the co-op, which she calls the state’s “green chamber of commerce,” in the fall of 2008.

Zito stands in front of a chalkboard bursting with colorful catch phrases like “sustainable living” and “grow the local economy.” She says she will barter “almost anything and everything” for the sake of green business growth.

While businesses have often developed trade agreements with other businesses, a focus on trading services among green enterprises adds a new twist to an old model.

For example, Zito recalls bartering with two people who walked into the co-op announcing that they were starting a nonprofit wilderness program. They offered to grow food in exchange for help with finding a place to stay. Zito jumped at the chance to work with them. She plans to use some of the food for the co-op’s raw food dining establishment, Alchemy, which Zito describes as a “barter restaurant.” She says it’sThe Growing Green Co-Op, at 197 New Britain Ave. in Hartford, opened in 2008 and works with more than 100 eco-conscious small businesses. not uncommon for her to let someone walk into the restaurant and wash dishes in exchange for food.

For Zito, bartering rests deep in her soul. One of Zito’s first barters happened when she met her husband.

“I gifted him a massage and in return he bought some groceries for my family (single mom with three little ones at the time). It was a very sweet gesture. We have been bartering every day since,” she said smiling.

Looking towards the future, Zito’s hope is simple. She believes that like-minded business owners must continue to help each other sustain growth and stay afloat during these trying economic times. Zito wants to eventually establish her own “barter economy” with co-op members.

Bartering: The Alternative to Buying

We are always happy to see mentions of BarterQuest in the news, and would like to thank Fox Detroit for mentioning BarterQuest in the news article posted below.

Posted on MyFox Detroit November 17th, 2009
Original post by Glinda Bridgforth

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/entertainment/ladies_room/bartering-buying-alternative-091117

Remember the saying, “One person’s trash, is another person’s treasure?” Well, here’s a new one, “One person’s ineptness is another person’s expertise.” These concepts are more relevant today than ever before given the state of our economy. With daily news of corporations downsizing, restructuring and dismissing staff, many people have had to get creative in their thinking to obtain necessary goods and services without the exchange of money. That’s the definition of bartering which has increased considerably this year.

If used wisely, bartering can be a great form of commerce. You can swap an item that you don’t use, for another item that you want or need. Recently, two websites have reported a major surge of interest with bartering. BarterQuest, has reported a 570 percent increase in first time users. They also drew more than 100,000 visitors in just two months after the website launched! Craigslist , has increased by 12 percent in search queries and has over 50 million visitors!

How good of a deal can you negotiate? The possibilities with bartering are endless! I recall having a client that bartered with her hair salon to clean the floors at night so her entire family could receive free haircuts. Also, a person posted an ad on Craigslist to giveaway a couch in exchange for using the buyer’s truck to dispose of a damaged loveseat. Another person bartered with her neighbor to paint the outside of her house (since he was painting his) in exchange for her to do alterations on the curtains in three of his rooms. See the kind of goods and services one can obtain without spending any money?

Now is a great time to seize a professional service or product that otherwise might not be available. But remember…. with each bartering opportunity, take an extra step by confirming that your source is legitimate. Also, check www.irs.gov for tax requirements. Otherwise, barter away!