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Friday, 4 December 2015

Barter Baby for Beer?

I'm usually a big fan of bartering, not so much in this case.  Although I'm sure many parents have fantasized about swapping their kid for a nice bottle of vintage wine during a meltdown in public, this guy certainly took things a step too far.

Dad Accused of Bartering Baby for Beer

Bartering as a way to save money overlooked by many

Many people who would benefit from bartering simply never think about utilizing their skills to obtain the services and products they need.  Rather than open your wallet each time you need something, bartering and swapping your services offers a great alternative.  As the economy continues to stay in a slump, more and more people are using bartering as a method of exchange.  I expect this trend will continue as websites such as SwapRight.com make it easy to post your offer to swap and barter services, and allows your offer to be  visible to a much larger audience.

Financial Web recently published an article, "How to Save Money by Bartering"

Something people generally do not think about is that they can save money with bartering. By exchanging services with a friend or relative rather than paying a stranger or a business, both you and the person you are bartering with get something you need without spending as much, if any, money.

The article is short but gets straight to the point, which is bartering is a great option but overlooked by many.  You can read the full article here.

Bootstrapping your startup by bartering

I was recently reading a white paper by SVB Capital, "Portrait of a Modern-day Bootstrapper, How pre-funded entrepreneurs survive and thrive in the new age of technology startups".

The article covers some of the more common traits and habits of successful entrepreneurs who are passing on the traditional route of seeking VC and other outside funding sources for their startups.  Instead, these entrepreneurs are conserving cash and bootstrapping their operations by using some resourceful and creative ideas and approaches.

In a section of the white paper entitled "Bootstrapping the Balance Sheet", they recommend that startups barter for as many of the services they need as possible.

Barter for as much as possible. Finding creative ways
to trade services may not only save you money, it can
help you build closer ties with the people you work
with. “Not paying for services makes the vendor lack
commitment to your project and quality suffers,” says
White. “So you have to find a way give something back,
and avoid using equity if you can.”


I couldn't agree more, funding for the majority of startups these days is quite scarce.  Even if you do have access to outside funding, the more cash you can conserve without sacrificing the quality of your product, the better.

There is a quote in the article from Richard White of UserVoice about how they used bartering in the early days to not only conserve cash but to also build relationships.  

“We bartered for a lot of things in the
early days. We put logos of our vendors
up on our Web site and promoted them
in return for discounted, or free, service.
We actually found bartering a way to
build better relationships.”

                                    — Richard White, UserVoice

I actually use UserVoice on SwapRight (that feedback button on the side of the site) and think it is a great product.  I find it quite interesting to hear stories of some of the more successful web startups, and how bartering helped them achieve success by not only saving money but  also by helping build relationships.

If you are interested in bootstrapping tips, I would recommend reading the article, they also provide some useful links at the end to a variety of resources.

The Art of Barter: How to Trade for Almost Anything.

I came across a new book published this year that focuses on bartering: The Art of Barter: How to Trade for Almost Anything.

It seems like a great book and offers a lot of creative advice for successful bartering of services.  The book is available on Amazon, you can order it here.

The authors, Karen Hoffman and Shera Dalin, offer some sound tips on bartering:

Listen. Keep your ears open for what people need or want. Even if they haven't considered bartering, take a chance and ask them.

Be creative. Don't limit yourself to objects. Consider bartering tutoring, housecleaning, haircutting and other skills.

Make a list. Write down potential barters. When an opportunity arises, you'll be ready.

Be proactive. Create your own opportunities. Organize a neighborhood barter party or save money on sitters by creating a babysitting co-op.

Persevere. If someone declines your offer or a deal falls through, don't give up. Wait and try again — circumstances and attitudes can change.

Think big. The authors write of one couple who bartered for their first home by offering to make all the needed repairs themselves in exchange for living in it rent-free. After six months of hard work, they had saved enough money for the down payment.