Phoenix Barter & Business Insights

A Good Barter Network Can’t Fix A Broken Business

(A post from one of our members)

I’ve been a member of Tradesource for several years and I wanted to share about a disturbing trend that I have seen. It appears that some businesses get involved in a barter network as they are in a downward spiral, hoping that there will be some miraculous revival. Even worse, they might even blame the barter network for “not coming through for them” when in reality they just had a broken business that needed to be fixed. Barter Business

Joining a barter network can certainly help your business and if your business is struggling, I would like to share some tips on how you can recover and how you can implement these recovery strategies with your Tradesource customers.

  1. Be Up Front With Your Broker. When joining the network, be up front and let your broker know your financial situation. Discuss with them what potential cash costs can be reduced with barter so you have an immediate action plan when you earn money in the network.
  1. Figure Out Where the Problems are in Your Business. If your business is failing, you should know exactly why. If you don’t, you might need to hire a business consultant or turn around specialist to help you find out what is wrong. It’s often comes down to spending too much or bringing in too little but there are hundreds of factors on each side of that equation. Tradesource has consultants that can help struggling businesses and even “CEO’s for hire” that can provide the corporate oversight that many small business owners lack.
  1. 3. Know Your Margins. If your business is struggling and you take on too much barter business, it could hurt the business if your cash costs are too high. In a case like this, it makes sense to start slow.
  1. Give Amazing Customer Service. I recently visited a restaurant that I found through Tradesource. They did not know I was paying with barter, so I know I was not treated any differently that they would treat a regular customer. That level of service involved watching several servers go by our table with out us being addressed until we finally flagged one down and asked, “who our server was”. He was quite apologetic and in the end, we had a great meal. The fact that this happened to us may have been a fluke but for a restaurant that was slow, they certainly weren’t bringing the A-Game and that’s what you should do all of the time.
  1. Leverage Social Media. If you have a brick and mortar business, I always recommend encouraging – and rewarding – people for checking in. This is a great way to get exposure for your business and get in front on new audiences. If your customers are paying with barter money, keep in mind that most of their friends on social media don’t use barter money, so it’s a chance to get in front of non barter customers. I have intentionally made recommendations for companies in the barter network, to make sure that they were getting enough non-barter referrals to keep them active in the network and as members, we should all strive to do that.
  1. Talk to an Accountant. We have many accountants in our network and if your business is struggling, an accountant is one of those resources that might be able to help you fix your cash flow problem or at least put you on the road to turning things around. They can also reduce the time burden of doing things like payroll and bookkeeping that most small business owners don’t enjoy, to free you up to grow the business. Finally, they can also help to make sure you don’t fall further behind on taxes or other filing obligations.
  1. Market The Business. As you earn barter money, I recommend carving out a marketing budget and finding cost effective marketing and advertising solutions through the barter network. Do your due-diligence and find out what results other members have had before spending your hard earned barter money.
  1. Ask for a Line of Credit. Tradesource is one of the most lenient barter networks when it comes to issuing lines of credit. With this, you can immediately start to market your business, reduce cash expenses, or get those accounting issues resolved.

I have a passion to see my fellow small business owners succeed and I know I have been through my share of struggles. I also know that the barter network can be a huge asset in the recovery of a business if utilized properly.

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