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Barter & Trade Online

In business, whether offline or online, one of the best investments one can make is in building good relationships  and one of the best ways to capitalise on good relationships is in establishing a good barter network.

The concept of bartering is as old as civilisation itself. One tribe rich in livestock would trade with another tribe rich in metals, one man would trade his pottery for another man’s spices. While there have been a lot of changes in commerce over several thousand years, the barter system is still in use.

For internet-based businesses, the three main resources that one can barter are products, services, or promotional efforts. The most common way that this is being done now is by way of banner and link exchanges. On your own website, you agree to post a banner or link directing to another person’s website in exchange for him doing the same doing the same for you.

You can also trade your own services in exchange for the services of another web entrepreneur. If you require legal or accounting services, you can trade it for your own professional services, such as photography, writing or website design, or promoting their business by posting their link or banner on your website, or writing about them on your blog.

For more complex trades and barters, especially for goods and products, there are a host of trade exchange websites created by organisations that for a nominal fee introduces reliable businesses to each other, facilitating across the country or even around the world. For sites like these, you’ll need to provide a list of things that that may be of interest to its members and that they can choose from.

What is important to remember is that barter is about the exchange of services or goods of similar value, so it’s important from your end to assign a value or cost for each item that you are willing to barter for or the specific scope of work for services. Look for service providers who are doing the same. It will save you a lot of time in negotiating if both parties already know exactly what they are going to get.

So, don’t let the current economic times discourage you. Even if you have a limited cash flow, always remember that there are still ways to make your business grow. Goodwill and a strong network of contacts can literally  act as your business’s life support system during difficult times.

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