The concept of bartering predates currency, however currency isn’t as easy to come by these days and some business owners are seeing the benefit in trading their goods or services, instead of dealing in cold hard cash. Better Business Bureau offers the following advice for small business owners to consider when researching the possibility of bartering:
Don’t Forget Uncle Sam. While no money is exchanging hands when bartering, there are still tax implications for both parties. IRS rules vary according to the services and businesses involved in the transaction, but, generally speaking, both parties will need to report services received as income at the fair market value.
Know the Deal on Bartering Networks. Bartering networks often charge annual or monthly administrative fees and may even require a cut from every transaction. Read the fine print and understand the conditions of membership—including the true cost—before joining a bartering network.
Evaluate Your Needs. A wide range of items and services can be bartered online or through bartering networks comprised of businesses such as auto shops, salons and even professional services from lawyers and dentists. Before signing up for a network, it’s important to evaluate business and personal needs to see if they match up with the local services available.
Barter with a Trusted Business. BBB accredited businesses agree to uphold the standards of BBB for honesty, customer satisfaction, and dispute resolution. Always look for the BBB Accredited Business seal when bartering with other businesses.
Go Local on Craigslist. Deal with local businesses or individuals when answering an ad on Craigslist and, regardless of the reason given, never wire money as payment through services such as MoneyGram or Western Union unless the recipient can be trusted.
CONGRATULATIONS to our newest inductees to TBC’s Million Dollar Club! Copeland’s New Orleans Restaurant, Magellan Marketing and W.O.F.D (Wholesale Office Furniture Distributors) have each done more than $1,000,000 in sales since being with us! Thank you to Stan, Bill and Andy for being exemplary barter clients – we truly enjoy working with you all!
Mark your calendars! Our 2014 Holiday Barter Show will be Saturday Nov. 8th from 12-4 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. In honor of setting a date, here are some fun photos from last year!
Our show is THE place to do your holiday shopping, take photos with Santa, wonderful kids entertainment including video game trucks, Circus Camp performances and bounce houses and out EPIC silent/live auction! To reserve your booth, call us at (770) 591-4343!
Your Facebook page is a great venue for updates on your business, but don’t get carried away. People don’t want or need an in-depth report on your latest company picnic. Instead, offer greater value by combining a timely mix of content about your business (product tips, sales events, behind-the-scenes items and photos) with third-party content, such as links to industry blogs and forums. This builds your credibility as a resource of value to users.
Try including a regular weekly or monthly feature, such as a “discount of the week” with a special offer on a product or service. Let fans know this is an ongoing feature, so they’ll come back next time as well.
2. Be strategic with images.
Don’t post stand-alone photos of your products or services. Show them being used by happy, satisfied customers. Also, make it easy for fans to tag photos of their own, wherever they use your product or service, and share these as well.
3. Avoid lengthy posts.
You might find every aspect of your business fascinating, but a long, rambling posts will never garner the likes, shares and comments you’re looking for. If you want fans to read your posts, keep them short and sweet, generally between 100-250 characters. (Even shorter posts of 60-80 characters are likely to be more easily absorbed by fans with rapid-fire attention spans.)
4. Focus on engagement.
How can you stimulate users to get involved with your business? Try asking questions and offering polls that invite a response. At the end of a post, remember to invite fans to comment, like or share. When people do respond, keep the conversation going with comments of your own.
5. Connect like a friend, not a business.
Facebook is all about the personal experience, so treating it simply as a promotional outlet will get you nowhere. Post news and updates in a simple, informal and fun way. No marketing hype or press release stuff!
Facebook milestones are one area where a little self-promotion won’t hurt. When you hit 1,000 fans or get 100 or 200 likes for a post, share the news. This makes people feel they’re part of a growing community.
Here are the five ingredients in my not-really magic formula for small or medium-sized business success:
1. Develop a compelling mission. A clearly articulated, compelling mission attracts talent to the organization and encourages strong commitment to the team. It also acts as glue to keep members of the team unified over time. When formulating a mission, start with the why not how. Why is the company here? Why have other companies been unable to solve the problem?
2. Find the right people. Locating talented people with the right skills and experiences is essential, but that’s the easy part. The hard part is finding people with the right character traits. I look for people who like working on a team.
Many smart and successful people don’t work well in teams, and it’s harder to create a successful organization with them, in part because as the organization grows in size, conflicts become harder and harder to resolve.
I also want to hire people who are champions of change and with a natural ability to establish plans, structures and processes. These traits are critical because people lacking them simply won’t be able to support a rapidly growing organization. Ultimately, it’s the personality traits of staffers (their attitudes, beliefs and actions) and their commitment to the mission that results in a company culture that’s capable of fostering successful execution.
3. Set clear goals. The process of creating long-term goals and short-term objectives to support the mission is also essential for successful execution. Clearly articulating these goals helps ensure that the people and processes will be geared toward moving the organization in the right direction.
Consider a school of fish or a flock of birds: If the goal is to move from Point A to Point B, no progress is made if each individual creature moves in a direction of its choosing.
In a workplace each member of a company’s team should strive toward the same goals.
4. Measure progress. Setting goals doesn’t mean much if its not possible to measure progress in achieving them. Attach specific financial, operational and process-oriented performance targets to specific activities supporting the objectives.
Measuring these activities against the targets offers a clear picture of the progress toward the long-term goals. Based on the picture that develops — and with input from the team and the marketplace — continually refine the objectives, supporting activities and measurement targets to ensure continued successful execution.
5.Be prepared to resolve problems. No matter how successful a company is in developing a compelling mission, hiring the right people and measuring progress toward goals, problems will arise related to strategy, execution and culture.
To tackle problems, I like to start with the empirical data. I look at the progress made toward the measurable targets to determine what the problem really is. Is there a profile of the customers not adopting the company’s solution? Are partners not moving forward with the company because of an unforeseen problem? Finding empirical data points can help in determine how big the issue is.
Then I address the root cause. Did the company not understand the opportunity? Did team members not communicate effectively internally or have the right processes? Did the organization not provide enough services to customers? Has the competition successfully countered the company’s messaging?
With all the key stakeholders gathered in a room, I ask them to write down what they think is the problem’s root cause. We brainstorm for a while to be every possible issue has been surfaced. Then I ask everyone to rate each suggested cause on a 100-point scale. We focus the discussion on areas of disagreement.
This process enables us to quickly expose and address the biggest issues first. This is contrary to the practice at other organizations (focusing on agreement and ignoring outliers). But those who use this sometimes difficult problem-solving process say it can facilitate an alignment.
Ultimately, ensuring agreement from all stakeholders about the approach and encouraging their contributions are the only ways to help an organization efficiently execute its plan and produce something better than what any other company can produce.
TBC held an informative Focus Group luncheon last month and the feedback was extremely valuable! We want to thank the clients who joined us for their honesty and feedback that will help to create an even better barter experience. One of the first things we are going to implement is our new Barter 101 Program offered to new clients upon signing up. Many voiced how they would love to have an educational day to learn the ins-and-outs of barter and ways to mazimize their barter account. Our first program will be August 13th from 11:30-1:00 at our office in Kennesaw. It is open to anyone who is new to TBC as of January 2014. Attendees will enjoy education, catered lunch and networking. We have limited spots available so be sure to call us to reserve your spot! (770) 591-4343