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Businesses Use Barter and Barter Lines of Credit to Save Cash and Get Needed Services

What does your business need right now? Electrical or HVAC work? New ways to market to potential customers? A fun place to host a back-to-the-office employee event? More than 2,000 companies across the Southeast use barter and their barter lines of credit from The Barter Company to secure products and services – and save cash at the same time!

Jimmy Tester, owner of Mammoth Hand Car Wash and Detail Salon in Alpharetta, Georgia, has used barter for several years. He has worked with companies to remodel his car washes, host an employee party, get electrical and plumbing work done, and service his garage doors. In 2020, Tester used barter to make key repairs and improvements to his two detailing salons and used a barter line of credit to obtain a new air conditioning unit for one of them. He has also previously used barter to get his house painted.

“With barter, I have been able to provide services to entice new customers who may not typically purchase a hand car wash or detailing services,” Tester said. “It also allows me to acquire items and services without spending cash.”

The Painting Company in Roswell, Georgia, offers residential and commercial painting services, including gutters and deck staining. The company recently used barter to purchase radio ads and billboards to market its offerings.

Bill Goudey, owner of Copeland’s New Orleans, a restaurant chain with locations in Kennesaw and Cumberland, used barter to get pop-up tents needed to safely offer curbside delivery to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill is a pro at using barter to meet his company’s needs. In fact, we recently recognized him as our first Two Million Dollar Club member!

Picasso Brothers Printing in Norcross, Georgia, specializes in a wide range of advertising specialties and corporate identity pieces. Picasso Brothers has been a member of The Barter Company’s network for 15 years and offers all paper printed items for trade. Over the years, General Manager John Zourzoukis has used barter to build a concrete patio, remodel his kitchen, and paint his house.

“Barter offers a way to get some value for all your excess production capacity,” John said. “I have built up great customer/vendor relationships through the barter network. I get prompt response on all requests. It’s simply the best!”

Explore how barter can you get the products and services you need while saving cash. Learn how barter works, what a successful barter exchange like ours offers, and how we can help your company. Barter is Smarter!

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What Do Your Customers Need Now?

When did you last talk with your customers to see how they are doing and what they need? Their priorities may have shifted as they adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic. Touching base regularly with customers to assess their pain points and share how your business may help is key to retaining their business and growing it.

There are many ways to reach out and get feedback including surveys, phone calls, and emails. At The Barter Company, we conduct an annual survey asking clients how satisfied they are with our service (93% in our most recent survey!), how we can improve, and if they would recommend us. We receive insightful information from the responses and use it to guide our business planning. However, you reach out to customers, consider these four tips for success.

 

Set a regular schedule to connect.
Determine a schedule to connect with customers – and stick to it. Plan monthly or quarterly calls or meetings and who at your company will connect with them. These can be with you, your leadership team, or your sales or customer service representatives. If you have too many customers to reach individually, consider an online update or email and provide a feedback form.

Do your homework.
Prior to connecting with customers, do your homework. Check their social media and websites to learn what they have been doing since you last talked or met. Have they launched new products or services? Have they changed or closed parts of their business? Researching in advance will help you be prepared for productive conversations and connections.

Assess their pain points and how your business can help.
When you talk with customers, seek to understand their successes and problems. Find out the following information in your conversation:

  • What are their biggest successes and challenges?
  • What contributed to the successes and challenges?
  • If they could change anything in their business, what would it be?
  • What kind of information, service, or product would make their jobs easier?
  • What can you do to help them in addition to what you are doing now?

Show customers you care.
When customers share feedback, reward that candor by following up with them about what you did to address the questions or issues they identified. Also be sure to show you care about them throughout the year. Take note of their organization’s key events or anniversaries. Send a congratulatory hand-written note or gift when they hit a big milestone and congratulate them publicly on your business’ social media.

Following these four steps to connect regularly and successfully with customers can make a big impact on your business relationships and help them grow.

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Atlanta Small Business Check-Up: Four Tips to Evaluate Marketing Methods

Each year, companies set goals and strategies to reach customers, increase sales, and improve efficiencies. As you kick off the year, include a marketing check-up for your business. When did you last review the effectiveness of your marketing messages and channels? Are you taking advantage of search engine optimization strategies and tools? What do your customers think about your company? Here are four ways to evaluate your marketing strategy and tactics and answer these important questions:

1. Connect with Your Customers

The start of a new year presents a great time to connect with customers. Develop and send a short email survey to learn what they are focused on in 2021 and what changes they made in response to the challenges 2020 brought. Include a question about how your company served them last year. The responses you receive will offer valuable insight and may offer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts.

2. Review Website from a Customer Perspective

Review your company’s website from the perspective of your customers, both current and potential. Does your content and graphics clearly identify the services and products you offer and the benefit they provide? Do you have strong client testimonials listed on the site? Is it easy for customers to contact you? Ask a customer or two to visit your site and share what strikes them about your company as a result. Of course, you can use barter to provide them with something in exchange for their help!

3. List Your Company on Google My Business

Help potential customers find you easily via Google searches. On Google My Business, you can set up a free profile of your business to connect with potential customers on Google Search and Maps.  For small businesses that conduct most of their business in Metro Atlanta, this is a critical component of your Atlanta Small Business Check-up.

4. Your Atlanta Small Business Check-up should also include an SEO Audit

Search Engines rely on many factors to rank a website. A comprehensive SEO Audit will provide a clear and actionable list of recommendations to help improve.  You want your website to come up on the first page of responses when people search topics related to what your organization offers. To help that happen, you need to regularly update your site with key words that attract search engines’ attention. A search engine optimization (SEO) audit will identify how well your site is doing that and what words you should include. Learn more via the SEO Simplified in 30 Minutes webinar offered by SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

As part of your Atlanta Small Business Check-up, explore the marketing services that The Barter Company member organizations offer and check out video testimonials to learn other ways our clients have used barter.

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Local Businesses Use Barter and Barter Lines of Credit to Help Keep Doors Open and Save Cash

Many companies across a wide variety of industries are using their barter accounts and barter lines of credit to promote their businesses, secure equipment to make important operational changes, get repair work done at their facilities, and more. In fact, more than 2,000 businesses in the Southeast trade with The Barter Company to help them save cash. Learn how a car wash, a painting company, and a restaurant chain in Metro Atlanta have used barter recently to improve their operations and promote their businesses.

Jimmy Tester owns Mammoth Hand Car Wash and Detail Salon in Alpharetta, Georgia, and has used barter for the last several years to benefit his two locations. He has worked with both personal and professional service companies to repair and purchase HVAC systems, remodel his car washes, host an employee party, get electrical and plumbing work done, and service his garage doors.

During this challenging business time, Tester has used barter to continue to make key repairs and improvements to his locations. He recently used a barter line of credit to obtain an air conditioning unit that one of his detailing salons needed.

“With barter, I have been able to provide services to entice new customers who may not typically purchase a hand car wash or detailing services,” Tester said. “It also allows me to acquire items and services without spending cash.”

Tester has also previously used barter to have his house painted.

Speaking of painting houses, The Painting Company in Roswell offers residential and commercial painting services, including gutters and deck staining. The company recently used barter to purchase both radio ads and billboards to market its services and offerings.

Copeland’s New Orleans, a restaurant chain with locations in Kennesaw and Cumberland, recently used barter to get pop-up tents they needed to safely offer curbside delivery to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ways these businesses have used barter are just a few examples of how trading via barter can help a company reach new customers, increase profits, and save cash. No matter what your business needs, consider how barter can help your company achieve its goals. Barter is Smarter!

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Working from Home? Make Time to Clear Clutter and Get Organized

Are you working from home these days? Take advantage of this unique opportunity to spring clean your home office area and your electronic files. De-cluttering your workspace, eliminating digital clutter, and setting up regular cleaning processes can help you be more in control of your work life.

 

De-Clutter Desks and Workspaces

Workspaces can quickly become scenes of “organized chaos” with papers, files, and other materials spread randomly or stacked in piles. Research has shown that cluttered spaces can negatively impact an individual’s mental health by causing increased stress and anxiety and hurt long-term productivity.

 

Eliminate Digital Clutter

Digital disorganization presents the same frustration and lost productivity as physical clutter. Studies have routinely shown that employees can lose up to two hours per week searching for digital documents if their files are not organized well. Clean out your inbox, purge unnecessary electronic files, organize digital folders, and back-up files regularly, not just in the spring.

 

Assign a Space for Everything

Assign places for everything in your office. Use drawers to group like things together, such as envelopes with stamps and return address labels, paper clips with staples and other fasteners, and pens with pads of paper. This simple organization step can dramatically reduce the time you spend looking for things you need.

 

Set Time to Clean Your Office or Home

Set time on your calendar to clean regularly. According to the 2020 National Cleaning Survey, not having enough time is one of the top reasons that adults will not do spring cleaning. Taking the step to put time for cleaning on your calendar helps make this necessary chore a commitment and keeps you accountable for getting it done.

 

Explore How Barter Can Help

Consider the variety of cleaning services and products fellow barter companies provide, including carpet cleaning, building maintenance, commercial cleaning, office supplies, storage spaces, home and building repairs, and computer services. Once this quarantine ends, use barter to have a caterer provide food or provide other types of incentives such as gift cards and tickets to sporting events or other entertainment to help spur employees on as they clean their workspaces. Check out the possibilities barter offers here.

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Calling to Say I Love You and Other Ways to Show Appreciation

As Valentine’s Day approaches, people think about how to show others how much they care. In fact, Americans are expected to set a record for Valentine’s Day spending this year, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. People plan to spend an average of $196.31 that day, an increase of 21% from last year. Total spending is expected to be $27.4 billion, up from 32% from 2019. That’s big money.

 

Of course, there are many ways to show appreciation, and not all of them cost money. Stevie Wonder croons about calling to express his love in the song “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” You may not want to call customers or employees to say, “I love you” specifically, so here are some other ways to show appreciation.

 

Handwritten Notes Pack a Positive Punch

In this digital age, sending a handwritten card expressing how you value someone can really stand out. In the note, share what you appreciate about the person and how they support you and your business. Check out this how-to guide for thank you notes from indeed.com.

 

Offer a Special Discount or Gift Card

Along with a handwritten note, provide a discount for your products or include a gift card for a service or event you believe the recipient would appreciate. Consider spa services, restaurant certificates and tickets to a play or sporting event.

 

Respond to Feedback

Customers and employees want to be heard, whether they are giving praise or criticism. Respond promptly to their feedback to show that you value them and their opinion. Acknowledge that you heard how an employee went above and beyond or how you will address issues or improve processes that have been brought to your attention.

 

Barter Can Help

Consider the possibilities barter offers. Explore the variety of services and products, including flowers, tickets to sporting events and other entertainment options, jewelry, restaurants, spa services, hotel packages and much more. Choose something that speaks to your customers or employees and shows them how much you care this Valentine’s Day and beyond!

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Back-to-school is around the corner!

The hot Georgia summer is in full bloom and the kids will back-to-school in a few weeks! Now is the time to get them ready and we’ve got health providers ready to help save you cash! Be sure to call your trade coordinator for helpful tips and provider info at (770) 591-4343.

Some ideas for back-to-school prep include:

  • Dental (dental exams, cleanings, fillings, braces and more!)
  • Optical (eye exams, glasses, contacts, lasik and more!)
  • Hair cuts/salons
  • Clothing & backpacks
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Barter in the News: 6 Way to Save Your Business Thousands Each Month

Thanks Entrepreneur for the great article on modern barter! The Barter Company is a proud member of the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) where our CEO served as President multiple years. NATE is proud to be the “trade exchange for trade exchanges”. Check out this great article here or read below:

cash flowing

For the majority of small business owners, cash is most definitely king. In hopes of increasing their bottom line, business owners often pay themselves much less than they deserve. The truth is, you have to spend money to make money. That being said, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be saving wherever possible. While some tips work better than others, here are a few you can implement right away and start saving.

1. Bootstrap as long as you can.

In an era of endless technology and knowledge, it’s probably “been done before”. Just because you have competition, doesn’t mean you’re too late. There’s always room to find your niche and provide value where your competitors can’t. This is actually a great way to save yourself time and money.

Whenever possible, look to work with larger companies and utilize their pre-existing technologies or infrastructure. You can either swap services or create a revenue-sharing agreement in exchange for access to their services. Ideally, they will allow you to white-label their products so you can create an original brand presence. This strategy will surely save you thousands and give your business time to build out your own products and or services.

2. Optimize your purchasing power.

Taking advantage of group buying and collective purchasing is a great way to save cash. By joining these groups you’ll have access to discounts and exclusive rates on office supplies, hardware, business travel, and much more.

There are plenty of group buying services you can utilize based on your particular business needs. If you’re a non-profit, ThriveGPO provides a great group purchasing tool. If you’re a smart business owner, you’ll never buy alone.

3. Barter your way to growth.

If you’re looking to avoid cash outlays or unload slow-moving inventory you can always look to swap your products and services for others. Bartering with other companies can be time consuming, so if you’d rather not bargain with other companies directly you can always hire a commissioned barter broker. Otherwise, you can join a commercial barter club or exchange.

The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) is a registered clearing house for member exchanges nationwide. NATE essentially allows business owners to swap any product or service with anyone. When a sale is made, participants will often receive trade dollars for their goods and services. Trade dollars are brokered across cities nationwide under NATE.

4. Get your business credit card rewards.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to apply for a business credit card. Since issuing banks assume business owners will spend more on a business card than a personal card, the rewards tend to be much more enticing. According to NerdWallet, here are the best small business credit cards of 2017:

When you redeem your credit card rewards, you should also look to redeem in the form of a gift card. Companies often times offer gift cards that you can purchase with credit card rewards points. From a dollar per points perspective, you’ll get the most bang for your buck using this strategy. If you know you’re going to need to make some big purchases on office supplies, look to purchase a gift card for Ikea for example. Using these simple but effective strategies are a great way to save much needed cash especially on larger purchases.

5. Free trials and consultations.

There’s no better way to save money than to get a service for free. Instead of investing large amounts of money in enterprise software for your business, you can find much less expensive SaaS tools to meet your needs. These services often provide free trials, some as long as a month. After the trial period is over, they’ll typically offer tiered pricing that allows you to pay as you scale your business. Whether it’s a payments solution, CRM software, or simple accounting tools, you should always start with a free trial.

Free consultations are very effective when seeking legal advice. Some business attorney’s charge as high as $600/hour and bill you to the second. Typically, a lawyer will give you about 30 minutes to even an hour of time as a consultation with the assumption you’ll choose them as your legal council. If you’re just looking to get a few questions answered, use a few attorney’s and get a few consultations. If you use this trick with three or four attorney’s you’ve just saved well over $1000 in legal fees.

6. Review your expenses quarterly.

Generally, you should be well aware of your expenses at all times. However, it’s best to do a full analysis quarterly to determine which expenses are necessary and which aren’t. Software that you used last quarter may be obsolete to your business now, so you’ll want to cancel that subscription. It’s easy to forget about all the various software and business tools you’ve signed up for over the years. It’s good to “trim the fat” each quarter so you can make every penny count.

Regardless the size of your business it’s very important to stay on top of your financesand be frugal. Especially for smaller companies, your growth depends heavily on how your dollar is spent. If you implement these six strategies you can save your business thousands of dollars each month, so get out and build that business!

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A Cure For the Summertime Blues

Summer can be a perfect time for leaving town, relaxing, and slowing down. The kids are out of school and that makes the adults want to do less too. Sounds great until you realize that customers taking a break can negatively impact your sales.

Some businesses naturally have cyclical business periods like theme parks, beach resorts, ski stores, and ice cream shops. But other businesses can too. For example, an accounting firm may not be as busy in the summer and fall when most customers are not thinking about taxes. In this case, the firm’s owner has to get creative on how to bring in customers during the down times, as well as diversify their products and services, and carefully manage cash flow.

Almost all companies have slow times. Yours might be different from the accounting firm, bathing suit store or dentist. That’s why it’s important to analyze your sales figures on a weekly, monthly, and year-over-year basis. See any trends? Are there certain times that are slower than others? If so, you need to pay attention and address this open time by filling it with sales opportunities.

Here are some ideas to help ensure that your business doesn’t suffer during these slow times:

  • Promotions. The bathing suit store needs to offer special promotions and sales to potential customers who take winter cruises and early spring break shoppers. A great way to do this is through advertising. Or, email an alert to loyal customers and reward them for bringing in a friend to shop. Partner with another business that might be suffering from a slow down at the opposite time of year and offer cross referrals.
  • Diversify products/services. If you exclusively sell bathing suits you might want to offer related products in the winter such as exercise clothing to keep customers cool in the gym. If you’re a dentist run a special on teeth whitening when your appointments are light.
  • Manage cash flow. Resist the urge to spend the money that comes in during the busy times. Save it and budget to make sure you have enough to cover hard costs throughout the year such as labor which tends to be the largest business expense.

Many of The Barter Company’s clients use barter to help them through the slow times. If you have open appointments, fill them with barter customers. They will bring you barter cash that you can use on other expenses without using the money you’ve saved. Barter can also bring in new customers. If a barter customer sees the dentist and likes their service, they now have a loyal new customer who will spread the word and keep coming back – all year long.

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