You might be a small business owner who’s considering how to grow your company and increase your sales. Or how to save money and reduce costs. Bartering with other like-minded business owners can offer you multiple benefits.
There are several bartering networks to choose from, but how do you know how to select a bartering network that will work best for your small business? Before we give you tips on choosing a barter network, let’s go over some basics about them.
What is a bartering network, and how do they work?
A bartering network is a business that connects multiple small business owners and allows them to exchange goods, materials, or services with each other.
As an example, one member may hire your landscaping company and pay you using the exchange currency (which we call Moxey). The landscaping company may use his Moxey to hire a bookkeeper……and so on and so on.
A bartering network allows all business owners to benefit by finding what they need and how much they can barter.
The bartering networks also benefit from getting multiple small businesses on board. It increases the member’s buying power and how many people they can serve with their products or services. Everyone wins when joining a bartering network.
Bartering networks make it easy for small business owners to buy and sell in their local area, supporting the community by keeping money inside the region where they operate.
As a bartering network grows bigger, more and more people are connected through the network: creating a much larger buying power to support your customers’ needs.
How to Choose the Right Bartering Network for You
We’ve already mentioned how many bartering networks there are and how they work in general.
The next question is, how do you know how to choose a bartering network that will work best for your small business?
Here are some things to consider:
Consider how bartering can help you grow your company.
Depending on how your business works, barter exchanges may be able to offer some key benefits.
Reduced need for cash flow
Bartering reduces the need for cash flow which is often problematic for smaller businesses. You don’t have to pay upfront for the goods or services you receive.
This is especially helpful if your company doesn’t have a large, steady cash flow but instead operates on small margins with unpredictable peaks and troughs in how much income comes in.
Increase in customers
If your business struggles to get enough customers through the door, bartering can help you reach a wider audience.
You can offer products or services with another barter exchange member, increasing your chances of getting new customers over time.
More brand recognition
Businesses that are part of a barter exchange often get greater brand recognition. As your reputation grows, people who haven’t yet heard about your company will learn how you can help them with your products or services. You may be able to offer goods and services for other companies in the barter exchange as well, which gives you more opportunities to connect with new customers at the same time.
Find out how much time, money, and effort is required for each network.
How do you know how much time, money, and effort is needed for each bartering network?
Here are some points to consider:
See how many members each bartering network has.
The more members a bartering network has, the greater the number of companies and goods or services offered.
This means that if you’re trying to connect with someone, you are much more likely to find someone willing to accept your Moxey currency within the same bartering network than if you were using a network that isn’t as popular.
Look how long the bartering network has been around.
Choosing a bartering network that has been in operation for more than five years is important because this indicates how reliable and stable it is.
When researching new bartering networks to join, it is essential to learn how long the network has been in business, giving you insight into its owners’ skills.
If they are a new exchange, that is not the end of the world. But be sure to listen to them talk about their plans for growth.
Knowing how long the exchange has been in business is essential because you’re investing in it when you join one. By learning how long they have been around and what their plans are for the future, you’re protecting your investment.
Find out how easy it is to join.
Some barter exchanges swamp business owners in paperwork, vetting procedures, and all other sorts of extraneous stuff. This is how they prefer to operate, and it’s how the owners choose to run their business. Find out how much time, money, and effort is required for each network.
Many bartering networks provide a simple online application process that you can complete in less than ten minutes. If this isn’t the case, ask how long their vetting process takes.
Some barter exchanges offer instant membership, while others take longer to sort out how they want you to pass through their vetting process.
If a bartering network is looking for lots of paperwork or requests personal information, it may signify that the owners don’t know how business works and how companies operate, so keep an eye on how long the process takes and how much information you need to provide.
How long it takes for a barter exchange network to accept your membership depends on how easy they make the application process and how accessible their staff are.
Talk to current members of the bartering network you are considering joining and find out how long it took them to get accepted.
See what types of goods and services are represented.
Find out how many members the network has and what types of businesses, products, and services are represented. If your products and services aren’t something that will likely be in demand for one particular network, you may want to consider joining a bartering exchange that has more of an eclectic range of businesses and products.
For example, suppose your company sells natural body care products for women.
In that case, you’ll probably have better luck selling those on a network where most members are women-owned businesses because they will be much more likely to want your goods and services than if you were part of a network that contains mainly car mechanics.
Remember how important it is to be aligned with your target market. Choose a bartering network that aligns with how your business operates and how you want your business to grow over time.
What is the cost to join?
Find out how much money, if anything, you have to invest in joining the bartering network. Some require a one-time membership fee, while others charge small monthly or yearly maintenance fees.
If you’re serious about becoming a member of your local barter exchange, choose one that won’t drain your bank account unnecessarily. There’s no point in joining if you’re going to run out of money before the end of the month.
Cash flow supports how much you can trade.
Make sure your business has enough cash flow so that you can afford any fees. Talk to other small businesses on how much they invest in their bartering exchanges and how long it takes for them to recoup their initial investment in membership. If it takes you several months to break even, try looking for a more affordable bartering network.
What are the transaction fees?
Find out how much a bartering network will charge you when exchanging goods or services with another member.
If the barter exchange has small transaction fees, it’s probably going to cost less for your business to trade through their barter exchange. Hefty transaction fees could drive up how much money your business makes or loses, so find out how generous the fees are compared to how much money you will make or lose when trading with bartering members.
Do they have a dedicated staff?
Find out how you can contact bartering network owners and how willing they are to answer questions about getting the most from their barter exchange.
If they don’t offer any support, find out how easy it is for you to talk with other network members about how things work.
Choose bartering networks that provide face-to-face training and how-to advice from owners.
Ask how active the network is.
How often do you get emails, or how often do they post on their website about the latest new members, upcoming events, and how much money other businesses have made through bartering. Try to find a barter exchange that constantly brings in new members and puts on fun events like a Christmas party, networking events, or luncheons for all of its members.
Find out the Barter Exchange’s strategy for marketing your business.
Some exchanges send out a daily email blast, while others will personally call up members to tell them about new businesses in the network. This is important because it makes earning trade dollars easy and helps you create opportunities by utilizing the Trade exchange as intended.
Find out how much money the other members have made through bartering. Ask how many local businesses are part of their network and how many dollars in trade they’ve made so far this year and how much those trades were worth.
Ask how to get help right away if your business is not making any money because you’re not getting any calls or how to get more business if you’re already making some money.
Find out how easy it is for everyone in your network to barter.
Some networks will have annual conventions, monthly meetings, and other networking events that regularly help members barter each other.
Find out if they offer helpful tools.
Are there extra tools like credit-card processing machines, advertising, or how-to guides that come with my membership?
Find out how many small businesses are members and how often they use the barter exchange.
Smaller local bartering networks will probably have less traffic than more significant national exchanges. However, small business owners can still benefit from their barter network since smaller networks tend to have a tighter bond between their members.
Ask how large the geographic area is of their bartering exchange.
They say size doesn’t matter, but geography does matter when trying to get your business out there. A small business barter network will probably have fewer members than a national exchange, but its network will likely be more ingrained into the community.
How many new members join monthly?
You’ll probably have the most success finding new customers for your business by meeting other small-business owners in person at local networking; how many bartering networks in your city are actively bringing in new members every month.
Local businesses typically find each other through referrals or word of mouth, so if you can’t find another member who wants to barter with you, how will anyone else find out about your business?
How much time does it take to get started on the bartering network?
If you can’t sit down and start trading right away, how long is the waiting period before another member wants to barter with you?
Is the Exchange in the black?
Imagine you had your own Federal Reserve and could print money on demand. If the Trade or Barter Exchange issues more credits than products or services held in the system, then they are operating in the red, which is kind of like “deficit spending.”
Are you looking for a new way to grow your business?
iTradexchange is the perfect solution. It’s an online barter exchange that helps small businesses find new customers and expand their reach in the marketplace. You can use our website or mobile app to search for items of interest from other members and use your Moxey dollars to purchase them.
We have everything you need, including a large selection of products, tools, and services available on our network through trading with other members. Our goal is simple – help you grow your business by providing access to goods and services at no cost!
Moxey Dollars are used as currency within the platform, so there’s never any risk involved when trading with another member. And if you don’t want anything specific right now, we also offer advertising opportunities on our site, allowing us to benefit from each other’s success!
Complete the form below to learn more about iTradexchange. If you’re ready to join up, we can help you with that, too.