Bartering Best Suited for SMBs

Ann All

I wrote last spring about how their flexibility and relative lack of red tape often help SMBs be more innovative than their larger competitors. (Of course, sometimes behemoths like General Electric can be incredibly innovative. Check out my post on their internal social network that boasts 400,000 users around the world.)


So I felt compelled to share an interesting New York Times story about an online network that allows SMBs to barter for goods and services, a practice that just wouldn't work for most large companies, some of which maintain entire departments devoted to procurement.


The site, Joe Barter, has 400 business-to-business members. Unlike the 2,500 individual members, who use the service for free, businesses pay consultation and referral fees.


It turns out that Joe Barter commands only a tiny slice of the bartering or trade exchange business. According to Robert Meyer, publisher of Barter News, some 450,000 companies participate in bartering. The companies that facilitate bartering, as well as their clients, tend to be small, says Meyer.


Steven White, CEO of a trade exchange called Itex Corp., says bartering helps SMBs conserve cash and also come into contact with potential customers.


Meyer credits the Internet with helping expand the barter business. Last year the total value of commercial barter transactions hit $6.5 billion.

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Jul 22, 2008 3:39 AM Leif @ BizX Leif @ BizX  says:
Thanks for taking the time to tell your readers about our industry. Barter through an organized trade exchange, such as BizXchange can indeed help businesses of all sizes and types increase their sales (because other members go to them before spending cash), expand their market share (new customers brought to them by the exchange) and improve their cash flow (purchasing with barter instead of spending cash.) In addition, organized barter through a network allows you to barter legally (reporting of taxes) and avoid the risks of direct barter, such as your trading partner not fulfilling their end of the deal. Businesses in the Seattle, Washington and San Francisco Bay Area, California markets should look into joining BizX. Those outside our markets can find reputable exchanges through and, the International Reciprocal Trade Association. Reply
Jul 23, 2008 8:55 AM IMS Barter IMS Barter  says:
The modern day barter industry is 'not your grandad's barter''s sophisticated and dynamic. IMS Barter maintains a coast-to-coast barter network of 18,000+ businesses. And the network is growing at an unprecedented pace as more and more businesses are looking for ways to get what they need while keeping tabs on cash flow. IMS is appealing because the IMS trade dollar is SO buys good, quality products and needed, reliable services. They've been doing this for more that 25 years! Reply
Jul 24, 2008 3:34 AM David @ ITEX David @ ITEX  says:
ITEX is the oldest and largest business-to-business barter exchange network in North America. We wrote the book on computerized trade-based economics.Is ITEX barter viable for your small business? As expressed in "What They Still Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School," business guru Mark H. McCormack says, "I am convinced that most companies miss the boat by not maximizing their BARTER possibilities. Instead of aggressively reducing costs by trading their services with those of other business owners, they seem content to pay top dollar for everything." Reply
Jul 27, 2008 6:55 AM Debbie DeSousa Debbie DeSousa  says:
Thanks for the PR. Barter Bucks is part of the largest trading marketplace in the World with 200 independently owned trade exchanges with 52,000 businesses trading. Our current trade volume per month is $12 million. Barter works for ALL businesses because it increases their profits and decreases cost. The only time is doesn't work is when they don't do it. As trade broker we drive business to our members and help them spend their trade credits. The largest transactions are media and real estate. Reply
Sep 19, 2008 7:52 AM barley barley  says:
What a hoot! Loved reading your blog! Reply
Nov 7, 2008 10:00 AM barley barley  says:
I enjoyed this content, and the feedback from others is interesting. Reply

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