Bartering: Bettering Businesses or Breaking Backs?

Do you barter your business services?  I’m not talking about the informal “help” that we offer each other.  I mean, have you met with a fellow business owner and formally agreed to exchange services instead of payments?

Over coffee this morning, I flipped through an old edition of Entrepreneur magazine and came across a quick list of tips for low cost marketing.  The last item on this list was a brief suggestion to consider bartering as a means of increasing your credibility (with a successful project completion), building networks, getting referrals and getting things checked off of your own business development “to-do” list.

My question:  Does this really work?  I tried once but found that (in that case) it wasn’t a good fit.  At the end of the day, projects that were paying bills (literally) took priority for both parties and ultimately we revisited the idea, making a decision to revert to our friendly “help” when possible and paying for services when rendered.

Have you tested the bartering waters?  Do you recommend the attempt?  What was your experience?  (For those considering bartering in your business, check out this list of “Nine Effective Bartering Tips” from Forbes Magazine.)

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2 responses to “Bartering: Bettering Businesses or Breaking Backs?

  1. I haven’t bartered, but I do do pro-bono work to get the word out about my business (social media management). I picked a local charity golf tournament and help them with their social media presence to help them boost their ticket sales for the event. It’s been fun and it is great to get some (free?) exposure. I’ll go check the article you mentioned.

    • Pro-bono work (with geniune “give back” intentions on some level) is a great way to get “free” exposure. Good for you!

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