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More than Just Money: Barter
by: Donald Lee
By definition, barter is the when parties swap services or resources. But in business terms, itís an exchange that ends usually with everyone a winner. All parties involved in bartering hold onto their cold hard cash and donít lose a cent. Thereís no worries about getting ripped off as a buyer or seller, so itís an exchange thatís high on trust, low on tension. And finally, the government doesnít get its hands on any of the proceeds. Bartering is such a great system, itís no wonder itís been around nearly forever.

Historians and archeologists reckon that bartering is a human business practice for the ages. It goes back as far as written history, and perhaps even further into mankindís (and womankindís) history of business practices.

Between humans, the actual business practice of money came long before money was invented. In written history, as far back as 9,000 BC, shepherds used cattle as a means of exchangeófrom sheep to cows, camels to goats. Then when farmers came along during the course of the next couple thousands of years, grains and plants became the hot commodity in the world of bartering.

Bartering may have dissipated over the years, but it by no means went away. Thatís the amazing thing about bartering. It still is, to this day, the ideal method of business exchange for some business folk, including companies with millions in assets. But itís especially helpful for small businesses looking to get a leg up on their competition.

Listen to people talking in todayís business world, and youíll hear stories such as the programmer who helped to code an interactive Web page for a startup graphic-design company, in exchange for a logo design for his own startup surf-board design shop. Then thereís the story of the new Internet advertising firm rolling out an ad campaign for a restaurant. Later that year, the restaurant hosted a ďfreeĒ party and dinner for that ad firmís clients.

Examples in todayís business world abound for bartering. The reason is that bartering still has many advantages to it in this modern business world.

For instance, for companies that are just starting to build up their assets, bartering is an opportunity to save their hard-earned cash. Even established companies love the chance to keep their money in the bank. With bartering, a company can get what it needs, while providing a service that the other company needs.

And because there is no money passed between pockets, the taxman does not even need to know about it. That saves you, and your accountant, the trouble of figuring out one more piece of business income or expense.

Lastly, deals involving money may whip up the old Scrooge mentalityóa combination of greed and mistrust. With money deals, you may always be left wondering if you got the short end of the stick. Not so with bartering. With bartering, you get exactly what you need. And in return, you give a fair share of goods or services.

Thereís no need to be a Scrooge here. Instead, the whole transaction is one of trust and understanding. Generally speaking, bartering for goods and services feels more worthwhile than paying money, whether youíre bartering for a dinner party for your clients, Internet advertising space, or whatever it is that you and your bartering partner agree to. Perhaps itís because you can actually feel the value of your own goods and services. Or it may be just because you donít have to open your wallet.

About the author:
Donald Lee is the public relations manager for Buysellcommunity provides free classified listing services. Buy, Sell, and trade (barter): auto, computers, household items, real estate, pets and much more. For localized classifieds, please visit
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